Cardinal George: Catholics Should Not Fear "Political Isolation"
From Catholic News Agency:
Baltimore, Md., Nov 15, 2010 / 01:40 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Francis George opened the annual U.S. bishops' meeting today by stressing that Catholics “should not fear political isolation” when upholding their beliefs in the public square.
The cardinal opened his remarks by recalling the bishops' public involvement in opposing President Obama's health care bill which passed this last March.
Although he called health care a “moral imperative,” he decried the removal of the Hyde Amendment from the legislation – a clause which bars federal funding for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or endangerment to the life of the mother.
Laws “that have permitted now 50 million children of our country to be killed in their mother's womb” are “immoral and unjust,” he said. “They are destroying our society.”
Cardinal George then referenced challenges to “unity” within the Church on its position in the health care debate, saying there are “those who want to remake the Church according to their own designs or discredit her as a voice in the public discussions that shape our society.”
Catholic Health Association leader Sr. Carol Keehan and the social justice lobby of sisters called Network incited controversy this year for their public support of the health care overhaul in opposition to the bishops, a move that some have claimed was critical for the bill's passage.
Who “speaks for the Catholic Church?” the cardinal asked. “The bishops in apostolic communion and in union with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, speak for the Church in matters of faith and in moral issues and the laws surrounding them.”
The role of Catholics in political debate was also touched on by Cardinal George, who called for “orthodoxy in belief” and “obedience in practice” from the faithful.
“Orthodoxy is necessary but not enough,” he said, “the Devil is orthodox. He knows the Catechism better than anyone in this room; but he will not serve, he will not obey.”
“We should not fear political isolation,” Cardinal George added, saying the “Church has often been isolated in in politics and diplomacy.”
“We need to be deeply concerned, however, about the wound to the Church's unity that has been inflicted in this debate,” he said, expressing his hope that “ecclesial communion” could be restored.