I must say that I was truly sickened by the USCCB letter to Congress on the so-called "health care reform" legislation that is currently being entertained. Read the letter here.
While the letter makes the appropriate nods to the "sanctity of life", the authors are obviously completely ignorant of the damage giving THE GOVERNMENT universal control over anything, especially matters of life and death, will bring.
But that's not why I'm sickened. What sickens me is that the USCCB, in this letter, is abdicating the Church's Gospel appointment to care for the sick to the government.
In the letter, the author, reminds Congress that the "Health Care is a critical component of the Catholic Church's ministry."
Well then, get on with it. Stop trying to make nice with the Romans and just do what the Church has always done (until lately). Health care has always been the business of the Church, not the State.
Thomas E. Woods, Jr., in his book, How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization reminds us in quoting medical historian Fielding Garrison, that "before the birth of Christ 'the spirit toward sickness and misfortune was not one of compassion, and the credit of ministering to human suffering on an extended scale belongs to Christianity.'"
The first large scale public hospital was started in Rome by a Christian woman named Fabiola as an act of penance. By the end of the 4th Century, care for the sick was institutionalized by the Church in almost every major city. In the Middle Ages the sick began to find assistance at Franciscan monasteries. Etc.
The very word "hospital" has come to us through the works of the Knights of Saint John, otherwise known as the "Hospitallers", and later known as the Knights of Malta. The "Hospitallers" were so called because of their establishment of a "hospice" in Jerusalem around 1080. The hospice was established to provide a refuge for the poor and safety for pilgrims. Around 1120, under Raymond du Puy, the hospice began to emphasize its service to the sick.
In any event, the good Raymond and others like him, did not spend time petitioning the government to provide health care. It was simply a Gospel imperative, and they did it. The state, recognizing the contribution of the Church over time, began to see the wisdom of supporting the Church in this work.
However, now, the Church, at least in the U.S., has become just one more snout in the government trough. Most Catholic health care and aid institutions are simply middle agencies for the distribution of federal dollars. Our moral high ground is reduced to letters to Congress begging to be heard.
The only remedy is the application of the Gospel not only in spite of, but in direct opposition to THE GOVERNMENT, the new Rome, where euthanasia, infanticide, and abortion were everyday realities (see link).
Screw the 501c3 crap. If we gave half as much attention to the advancement of the Gospel as we do to preserving our "tax-exempt" status, we might have turned this country around long ago.
There will be hell to pay.