Saturday, November 07, 2009
Catholic Online (http://www.catholic.org/)
Faithful Catholics must recognize the primacy of the Fundamental Right to Life as we evaluate this proposed legislation.
The debate over this attempted 'Health Care Reform' has generated an extraordinary amount of citizen participation. This is good in a Nation which is supposed to be based upon a representative form of governance. Unfortunately, it has also generated an accompanying sense of disillusionment among many citizens that the 'People’s House' is simply not what it is supposed to be.
CHESAPEAKE, Va. (Catholic Online) – I just returned from Washington, DC. The City is charged with a frenzied war of words and increasing activity, all revolving around the “Health Care Reform” package which Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to get passed quickly. Today, in a rare Saturday session, the “showdown” in the “People’s House” begins. The very term “People’s House” developed in reference to the House of Representatives because it has been perceived as closer to the people then the Senate.
The House, until the passage of the 17th Amendment to the US Constitution, was the only legislative branch to be elected. Senators were chosen by their respective State legislators. The term “People’s House” reflected the widely held perception that the House members were actually closer to the people and listened to them, especially after the amendment. In addition, the fact that each of the 435 members is accountable to a smaller District apportioned according to population, and only served for two years, furthered the impression that it deserved the term “the People’s House”.
Unfortunately, in the debate over “Health Care Reform”, that perception - or what was left of it - is being seriously undermined and nearly eliminated. The amount of money and “special interest” involvement in this process is staggering. The apparent lack of interest in hearing from the people is evident.
For faithful Catholics, we must recognize the primacy of the Fundamental Right to Life and the Dignity of Every Human Person from conception to natural death as we evaluate this proposed legislation. We should also then apply a hierarchy of values and principles in our approach to evaluating the legislation. We can and we will differ among ourselves on a number of issues. However, the very premise for even attempting any reform of the current system for the delivery of health care services is the dignity of every human person, right? The grave dangers which the current version of “Health Care Reform” present, if not amended to protect our youngest neighbors in the first home of the womb as well as our ill and elderly from the looming risks of rationing, must be our utmost concern.
Proceeding from this foundational concern over the current legislation and its disregard of the Right to Life arise a panorama of other very serious concerns, not the least of which is whether this massive bill - and the infrastructure it creates - violates the principle of subsidiarity. This is a social ordering principle articulated in the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church which rightly enshrines the common sense understanding that governance is “good” when it is closer to those being governed in order to best allow for their participation and ensure efficiency, effectiveness and justice. The smallest governmental unit, beginning with the family and moving out from there, should always have the primacy of placement in the provision of governance in order to serve the true common good. A larger governing unit or mediating institution should not take the rightful role of the smaller.
The debate over this attempted “Health Care Reform” has generated an extraordinary amount of citizen participation. This is good in a Nation which is supposed to be based upon a representative form of governance. Unfortunately, it has also generated an accompanying sense of disillusionment among many citizens that the “People’s House” is simply not what it is supposed to be. The Health Care Debate has also fueled an even more rapid degradation of discourse than what had already been occurring, especially in the media. The use of disparaging and dismissive terms such as “Wing- nuts”, heard now regularly as a “talking point” on one network, and “Wacko’s”, heard too frequently on another, demonstrate this unfortunate turn in our discourse.
From LifeSiteNews.com, "Major Health Care Development - Pro-Life Stupak Amendment Vote OK'd for Today" and "USCCB Spokesman: "Definitely Not True" that Bishops Support Bill As it Stands" and "Pro-Life Dems Hold Out Against Health Bill, Could Push Vote to Next Week"
From the New York Times, "Health Reform Passes a Big Test, With Obama’s Aid" and "Live Video via MSNBC: The Debate"
From CNA, "Bishops urge House members to vote for Stupak-Ellsworth Amendment" and "Health care proposal’s ‘masked’ funding of abortion is ‘fatally flawed,’ Bishop Conley says" and "Health care bill contains money-laundering system for abortion, Catholic bishops’ memo says"
From Zenit, "US Bishops: Abortion Isn't Health Care"
From CNSNews, "McCain Says Health Care Bill Would Face Constitutional Challenge" and "Mark Levin: Congressmen Who Want to Force Americans to Buy Health Insurance Are Saying ‘The Hell With the Constitution'"