To CE Editors:
Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a Mass celebrated by the bishop in my diocese. It was a joyful occasion celebrating black Catholic history in the diocese. During the homily, my bishop spoke out with conviction explaining the U.S. bishops’ support for the current health care reform in debate in both the house and senate. He mentioned the united front of the U.S. Catholic bishops, lead by Cardinal Rigali, endorsing health care reform. He spoke of the virtue of charity and connected it to reforming health care.
As I listened, I was overcome with sadness that the US bishops are extending support to Congresswoman Pelosi’s health care “reform” proposals. Why are they willing to trade the full teaching of the Catholic Church on the sanctity of life, for a crumb of pro-life language – the Pitt-Stupak amendment? How can the US bishops support Pelosi’s health care reform legislation? How can they believe that the Pitt-Stupak amendment will somehow change the spirit, content, and outcome of the legislation?
How do the US bishops know what is in the legislation? No one else does; not even my congressman. How do the bishops define abortion? The Catholic Church defines abortion as the termination of life in the womb after conception. Does the “reform” legislation prohibit federal funding of abortifacient contraception? Does the Pitt-Stupak amendment include abortifacient contraception, the point in pregnancy when most abortions occur, in its definition of abortion? What about in vitro fertilization and embryonic stem cell testing? Will my tax dollars pay for that? What about the rationing of health care? Catholic teaching speaks clearly on that, also. Does the reform legislation prevent that?
I see some pro-life groups rejoicing today over the passage of the Pitt-Stupak amendment. It may be a political victory to some degree; one that is best left to politicians. But this pro-lifer mourns. I believe that my bishops have been manipulated through their worthy desire to be charitable. I predict that their endorsement of Pelosi’s “reform” will backfire terribly on Catholics and all citizens of the United States; most dramatically on the poor. The poor will be exploited, contracepted, rationed and aborted at levels never before seen in this country. I fear the US bishops are falling into the trap; the trap of being used as pawns by the culture of death.
Please, God, let me be wrong!
Ellen Beley, Cary, NC
Thank you for your thoughtful and heartfelt letter. You have expressed the dismay that so many feel with the latest turn of events. We wonder what difference any language in the bill really can make when the agenda of the other side is so clear: they will use the courts and regulatory means far removed from the people to get what they want, regardless that a majority of Americans identify themselves as pro-life.
You have ended with what we all have to end. We have to pray.
God bless you.
Mary Kochan, Senior Editor, Catholic Exchange
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