When a Kansas City Star reporter yesterday needed someone to offer a perspective on a jointly written pastoral on health care, released Tuesday by two Kansas City bishops, Archbishop Joseph Naumann, from the Kansas side, and Bishop Robert Finn, from the Missouri, he knew where they could find solid background informtion.
The question at hand was how does this new pastoral fit into the field of other pastoral statements on healthcare issued by the Catholic bishops in recent years.
The Star reporter, Dave Helling, called NCR and spoke to my colleague, Joe Feurerherd, who knows both the U.S. bishops and the politics of health care quite well.
The final product?
The article in today's Kansas City Star begins by reporting that the bishops' pastoral calls "for a limited role for government and society in guaranteeing access to health care."
It goes on to report: "The two prelates also said any health care reforms should emphasize personal responsibility for health care decisions, and for the cost of treatment, rather than reliance on government or society."
It then quotes Joe: "The pastoral statement, which appears to broadly criticize the liberal approach to health care reform, is at odds with statements from other Catholic leaders and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Joe Feuerherd of The National Catholic Reporter, a news organization based in Kansas City.
'There are a number of bishops who are straying from the traditional teaching of the church regarding health care,' Feuerherd said."