Cardinal George Defends Bishops' Stance Against Health Care Reform

Bishops are against using federal funds for abortion

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    CHICAGO - FEBRUARY 25: Cardinal Francis George, Chicago's eighth archbishop, celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass in the cafeteria of Holy Name Cathedral February 25, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. Catholics celebrate Ash Wednesday as the beginning of Lent which is considered a period of penance, reflection, and fasting leading up to Easter. The mass was celebrated in the cafeteria because the cathedral was damaged by a recent fire. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Francis George

    Chicago Cardinal Francis George told a meeting Monday of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore that they were right in their moral judgment that President Barack Obama's heath care reform plan would allow federal funding of abortion.

    "Developments since the passage of the legislation" [have confirmed that] "our analysis of what the law itself says was correct and our moral judgments are secure," he said, according to the Catholic News Service.

    The law walled off federal funds from being used for abortion, and an executive order signed by Obama just before it passed
    reaffirmed existing prohibitions on government-financed abortion.

    Still, anti-abortion activists argue that neither would actually prevent tax money from being used. 

    The cardinal said the bishops don't speak for all Roman Catholics but do speak for the church on moral issues.

    "We speak for the apostolic faith, and those who hold it gather round. The bishops in apostolic communion and in union with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, speak for the Church in matters of faith and in moral issues and the laws surrounding them. All the rest is opinion," he said, according to the National Catholic Register.

    The outgoing president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops used his final speech to defend the bishops' opposition to health care reform.