The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson will host a forum on the moral aspects of national health reform next week.
The event, "Health Care Reform: A Moral Imperative," is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Most Holy Trinity Parish, 1300 N. Greasewood Road.
Tucson Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas and Peg Harmon, who is the chief executive officer of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona, are expected to conduct a dialogue with those in attendance.
The phrase "A Moral Imperative" comes from a 1993 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' resolution on health care. The resolution says the health-care system serves too few and costs too much.
Kicanas, who was part of a health-care reform meeting with other faith leaders and Arizona Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords last month, says health-care reform should involve coverage for all.
". . . especially the poor and marginalized," he wrote in a Sept. 8 Monday Memo to parishioners. "Health care should be affordable, and its cost should be distributed equitably."
He is also advocating that any reform be "abortion-neutral," which he defines as "neither taking away any of the protections now in place or expanding the availability of abortion."
In addition, Kicanas said the Catholic Church wants to ensure that hospitals and medical personnel will be protected from being forced to violate their beliefs on the sanctity of life.
"Like our present immigration policy, health care is in need of reform," he wrote. "Respectful dialogue and shared ideas and perspectives will help us get through the mire of issues that affect each of these reforms. We can do better than we are presently doing, and we need to have the courage and wisdom to act."