Catholic men in Altoona, Pennsylvania practice “Heroic Catholicism” with newspaper ad

The following post contains an ad from two Catholic men from Altoona, Pennsylvania who are working to defend the Church from manipulations of its moral teachings and the over-reach of President Obama.  They published Catholic Teaching and Healthcare Reform:  The Proper Role of Government in three newspapers as an advertisement.  They and friends raised the funds necessary to run the ad in the following newspapers in March and April 2012:

  1. Pittsburgh Tribune Review
  2. Johnstown Tribune Democrat
  3. Altoona Mirror

They are known as “Life and Liberty.”  You can find them and support them on their Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/forlifeandliberty

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Catholic Teaching and Healthcare Reform:  The Proper Role of Government

By Mark Chuff and Mark Frederick

In adhering to the doctrine of the Church, Catholics must follow specific moral teaching relative to the life issues (i.e. abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, etc.), and Catholic social teachings which include the person, society and the role of government etc. (i.e. economic injustice, health care). When moral teachings are distorted, one arrives at false and erroneous conclusions. One such distortion is the Seamless Garment argument which holds that all life issues have equal weight. The argument, while trying to unify a life ethic fails to recognize the preeminence of certain life issues (abortion and euthanasia) over others. The Church teaches that abortion and euthanasia are intrinsically evil acts and never justifiable. Abortion and euthanasia are the preeminent life issues. Capital punishment in contrast, although an important life issue is not intrinsically morally evil as is abortion and euthanasia. Some, including many Catholics, have used this distorted argument to justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate (because the candidate is against capital punishment or another lesser life issue).
A true culture of life recognizes the above distinction and values the inviolability of human life, from conception to natural death.
In the same way, when social teachings are distorted, one could conclude that the Catholic Church obliges governments to provide national health care for its citizens. What the Church has taught is that governments have a duty to ensure their citizens have access to basic healthcare. Their role is to facilitate an environment where access to care is available; quite different than a government-run system. This point was emphasized in a pastoral letter from Kansas City Bishops Most Reverend Joseph F. Naumann – Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas and Most Reverend Robert W. Finn – Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph as they quote recent Popes: (August 22, 2009)


“Right to Acquisition of Health Care”

The right of every individual to access health care does not necessarily suppose an obligation on the part of the government to provide it. Yet in our American culture, Catholic teaching about the “right” to healthcare is sometimes confused with the structures of “entitlement.” The teaching of the Universal Church has never been to suggest a government socialization of medical services. Rather, the Church has asserted the rights of every individual to have access to those things most necessary for sustaining and caring for human life, while at the same time insisting on the personal responsibility of each individual to care properly for his or her own health.”

Misguided Compassion

Many Catholics have a misguided compassion relative to government give away programs. They equate government provisions with charity, and as a means to achieve social justice. Often unseen however is the danger in socialistic programs and welfare states which – although providing for people – have a negative and sometimes unintended consequence of creating dependency and diminishing motivation and enterprise.

 The Kansas City Bishops, referencing Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict in this matter noted:

Pope John Paul II wrote:

“By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.” (Pope John Paul II, Centesimus Annus #48)
And Pope Benedict writes:

“The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need… In the end, the claim that just social structures would make works of charity superfluous masks a materialist conception of man: the mistaken notion that man can live ‘by bread alone’ (Mt 4:4; cf. Dt 8:3)—a conviction that demeans man and ultimately disregards all that is specifically human.” (Pope Benedict XVI, Deus Caritas Est #28)

The Limits of Government

The Church has provided safeguards and guidance in this area of Social teaching, especially as it relates to the function of government. They point to basic principles such as the obligation to the common good, Solidarity with our fellowmen and a key principle of Subsidiarity. The Kansas City Bishops emphasize that the Principle of Subsidiarity is fundamental to the work of health care reform, stating:

“This notion that health care ought to be determined at the lowest level rather than at the higher strata of society, has been promoted by the Church as “subsidiarity.” Subsidiarity is that principle by which we respect the inherent dignity and freedom of the individual by never doing for others what they can do for themselves and thus enabling individuals to have the most possible discretion in the affairs of their lives (See: Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, ## 185ff.; Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 1883). The writings of recent Popes have warned that the neglect of subsidiarity can lead to an excessive centralization of human services, which in turn leads to excessive costs, and loss of personal responsibility and quality of care.”

Case in Point

The Obama Administration’s recent Health and Human Services Mandate is a precise example of what the Church warned about. The mandate, only a small part of “Obamacare” requires religious health care providers to defy their conscience by offering contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion- inducing drugs. This is an egregious over-reach of the federal government and ignores the aforementioned principles. It’s overly secularized and bureaucratized system which ignores the conscience of individuals and organizations. The mandate drew the ire of the U.S. Catholic Bishops, and many Protestant leaders who have spoken out vehemently against it.

Put simply, Obamacare mandate erodes our First amendment right to freely exercise our religion. This is no surprise to those aware of President Obama’s anti-life record.

The President’s Record on Life and Liberty

President Obama has demonstrated hostility toward life and religious freedom throughout his political career including:
 As State Senator, Obama opposed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which would have provided care and protection for infants born alive after an abortion.
 As a candidate, he made derogatory statements such as that of people “clinging to their guns and religion.”
 Changing the first amendment language by referring “freedom of religion” as “freedom of worship,” knowing full well how social engineering is preceded by verbal engineering.
 Under the Obama administration the Army restricted the Catholic Bishop’s letter from being read by chaplains to their men and women… yet another first amendment infringement!
 Denying Catholic Charities funding for their treatment program of victims of human trafficking because they refused to refer victims for abortions.
 Most recently, the U.S. Department of Education quietly changed eligibility requirements for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program to specifically EXCLUDE people who do any kind of public service work for a religious organization or institution.
The list goes on and on… To read more on the President’s record see www.lifenews.com/2010/11/07/obamaabortionrecord

Battling Back: The Legislature and Courts

Last month, an Amendment was introduced in the Senate to give religious employers a conscience exception. Unfortunately, it was defeated 51-48 with nearly every Democrat voting against it!
Many are calling for another amendment, perhaps from the House of Representatives, but nothing yet has emerged.
There are numerous lawsuits challenging the mandate, including seven on behalf of various states.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in late March which challenge Obamacare as unconstitutional. Experts believe the vote could go either way given the recent liberal appointees.

The Inevitable Result

If amendments, lawsuits and Court challenges fail, this will have a grave effect on all institutions.
In his Sunday column in Catholic New World, Catholic Cardinal George wrote that only three options will exist for Catholic institutions to avoid shutting down under the Obama administration’s mandate: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop, 2) to pay exorbitant annual fees to avoid paying for birth control-inclusive insurance policies or 3) to “sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government.” “The state is making itself into a church,” the Cardinal wrote … (March 6th 2012 Huff Post Chicago, The internet Newspaper: News blogs video Community)
The Cardinal added that if the President does not rescind this HHS mandate there will be no Catholic hospitals or services in the next two years!!

Do what is Necessary!

Regardless of what may happen in the legislature and courts, people of conscience should give this thoughtful prayer and become politically ACTIVE! Let your representative know you want him or her to take a stand to protect our liberties. Those who voted for Obama, in particular Catholics, must examine his record, inform their conscience and vote accordingly.

We hope and pray this leads to an anti-Obama vote.
Life and Liberty are at stake!
Written by Mark Chuff and Mark Frederick
Paid for by Mark Chuff , Mark Frederick and friends
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