Blog Post

Madison Bishop Blasts “Catholics” Who Misrepresented Church During Health Care Debate

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist In a column written just after the House passed “the terribly deficient Senate Bill”, Wisconsin Bishop Robert C. Morlino blasts the Catholic Health Association, NETWORK, Nancy Pelosi and other “Catholic” Democrats who not only defied the Church’s position on health care but also confused the public about who speaks for the Church in important civic debates. “I cannot pass over the actions of the Catholic Health Association and an organization called NETWORK, a lobby of American religious Sisters, who said, quite publicly, that what the bishops have taught is false,” the bishops says in his March 25 column. “They said that the legislation does provide an adequate framework for a Catholic to follow his or her conscience about abortion. So, we had a trade organization — the Catholic Health Association — which calls itself ‘Catholic’ and we had religious Sisters who call themselves Catholic, saying, ‘Sorry, bishops, you got it wrong, here is the teaching of the Church.’” Bishop Morlino goes on to explain that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appointed the bishops to lead the people, not trade organizations or groups of dissenting nuns. “To boot, those Sisters who signed the NETWORK document said that they speak for 59,000 American Sisters — that would be every last Sister in the U.S.,” Bishop Morlino wrote, then pointed out that this could not be true because another group of Sisters publicly expressed their disagreement with NETWORK. “Unfortunately, the claim that these Sisters in NETWORK represent all Sisters is actually what is false, not the teaching of the bishops,” he said. ”And, of course, people like Speaker Pelosi could not do enough to wave the letter from the Catholic Health Association and the letter from Network to provide cover for Democratic legislators who wanted to waffle in protecting innocent human life. Speaker Pelosi is not called by Jesus Christ to lead the Catholic faithful, any more than the religious Sisters in NETWORK are, any more than the leadership of the Catholic Health Association is.” He went on to say that this kind of irresponsible behavior by Catholic officials does serious harm to the Church because it makes people wonder who speaks for Christ. “Does the Catholic Health Association speak for Christ? Does NETWORK, an organization of religious Sisters, speak for Christ? Do they teach with the authority of the bishops? Is the bishops’ teaching just another opinion?” If we allow this to go on, he says, the teaching authority of the bishops will be further eroded and with it, the authority of Christ’s Church. “Bishops are sinners, they’re not perfect; neither were the Apostles perfect at all times, they were sinners, too. In His wisdom, which we can’t understand, Jesus calls the bishops, the successors of the Apostles today, to teach the word of Christ to the people and He calls them in a way that He doesn’t call others, including priests. That’s what we mean when we say that the Church is Apostolic. The bishop is a true Apostle insofar as he teaches with the Holy Father, and the priest is a true Apostle insofar as he teaches with the bishop — that’s how it works.” He concludes by exhorting the faithful not to let these groups and certain politicians confuse them. “And don’t let these contradictions and confusions keep you from jumping right into the discussion and speaking the truth with love. There is no more basic human rights issue for Catholics and for people of good will than the necessity of the government to protect human life from conception to natural death.” © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®