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Arkansas Catholic
Litlte Rock, Arkansas
September 3, 1994     Arkansas Catholic
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September 3, 1994

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ARKANSAS CATHOLIC September 3, 1994 Page 7 Opinions 3 al ;C d a" is Bishop as Teacher A 7" e have tried to put together a V publication on the health care issue, emphasizing two main points: First, it is our right to speak -- not just as Catholics but as members of the SOciety in which we live -- about those things which affect our very lives. Uni- Versal health care is one of them. There can be no justification, either morally or politically, for a health care System that is affordable to some, Unaffordable to others. The poor and those who live on the edge of the eco- nomic system are always victimized by the present health care system. Most people agree that reform is needed. Second, the Catholic Church, which is the largest health care provider in the United States, has a genuine interest in any health care legislation which would affect the way it operates its hospitals and related services. Consistent with the teachings of the Church, this issue emphasizes that any legislation which includes abortion is not acceptable, and that all of us have an obligation as citizens to make our voices heard. This is not a conflict of Church and State -- these are two worlds in Which all of us live, and we have a right to speak in both worlds -- without religionizing our country ---without secu- larizing our Church. But, before we speak and before we act, we need to listen. We have no better Voice to listen to than that of our bishop. It is his primary role to teach and one that he exercises in this edition and throughout our parishes this weekend in a Special way. May what we read and what we hear make clear for us what is at stake, and may his teaching make a difference for Us all. mFIM ics out on by Dennis Lee Special to Arkansas Catholic Will there be health care reform this year? Will those pushing for a complete overhaul switch their strategy and go for smaller reforms? The news changes daily on how Congress might deal with health care reform. This week, there is a lot of talk about not much happening before the November elections. Regardless of what does or does not happen, Congress and the current admin- istration still need to hear from all of US. This week, Catholics in Arkan- sas are being asked to become more informed about the current health care reform proposals and to reflect on them in light of the Church's tradition Dennis Lee and teaching. Besides this special issue of the Arkansas Catholic, every parish in the diocese is being urged to include a spe- cial health care insert in their weekly bul- letin (sample below). Now is the time to communicate with Congress and the president. Each Catho- lic should speak out for her or himself, rather than letting someone else do it for her or him. So much is at stake and every voice will make a difference. What's at Stake in the Health Care Debate? The two principal Catholic concerns in the health care debate arc well known: universal coverage and no abortion mandates. These two priorities stem from Catholic teaching on health care and a concern for life. As the bishops' "Framework for Comprehensive |-lealth Care Reform" outlines, Catholic priorities include concern ff)r the poor and universal access; respect for human life and human dignity; pursuing the common good and preserving pluralism in heahh care delivery; and yestraining costs. The bishops have stated: "We simply urge the Congress to not cave into powerful economic interests on universal coverage or the abortion lobby on abortion mandates. Listen to the American people and pass real reform that prntects human life anti dignity, that says ~es' to universal coverage and *no~ to abortion mandates." llowevcr, if Congress chooses to mix abortion mandales in with their comprehensive reform package, the bishops say: "We have worked for tx*mprehensive health care reform for dt~Jdes. We will continue to work with you for true refilrm, but we will vigorously oppose measures that advance an abortion agenda in place of real commitment to universal coverage." We nmst do our part to make sure this does not happen. Urge Congress to enact reform that serves good heahh care and does not attack life. CONFERENCE ,< BISIIOPSN CATHOLICS : AND HEALTH CARE REFORM* Did you know that for more than 75years, the Catholic bishops .f the United States have been strong supporters of national hcahh care refi~rm that provides affordable health care for all? ltowcvcr, current hcahh cale ict'ornl proposals :' ,~ could: fi~rce every individual, including every Catholic bishop and all other pro-life Americans, to violate their consciences by subsidizing abortions through their laxc5 /flld premium payments: require Catholic hospitals, which provide essential servicer in many communities across" our nation, to contract liw or provide referrals lbr abortion services -- or go out of Imsiness; D leave millions of Americans without,hcahh care coventge. failing to ntcct one of the Catholic Church's primary criteria for health care reform -- universal coverage. National Cx)nfercnce of Catholic Bishol"m/tJnilcd Slates Catholic Conference 32l I Fourth Strccl, NE -Washington DC 20017 "* Adapted Jr'ore all Indttllul Stale Catholic (.'otlJerellc'e newsletter. .WE CAN IIAVE HEALTH CARE REFORM TIIAT DOES NOT MANDATE ABORTION COVERAGE AND THAT DOES PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR ALL! A RKANSAS CATHOLIC Arkansas Catholic (USPS 006793) is-published weekly ,~aXCept the first Saturday in Jan., July and Aug., and the last turday in Dec.) for $15 per year, by the Catholic Diocese of little Rock, Arkansas Catholic. Inc., P.O. Box 7417, 2500 N. Tyler St Little Rock. AR 72217, (501) 664-0340 or 664- 0125; [FAX'664-9075]. 11 SeCOnd class postage paid at Little Rock, Ark. Postmas- ter: Send changes of address to: Arkansas Catholic, P.O. Box 7417, Little Rock, AR 72217. Business hours: 8:30 - 4, MOnday-Friday, except Holy Days and national holidays. Address correction requested. "''-----2 A .___RKANSAS @ CATHOLIC PUBLISHER Most Rev. Andrew J. McDonald, Bishop MANAGING EDITOR ~tr'J~# Fr. Albert d. Schneider l...d~..~ EDITOR PRO TEM Fr. Francis I. Malone EDITORIAUPRODUGTION MANAGER Penny T. Boydr CIRCULATION MANAGER Agnes KnittJg ADVERTISING/MARKETING MANAGER Ron M. Hall Ape0V~SIN G ASSISTANT I EDITORIAL/PRODUCTION ASSISTANT C. Moore "ave you ever been afraid? I mean really afraid -- with the bone-aching, mind-numbing kind of fear that makes you wonder if there is any hope left at all? Perhaps. Many people have. This is what the prophet Isaiah is addressing in today's first reading. God's people had suffered very much. Their country had been conquered; they had been marched into exile with noth- ing but the clothes on their backs and what they could carry in their arms. They were filled with fear. They had given up hope. God Himself, they believed, had abandoned them. They would be destroyed. Isaiah told them, "That isn't so." He tells us the same thing. As St. Mark describes the cure of a deaf man who also suf- fered a speech impediment, he intends a deeper message for us. The Gospel writer wants us to realize that there is always hope, that there is never any reason to surrender to the sort of fear described in the beginning paragraph. Jesus is just as present in our own lives as He was to those people long ago. If Jesus could heal the man who was in such a hopeless condition, He can do the same for you and me. "rhat's nonsense!" someone once told me. That is true -- if a person believes that Jesus is only a long-dead figure ' from the past. But for those of us who know better, those of us who realize that He is truly alive and at work in our own lives, it is no nonsense at all. It becomes the very truth of GOd and the solid soo espm Toady Fr. William Gould foundation of our lives. Isaiah 35:4 - 7 James 2:1 -5 Mark 7:31 - 37 Isaiah:s promise is fulfilled through Jesus' work. When we come to realize this, our fears will no longer para- lyze us, nor will we be tempted to despair even in the face of the worst that life can dump on us. Instead, we will do what we can, and await the time in which we can say (with those people who witnessed today's Gospel miracle), "He has done every- thing welll"