Deal Hudson's World Falls Apart

I almost feel sorry for Deal Hudson. His world is crashing down, or at least that is the impression one garners from reading his post of a few days back about the presence of two princes of the Church at the obsequies for Sen. Kennedy and the almost simultaneous resignation of Scranton’s Bishop Joseph Martino.

I have not commented on the resignation of Bishop Martino. I sympathize with anyone whose health deteriorates and I do so at a visceral level, having watched my mother’s body and mind decline from the ravages of Parkinson’s. Mr. Hudson claims to have knowledge he can’t reveal that suggests the Bishop was "pushed out." I have no such information although I did find it odd that they did not appoint a coadjutor or an apostolic administrator sede plena or some such solution that might have permitted Bishop Martino a more graceful exit.

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My good friend and colleague Amy Sullivan at Time ran a piece on the resignation in Scranton. The piece was great but the headline was unfortunate. (To those not in the press, writers do not usually pick their own headlines, editors do that.) It read: "Was an Anti-Abortion Bishop Too Outspoken?" If Bishop Martino was fired, it was not because of his opposition to abortion, out-spoken or otherwise. It may have been because he applied the moral certainty the Church has on the procurement of an abortion to the more murky question of how to legislate about the procedure. It more likely may have been because he spoke disparagingly of the work of his brother bishops working through the USCCB. As I mentioned yesterday, the polarization within the Bishops’ Conference is a real and pressing problem. We do not want to be like the Episcopalians, facing schism over an issue like homosexuality. The Lord’s prayer that "All May Be One" trumps virtually any and all particular moral issues, and certainly trumps any and all political strategies for implementing the Church’s views on those moral issues.

Mr. Hudson approvingly cites Judie Brown’s writings about the situation in Boston which she likened to spitting on Christ, and denounced Cardinal O’Malley for his indifference to the spit. ‘Nuff said.

But, Mr. Hudson has never been one to let a little issue like apostolic succession get in his way when he is driving home a political agenda. His post gets to that agenda with acute precision: "Why don't the bishops understand? Whether or not abortion is explictly included in the bill, when and if it is passed, if the government runs health care abortion will inevitably be part of its coverage." (emphasis in original) Setting aside that the current proposals do not, in fact, amount to government-run health insurance only a government-run option, on what basis does he raise this alarm? There are currently three large government-run health care programs: Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans’ Administration. The Hyde Amendment has prohibited the use of federal funds for abortion services since 1977. It may not come up with Medicare, but Medicaid serves the poor, where the incidence of abortion is high, and for more than thirty years this government-run program has not funded abortions. In fact, you would think the best way to proceed would be to have strong public option that prohibits abortion coverage. Certainly, through our legislators, we will have more control over a federal option than over private insurance companies.

No one has ever accused Hudson of being stupid. He knows that the plans emerging from Congress do not entail the government "running" health care. And he knows that the government-run health care we do have, and have had for decades, does not cover abortion. If he was not so busy worshipping at the pagan altar of the market he would notice that the nation has done a fine job preventing government funded abortions, in Democratic and Republican Congresses, with Democrats or Republicans in the White House. In the event, Hudson’s charge is a scare tactic pure and simple.

Hudson finished his post commending the pastoral letter on health care issued by Archbishop Naumann and Bishop Finn, which I discussed yesterday. Hudson writes: "Let's hope over the next few months this line of thinking [that of Naumann and Finn] is taken up by more bishops and Catholic leaders -- this government-run monopoly of national health care needs to be rejected, totally and completely." There it is. Complete rejectionism on an issue that the Catholic bishops have been advocating for decades. Complete indifference to the suffering of those who lack health insurance because the market – self-evidently – has not found ways to cover them. Mr. Hudson is not "Inside Catholic" on this issue, he is far out of the mainstream and he should have the decency to acknowledge it.

 

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6 years 2 months ago
Goyard
8 years 11 months ago
You say, " Certainly, through our legislators, we will have more control over a federal option than over private insurance companies."  This fact you point out also makes me wonder why the Catholic Bishops have their eye only so closely on, "federal funding of abortion" when even Planned Parenthood in their tracts claim that most insurance - meaning private health insurance- covers abortions. 
Has anyone of the bishops even or ever mentioned that Catholics ought to not subscribe or SELL health insurance plans that cover abortion? If not, why not?
8 years 11 months ago
Regarding Bsp Martino, I am from the Seattle Archdiocese, that once-decades ago-had a coadjutor bishop (it was Absp Donald Wurel, if I recall) put in that was given powers that the pope had stripped from the ordinary (I belive it was Absp Raymond Hunthausen). I dont know what good came from it, as it was before my time, but there lingers today pockets of passionate feelings about the whole thing. Being sent a coadjutor for the sole purpose of "phasing out" the ordinary rather than the real purpose of assuring smooth succession and assistance to the ordinary is something about which I am inclined to be skeptical. Now, again, much good probably came from the arrangement in my diocese I know nothing about, but all I ever hear about it is the strong opinions about the situation existing at all.
8 years 11 months ago
http://www.factcheck.org/2009/08/abortion-which-side-is-fabricating/
I would love a public government run option, but not one that provides government sanctioned abortions.  I don't read Deal Hudson and don't worship at the alter of the free market but i trust fact check and if it says that they would provide abortions, it makes me skeptical of the claim that this bill would be abortion free.  I hope and want a public option, but one that does not provide abortions.
8 years 11 months ago
Bishop Martino was entirely correct to discount the never-ending stream of pronouncements from the USCCB.  The USCCB, and every other "national conference" of bishops, has no theological foundation or mandate in scripture, as Cardinal Ratzinger made crystal clear in The Ratzinger Report in 1985.  Bishop Martino was the sole teaching authority within his diocese, other than the pope.
It's a huge loss to what remains of the Church in the United States.
8 years 11 months ago
I'm obsessed with "wingnuttia" so I visit Inside Catholic almost every day.  Mr. Hudson never disappoints.  His commentaries, and those of several other IC writers, regurgitate the lies, distortions and misinformation that appear on the worst of the hateful rightwing blogs.  He recently repeated the one about coverage of sex-change operations being mandated by the draft H.R. 3200.  He knows no shame!  Sadly, Mr. Hudson has lots of company.  His fellow GOPers, many of them in office at the federal, state and municipal levels, are busy regurgitating the same nonsense in order to play to their far-right base.  Mr. Hudson is a major contributor to the rightwing temper tantrum that is building day by day.  It's sad to read all the partisan smearing that goes on at his "catholic" site.   
8 years 11 months ago
Upon reading Amy Sullivan's piece I would call it less than "fantastic."  She uses a lot of anonymous quotes and the old "many say" straw man, and even suggests that maybe Martino was fired before the Vatican loves Obama so much.  One doesn't expect full-on Catholic perspective from Time Magazine, of course, but must every story be spun for an Obama-positive outcome? 
Deal Hudson is certainly a guy who likes to cling to the extreme edge of things, but his piece is no more "indecent" than Sullivans is "fantastic."
8 years 11 months ago
One of these days these theocons (ordained and otherwise) will learn that they get their marching orders from Jesus Christ and not the Grand Obstructionist Party.
Talk about a crisis of conscience!
8 years 11 months ago
Methinks everyone is getting sick and tired of the conservatives and trads, the Vatican included and Mr Hudson et al. are beginning to get a bit desperate.  The domino effect, first Martino, now who's next?
8 years 11 months ago
I have not read Mr. Hudson's essay and I know nothing about the Martino matter, but as legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), I can shed some light on what the pending Obama-backed legislation would do on abortion.
As amended in committee (the phony compromise ''Capps Amendment'') and now awaiting floor action in the House, the bill  (H.R. 3200) would establish two massive NEW federal programs that implicate abortion policy:  (1) a national health insurance plan run directly by the federal government (called ''the public option''), and (2) a program to provide subsidies to help tens of millions of people buy health insurance.  The current version of the bill explicitly authorizes the Obama Administration to fund abortion for any reason under the ''public option'' (and there is really no doubt at all that the Administration would do so - Obama explicitly promised Planned Parenthood that the ''public plan'' would cover abortion).  Indeed, you would not be allowed to enroll in the new government plan unless you were willing to pay an additional premium to cover the cost of elective abortions - in effect, an abortion surcharge. 
The premiums would be placed in a federal Treasury account.  It is absurd for anyone to call these ''private funds'' - they would be as much ''public funds'' and ''federal funds'' as any money collected by the IRS.  The federal Department of Health and Human Services would be writing checks to abortionists to pay for abortions, with funds drawn on a federal Treasury account.  This is direct federal goverment funding of abortion, pure and simple.
In addition, the bill explicitly allows the tax-based subsidies from the big new subsidy program to go to private plans that cover abortion on demand. 
Don't take just my word for it.  As the independent FactCheck.org (affiliated with the Annenberg Public Policy Center) said in an independent analysis issued August 21, ''Despite what Obama said, the House bill would allow abortions to be covered by a federal plan and by federally subsidized private plans.''  FactCheck.org also wrote:  ''Obama has said in the past that 'reproductive services' would be covered by his public plan, so it’s likely that any new federal insurance plan would cover abortion unless Congress expressly prohibits that.  Low- and moderate-income persons who would choose the 'public plan' would qualify for federal subsidies to purchase it.  Private plans that cover abortion also could be purchased with the help of federal subsidies.''
Mr. Winters refers to the Hyde Amendment.  It is an important law, but it applies only to funds that flow through the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  NRLC has pointed out for months, and the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has now confirmed, that none of the funds involved in the ''public option'' and none of the funds involved in the premium-subsidy program would flow through the HHS appropriations bill.  Therefore, the Hyde Amendment will not cover either of the proposed new programs.  The documentation is at www nrlc.org/AHC
Congressman Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan, and other pro-life House members have proposed an amendment that would keep elective abortion out of the public plan, and prevent the federal tax-based subsidies from flowing to private plans that cover elective abortion.  Last month, the House Democratic leadership announced that they will not even permit the full House to vote on the Stupak Amendment. Unless they relent, that means that any lawmaker who votes for H.R. 3200 will be voting for direct federal funding of elective abortion, and voting for federal subsidies of private insurance plans that cover elective abortion.
Much more documentation on our website.
Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director
National Right to Life Committee
Washington, D.C.
[url=http://www.nrlc.org]http://www.nrlc.org[/url]
Legfederal-at-aol-dot-coom
8 years 11 months ago
"Indeed, you would not be allowed to enroll in the new government plan unless you were willing to pay an additional premium to cover the cost of elective abortions - in effect, an abortion surcharge.  The premiums would be placed in a federal Treasury account."
Mr. Johnson, please provide direct quote, page and section numbers from H.R. 3200.  Thank you.
"The current version of the bill explicitly authorizes the Obama Administration to fund abortion for any reason under the ''public option'' (and there is really no doubt at all that the Administration would do so - Obama explicitly promised Planned Parenthood that the ''public plan'' would cover abortion)."
Mr. Johnson, please provide direct quote, page and section numbers from H.R. 3200.  Thank you.
"In addition, the bill explicitly allows the tax-based subsidies from the big new subsidy program to go to private plans that cover abortion on demand." 
Mr. Johnson, please provide direct quote, page and section numbers from H.R. 3200.  Thank you.
 
 
 
 
8 years 11 months ago
Douglas:  with your position in mind, do you REALLY expect us to believe that you know NOTHING about the Bp. Martino matter?
To believe that strains one's sense of credulity a great deal.
8 years 11 months ago
     The government plan would no more fund all abortions than it would fund all plastic surgery.  It would only fund what is medically necessary and not cover any kind of elective surgery.  However, not all abortions are surgical.  Therefore, if someone is sincerely concerned about abortion, that person would be paying attention to prescription coverage under health reform also and giving a well rounded assessment of the impact of the proposals on the overall incidence of abortion, including the likelihood that someone who is assured of medical care for her pregnancy, delivery, and offspring might choose to give birth.  
 
     Unfortunately, Mr. Johnson works for a political organization that exploits the the issue of abortion's legality rather than studies and addresses the social causes of abortion.  His employer would put itself out of its multi-million dollar business if it succeeded at outlawing abortion.  Therefore, it is probable that Mr. Johnson distorts and amplifies this supposed abortion funding aspect of health care reform in order to enhance NRLC fundraising and the NRLC's value to the RNC.
8 years 11 months ago
Why does a bishop ''retire''? If it's not about orthodoxy or sex, it's about money (financial screw up) or priests.  In most cases, its about his losing the confidence of the priests.  This was really what banished Cardinal Law-not the sex abuse crisis in Boston, but the fact that the priests had become mutinous.

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