.- Asked for comment on the position of U.S. bishops with regard to the Catholic Health Association's (CHA) support for President Obama's health care bill, Archbishop Thomas Wenski explained to CNA that although the bishops opposed the bill for its flaws, CHA most likely “had more to fear from the government than they had to fear from the bishops."
CNA caught up to the recently appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Miami in Rome where he had just received the pallium from Pope Benedict XVI.
Speaking of the U.S. bishops position in regard to the CHA on Obama's health bill, he said, "We were pretty forthright with our concerns of the legislation that was passed by Congress to our opposition."
He explained that the bishops opposed it because it did not provide adequate conscience protection.
"It did not, in spite of what its proponents alleged, it did not keep our money from going to fund abortions and it also left out undocumented aliens from any protection or any possibility of health insurance even if they were going to pay for it themselves.
"So," he went on, "the bill was flawed and we thought that the administration could have addressed our concerns and still have had a bill that they would have been happy with.
"As it is now, we are very concerned for the future, and unfortunately I think the CHA probably had more to fear from the government than they had to fear from the bishops, so it was not an encouraged moment for them."
Emphasizing the importance of the bishops' voices in the public square on similar matters, Archbishop Wenski said that "often times people will criticize us as if we are trying to impose our views ... but we do have a proposal to make and a word to share.
"We would be remiss in our duties as teachers of the faith not to witness to that word and to make our proposal as to what constitutes the necessary conditions for human flourishing in American society."
Looking to the future, Archbishop Wenski said that the U.S. bishops would "certainly be very much in favor of the administration going back and fixing what we still think are very flawed parts of the health care legislation."
Recognizing their role in health care reform advocacy for the last 40 years, he underscored "we weren't willing to go for health care reform under (just) any conditions. Basically we have said that health care reform means that it should be accessible to everybody and nobody should be killed. And this Obamacare does not make it accessible to everybody and it allows for people to be killed, mainly unborn children at the taxpayer's expense."