At our weekly staff meeting, we discussed the HHS directive, our archbishop’s letter in response to it, and the ramifications for us employees. Some questions came to me afterward as I reflected.
I appreciate that bishops and clergy, as our employers, have high ideals to protect. However, I’m less impressed with their potential insulation from a violation of conscience, as they put it. If they cut loose lay employees from health insurance plans, we will be thrown on our own resources. As individuals shopping for health insurance, we will likely not have the clout to dictate to providers what we will and will not pay for. Can someone tell me that the bishops and clergy are not just washing their own hands of distasteful aspects of insurance, and leaving it for the laity to either damage our own souls or cross our fingers with health care costs out of pocket?
And if this is such a grave matter that the Church may no longer provide health insurance, does it become grave matter for any Catholic to pay into a system that authorizes payment for abortions, sterilization, and contraceptives? And if it doesn’t, our pastors are still paying us, are they not? And if we buy into a health insurance plan they might decline, are we still not using money they’ve paid us? Is that one step farther from cooperation with evil enough moral insulation?
And finally, if the Catholic Church does such a great job with health care, why don’t we just organize hospitals as well as clinics to take care of us? Ordinarily, a Catholic, working or not, would tithe into a system, and as a result, would have lifelong health care. Just bypass the whole insurance industry as well as the government. It works for education. And such a Catholic healthcare system would, of course, be completely moral in its practices of medicine and insurance. No abortions. No death panels. No pre-existing conditions. No contraceptives. I’m sure it would take more than a year to set it all up, but hey: I had to violate my conscience and pay federal taxes that supported Mr Bush’s adventurism in southwest Asia for Big Oil.