Catholic Bishops to Use Mass to Lobby Against Health Care?

Early Thursday, the US Catholics Conference on Bishops circulated a memo (see below) and “supporting” documents to all bishops urging them to use this Sunday’s mass as a lobbying event designed to defeat health care reform if the bishops don’t get what they want on abortion. What do they want? They want to scuttle the well crafted compromise moderate pro-lifers and all prochoice groups have reluctantly supported and insist that health care reform efforts be used to cut off all sources of funding for abortions for all women—whether they are on Medicaid or currently have coverage for abortion in their private insurance plans.

Just about everyone rational has accepted the Capps Amendment which baldly states that federal funds will not be used for abortions. But the bishops want to reinterpret what constitutes federal funds and claim that a private insurance plan that covers abortion (though it might have some subscribers who do get a federal subsidy) would constitute using federal funds. The only way, they say, to insure that no federal funds are used is to exclude from the overall exchange any insurance plan that covers abortion. Their solution? Offer women special riders to insurance that cost additional funds if they want private coverage.

The insult to women, the idea of a scarlet “A” abortion rider to single them out is bad enough, but turning Sunday Mass into a political rally is absolutely too much.

One can only hope that every pro-life supporter of health care reform who has said that health care reform is too important to use as a way to advance either pro-choice or prolife objectives—from Jim Wallis to Catholics United and everyone in between—speaks out immediately in opposition to this kind of immoral use of religious services. And every pro-choice Catholic needs to walk out of church when the lobby sermon begins.


USCCB Nationwide Bulletin Insert
Pulpit Announcements & Prayer Petition

Instructions: As introduced by a cover letter to all bishops from the President of the Conference and the Chairmen of the 3 major USCCB committees engaged in health care reform, the US bishops have asked that the USCCB Nationwide Bulletin Insert on health care reform be printed or hand-stuffed in every parish bulletin and/or distributed in pews or at church entrances as soon as possible. Congressional votes may take place as soon as early November. Please encourage parishioners to pray for this effort as well. More information can be found at www.usccb.org/healthcare.

To be announced at all Masses on the weekend when the Bulletin Insert is distributed:  

Congress is preparing to debate health care reform legislation. The Catholic bishops of the United States strongly support genuine health care reform that protects the life and dignity of all, from the moment of conception until natural death. However, all current bills are seriously deficient on abortion and conscience rights, and do not yet provide adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor.

In your pews/bulletins today, you’ll find a special flier/bulletin insert from the US Bishops Conference asking you to please contact your Representative and Senators immediately and urge them to fix these bills with pro-life amendments. The flier/bulletin insert includes a web address that allows you to send an email message to Congress with a click of a button. The bishops have asked for our swift action and the commitment of our prayers for this critical effort.  Thank you for your help.  We can help make sure that health care reform will be about saving lives, not destroying them.    

To be announced at all Masses on the weekend following the Bulletin Insert distribution:   

Congress is preparing to debate health care reform legislation. The Catholic bishops of the United States strongly support genuine health care reform that protects the life and dignity of all, from the moment of conception until natural death. However, all current bills are seriously deficient on abortion and conscience rights, and do not yet provide adequate access to health care for immigrants and the poor.

Last weekend you received a special flier/bulletin insert from the US Bishops Conference asking you to please contact your Representative and Senators immediately and urge them to fix these bills with pro-life amendments. The flier/bulletin insert included a web address that allows you to send an email message to Congress with a click of a button. Additional fliers/bulletin inserts can be found at___________ (back of church, etc.).   The bishops have asked for our swift action and the commitment of our prayers for this critical effort.  Thank you for your help. We can help make sure that health care reform will be about saving lives, not destroying them.  

Suggested Prayer of the Faithful:

That Congress will act to ensure that needed health care reform will truly protect the life, dignity and health care of all and that we will raise our voices to protect the unborn and the most vulnerable and to preserve our freedom of conscience. We pray to the Lord.

 

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