on the ongoing arguments taking place among bishops as the American Church grapples with the problem of health care reform. The author tends to take a black hats/white hats approach (bishops who criticize health care reforms which are calculated to support abortion are “Republican shills”) while bishops who happen to state points of Church teaching advantageous to underscoring Dem talking points are sage and saintly. (Martino was sacked for being too pro-life! Even *Rome* is on the side of the Democrats!)
What this approach does is tend to portray Catholic teaching as a sort of collection of factions, when in fact, bishops arguing for the dignity of unborn children also agree that illegal immigrants have a basic human right to health care and, likewise, bishops who point out the rights of illegal immigrants also demand that health care reforms respect the rights of the unborn.
What is notable here for the latest hero minted by the GOP spin machine is that Joe Wilson (who is doing his bit to exploit hazy populist fury with his “You lie!” bit is that Wilson’s fury was directed at the idea of health care for illegal immigrants, while Abp. Donald Wuerl is busy saying
when the Catholic Church talks about health care reform that values the “dignity and value of each human life,” it is not talking only about abortion (or “death panels,” real or imagined). Catholic leaders are also talking about immigrants, and — no lie, Joe Wilson — by implication that means some form of coverage for undocumented as well as legal immigrants.
If Wilson succeeds in ginning up an angry mob over health care for illegal immigrants, what are the odds that somebody like Wuerl will be given an actual respectful hearing? I wish I could say “Middling”. But, in fact, most of us (including Catholics) get our actual social teaching from the tube and the radio, not from the Church. I fully expect Wuerl to be shouted down and Wilson to be lionized. I hope I’m wrong.