.- In his weekly column for the Denver Catholic Register, the Archbishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., says the Senate health-care bill does not meet minimum moral standards and therefore, doesnât have the support of the Catholic bishops.
âThe Senate version of health-care reform currently being forced ahead by congressional leaders and the White House is a bad bill that will result in bad law,â says the archbishop in his column titled, âCatholics, health care and the Senateâs bad bill,â published today on the archdioceseâs website.
âAs I write this column on March 14, the Senate bill remains gravely flawed. It does not meet minimum moral standards in at least three important areas: the exclusion of abortion funding and services; adequate conscience protections for health-care professionals and institutions; and the inclusion of immigrants,â Chaput writes.
In reference to pro-Obama Catholic organizations who have been claiming that the bill is âsufficientlyâ pro-life, the Archbishop of Denver argues that âgroups, trade associations and publications describing themselves as âCatholicâ or âprolifeâ that endorse the Senate version â whatever their intentions â are doing a serious disservice to the nation and to the Church, undermining the witness of the Catholic community; and ensuring the failure of genuine, ethical health-care reform.â
Such groups, Archbishop Chaput explains, âcreate confusion at exactly the moment Catholics need to think clearly about the remaining issues in the health-care debate. They also provide the illusion of moral cover for an unethical piece of legislation.â
The archbishop then reminds his readers of âa few simple facts.â
First, the Catholic bishops of the United States began pressing for real national health-care reform âlong before either political party or the public media found it convenient.â Second, the bishops have tried earnestly to craft a consensus âthat would serve all Americans,â but the failure of their effort has one source: âIt comes entirely from the stubbornness and evasions of certain key congressional leaders, and the unwillingness of the White House to honor promises made by the president last September.â
Third, âthe health-care reform debate has never been merely a matter of party politics. Nor is it now.â In this regard, Archbishop Chaput praises Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak and âa number of his Democratic colleaguesâ for showing âextraordinary character in pushing for good health-care reform while resisting attempts to poison it with abortion-related entitlements and other bad ideas that have nothing to do with real health care.â
âTo put it another way,â the Archbishop says, âfew persons seriously oppose making adequate health services available for all Americans. But God, or the devil, is in the details -- and by that measure, the current Senate version of health-care reform is not merely defective, but also a dangerous mistake.â
Nevertheless, Archbishop Chaput writes that the âmost painful featureâ in the last weeks of the debate, âhas been those âCatholicâ groups that by their eagerness for some kind of deal undercut the witness of the Catholic community and help advance a bad bill into a bad law. Their flawed judgment could now have damaging consequences for all of us.â
The Archbishop of Denver reminds his readers that the bill âdoes not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops in our country, who speak for the believing Catholic community.â
âCatholics and other persons of good will concerned about the foundations of human dignity should oppose it,â he says in closing.