In recent weeks, three major Catholic organizations have shown questionable support for the current health care reform efforts. This has revealed either a huge naiveté or a blatant ideological bias on their part. Perhaps it is both. I don’t know but I wish it weren’t so.
The organizations are The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association. These organizations are on the fore-front of helping the poor and the work that they do is truly commendable. That’s all well and good. But it seems their great desire to help the poor has blinded them to the politics and corruption involved. In the process, they’ve also put into question their devotion to protecting some of the poorest in the world – the unborn.
They all want health care reform, which is good. But it’s how they’re going about promoting it that I have a problem with.
The Catholic Health Association’s central theme to their website is “I can’t wait for health care reform!” Catholic Charities USA says the same thing. The Society of St. Vincent De Paul recently issued the statement, “Please call and e-mail your Representative in the next 24 hours expressing your support for Congress to enact health care reform now.” Their websites and calls to action are littered with an urgency to enact health care reform. The problem is that nowhere do they clarify that the current health care reform being proposed is terrible! Their statements of support and demands for you and I to “support congress” in what they’re doing gives the impression that they support these current reform proposals. Could this be? Do they know what are in these bills?
What has brought even more attention to this story is the apparent ignorance on the part of the these organizations that the current health care reform efforts support federally funded abortions. Such organizations should be the very first ones to not only understand and know that legislation includes such evil, but to also speak out against it!
Not only is such information relatively easy to find if one looks, but would anyone in their right mind expect anything less from legislation supported by the most pro-abortion president and congressional leaders in history? To believe otherwise you’d either have to be completely naive or blinded by your own agenda.
Granted, due to the uproar of the Catholic pro-life community, Catholic Charities USA has released another letter clarifying that they do not support legislation that supports abortion. The Society of St. Vincent De Paul did something similar. That’s good and just that they’ve done so. But #1) the cat is already out of the bag. Their flawed blindness in their approach to this issue (or perhaps their naivete) has been exposed. And #2) this only addresses the issue of abortion and not the fact that this current effort of reform will actually hurt our health care system and our country.
One of the core principles for reform that Catholic Charities USA and the Catholic Health Association stand for is that it should be “Sufficiently and fairly financed.” Everyone knows that nobody has found any solution to finance (at all, much less sufficiently or fairly) the currently proposed bills. Yet these huge and respected Catholic organizations are calling for people to cheer them along and pass a bill (now!) that not even those voting on it understand or can explain? This is totally and utterly irresponsible. And in the end it will only contribute to destroying our health care system, not helping it.
Is there anything wrong with wanting health care reform? Or course not. We do indeed need health care reform. Again, it is good to promote and support real and effective health care reform. The problem is that these organizations have clearly jumped on the “we need to pass some type of bill called ‘health care reform'” bandwagon regardless of whether the reform is actually good reform.
Reform is not always good. I seem to remember a point in history when the Church needed a little reform. A nice man named Martin Luther said “I can’t wait for reform!” And the “Reformation” that followed was one of the greatest tragedies in human history.
If we continue down the current path of reform set forth by this president and his ideological counterparts in congress, America is going to have its own health care “Reformation” to look back on that looks much more like a deformation.
It is naive for these great Catholic organizations to play into this hyped-up, false sense of urgency that says we must pass something as fast as possible no matter how big, complex, and not yet understood it may be. That is destructive of democracy and our constitutional republic. These organizations do necessary and important work. They should be supportive of reform but advocating caution on the part of congress and on the part of Americans. They are leaders in this arena and share a great responsibility for not leading Catholics astray.
They should be offering scrutiny and constructive criticism – not campaigns that encourage Catholics to blindly call and tell their congress person to “pass reform now!” What a dangerous thing to do. They are playing right into one of the largest power grabs in history executed by a government not at all friendly to many foundational Catholic moral principles.
Of greater concern in all of this is that so many are willing to give up, or at least forget, the basic principles of limited government that have secured our freedom to freely practice for so long – the freedom that allows real charity to exist in the first place. And they do it all for a bureaucratic attempt at a government controlled health care Utopia – something that inevitably ends in dysfunction, tyranny, and overall worse care. This is a lesson our founding fathers had to fix the hard way. I pray we’re not destined to do the same.
Let’s proceed with caution and not end up with a Reformation more than we’ve bargained for.