20 March 2010

U.S. Bishops & Faithful Sisters on ObamaCare

Below is the text of the U.S. bishops' response to ScaryCare:

As long-time advocates of health care reform, the U.S. Catholic bishops continue to make the moral case that genuine health care reform must protect the life, dignity, consciences and health of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. Health care reform should provide access to affordable and quality health care for all, and not advance a pro-abortion agenda in our country. Genuine health care reform is being blocked by those who insist on reversing widely supported policies against federal funding of abortion and plans which include abortion, not by those working simply to preserve these longstanding protections.

On November 7, the U.S. House of Representatives passed major health care reform that reaffirms the essential, longstanding and widely supported policy against using federal funds for elective abortions and includes positive measures on affordability and immigrants.

On December 24, the U.S. Senate rejected this policy and passed health care reform that requires federal funds to help subsidize and promote health plans that cover elective abortions. All purchasers of such plans will be required to pay for other people’s abortions through a separate payment solely to pay for abortion. And the affordability credits for very low income families purchasing private plans in a Health Insurance Exchange are inadequate and would leave families financially vulnerable.

Outside the abortion context, neither bill has adequate conscience protection for health care providers, plans or employers.

Congressional leaders are now trying to figure out how the rules of the House and Senate could allow the final passage of a modified bill that would satisfy disagreements between House and Senate versions.

Mother Mary Quentin Sheridan, RSM, President of the Council for Major Superiors of Religious Women, representing U.S. religious women faithful to the Church magisterium, responds to ScaryCare, :

In a March 15th statement, Cardinal Francis George, OMI, of Chicago, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, spoke on behalf of the United States Bishops in opposition to the Senate’s version of the health care legislation under consideration because of its expansion of abortion funding and its lack of adequate provision for conscience protection. Recent statements from groups like Network, the Catholic Health Association and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) directly oppose the Catholic Church’s position on critical issues of health care reform. The Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, the second conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious in the United States, finds the provision of the bill to include expansion of abortion funding and fails to include conscience protection. We believe the bill needs to include the Hyde Amendment as passed by the House in November. Protection of life and freedom of conscience are central to morally responsible judgment. We join the bishops in seeking ethically sound legislation.

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Scuba Becky Update

Mama Becky (a.k.a. "Scuba Becky") underwent a lung biopsy yesterday.  Her docs are trying to figure out what sort of infection she has now that the pneumonia is gone.  The anti-biotic that are using is most often used intravenously to treat Swine Flu and Staph.  She's had both of these before.  

Please continue your prayers.

St Bernadine of Siena, intercede for my mother before the throne of God that she may be completely healed!


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Naive, predictable, ironic: dissenting sisters support ObamaCare

 Recently, a coalition of American sisters and nuns issued a statement urging member congregations to support ObamaCare.  A few observations on this statement:

1).  It is stunningly naive.  To believe the claim that this bill is "pro-life" we have to believe that the most radically pro-abortion President and Speaker of the House in this country's history are telling us the truth when they say that the bill excludes federal funding for abortion.  No such language exists in the bill.  In fact, Pelosi and her minions have repeatedly rejected efforts by pro-life Dems and the GOP to include such language.  If the bill forbids federal funding for abortion, what's the problem with including an amendment that says so explicitly?  Answer: abortion funding will be made available through the backdoor via administrative rulings.

2).  It is entirely predictable.  The generation of sisters represented by groups like the LCWR long ago fell ill with the Utilitarian Virus of Moral Reasoning.  In their minds, federally funded abortion is OK b/c it is balanced by federally funded health clinics, prenatal care, etc.  In other words, it is morally acceptable to ignore the deaths of 1.7 million children every year so long as 30 million get some sort of basic health care.  That this care is purchased with the lives of the next generation is inconvenient but hardly worth getting worked up about.  This statement is also predicable b/c it flies in the face of the bishops' opposition to the bill.  The LCWR has made a habit of dissenting from basic Catholic teachings and setting itself and its constitutive congregations against Church leadership.  Fortunately, the predictability of the sisters' left-liberal political views and their history of dissent from basic Church teaching on fundamental issues renders their moral authority all but nil.  In other words, faithful Catholics will not be duped by this statement.

3).  It is incredibly ironic.  This same generation of dissenters among the LCWR sisters has sought a restructuring of the Church "from below" since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council.  One of the themes of ecclesial revolution that rings out from their self-appointed prophetic calls for justice is the localization of the Church and the destruction of the Church Universal in the form of the clerical hierarchy.  So, the sisters who would see the Church destroyed b/c it is hierarchical ("from above") eagerly embrace the hierarchical rule of government from above.  ObamaCare is not about providing health care to 30 million uninsured Americans. . .it is about nothing more than the expansion of federal control over the lives and liberties of all American citizens.  

The statement and some fisking:

Dear Representative,

We write to urge you to cast a life-affirming "yes" vote when the Senate health care bill (H.R. 3590) comes to the floor of the House for a vote as early as this week.  [First, anyone who believes that B.O. and Pelosi hold "life-affirming" views on the morality of abortion is delusional.  Second, the unconstitutional procedure that Pelosi is proposing to "deem and pass" the Senate bill is not a vote on the Senate bill.]

We join the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), which represents 1,200 Catholic sponsors, systems, facilities and related organizations, in saying: the time is now for health reform AND the Senate bill is a good way forward. [It may be time for health care reform but the Senate bill is not The Way Forward.  Pro-ScaryCare rhetoric has consistently portrayed our choices in an "either/or" fashion:  either we pass this monster of a bill or we do nothing.  We are supposed to believe that this massive, unconstitutional government takeover is the Only Viable Reform available.  Nonsense.]

As the heads of major Catholic women’s religious order in the United States, we represent 59,000 Catholic Sisters in the United States who respond to needs of people in many ways. Among our other ministries we are responsible for running many of our nation’s hospital systems as well as free clinics throughout the country. ["Catholic" in what sense?  This entirely predictable endorsement of a pro-abortion from the sisters is an example of the hand trying to do its work apart from the Body.  There are can reasonable, prudential disagreement about most elements of this bill.  But to believe that the bill will not lead to federally-funded abortions and medical rationing is naive at best and mendacious at worst.  Also, we have to wonder how the sisters are responding to the needs of the 1.7 million people who are aborted every year in this country.  Their public statements on "social justice" issues consistently ignore the injustice of abortion.]

We have witnessed firsthand the impact of our national health care crisis, particularly its impact on women, children and people who are poor.  We see the toll on families who have delayed seeking care due to a lack of health insurance coverage or lack of funds with which to pay high deductibles and co-pays. We have counseled and prayed with men, women and children who have been denied health care coverage by insurance companies. We have witnessed early and avoidable deaths because of delayed medical treatment. [Have they witnessed the impact of abortion on this nation's conscience?  Do they see the emotional and spiritual toll abortion takes on the women who believe the lie that abortion is a simple medical procedure not unlike a pap-smear?  Have they prayed for the 45 million children killed legally since 1973?  Are the early deaths caused by abortion "avoidable"?]

The health care bill that has been passed by the Senate and that will be voted on by the House will expand coverage to over 30 million uninsured Americans. [NB.  The House is NOT set to vote on the Senate bill as the U.S. Constitution requires.  The House will vote on a rule that amends the Senate bill and deems the bill passed.] While it is an imperfect measure, it is a crucial next step in realizing health care for all [Except for the 1.7 million children whose deaths the taxpayer will fund]. It will invest in preventative care. It will bar insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. It will make crucial investments in community health centers that largely serve poor women and children. And despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions [If this claim is true, then why is pro-abort Pelosi and her hard-leftist caucus pushing the bill so hard?  Abortion coverage will be put in place by administrative fiat when this monster is up and running.  Nothing in the bill explicitly prevents federal-funding for abortion].  It will uphold longstanding conscience protections and it will make historic new investments – $250 million – in support of pregnant women. This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it [Again, "Catholic" in what sense?  Preventative care, community health centers, money for pregnant women are all perfectly good Catholic responses, but you can't poison just half the cake batter and believe that the cake will be OK to eat.  The sisters have fallen for the utilitarian compromise.]

Congress must act [Yes, it must; but it doesn't have to act in such a way that destroys the economy, bloats the federal bureaucracy, raises taxes, increases governmental control, makes insurance more expense for the 86% of Americans who are satisified with their current insurance., and rations medical care for us all]. We are asking every member of our community to contact their congressional representatives this week. In this Lenten time, we have launched nationwide prayer vigils for health care reform. We are praying for those who currently lack health care. We are praying for the nearly 45,000 who will lose their lives this year if Congress fails to act. [But not the 1.7 million who will die b/c abortion remains legal?] We are also praying for you and your fellow Members of Congress as you complete your work in the coming days. For us, this health care reform is a faith mandate for life and dignity of all of our people [except those who will be killed by their mothers using taxpayer dollars].

We urge you to vote "yes" for life by voting yes for health care reform in H.R. 3590. [And the Church urges you to vote "yes" for life and liberty by voting no on this unconstitutional, power-grabbing boondoggle that will inevitably force all Americans to pay for abortion.]

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19 March 2010

Pelosi's Monstrosity

Wow. . .just WOW!  The Anchoress spanks. . .no, make that beats. . .pro-abort Dem leader, Nancy Pelosi:

[. . .] 

In her upside-down world, Pelosi may think that this monstrosity she is laboring so mightily to deliver is “life-affirming;” that is because she is -like so many of her generation- unable to imagine life after her own. It takes a “my life right now is more important than any future life” mentality to be this committed to abortion, and to insuring that every means of preventing or ending life, at every stage, is introduced into the public mind as a Godly and enviable thing. It takes a mind that willfully misunderstand the nature of both light and life, as taught by the Church she professes to love, to stand there with a smug, “unicorns and rainbows” demeanor and spout these deceitful platitudes that are not grounded in any sort of reality.

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18 March 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

The once Grand Dame of American ecclesial communities, The Episcopal Church, continues its suicidal experimentation with the Zeitgeist.  TEC has always been something of a boutique religion, but now it is barely a sub-culture of a niche market.  Chris Johnson, Fisker of All Things Episcopagan, fisks.

What do you think of Catholic preaching?  Though I have never been a pastor (and probably never will be), my guess is that pastors often allow anxieties about negative congregational reactions and overreactions to dictate the content and tone of their homilies.  Over time, these anxieties grind the pastor down into a Hallmark Card preacher:  say little of substance, offend no one's delicate prejudices, be sweet.  
Fr. Tim Finigan has a round-up of reports on the recent court victory  in the U.K. for Catholic Care against the culture of death. 

Yet another reason to avoid Chicago-O'Hare when traveling.

Japanese game shows are notoriously weird

Will the MSM notice that another group of Catholic sisters/nuns oppose B.O.'s ScaryCare?

Fudging the numbers of women religious who support ScaryCare.  This is a typical Alinsky-style leftist tactic.

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17 March 2010

Update on Mama Becky (UPDATED)

Looks like Mama Becky will be discharged from the hospital today.  She is not cured, but she is recovering.

She reports that she will likely have to be on O2 24/7 in order to prevent her lung capacity from diminishing any further.  I suggested an O2 back-pack for work and Wal-Mart trips.

Her new nickname will be "Scuba Becky."

UPDATE:  no hospital discharge for mom today. . .

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Coffee Bowl Browsing (Mini Edition)

A whole site dedicated to collecting stories about Shadow People.  I've been "seeing" these guys since I was a kid.  Never knew they had their own website! (h/t:  Spirit Daily)

B.O. orders relief workers and military personnel not to fly Old Glory in Haiti.  Good to see he's finally showing his true colors.

The Most Transparent Administration Evar!  B.O. invoking secrecy protections more often than W. ever did.

Former U.S. Appeals Court judge explains why the Slaughter Solution, if used to pass ScaryCare, slaughters the Constitution.

Delicta graviora, millstones, and the Church's chief prosecutor.

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16 March 2010

Doctor's orders

4th Week of Lent: Readings
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
SS. Domenico e Sisto, Roma

Jesus asks the man who has been sick for 38 years if he wants to be well. The man doesn't answer yes, no, or maybe. Instead, he tells Jesus that he has no one to put him into the healing pool when the water is ready to heal. We can infer from his response that he wants to be healed but cannot do on his own what is required to be healed. He needs help. We might expect, at this point, that Jesus would pick the man up and put him in the pool. But following the man's enigmatic example, Jesus responds in a way that no one expects. He says to the man, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Just like that, he does. John writes, “Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.” He is completely healed. We could read this passage as a story of miraculous physical healing and surely it is. But we could also read it as a story about how illness—physical and spiritual—cripples our courage and undermines our faith by leaving us to the fickle mercies of others. The man has no one to help him. What he needs is someone to come along and strengthen his spirit. Jesus does just that. But he helps in way that heals all the man's sicknesses not just his body. Finding the newly healed man later that day, Jesus says to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” The fundamental ministry that Christ gives to his Church is the ministry of reconciliation with the Father through grace. If Christ's healing grace is to work in bringing us back to the Father, we must do what the Doctor has ordered us to do.

Rise, take up your mat, and walk. These are the three orders that the divine physician gives to his long-suffering patient. Are we surprised that these orders do not include instructions on prayer, fasting, sacrifice, or alms-giving? Are we surprised that the man is not ordered to recite scripture or wash himself clean with fresh water? Jesus doesn't even require the man to answer his simple question, “Do you want to be well?” John is very clear on the sequence of events: Jesus issues his orders and immediately the man does as he is ordered to do. At no time in the gospel story does the man ask to be healed nor does he explicitly consent to the healing he receives. Jesus speaks, and it is done. What are we to make of this sequence of events given that Christ's healing grace requires our cooperation in order to do its work? Unless we are willing to admit that the man was healed against his will, we must wrestle with exactly how he came back to physical and spiritual health.

First, notice that the Jews who want to persecute Jesus consider healing the sick a form of work, a job that gets done. Next, note that the man is hanging around the healing pool waiting, hoping to be helped. Now, remember both the natural condition of the human soul and its supernatural end. Putting these three elements together we get a man who should be well seeking out someone to do the work of healing in order that he might be well again. In other words, he longs to be reconciled to the Father as a matter of who he is as a fallen creature. He yearns to be made whole because who he is most perfectly is a child of God. That desire is his consent, that need is the work he contributes to his healing. To be fully healed—body and spirit—is his goal, his end. Jesus orders him to see himself as he should be and to act accordingly. He does. Nothing more is required.

And nothing more is required of us. The saints and doctors of the Church teach us that sin is a slave master. We are chained to disobedience. The irony is that we remain chained by choice. We hired our master and we employ him. All we need to do is see our perfected end in Christ and fire our unruly master. If we do as the Doctor orders, we too can rise and walk away from sickness. And in rising and walking away, give witness to the healing graces of our Lord.

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15 March 2010

Coffee Bowl Browsing

More orchestral Obama worship from children.  Shudder.

What if you threw a political party and most of the people who showed up were white males?  Well, if you call your gathering a "tea party," you are labeled a racist.  However, if you change the name to "coffee party," you are labeled as mainstream.

Oklahoma stands up to the Nanny State by refusing to cooperate in federal investigations into so-called hate crimes.  Apparently, this OK law was passed to prevent enforcement of the recently passed federal law criminalizing non-groupthink thinking about sexual orientation.

Should homilies exceed eight minutes?  The Sunday homilies preached here at the priory usually run between 20-25 minutes!  Maybe I should post this article?  :-)

The tyranny of tolerance:  the case for excluding the children of same-sex couples from Catholic schools. 

Muslims to conquer Rome?  If they do, it will likely happen to the cheers of Europe's lefty elite.

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Prayers, please!

Just got off the phone with Mama Becky. . .she's in the hospital again with pneumonia!

Please, offer those prayers. . .

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Piracetam, anyone?

Anyone out there have any experience using piracetam?  I'm told by reliable sources that this nutritional supplement is very useful for improving concentration and helps with restoring a healthy sleep cycle.  It is also supposed to be good for dyslexia. 
It's available here in Italy, but I am deeply suspicious of all the hyped advertising on the internet.

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Coffee Bowl Browsing

Worried about the anti-Catholic bigots in the media trying to embarrass the Pope over the scandals in Germany?  Don't be.  Smoke, mirrors, and demonic glamours.

B.O. supports the expansion of the police state.  DNA sampling is a good idea. . .if you love having your genetic code stored in Big Brother's database.

Europeans are waking up (finally!) to the reality of B.O.'s indifference/hostility to their concerns.  Face it, Europe, he's just not that into you.

Matt Damon's anti-American cinematic screed, Green Zone, flops at the box office.  Will this abysmal failure convince Hollywood to stop making these kinds of movies?  Don't hold your breath.

Patrick Kennedy unhinged.  I wonder if Pelosi wrote this speech. 

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Why no weekend posts?  I've been going through one of my bouts of  insomnia. Though this should produce more posts rather than fewer, not sleeping messes with my concentration--something I'm not good at even when rested.  I'm looking into locally available non-Rx remedies.  Name it, I've tried it.  

My summer plans sorta blew up Friday.  I learned that the friars at my house of assignment in Houston are renovating the old priory, so there will be no guest rooms available for the next year.  This blew a two month hole in my four month summer plans.  Options for guesting are limited in the province during the summer b/c our students from St Louis use what guest rooms we have available to do summer assignments.  I have a request into Blackfriars, Oxford.  Staying here is not an option b/c we are renovating the kitchen over the summer and there will be no meals.

French is still going fairly well.  The focus is on conversational French, so how much help this will be in my text translation exam is doubtful.  Hey, it gets me out of the priory three days a week.  Our teacher speaks only French in class, so our learning is more intuitive than mechanical.  This appeals to me precisely b/c I'm no good at mechanical memorization or anything that requires my poet's brain to process information in an orderly, analytical fashion.  What's weird is that I am able to organize and present material in an orderly, analytical fashion when I teach.  Maybe that's why teaching is so important for my intellectual work!

I've recently updated the WISH LIST.

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