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Bishop R. Walker Nickless on Health Care Reform Comments

'Make your voice heard to our representatives in Congress. Tell them what they need to hear from us: no health care reform is better than the wrong sort of health care reform.' Continue Reading

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  1. Dave Rusch
    5 years ago

    Many years ago I spent considerable time and effort calculating the number of poor families in the US and how we might respond to their needs. I wrote a letter to the Denver Catholic Register with my conclusion. Briefly, I suggested that, if each parish adopted 2 poor families, poverty in the US would vanish. I suggested that the size of the parish (or church, as I would invite our Protestant friends to participate) determine how many families they would support. The average was two/parish. The support would include all that was necessary for them to be a part of the community: food, job opportunities from those in the parish, education, and health care. Each parish would voluntarily provide all the essentials. And poverty vanishes and the Good Samaritans (as we are called to be) provide all to them (isn’t this the object lesson the parable?). The response was less than favorable from readers of the DCR. I do not wish to go there now but just to say that I believe this approach may be more relevant and appropriate today then ever.

    The current ‘crises’ in health care is a perfect example of the need for action on the part of our Church. I am of the belief that the poor are not the responsibility of government, that Caesar’s involvement can only mean destruction of the dignity and sanctity of human life. I cannot help but wonder why the Bishops, who I admire greatly on many issues and in the depth of their faith, support Caesar’s approach to health care if certain conditions are met. I continue to be amazed that the pressure they (rightly) promoted to resist FOCA is not being brought to the forefront in the current climate where Caesar is attempting to confiscate 10% of the Nation’s wealth and essentially control every aspect of our lives. Is the sanctity of life less important for the unborn and the vulnerable if there is the promise of an underlying desirable (in their view) reward, in this case health care for everyone? And what convinces that there is really basic health care for everyone in this legislation? I have certainly not been convinced.

    Let me just say: The right to life is the fundamental right. Nothing precedes it, nothing is more profoundly important than this. This said, the extension of this fundamental right to other areas that support this fundamental principle is not so simple, nor might it be correct. In my humble opinion, a ‘fundamental right’ is one which you or I can enjoy without the imposition on others to make it happen. No other needs to be made to provide the umbra to my right to life. It is, without imposition on others. Any extension of this, for example, to the provision of food, shelter, or health care, as a basic extension to my right to life, requires either the virtue of charity or compulsion to provide these life necessities. I submit that compulsion is outside the proper avenue of nurture, unless we see Caesar as a morally necessary player.

    If Caesar is a necessary and invited participant, then how do we reconcile the compulsion that follows with the Parable of the Good Samaritan? Remember those who expect rewards from Caesar must pay the price, and there is absolutely no doubt this will cost the innocent their lives.

    The Catholic Church provides wonderful health care for more than 10% of the population of the US. Is it not possible for the Church to also provide health insurance for those in need? Remember the two families per parish description at the beginning of this little essay. Can not we provide the needed help or even form a national health insurance company that provides insurance on one’s ability to pay? Can this be the more appropriate answer than the current interesting but, to me, not understandable, approach to helping the uninsured? Surely we can do better than Caesar.

  2. Bill Sr.
    5 years ago

    It can’t be explained any better that this.

    The voice of the good Bishop Nickless needs to heard not only among the laity who are starving for Christian guidance in order to make better “political” decisions but also by all the “politically timid” clergy especially those who seem to have trouble acclimating their thoughts and speaking clearly to the faithful, Re: the US Bishops pre-election babble to consider abortion as just another of many voter concerns to be evaluated.

    Praise God and pray that our Father in heaven will bring up more bishops who will help us take a stand against the forces of evil attempting to destroy the Church and our freedoms as Americans.


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