By Peter J. Smith
DENVER, Colorado, March 25, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput took aim at the Catholic Health Association (CHA) and other “Catholic” groups that he said are ostensibly committed to social justice – so long as the rights of unborn are excluded – for damaging the pro-life coalition that was struggling to hold together before this past Sunday’s momentous vote on President Obama’s health care reform.
“How did we get here?” Chaput asked in a column for the Denver Catholic Register. He said that the health care bill passed in the House had not been “fixed” and “remains unethical and defective on all of the issues pressed by the U.S. bishops and prolife groups for the past seven months.”
He criticized the White House’s Executive Order that brought Stupak and his half-dozen remaining pro-life Democrats on board with ObamaCare, saying it “does not solve the many problems with the bill” and for that reason the US Bishops never considered it as a legitimate solution.
“Executive Orders can be rescinded or reinterpreted at any time,” said the Denver archbishop, adding that the track record with the Obama Administration “in keeping its promises regarding abortion-related issues does not inspire confidence.”
“The fact that congressional leaders granted this one modest and inadequate concession only at the last moment, and only to force the passage of this deeply flawed bill, should give no one comfort.”
But Archbishop Chaput said that the health care bill’s passage had killed any talk about “serving the common good or seeking common ground.”
“Words need actions to give them flesh,” he said, citing the “combination of pressure and disinformation used to break the prolife witness on this bill among Democratic members of Congress” and the unwillingness of Democratic leaders to heed the “strong resistance” from American voters as prime examples they did not wish to come to an accord.
But the Denver archbishop reserved his harshest words of censure for “self-described ‘Catholic’ groups,” whom he blasted for having “done a serious disservice to justice, to the Church, and to the ethical needs of the American people by undercutting the leadership and witness of their own bishops.”
He said the action was “unsurprising” for groups like Catholic United, which he said serve partisan political ends, and not “newsworthy” for the advocacy group Network, which he said “has rarely shown much enthusiasm for a definition of ‘social justice’ that includes the rights of the unborn child.”
But the direct and open revolt of the Catholic Health Association to pass the bill, he said, provided “a deliberate public counter-message to the bishops” which was “both surprising and profoundly disappointing; and also genuinely damaging.”
“In the crucial final days of debate on health-care legislation, CHA lobbyists worked directly against the efforts of the American bishops in their approach to members of Congress,” declared Chaput. “The bad law we now likely face, we owe in part to the efforts of the Catholic Health Association and similar ‘Catholic’ organizations.”
The archbishop praised the “many thousands of ordinary, faithful Catholics, from both political parties” in Colorado that fought for legislation that would serve the poor, the rights of the unborn, the rights of immigrants, and freedom of conscience for health care providers.
“If that effort seems to have failed, faithful Catholics don’t bear the blame,” said Chaput. “That responsibility lies elsewhere.”
“Come good or bad, that kind of effort is never wasted.”
Read the full article “A bad bill and how we got it” by Archbishop Charles Chaput here.
Read related coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
President Signs Stupak’s Executive Order in Private Ceremony
Health Care Bill Passes Congress after Last-Minute Stupak Flip-Flop
List: Bishops, Nuns, Organizations Supporting/Opposing Senate Health Care Bill
USCCB President Slams Catholic Health Association Support for Health Bill
Vatican Newspaper: U.S. Bishops Speaks for Church on Health Bill