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Catholics Rejecting Bishops On Health Care Reform

Catholics Rejecting Bishops On Health Care Reform

The Catholic bishops’ call for civil disobedience surrounding health care reform doesn’t kick off until Thursday, June 21 but already there are signs that the flock is not as enthusiastic about the bishops’ positions.

Catholic communities across the country have told the bishops via a letter campaign that they will be withholding contributions to the Bishops’ Catholic Communications Campaign as a result of their attacks on health care reform and that they strongly disagree with the direction the leadership is taking the church.

Here is the full text of the letter:

Catholic Bishops Message Should Get Back on Message That Unifies Not Divides

The prophetic voice of the Catholic Church is never more compelling than when it speaks of the needs of the poor. It is the selflessness exhibited by Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day and other great servants that has attracted so many to the Catholic Church and its ministries. The eloquent declaration by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of the church’s affirmation of a “seamless garment” of life promoted a message of great idealism and unity for Catholics.

That prophetic voice of affirmation and unity has been lost and smothered by the divisive message of the church hierarchy. It has adopted a voice of condemnation against those who disagree on issues related to contraception, celibacy, homosexuality and the role of women in the church. The latest example of this crusade is the treatment of religious orders of nuns, many of whom are dedicated to serving the poor and marginalized in our society, who have become the new target for “reform.” Now, the United States Catholic Bishops Conference (“USCBB”) has announced its “Fortnight to Freedom” campaign to promote religious liberty during the two weeks leading to July 4th. This campaign seems motivated by political concerns designed to protect the institutional church rather than its members and to use its members as a political weapon against its opponents. It will be up to the sisters and the laity to restore the message of the “seamless garment.”

The Fortnight to Freedom is a campaign and voice that many of us choose no longer to support in our politics. Nor will we support it with our contributions.

The USCBB will be sponsoring the Catholic Communications Campaign in May and June, an annual collection in parishes that is used in diocese and on a national level to promote media initiatives. We – a group of Catholic laity – will not be participating in this campaign. We do not want our funds to be used to promote the message of condemnation by the bishops and maintain institutional liberty while denying freedom of thought and liberty within the church membership.

We urge Catholics, instead, to consider alternate giving during that weekend and donate those contributions to a parish food pantry, Catholic Charities or another charitable program. The message of the church needs to return to the promotion of a “seamless garment of life.” This unbalanced message of condemnation and ostracism of those who disagree is imploding the church from within, and it needs to end.

We believe the USCBB is pushing the envelope with the Fortnight to Freedom, so we are withholding ours and giving, instead, to those most in need.

This push back against the bishops coincides with the bus tour launched by American nuns in protest of the Ryan budget and the bishops’ calls they turn their attention away from social justice and poverty work.

The Fortnight of Freedom will likely garner a lot of media publicity and the bishops have become exceedingly adept and managing a press conference. But wouldn’t it be great to see the same attention given to the social justice work of Catholics done in defiance of their leadership?

Related Stories:

Catholic Hospitals Reject Compromise On Birth Control

Nuns Plan Poverty Tour In Response To Vatican Pressure

Pope Says American Nuns Too Focused On Poor, Not Enough On Gay Bashing

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Photo from dumbledad via flickr.

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76 comments

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7:58AM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

@Geoffrey - the issue is that the proposed health care reform compels people of faith to participate in issues contrary to their consciences.
Forcing a religious institute such as a school or hospital to pay for an insurance that covers medication and services contrary to their belief is hardly freedom!
Ancient principles remain true - abortion is murder and certainly not progress!
The bishops are correct in their position and should be admired and praised!

7:39AM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

The world, step by step, moves forward in recognising that everyone is different. All of us have our own needs, preferences, desires and variances. Yet the church, whether it is Protestant, Catholic, Muslim or Judaist, kicks against any progress that moves away from ancient tenets written by people who held very different views of the world than now. People in the world of today are more informed than those of yester millennia. For the love of God, think about equality, think about human rights, and think about loving others, however much you disagree!

9:26AM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

These nuns and laity are doing what we ask Muslims to do -- standing up against those who are doing evil in their name and showing the world not everyone in their religion is like that.

8:59AM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

"I think the bishops should concern themselves to what their priests are doing to little boys and stay out of everyone else's lives"

What? And draw attention away from their GOALS of HATE and WORLD DOMINATION? For imaginary God's SAKE, then they would LOSE to the Muslims!!! We the SANE people
made them STOP banging ALTAR BOYS! What do these DICKTATERS HAVE LEFT but
DICKTATING what everybody should do with THEIR VAGINAS and BUTTS? JESUS CHRIST AND MOTHER OF GOD!!!!! By all the SAINTS, BISHOPS HAVE TO HATE GAYS,
it SAYS so in the HOLY BOOK OF HORRORS, the BUYBULL!!!! Would you take away their last bit of MORALS?


8:59AM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

"I think the bishops should concern themselves to what their priests are doing to little boys and stay out of everyone else's lives"

What? And draw attention away from their GOALS of HATE and WORLD DOMINATION? For imaginary God's SAKE, then they would LOSE to the Muslims!!! We the SANE people
made them STOP banging ALTAR BOYS! What do these DICKTATERS HAVE LEFT but
DICKTATING what everybody should do with THEIR VAGINAS and BUTTS? JESUS CHRIST AND MOTHER OF GOD!!!!! By all the SAINTS, BISHOPS HAVE TO HATE GAYS,
it SAYS so in the HOLY BOOK OF HORRORS, the BUYBULL!!!! Would you take away their last bit of MORALS?


7:59AM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

so sad when the leaders in a Christian church devalue conformity with Christ's command to love your neighbor

2:02AM PDT on Jun 22, 2012

Great article thanks for sharing

6:50AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

I think the bishops should concern themselves to what their priests are doing to little boys and stay out of everyone else's lives.

6:07AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

I have the deepest admiration for the sincere Catholic Laity, and, of course, the nuns. I'm sure they've done much praying and soul-searching in trying to come to terms with an amazingly secular "Pope"--he's certainly different than the ones I remember well--John 23, Pope Pius 12,John Paul. What a shame---the Catholic people have not devolved, but the Catholic Church certainly has!

5:05AM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

Well done, Catholics of conscience !

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