George A. Sprecace M.D.,
J.D., F.A.C.P. and Allergy Associates of New
Archbishop Decries Deeply Flawed Health Bill
ZENIT, The world seen from Rome
Archbishop Decries Deeply Flawed Health Bill
Denounces Catholic Groups That Opposed Bishops
DENVER, MARCH 24, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Denver is
expressing disappointment regarding the health care legislation moving
through Congress, and the so-called Catholic groups that are supporting
it in opposition to the U.S. bishops.
Archbishop Charles Chaput stated this in a column, titled "A Bad Bill
and How We Got it," written for publication today in the Denver
"As current federal health-care legislation moves forward toward law,
we need to draw several lessons from events of the last weeks and
months," he pointed out.
"The bill passed by the House on March 21 is a failure of decent
lawmaking," the prelate asserted. "It remains unethical and defective
on all of the issues pressed by the U.S. bishops and prolife groups for
the past seven months."
He added that "the Executive Order promised by the White House to ban
the use of federal funds for abortion does not solve the many problems
with the bill, which is why the bishops did not -- and still do not see
it as a real solution."
U.S. President Barack Obama promised to issue an Executive Order today
that would affirm existing law prohibiting federal funding of
abortions, a deal which some have claimed was simply a negotiation
technique to gain more votes for the health care bill.
The archbishop also pointed out that "Executive Orders can be rescinded
or reinterpreted at any time."
"Some current congressional leaders have already shown a pattern of
evasion, ill will and obstinacy on the moral issues involved in this
legislation, and the track record of the White House in keeping its
promises regarding abortion-related issues does not inspire
confidence," he added.
"The fact that congressional leaders granted this one modest and
inadequate concession only at the last moment, and only to force the
passage of this deeply flawed bill, should give no one comfort,"
Archbishop Chaput stated.
He asserted that "the combination of pressure and disinformation used
to break the prolife witness on this bill among Democratic members of
Congress -- despite the strong resistance to this legislation that
continues among American voters -- should put an end to any talk by
Washington leaders about serving the common good or seeking common
"At many points over the past seven months," the prelate affirmed,
"congressional leaders could have resolved the serious moral issues
inherent in this legislation."
"They did not," he stated. "No shower of reassuring words now can wash
away that fact."
The archbishop stated that in this matter "self-described 'Catholic'
groups have done a serious disservice to justice, to the Church, and to
the ethical needs of the American people by undercutting the leadership
and witness of their own bishops."
He continued: "For groups like Catholics United, this is unsurprising.
In their effect, if not in formal intent, such groups exist to advance
the interests of a particular political spectrum.
"Nor is it newsworthy from an organization like Network, which --
whatever the nature of its good work -- has rarely shown much
enthusiasm for a definition of 'social justice' that includes the
rights of the unborn child."
"But the actions of the Catholic Health Association (CHA) in providing
a deliberate public counter-message to the bishops were both surprising
and profoundly disappointing; and also genuinely damaging," Archbishop
He explained: "In the crucial final days of debate on health-care
legislation, CHA lobbyists worked directly against the efforts of the
American bishops in their approach to members of Congress.
"The bad law we now likely face, we owe in part to the efforts of the
Catholic Health Association and similar 'Catholic' organizations."
The prelate acknowledged the "many thousands of ordinary, faithful
Catholics, from both political parties," who "have worked hard over the
past seven months to advance sensible, legitimate health-care reform."
"If that effort seems to have failed, faithful Catholics don't bear the
blame," he said. "That responsibility lies elsewhere."
The archbishop expressed gratitude to everyone "who has worked so hard
on this issue out of love for God's people and fidelity to their
Catholic faith," affirming that no matter what happens, "that kind of
effort is never wasted."
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