Cardinal: Obamacare a “Scandal”
by Gene J. Koprowski
Issue 214– October 31, 2012
“Can the law sin against itself? It has done so: one need only think of the Jim Crow laws that survived into my boyhood; and it does so still in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”, commonly called Obamacare.
That is what I heard Francis Cardinal George – the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and former head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) – say on Sunday, Sept. 30, 2012 in the sermon at Holy Name Cathedral as the principle celebrant at the annual Red Mass for judges and lawyers. He implored the federal, appellate and municipal court judges in attendance to reject the legal reasoning behind Obamacare and use natural law reasoning, and their Catholic consciences, when ruling on cases stemming from that law.
A contemporary example of such a “legal scandal is the much-discussed HHS (Health and Human Services) health care mandate,” said Cardinal George. “This has little to do directly with the morality or immorality of contraceptive sex or of bodies neutered by sterilization; it has everything to do with law claiming a fictitious authority to determine what is religious and what is not. It is a scandal that the law is being used against the common good of a free society. It is a tragedy that legal authority itself is being abused and turned to an evil end.”
The Cardinal framed the matter in the context of natural law, citing the Letter of St. James, which calls for recognizing evil, no matter the source.
The Bishop Conference has officially objected to the Obamacare provisions which require the church to pay for contraception, sterilization and abortion in the “health care plans” of its employees in religious hospitals, schools and charities. The Church protested that complying with the law would force it to violate its religious beliefs, which abhor those practices. What is more, Cardinal George said, the law is a mere pretext, religious discrimination, posing as health care policy.
Obamacare is out of harmony with moral law, said Cardinal George.
“What is left now to our common life is whatever a legislative majority or the often-manipulated whims of popular majority opinion will tolerate. That is no longer a classical Constitutional legal order. The law has betrayed its own vocation,” said the Cardinal.
The remarks were akin in tone and scope to the Reverend Martin Luther King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” which dealt with the difficulty of squaring an unjust law of man — racial segregation — with the laws of God. He wrote: “A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.”
Many of the black robed in the congregation that morning appeared a bit intimidated by the Cardinal’s remarks, which also touched on abortion and same sex marriage as scandalous for Christians. The Cardinal, local media reports, has cancer once again, and is undergoing treatment. Thus, in this context, his remarks came off as personally as well as morally courageous in refusing to participate in the scandal of ignoring violations of the moral law.
“Scripture today speaks of avoiding scandal at all costs, for scandal destroys our relationship to those who expect us to judge and act in accord with the Spirit that enables us to tell good from evil,” the Cardinal concluded.
Gene J. Koprowski is an Emmy nominated (2008) writer/producer for FoxNews.com and author of a new book (2012) on healthcare.