The American right endeavors from time to time to portray the sitting pope as a supporter of its agenda. The slight of hand involved goes something like this. The pope opposes abortion and gay marriage. Republicans oppose abortion and gay marriage.Therefore the pope is a Republican.
Like any magic trick, this one depends on diversion. Hence, John Paul II's opposition to the war in Iraq was obscured by American theocons who wanted to claim him as an across-the-board ally.
As David Gibson points out, Benedict XVI supports universal health care. How inconvenient for the Tea Party. How inconvenient for the increasingly right wing U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
As newly empowered Republicans prepare a congressional agenda topped by a promise to repeal health care reform, Pope Benedict XVI has strongly reiterated Catholic teaching that universal health care is an "inalienable right" that must be guaranteed by every nation and society.
"It is necessary to work with greater commitment at all levels so that the right to health is rendered effective, favoring access to primary health care," Benedict said in a message on Thursday to the 25th annual conference of the Vatican office that promotes health care ministry.
"Health justice should be among the priorities of governments and international institutions," he added.
The pope said that establishing this goal requires "a true distributive justice that guarantees to all, on the basis of objective needs, adequate care," and, "The social doctrine of the Church has always evidenced the importance of distributive justice and of social justice in the different sectors of human relations."