Thursday, October 10, 2013

Time to Listen to the Bishops On The Shutdown


By Sister Mary Ann Walsh

As the government shutdown continues, it may be time to listen to another body – the U.S. bishops. Recent statements from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops offer significant points worth considering.

They are neither Democratic nor Republican positions. They are simply principled.

Consider, for example, an October 1 letter from Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Migration, Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, California, chair of the Committee on Domestic Policy and Human Development, and Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chair of the Committee on International Justice and Peace. The letter urged Congress to fulfill the role of government and meet the basic needs of people. The bishops told Congress that they “welcomed earlier bipartisan action which averted a federal government shutdown and the hardship that would have come with failure to reach agreement."

They added that "The Catholic bishops of the United States stand ready to work with leaders of both parties for a budget that reduces future unsustainable deficits, protects poor and vulnerable people, advances the common good, and promotes human life and dignity."

The bishops noted that the Catechism of the Catholic Church says it is the proper role of government to "make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life," including food, clothing, heath care, education and culture.

The Church is a voice for the poor. It’s often the only lobby for people in desperate need. In that regard, the church has argued for universal health care for about a century.

The church has also asked Congress to protect rights of conscience as a part of the same legislative process. A September 26 letter from Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chair of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, called for respect for religious freedom. They did so as a January 1 deadline approaches for beginning to impose the HHS contraceptive/abortifacient mandate on many religious institutions that serve the needy. As the bishops’ October 1 letter pointed out, threats to conscience rights undermine access to needed health care by driving people of faith out of the system.

Some have falsely interpreted this as a call for the government shutdown or a default on our nation’s debts. The bishops have done nothing of the kind. The bishops have been urging Congress to enact legislation like the Health Care Conscience Rights Act for two and a half years. Since July 2012, the bishops have been asking that this protection be included in “must-pass” bills such as the appropriations bills funding the government, which have long been vehicles for a number of important federal policies on conscience rights.

The bishops offer principles that uphold rights for all people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Good government protects its citizens. When it shuts down, it protects no one; and when it runs, it must be sure to respect their fundamental rights. The bishops have emphasized all of these concerns together. In this way, they offer a voice of reason.

9 comments:

Mary's Child Mariann said...

I disagree with you Sr. Mary Ann. It is time for the Bishops to do the work to which God has called each of them. They are not politicians and need to step back. I have heard Cardinal Dolan slam dunk the GOP--outrageous and absurd! Yet, he dines beside the most evil and irresponsible servant of the country, our current President, and has on more than one occasion shown support for the Democratic politicians, while they make mincemeat of the Truth, our Faith, and the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church.

Our Church needs Truth be told, not policies on immigration. Jesus, our Lord and Savior, was not one who lobbied with the locals of His day. He taught Truth, He healed souls and bodies, and He was Just.

Our President is the most fiscally irresponsible man ever to hold office. He is morally bankrupt. When will our Bishops stand for the sacraments that are being with evil intention withheld from our military at the risk of imprisonment.

The federal government shutdown is so because of the tyrannical actions of President Obama. Please, only tell truth, and not fibs nor lies about the serious problems in this country.

Brendan McIntyre said...

With all due respect, according the US Constitution (which is continuously trampled on), the role of the U.S. federal government (this is a federal government shutdown), isn't to "meet the basic needs of people."

The CCC calls for government to "make accessible to each what is needed to lead a truly human life," including food, clothing, heath care, education and culture. Making those items accessible isn't the same as providing those items. Those items are more than accessible in most Western nations, yet their governments continue to claim the need to apply further controls. The federal government has actually overstepped its bounds to such a degree that it can no longer fulfill its financial obligations, it is unsurprisingly failing in its attempt to be the provider of those items, while exposing the entire nation to great danger in the process and robbing future generations of financial freedom in order to pay for the unconstitutional and unattainable goals of centralized planners.

That is the story of the government shutdown, neither Democratic nor Republican. The Catholic moral issues are simply tied into an oppressive agenda by centralized planners that includes legislating their morality.

catholicjournaling said...

Great point Brendan. We forget when we are attacked for standing up for what we believe by others saying that we are trying to legislate morality, that legislation of morality is done whether you stand for life or for the legalized murder that is abortion. The only question that remains is which side of the issue should a legitimate government, in a predominantly Judeo-Christian country, be legislating from. The government shutdown is a smoke-screen that is an attempt at making people made at legislators who are trying to follow their conscience and their God, while doing their job. The ones who get angry are the ones who think there is no God, and even if there is, he has no place in government.

God bless you!

Jason

edwinoel said...

Amen Brendan. The more we remain blind to moral issues, the more our nation suffers. Man cannot live by bread alone but on the words of God that continue to guide us to what is true, noble and right in this life. I am neither for Republicans or Democrats, but for the American people as a whole. Unfortunately, both President Obama and the Congress are in a stalemate. Praying for an agreement that is for truth, freedom and for the best interest of the nation, onward to future generations, is what we are now being called for. Not until we open our eyes to this truth, and refuse to listen to what God is telling us, which is to put back God at the center of our decisions and actions, with respect to life and to care for the needy and the poor, we may fail to win for this nation. We are a nation of reason, justice and freedom. It is our spirit attuned to the love of God and of truth that tells us all the wisdom there is - this is the main foundation of what made this nation great over the years, not materialism, which is the folly of man. Let money, material things, our natural resources and our talents work for the glory of God and His people, not for the glory of the few which has led many to the darkened path, pride, greed, selfishness and confusion. Let's use God's gifts to us in science and technology work for honest and moral research and options working together for God's greatness in our lives, not the glory of things material where many of us remain in chain, and make this life harder for many of us as we refuse to open our eyes to the truth where the light is, waiting to shine in every heart and spirit of man, that all may win in Christ, and in this life.

edwinoel said...

Amen Brendan. The more we remain blind to moral issues, the more our nation suffers. Man cannot live by bread alone but on the words of God that continue to guide us to what is true, noble and right in this life.

I am neither for Republicans or Democrats, but for the American people as a whole. Unfortunately, both President Obama and the Congress are in a stalemate. Praying for an agreement that is for truth, freedom and for the best interest of the nation, onward to future generations, is what we are now being called for. Not until we open our eyes to this truth, and refuse to listen to what God is telling us, which is to put back God at the center of our decisions and actions, with respect to life and to care for the needy and the poor, we may fail to win for this nation.

We are a nation of reason, justice and freedom. It is our spirit attuned to the love of God and of truth that tells us all the wisdom there is - this is the main foundation of what made this nation great over the years, not materialism, which is the folly of man. Let money, material things, our natural resources and our talents work for the glory of God and His people, not for the glory of the few which has led many to the darkened path, pride, greed, selfishness and confusion.

Let's use God's gifts to us in science and technology work for honest and moral research and options working together for God's greatness in our lives, not the glory of things material where many of us remain in chain, and make this life harder for many of us as we refuse to open our eyes to the truth where the light is, waiting to shine in every heart and spirit of man, that all may win in Christ, and in this life. God's peace and blessings to all.

Matt said...

Brendan is right. Unfortunately the USCCB and the bishops have approached major issues such as the government shutdown, Obamacare, and comprehensive immigration reform from a perspective that is far too narrow. There is so, so much more than "social justice" to be considered, but, unfortunately that's not happening.

Matt said...

Brendan is right. Unfortunately the USCCB and the bishops have approached major issues such as the government shutdown, Obamacare, and comprehensive immigration reform from a perspective that is far too narrow. There is so, so much more than "social justice" to be considered, but, unfortunately that's not happening.

Brendan McIntyre said...

I agree

dawnmorais.com said...

Surely the Bishops could be as forceful in pressuring Congress to end the shutdown as they have been in fighting to limit abortions and contraception? http://dawnmorais.com/2013/10/14/will-us-bishops-counsel-catholic-leaders-to-end-shutdown-and-preferential-option-for-the-rich/