Did the Catholic organizations have to sue over the health care mandate? – Fisking Dionne

Catholic Pundit and Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne published a piece on May 21st that begs rebuttal. This was published in the first days following the initiation of litigation against the Obama Administration’s decision to compel Catholic Organizations to violate their consciences and the Administration’s policy to decide who is “religious enough” for an exemption. My comments are in bold.

“The main goal of the mandate is not, as HHS claimed, to protect women’s health. It is rather a move to conscript religious organizations into a political agenda, forcing them to facilitate and fund services that violate their beliefs, within their own institutions.” – Mary Ann Glendon

The original piece is here.

Did the Catholic organizations have to sue over the health care mandate?

The federal lawsuits filed Monday by Catholic institutions against the contraception mandate under the health care law are not surprising, but they are unfortunate. The Bishops’ Conference and many — though not all — Catholic organizations are acting as if the Obama Administration had never backed down from its original, broad mandate and had never offered to negotiate.

The “Mandate” is the law of the land, effective February 1, 2012 and enforceable August 1, 2012. One does not “negotiate” a law one obeys or litigates. Per Cardinal Dolan, the Administration has repeatedly misled the USCCB regarding conscience protection and exemptions.  The Administration has offered a one year extension to determine a method of compliance – but this is the law – the original mandate, without any accommodation.

This is the largest religious lawsuit in the history of western civilization – 43 litigants in 12 courts directly representing over 20 million Catholics and indirectly representing close to 40 million Catholics. It could easily be the largest class action in decades. It is big news.

But the administration, responding to a broadly united Catholic community, did offer a compromise and has since shown a willingness to try to accommodate many of the concerns of Catholic and other religious institutions. Now the Catholic community is split because many of us who initially backed the bishops cannot understand why they did not respond to the administration’s olive branch. Many bishops seem to want this fight.

While Obama supporters (including some Catholics) will contend that this is partisan politics, it isn’t — except insofar as the Administration has made it so. It was the Administration that refused to countenance Catholic concerns before and after the mandate was issued. It was the Administration whose apologists (including Secretary Sebelius – a Catholic who is refused Holy Communion by her Bishop) bent every effort to turn what was clearly a religious-freedom issue into a “War on Women.” It has been the Administration and its Senate allies, like Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Minority Leader Pelosi who have refused to enter into any sort of serious discussion aimed at mitigating Catholic concerns. It is the Administration that seems willing to drive the Catholic Church out of health care, education, and social services if that is what is required to enforce the Administration’s notions of “reproductive health” and “reproductive choice.”

There is certainly a case to pushing the administration to rewrite the definition of religious organizations under the health care regulations, but no reason to treat President Obama as an enemy of religious freedom. The bishops’ “Fortnight for Freedom” campaign is looking more and more like a direct intervention in this fall’s elections.

If the Administration pays a price for this in November, it will have no one to blame except itself. They created the politics of it. Remember, the USCCB is hardly a GOP enclave it is my personal experience that they are largely progressive and Democratic leaning.  The bishops know that rights lost are lost for CENTURIES and Exhibit A is England where until this very year, Catholics could not marry into the Royal Family or serve in elected office or serve as officers in the Army. So a fear of Catholic oppression in western civilization is not entirely unfounded. This mandate, which is really pennies of healthcare dollars, is a direct affront to the Church. The mandate is totally unnecessary and fiscally saves little.

All Catholic citizen (and the bishops are citizens too) have a right and a responsibility to form and inform the public. Catholics have a right and a responsibility defend themselves – as a Church and as a person.   To compel a person to act against his conscience is a gigantic sin and an affront to all that is free.

A well educated and informed electorate is always good for the culture. A Catholic electorate that votes with a mindset towards eternity – a Catholic mindset – creates a better culture. It is hardly an intervention into the fall elections it is preaching the Gospel in the present era.

As my friends at Commonweal, the progressive Catholic magazine, noted in an important editorial: “This initiative is being launched during an election year in which one party has assumed the mantle of faith and charges the other with attacking religion. The bishops need to do much more to prevent their national campaign from becoming a not-very-covert rallying point for the Republican Party and its candidates. If that happens, it is the church and the cause of religious freedom that will suffer.” Commonweal said there is something “hyperbolic” about how the bishops are framing their campaign, and I see this lawsuit as one aspect of that.

All we want is the ability to practice our faith freely without cooperating in evil, if we need to remove a few people from D.C. to do it, so be it. Again we did not pick this fight.

Anyone who is remotely familiar with the USCCB knows a few things – (1) the USCCB taken as a whole leans mostly to the left. (2) The USCCB has favored universal healthcare since the 1920’s so it is nothing new (3) The Catholic (dare I say universal Christian) teaching on the objective evil of contraception predates the Gospel. (4) We have to remember too (since this is a religious issue) that we are speaking of mortal sin here. It is a mortal sin to artificially contracept, it is a mortal sin to fornicate and it is a mortal sin to facilitate one or the other.

The time for negation has passed, but if the Administration dropped the mandate, the litigation would end.

What is overlooked are the following: Healthcare is a “zero-sum” game and now that it is politicized via the Affordable Care Act, the lobbies will decide the distribution of monies. Money paid for contraception is money NOT given to ADHD kids, heart disease rehab, orthopedic care, long term care or mental illness.  So, if you are an effective lobby like breast cancer and HIV, you will get money. If you are an ineffective lobby, say mental illness – you get nothing (except homelessness or jail).

It’s worth noting that the Catholic Health Association, which backed Obama’s compromise, has not joined this suit. Michael Rodgers, the CHA’s senior vice president for public affairs and advocacy, said in an interview that the CHA “was not made aware that the lawsuits were being filed now.” He added that the group is working with the administration to “broaden the exemption by broadening the definition of what a religious institution is.” I wish the bishops and others involved in these lawsuits had given the path of negotiation more time before going to court.

CHA is a lobbying and educational group with an ambiguous mission. They HARDLY represent many Catholics if any at all. Ask a dozen Catholics – life long ones at that – if they ever heard of CHA and ask the same number if they ever hear of Catholic Charities (hardly a GOP operative group), Cardinal Dolan or any number of Catholic Schools. Ask them if they ever heard of Notre Dame; who awarded the President and honorary degree in 2009 and sued him in 2011.

At the end of the day, this is not just a Catholic issue. Under the government’s new rules, religious organizations are free to serve the public only if they fulfill the government’s requirement to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization. Organizations whose beliefs differ from this government-mandated orthodoxy have two options if they want to continue their mission of serving the public: abandon any belief that the government does not sanction, or uphold that belief and incur crippling fines. This issue should matter to anyone who believes there is room in the public square for people of all faiths — not just those faiths that pass some government test.

It is the ripest circumstance for civil disobedience since MLK, maybe even more so. Freedom of conscience, which is the basis of freedom of religion, is at least equal to and may even trump the civil rights movement of the 1960’s.

At the end of the day what will occur if unabated will be formal Christian Schism – an essay I am completing as we speak. There will be Churches approved and recognized by the Government and Churches that are not. EJ Dionne will be in one and me in the other.

 

 

 

I Remember…a Memorial Day Reflection

 

The United States is the oldest republic in the world, with a Constitution that is one of the noblest and most enduring works of humanity.  When one strips away the distracting symbols of modern America – NASCAR, Hollywood, fast food and iPods – one finds the most pluralistic and  enduring society in history.  Despite our modernity and penchant for change, we have upheld the ideals enunciated more than 200 years ago by our founding fathers – the root of them being that all are created equal and have a right to pursue happiness.

From the start, Americans have not remained in blissful possession of our freedom and Constitution without cost.  To us, the very idea that freedom and democracy extract a cost in blood is second nature and hardwired into American DNA.

This freedom is guaranteed by the solider. And for today, “soldier” refers to anyone who ever wore the uniform of the American Military.

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

G.K. Chesterton once wrote “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” American soldiers know that their service demands loving home so much that they willingly leave it – giving up all that is cherished —  freedom, youth, love, even  life — so that others may enjoy what is voluntarily forsaken by them for the good of others.

On holidays like Memorial Day, we think of the parades. We recall the gregarious World War II soldiers and sailors, eager to share stories, Korean vets who suffered in the cold and stolid Vietnam-era soldiers reticent to talk much about their war. We think of many men and women who served in Beirut, Bosnia, the Persian Gulf and today’s War on Terror.

In airports I have seen countless soldiers leaving for distant land and sea dressed in the apparel of war.  No matter the letters, pictures, videos and Facebook posts – it can never replace the time and youth sacrificed.  Their lives are a gift to us, at times the ultimate gift, and it is a process as old as history, altered only by our ability to travel and communicate efficiently.

War is not hell, it is incomprehensible.

The utter chaos and impartial evil of combat makes the most incessant talker place the actual experiences deep into the silence of his own heart, rarely if ever, revealed in full. Countless things said and unsaid, acts made and not made with no rehearsal. Terrors so deep that the soul screams to its Creator while the intellect attempts to process things at 2330 feet per second. Such experiences – translated in the press as sacrifices demand a particular reverence which brings us to today.

Memorial Day is about those whose lives have protected the Constitution.  Their collective gift to us is recalled the last Monday of every May. President Lincoln, standing before the graves of nearly 50,000 soldiers said “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

“A new birth of freedom…” Service, death, remembrance, and the re-birth of our still living, still beloved, country are the unspoken first principles the soldier of every era lives and principals holidays like this recall.  Memorial Day is not the day to argue politics—above all the politics of the present much-disputed war. On the contrary, it is a day to recall with gratitude the sacrifices that protect our very unique opportunity to dispute.

On Memorial Day we recall our first principals. We are Americans. As such we are committed to freedom and to the proposition that all are equal and have inalienable rights. We are the most formidable and exceptional nation in history because we believe this proposition to be so valuable that it is worth dying for.

The New Translation at the 21 Sunday Mark…

On the First Sunday of Advent, 2011 the Catholic Church introduced a revised translation of the Mass. Since then I have attended Mass a number of times in no less than 5 States and in over a dozen parishes.

It edifies the persons in the pews to see the priests, both young and old, religious order and secular embrace in zealous, even joyful obedience the revised translation. I appreciate the effort – the transition was tough for me and undoubtedly, much tougher for you.

It is clear to me that my children will be holier because of the care in which the prayers are said – necessitated in part by the more complex language. There are refreshing added nuances of language – hidden gems of grace that sparkle and attract mind and soul like points of light in darkness. It is not stilted; it is formal and that is just how a creature should address the Creator – with awe and formality.

In a word, it’s ineffable.

Other Random Points:

  1. At this juncture I no longer pump my fist when I remember – and with your Spirit – it is as if I said it all my life and it is completely natural to the liturgy.
  2. I do not know why but I heard the Confiteor just once.
  3. I can almost wing the Gloria without the card. It will be a while longer with the Creed.
  4. I was hoping the new translation would result in the graceful retirement of the “Mass of Creation”, the St. Louis Jesuits and related musical movements that passed for hymns. I see a fundamental difference between “Praise and Worship” music and music proper to the Sacrifice of the Mass.
  5. Every Mass I pray that the Lord would send me one “light” or point that I can take out into the world. Sometimes it is in the readings, other times in the homily. The light can come from most anywhere. Now I am finding great inspiration in the Collect and Preface of the Mass. Maybe because it is new to my ear or maybe because the Celebrant is reading it slower as the language is different and admittedly complex.  But there is much to be mined in those two veins and it is indeed quite refreshing and rich to (in my case) discover the Collect and Preface.
  6. I wish there was more chant and silence. I understand that the music ministry needs to do something 4 or 5 times a Mass – but chant is the language and style of the Latin Rite and it is part of our timeless patrimony. Maybe if the pastor re-assured them that they would be paid if they sing or not…
  7. As far as silence goes we need it. While I do not quarrel with St. Augustine who apparently opined – “he who sings prays twice” he undoubtedly did not intend to drop the silent moments of the Mass to about 2 minutes. Meditation and contemplation is appropriate at Holy Communion and they require silence. The world is noisy enough already. Silence is when you hear God.

All in all it seems to me to be a seamless transition with years of treasure to be discovered. I am exceedingly grateful to the effort of so many to make it so.

Hat’s off to the Padres and the Pointy Hats. Well done.

Archbishop Francis A. Chullikatt – Vatican Nuncio to the U.N. at the National Prayer Breakfast

His Excellency knows a thing or two about persecution. His former posts include Jordan and Baghdad, where on October 31, 2010 fifty-two Catholics were killed in the Cathedral while celebrating the Vigil of All Saints. He is a veteran and eye witness of state-sponsored violence where people of faith – Catholics in particular, are  arrested, tortured and killed – suffering martyrdom for their faith.

“These are not abstract issues. These are not mere statistics,  they were and are my friends, my colleagues, my neighbors.”

The Archbishop reminded that this persecution does not begin with the red martyrdom of death and torture, but the white martyrdom of isolation, discrimination and marginalization -

While nobody would confuse the marginalization of religion with the actual killing of Christians in other parts of the world, it is through this marginalizing that violent persecution is born.

The Archbishop and the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus both spoke of a sort of historical amnesia that is the first movement of marginalization – Supreme Knight, Carl Anderson reflected on our nation’s latest memorial on the mall – one dedicated to Reverend Martin Luther King -a Baptist Minister, which includes 14 MLK quotes none of them mentioning God.

“Imagine how hard those in authority must have searched to come up with 14 quotes of Dr. King without one mention of the Almighty.”

The past century – Mexico in the 1920′s, Europe in the 1940′s, the so-called “Arab Spring” of our current era and the present oppression of the current Administration illustrates what happens when religious freedom is stifled and God is set aside. Faith in God and respect for religious freedom go hand in hand, and from this springs respect for the human person from conception to natural death. This perspective creates integral education of children, authentic healthcare, proper care for the elderly, feeding the hungry – the list of social justices enacted is endless.

Archbishop Chullikatt remarked  “The one who respects the existence of God will always and everywhere respect also religious freedom and that “the human person has a fundamental and sacred right to seek, profess and share the truth.”

And there is only one Truth. We can never forget that authentic religious liberty – the American version, is more than simply freedom of worship. It also includes, among things, the right to preach, educate, evangelize and participate in the political process, as well as in all aspects of public life.

Supreme Knight’s Speech at National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Consider it required reading and understand the signs of the times.

…we can declare, “What kind of Catholics do they think we are!” Do they really expect us to go gently into that dark night they are preparing for religious liberty in America? Do they not know that people who believe in “one holy catholic and apostolic church” can never agree to compromise our Church by entangling it in intrinsically evil acts?

Read it all here and ponder where Vivat Jesus! came from.

Vivat Jesus!

Remembering Crutch –

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William J. "Crutch" Kane

There are few people indeed that one encounters in the course of life that have only one name. The incidence is linked so intrinsically to the gifted and famous I almost hesitate to attempt the analogy. None the less, I will try. There are –

 Magic

 And Sweetness

 The Babe

 The Duke

 And Crutch

Their fame not withstanding, they were elevated to the status of “one namedness” by the manner in which they lived and by their passions.

Crutch. I wonder how many would know he even died if the obituary read “William J. Kane, Sr.” I can think of few who call him Bill and less that call him William.

So many eulogies seem to be canonizations. Many speakers seem to think that this is the opportunity to promote the certain sainthood of the beloved deceased. That will not happen today. It is simply not possible. Our father was among the most fatally flawed persons I have ever met. His defects and appetites are legendary and were often very hard to experience. He was an alcoholic until the 36th year of my life, finally giving up the bottle largely for good in 1997. The Lucky Strikes and later the Marlboros never really left his right coat pocket. How clearly I recall the distinctive click – click of his Zippo lighter every morning. But so he was flawed, so too he was loved.

And I wonder why.

I spent a lot of time traveling this week and have driven over 2000 miles between Sunday and today. This gave me time to reflect on my life with my father, known to the world as Crutch.

Universally, no one I spoke really believed that he died. He was a crusty, salty Marine if there ever was one and more than once he fought off death with a new drug or heroic procedure or literally a last minute miracle of God worked through the hands of the medical staff of the VA Medical Center or Dr. Fructer here locally. Again and again he not only fought off death, but recovered fully, resuming his travel and lifestyle. Our collective and indescribable thanks go to Dr. Fructer and the VA Medical Staff who attended him with expertise, devotion and even affection.

If there is a common thread in his life, he quite simply never gave up. He fell often but he never stayed down. Quitting was never an option in my formative years and it is never a consideration for me or my siblings today. He was so persistent, so repelled by the finality of failure that so many of us believed he would never die. Retrospectively, he was like a bloodied boxer still standing in the ring; standing on nothing but sheer will and because of his choices, often standing alone.

But the time came that he sincerely repented from his past decisions and rejected the appetites that fueled a life that some days caused us great pain. Fully consistent with his personality, he sought and received forgiveness and amended his ways with the same dogged persistence and with the same largeness of appetite that almost brought about his downfall.

In particular in the last decade of his life, he dedicated himself solely to being a father and grandfather, the “pop” to not only his ten grandchildren but to several he adopted along the way of his travels. This was most true in Mississippi where he truly became an adopted son of the South and a beloved “Pop” to more than a few years of little league baseball teams in Jackson, Mississippi. Who would have thought that at the time of his death 1200 miles away in Jackson, Mississippi that a guy from Exchange Street in Geneva, New York would have 20 southerners in tears. The watch we bury him with today is set, appropriately, to Mississippi time.

At the time of his unexpected death, he was totally at peace with God and all men. He died a holy, serene and peaceful death, united to the Church surrounded by his children and his adopted Mississippi family. He rejected the narcotics offered to him more than once to alleviate his pain; and his physical pain was very real, until he received the Sacraments of the Church. He wanted to be awake for the Sacraments and he was. His last statement as I recall it was “I am afraid of nothing.”

I suspect he was aware of us to almost his last breath. Toward the end, we stood around telling jokes about him and his blood pressure would rise in sync with the punch lines long after his body stopped responding to drugs that in some cases were many times over the maximal dosage.

My father loved to cook. Since his death I have been going through his papers and found his cook book and I would like to share a few of his classic recipes.

 My wife experienced his famous baked chicken (which she loves). His chicken was always so moist. One chicken quartered, four sticks of butter, bake at 350 for an hour. And you wonder why last Easter we bypassed the three arteries of his heart that were blocked over 90% at the time.
 Spices – Very simple Salt by the handful, pepper until the dish was black, garlic by the head and margarine by the 32 ounce tub.
 Before bed snack – one quart of ice cream, chocolate syrup, Spanish peanuts, ½ cup of frosted cereal with milk to taste. All inside of one of those recycled 32 oz margarine tubs. Each Kane household has a minimum of 10 recycled margarine tubs with the faded patina of 1000 washings.
 True to form, his last meal was orange sherbet, frosted flakes and milk. Eaten I’m sure in one of those recycled margarine tubs.
 Everywhere he went, as soon as he entered the house, he made tomato sauce and 100 meatballs. He had to make 100 meatballs because everyone ate at least half of the meatballs as he cooked them. He often left the freezer stocked with sauce and meatballs. That was a trademark of his.
 Meatball Soup. This is a Kane delicacy. Water, meat balls, parsley and a table spoon of tomato paste. The tomato paste is important so that the soup is not green-grey but more a reddish tone. Four people in the world like it – myself, my brother Bill, and my sisters Kris and Tiffany. Most everyone else thinks it tastes like hamburger flavored water. Which it probably does. If you did not grow up in our house, you will never like it. We love it with a lot of Parmesan Cheese which absorbs most of the grease and covers the hamburger flavor.

No matter how sick he was, and in reality, he was never really well, taking over 30 pills a day, we always could count on him. He was there with the beer and the gear for every birth, baptism, 1st communion, sports event and the sickness and death of friends and in-laws. With respect to the unexpected deaths or illnesses of those he loved, he more than once called me to arrange emergency travel to be at the side of those who needed him most often that very same day. He was often the first to come and the last leave any event or situation. He wanted to make sure that those he was leaving were ready and able to carry on without him.

He injected himself into the families of his in-laws many of them here today. He spent many hours at their sporting events, high school football games, the Carrier Dome, countless little league games, fishing trips but mostly simple events like holidays and cookouts.

I have to get back to his one name. Having only one name, he often re-named his inner circle. This is even true for his children who he had the opportunity to name –

There is DF, Liam, Cricket and Tippy (the four of us); Mookie his sister, Specs, Bibble, Buggy, Thumper, Gumper, Poochie and Magic.

Magic.

Magic was his best friend, and Depot co-worker, car pool buddy and confidant. I know he loved Magic very much and he spoke of him with great affection often. Undoubtedly, Magic was one of the central figures of his life and a much loved friend. To be frank, he loved no one, apart than his family, more than him. To this day, I do not know his real name. When Magic tragically lost his son, you would have thought he lost his own child.

He lived a very full life. Some of the things he has done in the last few years –

 Three Super Bowls although none involving a Buffalo victory.
 The 1996 Summer Olympics where we all cried seeing an American gold medal in track and field.
 Several Atlanta Braves Games.
 Years of Major League Spring Training in South Florida.
 The Football Hall of Fame Induction of Jim Kelly (where he sat with Jim Kelly’s family)
 The Dizzy Dean Little League World Series where my nephew C.J. played.
 DHS Class Reunions – Never Missed One.
 Most recently, the NCAA Sweet 16.

In reality, despite the largeness of the events I just mentioned, they only make for interesting press and reflect only a handful of days. Crutch reveled most in spending time with his family and friends, watching TV, sitting around teasing those around him and telling jokes.

He was Catholic his whole life and his faith was lived in action. He never put himself first, always last. He did not preach to us. He led from the front largely through self-denial. He was not a particular deep thinker about things, he just looked at right and wrong and tried to do right. At the time of his death, despite great pain, he delayed the administration of narcotics that were offered to him several times so that he could participate fully in the Sacraments prior to his death. He prayed for sure and worshiped every Sunday wherever he was. We sang the prayer of St. Francis today and that to me epitomized his Faith life – seeking as best he could to sow love, bring pardon, hope, light, consolation and joy. His legacy is the extent we do the same.

Given at the funeral of William J. “Crutch” Kane, Sr.
St. Francis deSales Catholic Church
Geneva, New York

10:00 o’clock, April 25, 2005

Increase in Estrogen in Drinking Water Linked to Increase in Prostate Cancer

A recent study reported in the British Medical Journal suggests a link between the concentration of estrogen in drinking water and an increase in prostate cancer in males. This is a first of its kind ecological study. The World Health Organization (starting on page 251 of link) considers estrogen as a Class I carcinogen (like asbestos, radiation and tobacco).

The source of estrogen in the drinking water is a disputed point. Sources of estrogen include oral contraceptives, estrogen replacement therapy and animals.

On Faith, Truths and Lies

Maryland’s O’Malley becomes 5th Catholic governor to sign legislation allowing same-sex marriage.

A few points for reflection:

1. From a religious point of view I think that our secularization is the result of a dull and lifeless faith. People drift away from God because they believe less, because they think their problems are all going to find a solution in technology, science, or their own knowledge, and not in God. We are not humble and fail to acknowledge the region – dare I say the reign of supernatural mystery that puts us in contact with a reality that goes beyond us. We refuse to recognize our creaturehood and instead make ourselves the center of the universe without any ties to God. We define ethical norms for ourselves, what is good and evil without any reference to God’s revelation. Therefore, we will be doomed to increasing secularization, which will only make man more miserable.

2. Obama is right only because his stick is bigger than mine; not because his thoughts are more worthy or his argument more nuanced and developed. We no longer have right, left, religious or atheist – we have ruling class and the ruled. If “our guy” is in power we feel vindicated – even if he is tyrannical. He is, after all, our guy – and if he lies about conscience at U Notre Dame, or lies about reducing abortion or lies about if you are happy with your health insurance, it will not change, if he lies about the deficit – now at over $70,000 per American that is just fine, because he is “our guy”.

3. Relativism at its expected end is the imposition of power over conscience at the point of the sword. We are seeing this now in a contraceptive mandate no one asked for. It is not about who pays for a stupid little pill – it is about forcing the oldest and greatest organization in history to bend to a tyrant’s will.

4. The Catholic Church’s belief that Jesus Christ is the unique savior of the world and that Christ’s mission continues in a distinctive way in the Catholic Church makes Catholicism a discomforting presence for relativists who call for its suppression or consider it irrelevant. We are the example of continuity and we claim possession of the completeness of truth about God and about his relationship with us – even if no one listens or disregards its teachings.

5. The heresy that all truths are equal, so long as they’re sincerely held, is about all that today’s culture can offer in answer to Pontius Pilate’s eternal question “Truth? What is truth?” The Church therefore is a threat because she defends her children with truth using motherly zeal in season and out – to the point of shedding HER blood. Persecution begins with marginalization and if one believes the Church is marginalized, lampooned and disregarded by tyrants then one rightly observes the beginning of persecution and at that point one must choose a side – persecutor or defender.

6. If sincerity and not reality is the measure of truth, then truth is ephemeral, a mere cognitive or psychological construct susceptible to the whims of man. To say, “All Truths are equal” is to say that there is no truth in the sense of the truth – reality, accuracy, certainty or legitimacy.

7. If there is no truth, then lies must fill the void and only one power is called a liar and murderer from the beginning. The other founded the Catholic Church and dared to call himself “the Truth”. So choose a side carefully and it is not right or left, popular or unpopular. It is not some selection in the cafeteria of religions or spiritualities or some odd feeling that justifies some past sin(s) that remain yet to be confessed.

There are Truths and there are Lies. You will spend eternity with the father of one or the other and your choice to serve truth or serve lies will determine your fate.

The Editors of America Magazine – FAIL

In an unsigned editorial the Jesuit magazine America steps away from the Catholic bishops encouraging them to focus like pastors, not on the religious rights of Americans but on nuclear war and the economy. That, muses the editors of America is what Americans want.  Forget about preaching fearlessly in season and out, forget about scandal. Forget about hypocrisy. None of that matters to the editors of America.

America’s editorial view of the disagreement centers on how certain prudential considerations work out between the ruling class and the governed and how the multiple factors such as who pays for insurance and who pays for contraception are to be balanced in this case. The answer is already clear: the Church, should it comply with even the revised mandate of February 10th would be knowingly involved in culpable material cooperation with evil. Catholic hospitals, schools, and charities, exist not only to serve the needy but to testify in the world to Catholic truth. It is this testimony that the Administration is interested in silencing, this witness it wants to dilute.

Purchasing or providing contraceptives mutes and dilutes the Church’s message. It is not about who pays for a relatively cheap and common white pill.

America neglects to consider that if the cooperation of Catholic employers is not technically culpable, the objecting employers would be cooperating only because they are being coerced into doing a morally repulsive act. Such a law is morally objectionable even if the coercion involved makes complying with the law morally permissible in a strict sense. However, it is akin to not paying the hit man, but buying him a $1000 bullet to use instead, presuming he will use it to target shoot.

The fundamental problem with the mandate – ignored by the editors -  is that it coerces some people into doing what they think is wrong, and this problem remains regardless of whether the governmental coercion excuses  in part the moral actions of the people being coerced.

Professor Janet Smith weighs in at Catholic Vote with a higher level, blistering analysis.

On Trust and Ultrasound Laws

The ultrasound laws reflect a particular distrust between the public and abortion providers that is unique in the healthcare sector. This distrust is not simply predicated on the moral dispute between what constitutes a person and when human life begins or what is choice. It is far from bumper sticker simple 40 years after Roe.

The cash-on-delivery healthcare sector (abortion and elective plastics to name two) have a way of attracting predatory physicians who are often, not qualified for the procedures that they perform, do not have surgical admitting privileges at hospitals and have a tendency to become indicted felons.  You do not see this in ortho, peds, general surgery or podiatry.

Regular abortion providers are unique in that this population routinely include physicians who (1) “Dump” the expected end  of their incompetency on E.Rs. (2) Are sometimes one procedure family practice physicians, not residency trained gyn surgeons with surgical admitting privileges (3) Employ non-physicians and non-RNs to perform abortions and administer narcotics. The Gosnell indictment is a shocking 281 pages horror story. With a 30 year career, he was undoubtedly known in the Ob/Gyn community as one who was a “bit loose” with fetal dating.  (4) In 2010 one doc was jailed for manslaughter  (5) In January, 2012 two physicians were indicted for one and five counts of manslaughter respectively. One doc curiously started an abortion in NJ and attempted to complete it in MD.  – a routine practice of his. (6) Both Brigham and Gosnell had a habit of freezing dozens of aborted fetuses and Gosnell even had a jar of preserved fetal feet on his desk. This screams for a high level regulatory oversight and reveals a distorted psychology.  The fact that Gosnell worked for 30 years and Brigham 15 suggests knowledge of their practices in the medical community.  (6) Just this week, Ann Kristen Neuhaus, M.D. lost her license to practice medicine for failing to meet the standard of care 11 times in vulnerable patients between the ages of 11 and 18.

The distrust between the public and the abortion provider appears legitimate and ultrasound laws, parental notification laws, waiting period laws, etc., is in part a reflection of that distrust.  It is also a transparent strategy to limit abortion access but that strategy is only effective because practices like the above exist for decades and the ob-gyn community – the experts – could care less.

It seems that for the abortion sector of ob-gyn the norm is to ignore problems and to have no standards of care; not even something as simple and as routine as ultrasound,  real surgeons or inspected clinics. It is either the standard of care to ultrasound a woman who is having a uterine surgical procedure or it is not. If not, let’s publish a paper and send it to Blue Cross. I am certain that they would be thrilled to disallow any ultrasounds until the 12th week.  Maybe a non-continuing pregnancy is not an indication for ultrasound, but  I cannot see how one can say in 2012 that it is the standard of care to determine uterine anatomy by physical exam alone or the presence of an ectopic pregnancy by labs and exam alone.  In fact, I am yet to see any Ob-Gyn say that ultrasound is not standard, reasonable or necessary in a pregnant patient at virtually any time.

But when it comes to abortion, no standard of care is fine – and that is distressing.

In no circumstance would you see family practice docs doing any other surgery.  In no ob-gyn practice would you observe intrauterine surgery performed or RU-486 administered without an ultrasound.  In no circumstance would you have a surgical procedure started in NJ and completed in MD. In no circumstance would you find a physician dropping off his critical patient to an ER and leave, refusing to offer a history or even his name. In no circumstance would you find a medical practice and an oxcycontin distributorship.  In no surgical procedure would you have an imaging procedure that is not reviewed by the surgeon and patient together. But in abortion, this is the stated norm.

This aspect of healthcare screams for regulatory oversight because leaving it between a patient and her paid in cash doctor is not working very well.  Many “good” docs are not interested and woe to the woman who lives in a state that lacks aggressive oversight – she may die or be maimed, be treated by a non-physician or have anesthesia administered by a teen – all of which occurred in 2011. The surgical suite may reek of cat urine and the halls and clinic may not meet code; as was the case in Philly. The above links are not events from the bad old days but widely reported events from within the last year.

Ultrasound laws have little to do with the right to choose or not, it has to do with an unregulated surgical practice that seems to attract a disproportionate number of felons and bottom feeding predatory doctors. Roe was 40 years ago and women continue to actually die. The only recourse is for the public to exercise their right to self-govern because mainstream medicine and accredited physicians have abandoned the oversight of abortion patient decades ago.  The standard is “whatever” and in 2012 that is not good enough.

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