I sent this email to the bishop of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin. Since Catholic officials occasionally see fit to call out Catholic politicians for their stand if they favor abortion, I was curious what the Church stand is for Catholic politicians whose actions will hasten the death or suffering of thousands. I seriously do not expect an answer.
Bishop Robert Morlino
Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin
Something has been troubling me as the new administration and the new congress in Washington is working to take healthcare away from the poor and middle class. The savings from this action is supposed to be returned to mostly wealthy individuals and businesses in the form of tax cuts.
Along with that, there will be cuts in programs for the poor such as food stamps among others. There is also a move to cut Social Security and Medicare which most older Americans depend on to live a life with at least some small sense of dignity as they age. Voucherizing Medicare as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wants to do will literally result in early death for probably thousands of Americans. Ryan wants older Americans to buy health insurance on the open market which will be way too expensive for most elderly. They will also most likely have pre-existing condition clauses that will not cover most ailments of the elderly. In short it will be a death sentence for many.
Changing Social Security to a program run by Wall Street and administered by equity firms will result in many older Americans going bankrupt because of the inconsistencies of markets and the high fees which equity firms will extract. This coupled with the changes in Medicare that will make it nearly impossible for the elderly to survive.
Added to that is the push to cut Medicaid. Most think this will mainly be geared toward the poor, but much of the Medicaid in this country is used by the elderly in nursing homes and other such arrangements. Cutting Medicaid will of course also significantly hurt the poor.
Along with that Ryan has let it be known that the Children’s Health Insurance Program is also due for cuts and will be used as a bargaining chip to force Democrats to give in on cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.
Given that, here is my question. All that I have described above seems to be very much in violation of Catholic teachings. Yet we hear nothing about it. Such policies will result in thousands of early deaths and needless suffering. It seems especially grievous since money saved from these cuts is targeted to be returned to people and businesses who really don’t need it as others suffer.
In 2004, the Catholic Church made a very public display of excommunicating presidential candidate John Kerry for his stand on abortion.
I believe Paul Ryan is a member of the Roman Catholic religion residing in your diocese. Ryan is not just voting on policies described above, but as Speaker is creating and championing such policies. When such public policies will result in such suffering and death, especially in the richest country ever, shouldn’t the Church speak out on this as they did with Kerry?
Or is there some major difference in these situations that I am failing to see?
[editor’s note: On Thursday Trump called for the end of the Johnson amendment that allows churches to remain untaxed so long as they stay out of politics. This is already pretty much ignored. Trump believes Churches should be allowed to be involved in politics.
This was one of the founders biggest concerns. They had experienced the detrimental effects of church-state commingling in 18th century Europe.]