A value message for Congress


By Frank Wessling

The struggle to improve the American way of health care has a relationship to Advent and Christmas. We will do better in health care as we do better in seeing ourselves united as a people around the Christmas manger of self-gift.

No one in Congress is going to argue in those terms. That arena is energized more by self-gain. But in a Christian perspective, we must keep uppermost the truth that we are all in this together. What hurts some of us hurts all. What benefits we have are most effective when shared by all. This is why the Catholic bishops keep pointing out that health care is a basic right.

We must figure out how to organize and share it more equitably. This won’t happen if we look only for how any change affects us individually. Most of us need to look up and out at the unmet needs of neighbors. Too many are too poor or marginalized by migrant status to share in the confidence we have that our health needs will receive care. This is injustice that can and should be corrected.

If we write or call our representatives in Washington we should encourage them to also keep looking up and out at those unmet needs. Let them know that we favor better sharing of resources and are ready to take on more responsibility for ourselves. Let them know, in short, that we welcome the common good and expect them to keep that as their focus.


This is abstract almost in the extreme, but it is also a value message that needs repeating in this struggle. Ours should be the voice that carries it.

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