Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Church’s Teaching and Health Reform

The Church’s social doctrine directly addresses the situation faced by Congressman Stupak. He clearly has been working to assure that loopholes that could be exploited by the marketplace to fund human rights violations (abortions) with tax dollars are not permitted to be used for that purpose.

A honest review of Mr Stupak’s efforts, the church’s teaching (CSDC: Paragraph 570) and the events of the last week reveal that he has conformed to the teaching in every detail. In fact the bill is not an abortion bill but a repair of our busted health care system consistent with the principle of subsidiarity and whose effect is to restore to the family its rightful role as a subsidiary social unit in providing health care for its members. The marketplace has rationed, restricted and denied the resources needed by millions of American families and individuals to receive health care. A hundred years of federal leaders and the efforts of 50 state governments have not been able to bring this restoration of equity and justice to individual’s access to health care. Paragraph 570 of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church says:

“570. When — concerning areas or realities that involve fundamental ethical duties — legislative or political choices contrary to Christian principles and values are proposed or made, the Magisterium teaches that “a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political programme or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals”[1191]. In cases where it is not possible to avoid the implementation of such political programmes or to block or abrogate such laws, the Magisterium teaches that a parliamentary representative, whose personal absolute opposition to these programmes or laws is clear and known to all, may legitimately support proposals aimed at limiting the damage caused by such programmes or laws and at diminishing their negative effects on the level of culture and public morality. In this regard, a typical example of such a case would be a law permitting abortion[1192]. The representative's vote, in any case, cannot be interpreted as support of an unjust law but only as a contribution to reducing the negative consequences of a legislative provision, the responsibility for which lies entirely with those who have brought it into being.

Faced with the many situations involving fundamental and indispensable moral duties, it must be remembered that Christian witness is to be considered a fundamental obligation that can even lead to the sacrificing of one's life, to martyrdom in the name of love and human dignity[1193]. The history of the past twenty centuries, as well as that of the last century, is filled with martyrs for Christian truth, witnesses to the faith, hope and love founded on the Gospel. Martyrdom is the witness of one who has been personally conformed to Jesus crucified, expressed in the supreme form of shedding one's blood according to the teaching of the Gospel: if “a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies ... it bears much fruit” (Jn 12:24).” [CSDC © USSB, 2004]

It is clear that it is the federal government’s turn to attempt to force the marketplace to facilitate the return of this function to the family and the individual. This is necessary because the marketplace has demonstrated repeatedly its cruel unwillingness to bring about justice on this matter and insists on giving more homage to profits than to human rights.

Is it a “take over” of health care? In the sense of making it possible for the family to have the power rather than the marketplace it facilitates such a take over by the appropriate and lowest social level competent to exercise that power, the family and the individual.

Is it a “Government takeover”? Since it mostly addresses the cost of and the mechanism of paying for health care the current bill primarily provides regulation of the insurance portion of the market. A high level of Government (States) already regulates health care insurance it hard to see this as more government takeover. It does seem to address the obvious inequities and injustices between states often unfairly visited on those families who must or do move often from state to state. Lastly, since millions of older Americans are covered by Medicare or VA insurance (Government Insurance) there is nothing introduced by the current bill that rivals their size.

Will the anti human rights elements of the marketplace try to use this change to enrich themselves? I am sure they will as they most certainly would have if the Republicans had championed the correction when they were the majority in Congress. They do not intend to give up and neither should we.

However, they, the abortion industry in particular, will lose a big lever they now have to argue that their services, the termination of the life in the womb, cost much less than having and raising the child. The restoration of access to health care to families and individuals especially those at the lower economic levels will remove much of this lever from the abortionist tool bag.

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