Over at InsideCatholic, they have an article that rails against what they call “Fake Catholic Groups.” By this, the author means groups that do not agree with her politics, not groups that somehow deny a line of the Creed or question the authority of the Pope and bishops to teach on faith and morals. The term “fake Catholic” evidences a judgmentalism that puts me in mind of the man in the synagogue who sat up front and prayed, “I thank thee, Lord, that I am not like other men.”
My favorite line in the screed, however was this: “Sister Keehan is always portrayed as the Catholic expert on health-care reform, while the bishops are simply misinformed.” No, Sister Carol Keehan is not “portrayed” as an expert on health-care reform. She is an expert on health-care reform. Additionally, while some have said the bishops were “misinformed” about the content of the health care legislation, most argue that the bishops reached a different conclusion. Conservatives seem to have a hard time believing that people of good faith and informed conscience can reach different conclusions but it happens to be the premise of democracy, no?
More to the point, the bishops and Sister Carol did not disagree about the morality of abortion. They did not disagree about whether abortion funding should be a part of the health care bill. (I need scarcely add that they also did not disagree about the divinity of Christ!) The point of disagreement was whether or not the health care bill had sufficient protections against such abortion funding. As far as I know, the bishops are not lawyers, at least not civil lawyers. I am guessing that in forming their assessment they consulted the lawyers they employ to analyze the legislation. Sr. Carol, who is also not a lawyer, did the same. The lawyers reached different conclusions.
If legislation were always crystal clear, judges would have more time to play golf. But, there is a curious thing missing from the InsideCatholic article. No one, so far as I know, has been able to point to a single abortion paid for with federal funds in America as a result of the health care law. If this is has happened, Sr. Carol and Catholics United and others have some explaining to do. Until that time, it is those who opposed the health care bill on these grounds that have to do the explaining.