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Bishops' Spokeswoman Denounces Violence Tied to Health Care Debate

4 years ago
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A longtime spokeswoman for the United States Catholic Bishops on Thursday added her voice to those denouncing threats and attacks against members of Congress in the wake of the health care debate.

The Catholic hierarchy was one of the leading opponents of the health care reform bill, and efforts by the bishops nearly killed the legislation. But Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh writes on the bishops' Web site that whatever the passions against the bill, they "cannot justify the verbal and physical violence that has ensued."
We've seen reports of homes and offices of lawmakers vandalized and heard of death threats. Anonymous messages are being left on voicemails -- I even got one from a nun, for goodness sake. If that isn't proof that we've gone astray I don't know what is.
But Walsh's diagnosis was somewhat different than the one you'll hear from pols on either side of the aisle:
The intolerance and incivility did not begin with legislation passed Sunday night. It is not unrelated to the divisions that exist in our country and, sadly, even in our church.

It starts with how we view others -- as enemies rather than as fellow travelers on the journey of life. It includes whether or not we're willing to give another the benefit of the doubt, accepting that their intentions are good, even if their goals differ from ours.

It involves accepting the fact that each of us is a child of God and precious to Him and our brother or sister.

It involves how we speak and terms for one another.
She concludes with the famous maxim from St. Augustine: "In essentials, unity, in non-essentials diversity, in all things charity."

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