Health care law doesn’t merit any support

In the July 15 issue, Our Sunday Visitor had two very interesting and complementary articles — “Catholics react to Supreme Court decision” (News Analysis) and “Lessons from France’s anti-religious purge” (In Focus). I hope Cardinal Timothy Dolan is a subscriber and will be reading that history, because it clearly shows how religion has fared under that French secular government for the past 100 years and shows some parallels here in the United States today.  

When we look at what is happening in our own country, I am amazed that the bishops want to continue supporting government actions that appear to help the disadvantaged but end up harming the Church and its mission to the poor, as these health care mandates are doing, and that are harming the economy as well. 

Our current administration and its Department of Health and Human Services gave us these onerous health care laws that are forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception and abortive drugs. Trying to give more people health insurance can be done much more efficiently and without bankrupting the country if done on at least a statewide basis and left to a free market economy. Which is more efficient and profitable, the U.S. Postal Service or UPS? Government run universal health care will add another trillion dollars of entitlement spending and grow the deficit.  

More consideration needs to be given to the concept of subsidiarity. 

Phyllis Ross, Fountain Valley, Calif.

No slack

I applaud Russell Shaw’s “Plea for political civility” (Guest Column, July 22). Shaw comments on Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposed budget in these words: “His approach may or may not be right — and those who think he’s wrong are free to say so. But a Catholic legislator attempting to be faithful to the Church in an area where the correct application of principles isn’t so clear deserves some slack.” I think most Catholics who follow the budget discussions are aware that Bishops Stephen E. Blaire and Richard E. Pates do “think he’s [Mr. Ryan] wrong” and that he is not being “faithful to the Church ... in the correct application of principles” of the Church’s social justice teachings. And I am personally not going to cut Ryan much slack when he responds to the letters from the two bishops with “Um, these are not all the Catholic bishops, and we just respectfully disagree.” The two bishops responded by saying they are representing all the Catholic bishops. Thanks for not running the banner headline “Paul Ryan’s Budget Is Fiscally Sound, Morally Sound” as was done in our local paper on May 9. 

Msgr. Thomas C. Petronek, Wheeling, W.Va.

Disastrous consequences

Re: “Lessons from France’s anti-religious purge” (In Focus, July 15). 

Blessed John Paul II taught that religious liberty is the first of all rights. 

Repression of a function as important as the place religion fills in the human soul can never be free of disastrous consequences both for the individual and for society. We cannot ever forget that the atheism propagated by the “age of light” led directly to the Terror, and then the French Revolution. Nor is it any mere chance that the triumph of rationalism, throughout the whole of the 19th century, was directly followed by the horrors of the Nazi extermination camps, communist dictatorship and the invention of the atomic bomb. 

When religion ceases to be an active and creative force in promoting human welfare and freedom of the human spirit, and turns into a mere instrument of spiritual and temporal domination, we are then faced with clericalism, the spirit of the inquisition, intolerant sectarianism and as a result, the worst forms of atheistic materialism. 

Aubert Lemrise, Peru, Ill.

Venerable’s wit

Re: “Cause advances of eminently quotable Archbishop Sheen” (Openers, July 15). 

One of my favorite stories about Bishop Sheen was when he told of riding on the subway in New York City and he saw a lady standing and holding on to a strap for balance. He offered her his seat and she questioned him about it. He told her that ever since he was a little boy he had the greatest respect for any lady holding a strap in her hand. 

Another story is when he promised not to ask a woman to hear her confession so as they were walking by the confessional he pushed her in and then heard her confession. 

Jim Rivelli, via email

Incorrect word?

Re: “Faith on campus” (God Lives, July 15). 

All I can think is that surely Msgr. Owen F. Campion meant to write that Catholic students who attend Catholic colleges tend to “take seriously official Catholic Church statements from the pope or from bishops, to agree with the Church that all human life from conception to natural death is sacred, to oppose the death penalty, to OPPOSE euthanasia ...,” rather than “support euthanasia”? 

Pam Haines, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Editor’s note: You are correct. The wording should have said “oppose euthanasia,” and it has been corrected in the online version of the story.