“Social thinking and social practice inspired by the Gospel must
always be marked by a special sensitivity towards those most in distress.”
– Saint John Paul II, A Pilgrim Pope
As one of the largest providers of non-profit health care services in the United States, the Catholic Church places special significance on health and the healing ministry.
The Church has long advocated health care for all. In Catholic teaching, health care is a basic right, flowing from the sanctity and dignity of human life. Blessed Pope John Paul II referred to health insurance as a fundamental worker’s right, emphasizing that it should be available and affordable.
For determining the fairness and effectiveness of health care practices and policy, the national bishops published the document A Framework for Comprehensive Health Care Reform in 1992. Using this framework, we analyze and determine our position on matters of health policy and insurance reform based on:
- Respect for Life — Whether it preserves and enhances human life from conception to natural death.
- Priority Concern for the Poor – Whether it gives special priority to health care needs of the poor ensuring that their health care is quality health care.
- Universal Access to Comprehensive Benefits — Whether it provides universal access to comprehensive benefits sufficient to maintain and promote good health. This includes effective means to safeguard the health of immigrants, their children and all of society.
- Pursuing the Common Good and Preserving Pluralism — Whether it allows and encourages the involvement of all sectors, including the religious and voluntary sectors, in all aspects of health care, ensuring respect for the ethical and religious values of consumers and providers.
Holy See’s Message to the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers (2010)