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Progressive Revival

I found this article over at Religion Dispatches about how conservatives Catholics are cafeteria Catholics in their own way: 

“Cafeteria Catholics” is a term often used by conservatives to describe members of the church who are not in alignment with Church teaching on every issue. Using this term, conservatives claim that liberals are too willing to pick and choose which teachings they will follow. But conservatives overlook the reality that the Catholic Church has a very liberal social teaching that places the dignity of the person at its core. This influences the way the Church teaches about aid to the poor, economic justice within taxation systems, and universal health care. Since the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, the Church has formally taught that a social approach to health care was necessary to ensure equal access for all. The burden of providing health care to everyone belonged to the society at large. Catholic Social Ethics has further developed this notion since the Council and consistently articulated support for universal health care within society.


Catholic Bishops in the United States, however, have opposed universal health care out of fear that abortion will be included in whatever bill that Congress might pass. Instead of proudly stating the Catholic tradition on universal health care and then demanding that abortion be excluded from public option benefits, the Catholic bishops have started from a place of opposition and, in so doing, failed to uphold a core social teaching of the Church.


Catholic bishops in this country have shown that they are only willing to speak out politically in support of deeply conservative causes associated with the culture wars (i.e., abortion and same-sex relationships). They are not willing to stand up for the liberal principles that have shaped the Church’s official teaching and the work of its theologians. In other words, the bishops are picking and choosing at the cafeteria of Church teaching and behaving like right-wing political ideologues.
The call to serve the sick is found in the New Testament teaching of Jesus. The Gospel is clear on the topic of health care when it states, “From each according to his or her ability, to each according to his or her needs.” The principle of the Common Good means that merit is not a factor in health care. Followers of Jesus are called to defend the needy, not ignore them.


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