The bishops have advocated for socialized medicine for nigh on a hundred years. Now it is here and it does not look good. Wails of “I told you so” are surely tempting, but are, in the end, unhelpful. What would prove to be the most helpful is to understand how this travesty came to be and what ideas would have to be different to prevent it from happening again.
At the root of the error is the idea that there can exist circumstances in which someone has a morally legitimate claim upon what, in reality, belongs to another. This is the false idea upon which so much other error and lies and sin and spiritual poison has been promulgated.
It has been mentioned here before that the government’s taxation/redistribution schemes are treated by the bishops as virtually an eighth sacrament. On the contrary, it is theft– stealing. No matter how many of our fellow citizens enact a positive civil law providing for the confiscation, the truth of its immorality remains. We are reminded in Mark 7:8-9, by Jesus Himself: “You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.” And He said to them, “How ingeniously you get around the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition!”
The “your own tradition” that Jesus refers to had a specific reference when He made the pronouncement. The statement is applicable to today’s situation as well. Today’s situation in our country is the result of at least a century of unfaithful, false, and careless stewardship– stewardship of our financial well-being, of our natural resources, of our communion among ourselves, realizable in our nationhood.
Adam and Eve were duped by a clever lie. Our own faithlessness is prompted also by a clever lie. The lie which got us into the extant mess is a twisting of the true and valid charge by Jesus to us that we should care for each other, after providing for ourselves as best we can. This is perfect and reasonable common sense. We, as individuals, discern the legitimacy of the claims of need that come our way from others. Based on that discernment we decide upon the disposition of our charity. Sensible though it is, this is not presently the case.
The fantasy of “Wouldn’t it be nice if… ” has come to precede myriad images, such as if everyone had a house, if evervyone had a rewarding job, if everyone had “health care,” and the list is endless. It seems the dream will not die. This is the devil’s clever lie of our time. It is fed during every generation by one proposal after another to bring it to fruition; to make it happen; to “git ‘er done.” Writers from Karl Marx to Thomas More, to Gustav Gutierrez, the beloved Padre Pio, Saul Alinski, and others, up to and including the present day USCCB have attempted one or another scheme to implement and institutionalize the desired outcome, to wit: That everyone has all he needs and wants, and it’s all guaranteed, if not free.
This fiction, this dangerous fiction, responsible for the murders of tens of millions in only the twentieth century, is repackaged and presented always as caring for the less fortunate, the poor, the trod upon, the disenfranchised… The Roman Catholic Church lionizes the concept, seemingly, in the phrase, “… preferential option for the poor…”
It is an easy exercise to bemoan this sorry circumstance. That would, however, be akin to “cursing the darkness,” rather than “lighting a candle.” It is the dispelling of the deadly, murderous fiction with the bright candle of truth and reality which is necessary. Toward that end, a critical question is whether the Catholic Church, in the persona of the USCCB, can be weaned from reliance on money provided by taxpayers to government. If (and that’s a big one) the Church would be willing to do without the proceeds of theft, it might follow that they would turn against theft in other forms.
The first thing to do is to separate the Church from government money to the extent possible.