With so much water already under the bridge, it seems a risky move to wade into the debate between Commonweal (and its apparent legal advisor, Professor Timothy Jost) and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) at this stage of the debate over the contents of the health care reform law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or PPACA). On the other hand, it might be the perfect time to step back and survey the prolific exchange. Commonweal’s editors just don’t seem to trust the USCCB’s legal or policy analyses of the PPACA insofar as freedom of conscience or abortion are concerned.
Conversely, Commonweal has extended every benefit of the doubt to the opinions of one professor, Timothy Jost, who not only has no record of cooperation with Catholic moral and policy interests along the consistent ethic of life, but seems to regard Catholic contributions to moral reasoning about law with animosity, comparing Catholic influence to the establishment of an Iranian theocracy. Furthermore, Jost seems to be a strident partisan across the board, a condition best (and hilariously) exemplified in his May 17 editorial for Politico, wherein Jost wrote how “unimaginable” it would be for American voters to want Republicans back in government when, under the Democrats, the “economy has come roaring back.”
Meanwhile, The USCCB’s uniquely nonpartisan voice””even in the midst of some of the nastiest inter-party exchanges in recent history””successfully held together advocacy against killing the unborn with advocacy for expanding health care insurance to all Americans. Yet Commonweal, it seems, would not be satisfied with anything less than a full-throated blessing of whatever the House majority decided to offer pro-life Americans while in the throes of desperate, last-minute negotiations.
Read it all (and follow the links if you haven’t followed the debate).