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Posted September 15, 2009
Attacks Come as Vatican Cardinal Expresses Support for U.S. Health Reform Efforts.
Catholics United and Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good today called on the American Life League – a group that bills itself as a “Catholic pro-life education organization” – to immediately suspend a campaign aimed at derailing health care reform and dishonoring the legacy of the late Senator Edward Kennedy. The American Life League continues to spread misleading information about so-called “death panels” and “taxpayer-funded abortion,” even as Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, is praising health reform efforts in the U.S.
In a mass email sent September 14, American Life League president Judie Brown asked supporters to purchase “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy” signs in order to declare their “outrage” at the current national debate about reforming the health care system. Ms. Brown also expressed pride that her signs were featured prominently at an anti-government rally held in Washington, DC on September 12 and hosted by conservative radio talk show host Glenn Beck.
Cardinal Martino's comments were reported September 15 by the U.S. Catholic Bishops' Catholic News Service. “The health of their own citizens belongs to the authorities, to the central government. And so I have been 16 years in the States and I was wondering why a big portion of the American people is deprived, have no health assistance at all,” he told CNS. “I cannot but applaud this initiative.”
“The American Life League's campaign is an outrage and an embarrassment to the Catholic community. The organization's interest in scoring cheap political points at the expense of common good solutions to the current crisis in the health care system constitutes a profound disservice to our country and our church,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United. “With the number of uninsured teetering at alarming levels and health care costs spiraling out of control for American families, it is simply unfathomable that the American Life League would attempt to turn the moral urgency of health care reform into a reckless and destructive appeal that does irreparable harm to the health of the country and ridicules a much-loved Catholic leader.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed its belief for many years, most recently on September 10, 2009, that health care reform “is a moral imperative and an urgent national priority.” Making health care affordable and available to all is the authentically Catholic position. Catholic social teaching is also clear that government plays an essential role in serving the common good.
“Senator Edward Kennedy, a man of deep faith, spent an entire career in public service committed to common ground and civility about the most pressing moral issues of our time: tolerance for immigrants, dignity for workers, and health care for the sick and vulnerable,” said Victoria Kovari, acting director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. “Senator Kennedy’s commitment to justice and human dignity deserves our deep respect. The American Life League’s attempt to dishonor his legacy by spreading misinformation and fear violates both the spirit and truth of the Gospels, and fails the most basic test of human decency.”
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