In his recent interview with David Gregory on Meet the Press, Cardinal Timothy Dolan reiterated that the only problem he and the bishops had with Obamacare was the HHS mandate for contraceptive and abortion coverage in all insurance plans. He lamented that Obama was alienating a body of bishops that wanted to support this legislation, wanted to support Obama in his efforts at it. Most respectfully, the interview with Gregory was a missed opportunity on so very many fronts. Our bishops and several in the pro-life movement have had such a myopic focus on contraception and abortion issues in Obamacare that moral issues just as big and even bigger have entirely gone unaddressed by them. First, to the interview. David Gregory asked:
“What about Obamacare? You have voiced your displeasure with certain aspects of it in terms of mandates for hospitals and so forth. What about the overall goal? Do you think it will ultimately prevail? Would you like it, do you think it’s important for our country that universal health care insurance be available?”
Cardinal Dolan responded:
“Yep, and I’m glad you allow me to make that distinction,” Dolan replied. “We bishops are really in kind of a tough place because we’re for universal, comprehensive. life-affirming healthcare. We, the bishops of the United States–can you believe it, in 1919 came out for more affordable, more comprehensive, more universal health care. That’s how far back we go in this matter, okay. So we’re not Johnny-come-latelys.
“We’ve been asking for reform in healthcare for a long time. So we were kind of an early supporter in this. Where we started bristling and saying, ‘Uh-oh, first of all this isn’t comprehensive, because it’s excluding the undocumented immigrant and it’s excluding the unborn baby,’ so we began to bristle at that.
“And then secondly we said, ‘And wait a minute, we who are pretty good Catholics who are kind of among the pros when it comes to providing healthcare, do it because of our religious conviction,and because of the dictates of our conscience, and now we’re being asked to violate some of those.’
“So that’s when we began to worry and draw back and say, ‘Mr. President, please, you’re really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here. We want to be with you, we want to be strong. And if you keep doing this, we’re not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders. And that, sadly, is what happened.”.
In a 2,000+ page document filled with countless yet-to-be-determined, open-ended policy that states, “The Secretary [of HHS] shall determine…”, how is it considered moral to cheerlead for something completely undefined, especially in this nation with what Pope John Paul II called an ascendant “Culture of Death,” and with the party of death as its authors and administrators?
How could the bishops cheerlead for a law that will be administered with hefty doses of what is euphemistically called “rationing,” when President Obama brought aboard Dr. Donald Berwick whose expertise is in rationing? From Wiki:
“Berwick has studied the management of health care systems, with emphasis on using scientific methods and evidence-based medicine and comparative effectiveness research to improve the tradeoff among quality, safety and costs. Among IHI’s projects are online courses for health care professionals for reducing Clostridium difficile infections, lowering the number of heart failure readmissions or managing advanced disease and palliative care.”
How could the bishops cheerlead for a law when the “tradeoff” regarding cost is, “quality of life,” as determined by a bureaucratic algorithm that takes into account average life expectancy given a treatment, age of the patient, etc.? If the numbers fall the wrong way, the state will offer either physician assisted suicide or hospice care as they deny further treatment. This has been standard in Oregon for years. Also read here.
How could the bishops cheerlead for a law whose costs have soared before a workable website could even be put in place, with a government that is close to $20 Trillion in debt, and the certain knowledge that physician-assisted suicide is being pushed in almost every state in the Union?
How could the bishops cheerlead for a law they now know was founded on the lie that, “If you like your plan you can keep it,” knowing that over 7 million people have been dropped in the last two months?
How could the bishops cheerlead for a plan that the Congressional Budget Office projects will STILL leave more than 30 million people uninsured, especially when the principal reason offered for going down this road was to insure the 30-40 million uninsured?
How could the bishops cheerlead for a plan that increases funding for abortion and contraception through the HHS Mandate, just so long as the Church gets her exemption and doesn’t have to get her hands dirty?
This immoral and unjust legislation is not at all what the bishops of 100 years ago militated for. They would have raged against it all, because they were very different men. Those men were shepherds. Their flock was a large immigrant population in a strange land, with a strange tongue for many, with strange customs. The Church was the one great constant in their lives, and their bishops fought for them.
And politicians feared and respected them.
A far cry from a Cardinal lamenting forced participation in 10 percent of a one-hundred percent abomination of legislation and healthcare.
A far cry from a Cardinal who admitted on CBS This Morning, the week before he received the red hat, “We bishops aren’t fighters, we’re pastors.” (See video below)
Notably absent from Cardinal Dolan’s lament was that the small business owners in his flock, and outside of his flock, would be forced to violate their consciences.
Notably absent was any mention of rationing, euthanasia, the tissue of lies, the millions who have been dropped, the outrageous projected increases in premiums by as much as 179% in some states, the yet-to-be-defined policies a priori codified in the law.
These would have been real issues for the bishops of 1919. They most certainly would not have been tolerated 70 years before that with New York’s fourth Archbishop, “Dagger” John Hughes. From an excellent article about Hughes:
Hot on the heels of the school controversy came Hughes’ third battle, which showed him at his feisty best or worst, depending on one’s point of view. In May 1844 anti-Catholic Nativist rioters in Philadelphia burned down two Catholic churches in several days of violence that cost a dozen lives. The Nativist leaders then announced their intention of coming to New York City to stage a large public demonstration that almost certainly would have precipitated anti-Catholic riots. Bishop Hughes placed armed guards around his churches and warned the mayor that “if a single Catholic church were burned in New York, the city would become a second Moscow.” John Hughes’ tough talk paid off. Under pressure from him and other civic leaders, the Nativists canceled their rally.
This stands in stark contrast to Cardinal Dolan’s Feb. 2012 interview on CBS This Morning, when speaking of the HHS Mandate he said:
I would say… The religious exemption is very choking and very tight. There’s a restriction there that we can’t live with. Simply in the best American principles of freedom of religion, simply give a much more dramatically wide latitude to that religious exemption and protection of conscience and religious freedom, and you’re not gonna hear from us any more.
So, give the Church that exemption and she will go mute on all of the other horrors this law is visiting on Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
“You’re not gonna hear from us anymore.” (see the video below)
No, Cardinal Dolan. Most respectfully, we need you and the other bishops to fight for us, to show the moxie of Archbishop Hughes. Want to fill the pews? Defend your flock! The nation has awakened to the trap laid by Obama, the imprisonment, the economic destitution coming under this law, the massive carnival of death on the other end of the life spectrum, and not just abortion. The nation is aroused, and my bishops are losing the forest for the tree.
There is not a shred of moral decency in this law. It is a eugenicist’s dream. It preys on the very weakest on both ends of the life spectrum and impoverishes everyone in-between.
In your interview two years ago, you indicated that the president made all sorts of promises to you and the bishops and then broke them all. Where is your outrage and disgust? You cannot deal with such men. You can only defeat them.
This president and his signature piece of legislation are tearing this nation apart. This is the golden moment for our bishops to stand and fight, with a nation desperate for leadership in that fight. This is our defining moment in the Catholic Church.
This is bigger than contraception and abortion.
This is the forest, not just one tree.
[Photo Credit: http://alchemystudio.com%5D