On health care, the bishops have lost their way
By KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND | 12/8/09 4:56 AM EST
The Roman Catholic bishops need more time. That is the recent word from Sen. Ben Nelson — news reports noted that before he introduces his amendment to restrict women’s access to coverage under health care reform, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops needs more time to review it.
Why is it that the bishops are more concerned with restricting millions of American women from making health care decisions that are best for them and their families than they are with ensuring that millions of Americans — women, men, children, immigrants, the poor, the middle class — get much-needed health insurance?
As a Catholic, I dare say it’s because the Conference of Catholic Bishops has lost its way. For example, in Missouri, the Catholic Conference issued an e-mail alert urging “those who are opposed to health care reform but are also pro-life” to “stay focused on the abortion issue and get the Stupak-like amendment adopted in the Senate.”
Really? As Catholics, are we so laser focused on the issue of abortion that we are willing to join tea partiers and the like to bring down the health care reform bill? And at the enormous expense of millions of Americans who suffer every day because they can’t afford to get checkups, because they must choose bankruptcy in order to save the life of their loved one?
Not this Catholic. As someone who was raised by a family absolutely committed to public service and to making sure that our nation provides health care to the least among us, I am devastated that the bishops are using their influence to try not to increase access to health care for the millions of people who don’t have insurance. Where is their passion for the families who need health care?
I hope that members of the U.S. Senate will defeat Nelson’s amendment when it’s introduced and keep the health care reform efforts moving forward. There is already a carefully crafted, reasonable and abortion-neutral compromise in the Senate health care reform bill. It is neither pro-abortion rights nor anti-abortion. It is simply pro-health care. . . . (etc., etc., etc.)
December 8, 2009
After the dreary wilderness years of the 70s, 80s, and 90s, when many Catholic bishops in the United States practiced a kind of know-nothingism in their silence and lack of real, out-front leadership on life issues, such as abortion, things are quickly changing. Individually and corporately, the American bishops are starting to lead the Church in the right direction: the battlefront.
Everyone knows that abortion is the white-hot center of this generation's pitched battle against evil. Abortion is this generation's equivalent of slavery, which was the primary social evil 19th-century America. Good triumphed over evil when the horror of legalized slavery was abolished and eradicated. And today, the evil of legalized abortion is an even more wide-spread, more urgent menace to a truly free society.
Catholic bishops are no longer silent in the face of this national tragedy. They are throwing off the shackles of silence and timidity. In increasing numbers, stalwart bishops are leading from the front, showing the way forward and, by their own example of fearless engagement of today's pro-abortion extremists, they are sounding a clear trumpet note for Catholics to rally. "For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" (1 Cor. 14:8).
The pro-abortion extremists know this, and their consternation is palpable and rising. A good example of this is the most recent attack on the U.S. Catholic bishops, this time by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, of Kennedy Clan fame (she is RFK's eldest child).
Not only can the Catholic bishops who are leading from the front and taking a courageous stand on this issue take satisfaction in Ms. Kennedy Townsend's shrill hectoring here, they can take hope in the fact that, as their efforts prove more and more effective in turning the tide of this long-standing struggle for human rights for unborn children (human rights which Ms. Kennedy Townsend and the other pro-abortion extremists she is inveigled by and beholden to), this rising clamor of agitated "Catholic" voices, like Kennedy-Townsend's, is clear evidence that they — the pro-abortion extremists — are deeply worried that they will not carry the day, now that the Catholic bishops have stepped into the fray.
Watch this battle scene from the superb movie "Glory." Starting at the 4:00 minute mark, you will see depicted in that Civil War battle what we are beginning to see now from an increasing number of good bishops, men who are valiantly leading the charge in our generation's equivalent of the War Against Slavery — the War Against Abortion.
Onward, Christian soldiers. You are fighting the good fight.
Posted by Patrick Madrid at 12:20 PM