When you hear the term Catholic health care, you likely think about the last time you had to visit a loved one in the hospital. Or maybe you envision a chaplain visiting patients, or the minister bringing the life of Christ to someone’s bedside. There is a cross on the front of the hospital in our image, and one hanging on the wall in every patient room. Yet, we don’t imagine the social justice that goes hand in hand with what Catholic health care is meant to be.
Social justice is often thought of as helping the homeless or advocating for legal immigration. Health care is not put into the same category, yet if you follow the beliefs of Jesus, then social justice and Catholic health care cannot be separated. From the humble beginnings of Catholicism in the US, the point of Catholic health care was to be able to provide health services to the sick and poor. The human need for justice in health care is a fight that the Catholic church has been immersed in long before Obamacare was ever an issue.
The Catholic Church is Concerned About Health Care Issues Today Because it Has Been Part of the Health Care in the United States from the Very Beginning
The care of the sick poor by the Catholic church dates back to the middle ages, when religious groups took a special interest in the needs of the sick poor. This led to many sects living amongst them, setting up specialized hospices and administering to their needs with no demand for payment. This tradition continued for centuries, with the only change being that it became mostly women who actively took care of the needs of the sick poor. With the discovery of the new world, the work to bring medical services to all made its way across the ocean, and groups of Catholic women began working on building hospitals in the new world.
Today, the work of the Catholic church in caring for the sick is still practiced, without prejudice towards other religions. Fitness programs are advocated by church leaders, who speak highly of the need to stay in shape in order to maintain good health. Health care facilities bearing the Catholic cross are equipped with state of the art machinery like rowing machines and exercise bikes to encourage a healthy lifestyle to the patients.
Universal health care is a right, not a privilege. The medical advances that God has allowed us to discover are meant to heal all, not just those who can afford them. For those who are fighting the right to a healthier life for all, you are not following in the path of Jesus or the Catholic church.Read More