Over at Politics Daily, David Gibson offers a well-balanced assessment of the reported (and partly denied) split over health care reform between the Catholic bishops and the nuns and hospitalers who do Catholic health care. Key graphs:
On the other hand, the CHA and the religious orders of nuns that
generally operate Catholic hospitals tend to be more pragmatic,
weighing particular problems with the greater good that can be achieved
and focusing on the political process as a way to resolve any problems
either now or through future legislation. It is a difference one often
sees between pastors who often deal with people where they are and
bishops who often deal in abstractions and whose priority is to defend
principles from erosion. Both can be effective approaches in political
But there is also little doubt that Keehan and the Catholic hospitals,
like many Catholic activists promoting the church’s social justice
teachings, are far more supportive than the hierarchy of Obama’s agenda
and see the prospect of health care reform as representing a major,
albeit imperfect, advance in the common good.
What’s not clear to me is whether the bishops have given more than lip service to advance the reform legislation. Did they, for example, put any pressure on wavering House members to vote for the Stupak-laden bill that passed by a mere handful of votes last month? Or did they use the absence of coverage for undocumented immigrants–a complete non-starter–as just an excuse to keep withholding the hem of their garment?