Nickless and dotCommonweal: Viable or Vital?

A strange quote from dotCommonweal on Northwest Iowa’s Bishop Walter Nickless:

The Catholic Church does not teach that government should directly provide health care … Any legislation that undermines the vitality of the private sector is suspect.

The private sector is, um, vital? Did I read that right? I did write “strange quote,” and I had to go to the bishop’s own page:

Therefore any legislation that undermines the viability of the private sector is suspect.

And the “kicker” to Bishop Nickless’s comment is buried in his commentary, near the end of his third point. “Viability” is somewhat different from “vitality.” I know Grant Gallicho picked this up from the NY Times, but you have to fact-check these things. It does those who engage the bishop no good to fumble his words.

That said, I have to say I’m not convinced Bishop Nickless has a bead on the situation. A simple question, the same one I’ve asked another bishop this past week, who also declined to answer despite a polite exchange of about ten e-mails, both ways:

(D)o you know if … insurance premiums (for lay employees in your diocese) will be raised, and if so, by how much?

And after I read this comment:

Preserving patient choice (through a flourishing private sector) is the only way to prevent a health care monopoly …

… I have another question: what choices are provided in the Diocese of Sioux City?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Nickless and dotCommonweal: Viable or Vital?

  1. Tamil says:

    I tried to comment under your 15 May 2009 Frown and Gown post, but my comment was discarded. I was curious if you saw the 31 August 2009 article by Bishop D’Arcy. He asks, “Does a Catholic university have the responsibility to give witness to the Catholic faith and to the consequences of that faith by its actions and decisions—especially by a decision to confer its highest honor? If not, what is the meaning of a life of faith? And how can a Catholic institution expect its students to live by faith in the difficult decisions that will confront them in a culture often opposed to the Gospel?”:
    As for your Frown and Gown post, the over 3,000 peaceful protesters (to include speakers Bishop D’Arcy, Father Miscamble, Father Raphael, and Lacy Dodd) who rallied for life on South Quad at Notre Dame on May 17, 2009 (Commencement Day) got an A+! It was historic and beautiful, and not one word of it made the “mainstream media.” You can see video at:

  2. Gavin says:

    The Church doesn’t teach that the government SHOULDN’T provide universal health care either. I don’t know what way to believe on the issue, but I don’t think the Church gives any guidance on it.

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