Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bishop Vasa on Health Care

Two other posts today:
     Episcopal Backbone Blooming?
     Good Friday: No Concelebration!

An April 3 article at California Catholic Daily reports on Bishop Robert F. Vasa’s participation in a conference entitled “Make Straight the Pathway: An Integrated and Unified Solution for Catholic Healthcare Reform”. The conference, presented by  the Christus Medicus Foundation and the Life Legal Defense Fund was held March 29-31 in San Francisco.

The article reports on several speakers; here is the portion about Bishop Vasa:

…[Bishop Vasa] began by stating that all Catholic healthcare is Christ-based. He said “Healthcare is always a religious expression for Catholics, regardless of who is the recipient…faith-based or Catholic healing does not mean relying on miracles or supernatural cures, but it is not afraid of doing so either….we have a different view of mankind. While healing bodies we want to excise sin and evil as well. It is primarily about the healing of souls. While we treat cancer we must never forget the person so afflicted.

“The healing ministry of Jesus gives impetus to the Church. We speak the same language through our social service and healthcare. It is a religious expression. The words of Jesus ‘The poor must have the good news proclaimed to them’--that is the message of Catholic Healthcare.”

The bishop contrasted Catholic healthcare with what is considered to be healthcare by much of contemporary society: “There was a time when sterility was seen as a malady to be cured. No longer. There was a time when suicide was seen as a crime and an offense against God. Yet now in our country it is called ‘healthcare.’ It is not.”

The bishop said that abortion, contraception, in vitro fertilization, assisted suicide are all now considered healthcare. “It’s upside down,” he said.

“Jesus asked us ‘what father would give his son a stone when he asked for bread, or a
 scorpion when he asked for an egg?’ People are asking for what is harmful to them, convinced that it is good, and good for them--‘I want a scorpion, you have to give me a scorpion’--how do you argue with that?’ We must be dispensers of what is proper and true. We cannot give scorpions. We cannot do what is evil. 

“These things may all be judged by society as good, and good for people, but we know scorpions. Anything that makes us less human diminishes our humanity. We cannot and will not ever participate in any of those things.

“Our view is entirely different. We have the conviction that the human person has a unique worth and dignity, regardless of illness, debility, or senility. These external factors do not define human dignity. That dignity is based on the person him or herself.

“If we are to be effective we must remember to always bring the look of love, of compassion, so that people realize we care about who they are and about how they are. This requires faith in God, and perhaps even more difficult, faith in the person themselves. If someone comes to us and asks for sterilization, we must say ‘You are capable of chastity.’

“We must build up the person rather than remove their biological integrity. We must say ‘you are destined for more than pleasure and a pain-free existence. You are destined for unity with God.’ The world has a message and it’s bad news. But we have a message and it is good news. This world is thirsty and we cannot give them poisoned water. And we must not be compelled to do so.”

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