I am in the middle of writing a post about the Paschal Mystery, and yet I can’t take my mind off this health care debacle that is currently facing our country. So, I decided that I might as well give healthcare another go-round. We discussed this topic back in November (see Anti-Woman Healthcare – HR 3962). It is important enough to revisit now, especially since some things have changed since then. Just to clarify – the original Health Care Bill was numbered as HR (House Resolution) 3200. The one that passed the House at Christmas was HR 3962. The current bill is from the Senate, and it is a version of the original HR 3962, but with some nice cushy amendments (eh-hem, bribes) thrown in, and has been given the House designation HR 3590, and the “Reconciliation Bill, which is supposed to be passed in tandem with HR 3590 is designated HR 4872. Besides some great teachable moments on the merits of a Democratic Republic, the Constitution, and power run amok, there is little else that I would congratulate the Congress on accomplishing with the current Health Care Legislation that is supposed to come to a vote on Sunday (March 21, 2010). One extremely unfortunate byproduct of this whole health care quagmire that our Country finds itself in, is that it has sewn some tremendous seeds of confusion about the Catholic Faith, and the privilege of being a woman.
I generally try to stay away from politics (just keeping all the numbers and versions of legislation straight is almost a 9-5 job!) in this blog because I prefer to focus instead on the gift of Femininity and how we can reclaim an authentically Christian Femininity in our times. The thing with healthcare is that our “Feminine genius” is exactly what is needed in this whole mess, and yet it is being hijacked and misrepresented by the “most powerful woman in America,” the Speaker of the House! What a sad day for women!
Many Catholics are (once again) being confounded by this Health Care debate as various news agencies report that the “Catholic Nuns” are in favor it, but the “Bishops are not.” This is simly false. The Truth is, a dissident faction of Sisters (Nuns) who formed a group called NETWORK sent a letter to Congress. The letter had 55 signatures – thats it – 55! (And one signatory signed twice!) The letter pledged the support of the group – of the 55 nuns. Now, the US has over 65,000 sisters in it. Fifty-Five nuns is a teeny tiny amount not even CLOSE to representing what the majority of Catholic Nuns think. Yet, the way this letter played in the media makes one think that somehow all the Catholic Nuns in the US got togther and decided that they really like this bill and that they want it to pass.(1) That’s just absurd! This kind of reporting only confuses Catholics (and non-Catholics alike). The bottom line is that this Bill, in its present form, along with the “Reconciliation Re-writes” is anti-Catholic. It does, despite what is being said by members of Congress, increase funding for Abortions, and in fact would expand it – using federal tax monies to do so. (2) The legislation also does not include a”Conscience Clause” which would protect medical professionals against having to perform procedures or prescribe medications that are contrary to their Faith. Without such a provision, Pro-Life Medical Professionals would literally be forced to perform abortions or face serious consequences. The same goes for Catholic doctors who, for now, are not required to prescribe contraceptives. If this bill passes, that would change. This puts Catholic Hospitals in a very dangerous situation. It does not bode well for Catholic Medical Professionals, and places a burden on them that was never intended by our Founding Fathers and the framers of the Constitution. What part of ‘religious freedom’ forces a professional in this country to provide a good or “service” that is against said individual’s Religion? In fact the whole purpose of the “separation of Church and State” was originally to protect the Church from the State – not the other way around! (by the way, that phrase, “Separation of Church and State” is NOT in the Constitution – it was written in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association, and it provided the idea for the Establishment Clause that is currently in our Constitution today. )
Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself. I just love history!
I have been extremely saddened to watch Speaker Pelosi exploit her Catholic Faith. On Friday she shamelessly invoked St. Joseph, as she once again pushed for the Health Care Bill’s passage. Then she had the gall to lie. I know, I know its a serious accusation, but that is the ONLY word for what she did. She brazenly stated that she had the support of over 60 Orders of Nuns – which according to her, represented “Every order you can think of.” This is purely false. Catholic League President Bill Donohue wasted no time in responding, “In fact, there are 793 religious communities, which means she heard from seven-and-a-half percent of them. Moreover, since there are approximately 65,000 nuns in the U.S., that means she was contacted by .0008 percent of them. In other words, not only are the bishops formally opposed to the bill she champions, it’s a lie to maintain that the nuns are on her side. Shameless is too kind a word to use to describe what Pelosi did today.” I have to agree with Mr. Donohue. Speaker Pelosi is the first woman to hold her position. That is certainly laudable. Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici specifically called on the Laity to enter into public office, and he mentions in his Letter to Women and Mulieris Dignitatem that women have a very unique and special role to play in the public arena – because “humanity has been entrusted to woman.” The late Holy Father explained to us that women have the gift and responsibility of recognizing and defending the dignity of every person. It is part of our genius as women.
“The moral and spiritual strength of a woman is joined to her awareness that God entrusts the human being to her in a special way. Of course, God entrusts every human being to each and every other human being. But this entrusting concerns women in a special way – precisely by reason of their femininity – and this in a particular way determines their vocation….
A woman is strong because of her awareness of this entrusting, strong because of the fact that God “entrusts the human being to her”, always and in every way, even in the situations of social discrimination in which she may find herself…..
… unilateral progress can also lead to a gradual loss of sensitivity for man, that is, for what is essentially human. In this sense, our time in particular awaits the manifestation of that “genius” which belongs to women, and which can ensure sensitivity for human beings in every circumstance: because they are human! – and because “the greatest of these is love.”
What better place that the public arena to “ensure sensitivity for man?” This is perhaps why I am so incredibly disappointed in Speaker Pelosi. She could be such an example to all Catholic Woman of how to live a public life of true Faith! She is a woman with considerable power, who professes an ardent Catholic Faith, yet she does not adhere to the most basic of Catholic Teachings, namely that all Life is Precious, and Life begins at Conception. My children grasp this concept! It is not complicated! My dear readers, we must pray for Madame Speakers’ conversion. She has been speaking falsehoods and heresies. She is sewing seeds of confusion and causing scandal. These are most serious charges and I urge you to join me in praying for her, and all public officials, that they may fully understand God’s Truth.
Speaking of Truth…there is a tenet of Catholic Social Teaching called the Principle of Subsidiarity, that I hoped would get more attention what with the whole Health Care bru-haha. A great explanation of this Principle is available from the Acton Institute, so rather than try to explinain it myself and re-invent the wheel, I have excerpts here for you: “One of the key principles of Catholic social thought is known as the principle of subsidiarity. This tenet holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. In other words, any activity which can be performed by a more decentralized entity should be. This principle is a bulwark of limited government and personal freedom. It conflicts with the passion for centralization and bureaucracy characteristic of the Welfare State…..The principle of subsidiarity is both thoroughly Catholic and thoroughly American.” (3) In fact Alexis de Tocqueville, who helped shape our democracy as it is today, was a firm proponent of the Principle of Subsidiarity. For a complete article on this principle, as it relates both to expanded welfare and the current helthcare debate visit http://www.acton.org/publications/randl/rl_article_200.php. The legislation before Congress is the exact opposite of what the Principle of Subsidarity stands for. The late Holy Father, John Paul II warned against violating such a principle because he saw that once the violation of Subsidiarity becomes the Status Quo, a Socialist state emerges, and the freedoms of the people are drastically curtailed – making them no longer free. Growing up in Poland during the Nazi occupation and then the Soviet Occupation, he would know what he was talking about. “This is why Pope John Paul II took the “social assistance state” to task in his 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus. The Pontiff wrote that the Welfare State was contradicting the principle of subsidiarity by intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility. This “leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending.” (4) I can only imagine what he would say now if he saw the Federal Government of the United states trying to take over the Health Care system! Especially since the Catholic Church has such a strong tradition of providing health care for the citizens of this country – insured and uninsured alike. Now these very institutions which have long provided care are under attack by the Health Care Bill, which would strip them of their ability to both practice good medicine, and live their Faith within the bounds of a clear conscience. What have we come to? What are we to do?
Do not lose hope! There is much we can do , both on a civic and a spiritual level!
“As our founding fathers made clear in The Federalist Papers, the U.S. Constitution was designed to leave many issues of great importance in the hands of the states. The federal government was to do only those things which the individual states could not effectively do for themselves. The subsidiarity principle was at work in the foundation of our nation. But from the New Deal era onwards, there has been a steady growth in federal power at the expense of the states. This has sparked a renewed interest in the Tenth Amendment, which reserves all powers not delegated to the federal government to the states.” (5) This reborn interest in the 10th amendment (the “States’ Rights” Amendment) is what has led to States such as Virginia and Idaho passing laws that protect their citizens from the Health Care Bill – essentially making the Federal Legislation defunct in their states (How relieved I am that I live in Virginia!) There are 37 other states with this type of legislation pending as I write this. Some Sates’ Attorneys General have also sent official letters to Congress saying that if this Bill passes and becomes law, their respective states will SUE the Federal Government over a violation of the 10th Amendment. (Virginia is also one of these States! As are Florida and Idaho.) So right there we have hope in the individual states standing up for their rights according to the Constitution, and under the Principle of Subsidiarity! We must pray for those who seek to oppose this legislation. As a citizen, you can contact your local representatives and demand similar actions be taken. Our Faith demands of the Laity an interested and active civic mind. How else will we stay free? How else will we hold those politicians, who work for us as Civil Servants , accountable? Often times Freedom is not easy – it must be guarded.
The Enemy does not like Freedom. Oh, C’mon Laura, this is a political thing, the Devil could care less. That my friends, is one of his lies. When people are free, they may serve God and others without constraint. When people are free, they can speak the Truth to those who have never heard it. When people are free, they are free to choose the Right and Good over all else. When people are Free they may worship Our Heavenly Father openly. Do these sound like things that the Father of Lies, the One who seeks to bind you in chains of Sin, would like? NO. Now we come to Abortion.
The National Right to Life Committee has looked over the tandem bills before the House of Representatives and has declared them to be the biggest Government Expansion of Abortion in this Country. Ever. Not only would abortions be covered by your tax dollars, in an unprecedented way, but the abortion industry itself would expand. Anyone who says that Abortion is not in the Health Care Bill (or in the “Fix-it” Bill) is either grossly ignorant, or lying. Its that simple. Now, who among us can say that Satan himself would not love to expand the holocaust of this Nation? Those of us who have taken to the front lines of the Abortion War in this country know first hand that it is first and foremost a Spiritual Battle. Do not think that there isn’t a Spiritual Battle waging around this Health Care Legislation as well. In this light, isn’t it interesting to note that the First Vote for this Legislation was on Christmas Eve, and that the original Time Line gave Congress a deadline of Easter – which meant they wold be voting on Good Friday? Then when the administration caught too much flak for an “Easter Vote” by Christians, the deadline was pushed back – to a Sunday. The Lord’s Day. There was a time when the Government shut down in observance of the Lord’s Day. Not this time. Not for this bill, which seeks to expand the killing of the most blameless, innocent and vulnerable. Yes, my friends, this is indeed a Spiritual Battle as well.
That is why first and foremost we must pray.
Yesterday I was in washington DC with my family. We went to protest the Bill, and as my son put it, “To tell the Congress NO!” (He was really into it!) I have been to several of the protests and rallies in DC over this legislation. Each time I am struck by the Faith of those who are there. Each time thousands of people have joined together in prayer for our country and our Congress. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes. Yesterday, while it was invigorating and exciting, and as empowering as it is to chant and cheer, what struck me the most were the people who quietly approached the Capitol Building and knelt down to pray. They did not pray out loud. They were not showboating or dramatic. They were quietly kneeling in prayer. Many stayed through the night to pray outside that building – “The People’s House” as it supposed to be called. That dear Readers, is what this is all about. That is why we will not fail. Even if this abomination passes, the fight is not yet over, because we realize just Who is on our Side, and with Him, we have already won.
Do not lose heart! Make you voice heard, as is our civic duty as Christians, but then make your voice and your heart known to Our Father. That is our duty as His Daughters. “In God we Trust” is still our motto as Americans, certainly now, perhaps more than ever, is not the time to doubt Him and His Providence. May God Bless you, and may He continue to Bless America.
(1) Catholic League Press Release, March 19, 2010 – text follows:
March 19, 2010
DISINFORMATION ON HEALTH BILL IS RAMPANT
Catholic League president Bill Donohue seeks to set the record straight on the status of the Catholic Church’s position on the health care bill: We are delighted that Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued a news release yesterday clarifying the position of Catholics on the health care bill. She explicitly cited a dissident Catholic group, NETWORK, for giving the false impression that 59,000 nuns have lined up in favor of the bill. “The letter had 55 signatories, some individuals, some groups of three to five persons. One endorser signed twice.” Perhaps the most commonly disseminated piece of disinformation concerns the question of abortion in the legislation. Is it true, as Catholic dissidents are saying, that the Senate bill does not cover abortion? And if so, are the bishops the ones promoting false information? The answer does not require legal analysis. All it requires is an ability to read and exercise common sense. If abortion coverage is not in the bill, then why is it that every single amendment written to make absolutely sure that abortion funding is not in the legislation was defeated by pro-abortion senators? We are happy to note that a health group of real professionals, namely the Catholic Medical Association, has formally opposed the bill; Catholic doctors should be listened to on this issue. The fact that they see right through the disinformation is heartening. Those in the media who want to know what the Catholic position is on this issue, and every other public policy issue, need only access the website of the USCCB. What others say is intriguing, but hardly determinative.