"Pope Benedict XVI and other church leaders said it was the moral responsibility of nations to guarantee access to health care for all of their citizens, regardless of social and economic status or their ability to pay.
Access to adequate medical attention, the pope said in a written message Nov. 18, was one of the "inalienable rights" of man.
The pope's message was read by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican secretary of state, to participants at the 25th International Conference of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry at the Vatican Nov. 18-19."
The full text of the Pope's letter can be found here.
Now for the words of Cardinal Bertone, the man that read the letter before the Pontifical Council:.
"Justice requires guaranteed universal access to health care," he said, adding that the provision of minimal levels of medical attention to all is "commonly accepted as a fundamental human right."
While the media will try and twist the words of both Benedict and Bertone into something that fits their statist agenda, the Pope is not calling for state run health care of the type that Obama and his party have rammed down our throats. They are not calling for re-distribution of wealth but instead for distributive justice. These two ideas are as remote as night and day.
"Important also in the field of health, integral part of each one's existence and of the common good, is to establish a true distributive justice that guarantees to all, on the basis of objective needs, adequate care."
Distributive justice seeks a leveling of the playing field, not by taking from one to give to the other but by creating a system that prevents any one person or group from gaining too much power and denying rights and opportunity to others. It stresses property rights and the true free market system as a means to an end as opposed to re-distribution (Marxism) which places the state in the role of God himself and forces the people to surrender their "inalienable rights" in the service of the state.
Distributive justice begins with the individual. Re-distributive justice begins with the state.
I agree with the Pope, justice does require access to health care. And I agree that access to health care is a right. And as the Pope states in his letter:
"It is necessary to work with greater commitment at all levels so that the right to health is rendered effective, favoring access to primary health care."
But does this access to health care require that we surrender our basic human rights of property and freedom of employment to the state? Of course not. It requires an interior conversion of the individual soul so that each will accept the responsibility that comes with the rights we posses.
Interestingly, in the examples the Pope uses of charity as it relates to healthcare we find not one single instance of the state being used to force anyone to provide anything. Instead, we find this:
"To bend down as the Good Samaritan to the wounded man abandoned on the side of the road is to fulfill that "greater justice" that Jesus asks of his disciples and acted in his life, because love is the fulfillment of the Law. The Christian community, following in the footsteps of its Lord, has carried out the mandate to go out into the world "to teach and cure the sick" and over the centuries "has strongly realized the service to the sick and suffering as an integral part of its mission" (John Paul II, motu proprio "Dolentium Hominum," No. 1), of witnessing integral salvation, which is health of soul and body."
We find an act of charity that begins with an individual and from him spreads to the entire community. This is antithetical to the top down approach implemented through re-distribution.
The Pope reinforces this with the following statement:
"What is necessary is the joint effort of all, but also necessary and above all is a profound conversion of the interior look. Only if one looks at the world with the look of the Creator, which is a look of love, humanity will learn to be on earth in peace and justice, allocating with equity the earth and its resources to the good of every man and every woman. Because of this, "I hope for [...] the adoption of a model of development founded on the centrality of the human being, on the promotion and sharing of the common good, on responsibility, on the awareness of the necessary change of lifestyles and on prudence, virtue that indicates the actions to be carried out today, in expectation of what might happen tomorrow" (Benedict XVI, Message for the 2010 World Day of Peace, 9)."
Justice begins at home, inside the soul and from there moves into society. Government, because of its role as a protector of our rights (in a perfect world) should guarantee that nothing stands in the way of our choosing to help another. It should promote the idea that we are our brothers keeper and that it is our responsibility to help the poor. To do this it will have to speak the truth about the reasons for the responsibility we must exercise but then it will be forced to discuss God.
So most governments, afraid that their subjects, I mean citizens, may find out that there really is a higher authority than government, will go the way of force, re-distribution and Marxism. Instead of promoting and advancing true distributive charity they will force re-distributive lies upon the people which will lead to less freedom and the loss of the same rights the government is supposed to protect. And let's not forget it will also lead to centralization of all the wealth and power into the hands of the connected few and away from the people.
So I expect the Progressives will have a field day with this letter from the Pope and the majority of the people will never get to hear what the Pope has to say or learn anything about Church teaching on the subject.
They take this part of the Bertone's statement from Catholic News Service:
Governments are obligated, therefore, to adopt the proper legislative, administrative and financial measures to provide such care along with other basic conditions that promote good health, such as food security, water and housing, the cardinal said.
...and use it to advance their Marxist agenda without taking the time or even wanting to understand the 2000 years of philosophy that underlie it.
I have to say though that Bertone seems to almost be twisting the words of the Pope into something they are not intended to be to satisfy an end that seems a bit strange to me. There have been a lot of strange stories that have surrounded Bertone over the years and sometimes I don't understand the things that are said by him.
We are responsible for our Church and it is the duty of the faithful to read and question everything that is said.
Please pray for our leaders that they may be protected from the evil one that works day and night to destroy them.