From Fr Markey of the Norwalk CT Chapter of the Gospel of Life Society
There is a heated discussion going on in our country right now about President Obama’s proposed health care reform, H.R. 3200. From what I see in the media, much of the discussion revolves around the philosophical question of how large of a role do we want the government to have in our nation’s health care system.
How does the Catholic Church weigh in on this proposed reform? The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops has been advocating for comprehensive health care reform in our country for decades. Rather than the question of how much government involvement there should be in health care, the bishops recommend four principles:
respect for human life,
universal access for all,
Considering the long history of the Catholic hospitals, and that today nearly one out of every five patients in the United States who is in a hospital is in a Catholic health care network, the Catholic Church’s opinion carries a great deal of weight in this discussion.
This past week Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York was asked how the bishops approach the health care reform question. He was quoted as answering: “Health care reform is a good thing. (However, if it) leads to the destruction of life, then we say it’s no longer health care at all - it’s unhealthy care and we can’t be part of that.”
According to the bishops, the current bill is seriously deficient with regards to the conscience rights of health-care providers, whether there is a mandate to finance and provide abortion, and whether seniors will be forced to forgo treatment, leading to euthanasia. Archbishop Dolan explained that the first thing that needs to be said is that “every health care system exists only to serve human life, not the other way around.”
“Human life is not some commodity, some customer, some cog that is at the service of a bigger system or some bureaucratic network,” but rather, it is “the end in itself and health care is how it is protected." If health care begins to lead to the “destruction of human life” through avenues such as abortion, end of life care, or the discarding human embryos, then “we say it’s no longer health care at all.”
Considering the fact that our current president is the strongest advocate for abortion rights of any president that we have ever had in our nation’s history, the philosophical discussion of how large a role we want the government to have in our nation’s health care system will have to wait until we can insure that human life, from the moment of conception to natural death, is truly protected in this new reform.
Sincerely in Christ,Fr. Greg J. Markeym Pastor
St. Mary Church
669 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06850
"Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks the truth!
One without the other becomes a destructive lie."
- Pope John Paul II