Current Affairs

Archbishop Chaput: HHS Mandate "... belligerent, unnecessary and deeply offensive to the content of Catholic belief"

Everything Archbishop Chaput writes is lapidary and clear. The Archbishop's response to President Obama's latest assault on our religious freedoms is no exception:

ArchbishopChaput2
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) refused on January 20 to broaden the exception to its mandate that nearly all Catholic employers must cover contraception, abortifacients and sterilization in their health care plans.

An "accommodation" offered Friday by the White House did not solve the problem. Instead, it triggered withering criticism from legal scholars like Notre Dame’s Carter Snead, Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon, Princeton’s Robert George and Catholic University of America president John Garvey, along with non-Catholic scholars like Yuval Levin, the religious liberty law firm The Becket Fund and numerous Catholic and other organizations.
Many Catholics are confused and angry. They should be.
Quite a few Catholics supported President Obama in the last election, so the ironies here are bitter. Many feel betrayed. They’re baffled that the Obama administration would seek to coerce Catholic employers, private and corporate, to violate their religious convictions.
But it’s clear that such actions are developing into a pattern. Whether it was the administration's early shift toward the anemic language of "freedom of worship" instead of the more historically grounded and robust concept of "freedom of religion" in key diplomatic discussions; or its troubling effort to regulate religious ministers recently rejected 9-0 by the Supreme Court in the Hosanna Tabor case; or the revocation of the U.S. bishops’ conference human trafficking grant for refusing to refer rape victims to abortion clinics, it seems obvious that this administration is -- to put it generously -- tone deaf to people of faith.
Philadelphians may wish to reflect on the following facts. The Archdiocesan Secretariat for Catholic Human Services spends $278,000,000 annually on services to the community. About 4,000 employees comprise our Secretariat’s work force. Catholic Social Services is the largest social service agency in Pennsylvania and the largest residential care/social service sub-contractor with the Department of Human Services of the City of Philadelphia.
There’s more. Archdiocesan Catholic Health Care Services is the largest faith-based provider of long-term-care services to the poor and elderly in the five-county area, and the seventh-largest nationally. And our Nutritional Development Services ministry serves more than 8 million meals a year to school children, summer programs and child care centers. It also provides 2 million pounds of non-perishable food to needy families and the elderly through its Community Food Program.
Much of the money used by these ministries comes from public funding. But of course, the reason these ministries are trusted with public funding is that they do an excellent job. The service relationship works well without compromising the integrity of either the government or the Church. In fact, in a practical sense, government often benefits more than the Church.
It’s also important to note that many millions of the dollars disbursed are resources directly donated by faithful Catholics to carry out their Gospel mission to serve the needy. For the Church, this makes perfect sense: As a believing community, we share our resources freely and gladly. We’ll cooperate with anyone in service to the common good, so long as we are not forced to compromise our religious beliefs.
But the HHS mandate, including its latest variant, are belligerent, unnecessary and deeply offensive to the content of Catholic belief. Any such mandate would make it morally compromising for us to provide health care benefits to the staffing of our public service ministries. Moreover, we cannot afford to be fooled -- yet again -- by evasive and misleading allusions to the administration’s alleged "flexibility" on such issues. The HHS mandate needs to be rescinded.
Many critics are focusing on the details of this or that particular version of the HHS regulation -- the narrowness of the religious exemption, the breadth of the mandate, the hollowness of the grace period. As useful as this approach may be, it risks wandering into the weeds. The White House response on these points is ambiguous and weak. The true magnitude of the issue is getting lost as just another debate about details.
In reality, no similarly aggressive attack on religious freedom in our country has occurred in recent memory.
The current administration prides itself on being measured and deliberate. The current HHS mandate needs to be understood as exactly that. Commentators are using words like "gaffe," "ill conceived," and "mistake" to describe the mandate. They’re wrong. It’s impossible to see this regulation as some happenstance policy. It has been too long in the making.
Despite all of its public apprehension about "culture warriors" on the political right in the past, the current administration has created an HHS mandate that is the embodiment of culture war. At its heart is a seemingly deep distrust of the formative role religious faith has on personal and social conduct, and a deep distaste for religion’s moral influence on public affairs. To say that this view is contrary to the Founders’ thinking and the record of American history would be an understatement.
Critics may characterize my words here as partisan or political. These are my personal views, and of course people are free to disagree. But it is this administration -- not Catholic ministries or institutions or bishops -- that chose the timing and nature of the fight. The onus is entirely on the White House, which also has the power to remove the issue from public conflict. Catholics should not be misled into accepting feeble compromises on issues of principle. The HHS mandate is bad law; and not merely bad, but dangerous and insulting. It needs to be withdrawn -- now

Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM


 

 

Catholic News Agency post 2/11


Contact the President, Secretary of HHS and Congress over Conscience Protection Clause

I've assembled a collection of links which might be useful if you plan on contacting government officials to let them know of your displeasure with the recent decision of HHS Secretary Sebelius and President Obama to mandate medical insurance which covers morally objectionable medications and procedures for employees of Catholic institutions.

The USCCB has a link to Congress to advocate for legislation which more fully protects the rights of individuals and institutions from coercion of their consciences.

Support Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

Contact the White House

President Obama's email at the White House

Mailing address:


WhiteHouse

Contact Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at Health and Human Services

Hhs

 

The USCCB has a good collection of links and articles about conscience protection at their webpage.

USCCB Conscience Protection Critical

Archbishop Dolan's OpEd in Wall Street Journal


Father Manning's Homily For Respect Life on Jan 21, 2012

Tomorrow is the National Prayer Vigil for Life And the Annual March for Life in Washington And boy do we need them.

Last week, President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius determined that money from the school tuition you pay to Holy Cross And some of the collection monies on Sunday which subsidize our school, be used to provide health care coverage for our employees which includes medications, procedures and counseling that flaunts 2000 years of church tradition.

The Washington double‐speak‐filled‐directive which should anger every person who holds a single religious conviction, conceded that the ruling which forces Church employers to fund the immoral procedures, drugs and counsel would respect our religious sensitivities by giving us one year to comply with the ruling. Only one day before the unprecedented and anti‐Catholic ruling by Obama/Sebelius, listen to the truth proclaimed boldly by Pope Benedict to a group of US Bishops meeting with the pope in the Vatican:

"Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. …it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life."

Swear allegiance to the Roman emperor Or we will cut off your head! Well, at least, close your hospitals, schools and adoption agencies and force you to violate your religious convictions! 

I don’t usually like slogans, but if they make you think…here’s one: The constitution guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.

Just a slight dip into murky waters of secular media should focus our attention and energize us:

Again and again, we see free speech and open debate stifled whenever the subject of modern marriage comes up in civic discourse. Deviations from the current politically correct definitions are hate speech. (Wisconsin student essay on traditional marriage)

Piers Morgan in an interview with Rick Santorum Responded to Santorum’s traditional Catholic views on marriage and sexuality with the retort: But your views border on bigotry, don’t you think?

The Santorum’s reverent treatment of their deceased newborn’s body many years ago was aubject of mockery by liberal pundits on the Internet and in print.

Google, Coca‐Cola, Apple, The Simpsons - have been around longer than these new secular dogmas on marriage and adoption we are expected to embrace lockstep.

American bigotry toward Catholicism isn’t new or gone. I'm reading Gotham: On The History of New York City From Its Very Beginnings. From the earliest days there were European settlers in North America, Catholics were denied the rights accorded others. On Pope Day, effigies of the Pope and Satan were burned and thrown into the river. Local modern history even until very recently shows the anti-Catholic bias: several local golf and beach clubs were founded primarily for Catholics, who could not easily gain entry into establishment groups. The Knights of Columbus offered Catholic family men life insurance which they could otherwise not obtain. Where was the largest KKK march in the US in 1924? ?  Long Branch. Recall that the KKK not only hates blacks, but Jews and Catholics as well.

The news isn’t all bad though: Last week the US Supreme Court unanimously upheld the right of religious groups to set their own qualifications for ministry. A Lutheran church had dismissed one of its religion teachers and the Justice Department brought suit for her reinstatement under the ADA act, alleging discrimination because of disability. The supreme court reaffirmed the right of the church to hire its ministers as it sees fit. 

Archbishop Dolan, president of the USCCB, has criticized the Administration's insurance mandate and will be studying the church’s options.  Pray for Archbishop Dolan. We need bishops with fire in the belly on this issue. 

Let us stay informed: you contribute the donations and pay the tuition and I endorse the checks which would pay for this immoral insurance. Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and read, read, read: American History, Church history, regional history, the church teachings on life issues and the moral reasoning behind these teachings, discuss the issues.

Write Congress, Sibelius, Obama. Write the reporters, editors, media outlets when their anti-Catholic bias shows. Then we should vote as if our faith depended on it!


Another Lambnapping at Holy Cross Church Rumson

 

Here's a video of the surveillance cameras capturing the young thief who helped himself to several of the figures from the Christmas Manger creche on December 22nd 4:00 AM. 

Jesus and the baby lambs are taken in from the creche each evening for safe keeping. The larger figures are difficult to move, but not apparently hard enough.

One lamb has mysteriously returned, and the donkey which was taken from the creche was left by the curb.  Police are enhancing the original video which is of higher quality than this YouTube mpeg.

The life size Nativity figures were donated by parishioners in memory of loved ones.

We can hope that the remaining lamb is returned in time for Christmas. 


Key Parties for Underage Teen Drinkers?

NoBeer 
Despite the fact that they are illegal and that high school administrators routinely denounce the practice, some parents host supervised drinking parties for their underage teens, especially for graduations. Parents who break the law choose to allow the drinking reasoning that drinking done under their supervision will help teens to drink responsibly, or at least protect them from harm for the moment. "They've got to learn someday," the common sense wisdom goes.

A recent study belies this bit of folk wisdom. Researchers followed 7th graders for three years, and found that the younger the child began drinking, the more likley they were to continue drinking - with or without parental supervision. Trouble is, the supervised group drank more, not less and had significantly more adverse alcohol-related events (sickness, passing out, blacking out, etc.).  The supervised use of alcohol appears to encourage alcohol's use, but not responsible drinking.

"Kids need parents to be parents and not drinking buddies," says study researcher Barbara J. McMorris, PhD. Permissive parenting may only be part of the problem though. Parents may need to examine the importance of alcohol in their own lives and establish a "no use" policy for their teens instead of initiating them into a problem at an even younger age.

 


Sacred Architecture

The latest issue of Sacred Architecture, The Journal of the Institute for Sacred Architecture, Duncan Stroik, editor arrived on my desk today. There are some beautiful photos of newly constructed traditional church architecture and a scathing review of the new shrine church built to contain the remains of St. Padre Pio. An article entitled "Architectural Violence in Umbria" laments the landing of a huge, nearly solid cube of concrete in the beautiful Umbrian countryside.

The webpage (www.sacredarchitecture.org) of the journal is worth a visit.

Padre Pio's Shrine and Cross

San-giovanni-rotondo Crocechiesanuova_piccola_24

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Award-Winning Umbrian Church by Fuksas Studios (photos courtesy of Architectural Review)

Fuksas  219_san_paolo_parish02


Two Laudable Resolutions to Honor Mother Teresa

 

Assemblyman Jay Webber / 973-884-6190

Assembly Republican Press Office / 609-292-5339

 

June 10, 2010

 

WEBBER INTRODUCES RESOLUTIONS TO COMMEMORATE 100th BIRTHDAY OF MOTHER TERESA

 

CALLS ON EMPIRE STATE BUILDING TO RECONSIDER DENYING REVERED WOMAN THE SAME HONOR GIVEN TO

COMMUNIST DICTATOR MAO ZEDONG

 

            Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris and Passaic, introduced today two Resolutions to honor Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta on August 26, 2010, the 100th anniversary of her birth.  On June 1, Assemblyman Webber announced that he would be introducing these Resolutions.   Assemblyman Peter Barnes, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, and Assemblyman Erik Peterson already are joining in sponsoring these bipartisan Resolutions.

The first resolution, AR-92, responds to the Empire State Building Lighting Partners’ rejection of an application to illuminate the Empire State Building in blue and white, the colors of the congregation Mother Teresa founded, the Missionaries of Charity.  Last Fall, the Partners approved of lighting the tower in red and yellow to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Communist revolution, whose dictator Mao Zedong was responsible for the deaths of millions of people.  In the past the Building also has been lighted for other less consequential figures such as the Grateful Dead and Mariah Carey.  The Resolution urges the Partners and owner Anthony Malkin to reconsider their decision to disqualify Mother Teresa.

"So let’s see whether we have this straight from Anthony Malkin and his Partners:  Worthy of lighting the Empire State Building are Mao Zedong, Mariah Carey, and the Grateful Dead — but not Mother Teresa, who helped shape the 20th century through her compassion and caring,” stated Webber.  “It is perverse that the Empire State Building Partners and Mr. Malkin would choose to honor an oppressive Communist regime defined by terror and tyranny, but then refuse to honor a life-saving humanitarian whose life was selflessly dedicated to easing the pain of the suffering and sick.  The absurdity of this situation towers nearly as tall as the skyscraper itself.”

"Outside Calcutta, few places have been more touched by Mother Teresa than our metropolitan area," stated Webber. "Her Missionaries of Charity minister to the poor in the Bronx and across New Jersey, from Newark to Plainfield to Asbury Park.  The New York City skyline is a treasured part of daily life for millions of New Jerseyans, many of whom have been helped or inspired by the heroic life of Mother Teresa.  On their behalf, I ask the Empire State Building Lighting Partners to use their powerful icon to honor Mother Teresa.  Such a tribute in lights would be fitting for a woman who brought the light of love to so many suffering in darkness," continued Webber.

The New York City Council is scheduled to consider its own resolution calling on the Building Partners to reconsider its decision denying Mother Teresa an honoring in lights.

The second resolution, AR-93, would declare August 26, 2010, to be Mother Teresa Day in New Jersey, to honor and celebrate her centennial.  Mother Teresa received in her lifetime 124 awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Medal of Freedom.

            "New Jerseyans of all beliefs and backgrounds agree that Mother Teresa will be a model of selflessness for centuries to come, and I call on my colleagues in the Legislature to join me in honoring her extraordinary life and work,” concluded Webber.

            Both resolutions are attached.

Empire State Lighting for Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa Day in New Jersey


NJ Assemblyman Jay Webber Introduces Resolutions to Honor Mother Teresa

WEBBER TO INTRODUCE RESOLUTIONS TO COMMEMORATE 100TH BIRTHDAY OF MOTHER TERESA

CALLS ON EMPIRE STATE BUILDING TO RECONSIDER DENYING REVERED WOMAN THE SAME HONOR GIVEN TO COMMUNIST DICTATOR MAO ZEDONG

Empire State
 Sept 30 2009 Lights to Commemorate 60th Anniversary of People's Republic of China

Assemblyman Jay Webber, R-Morris and Passaic, will introduce two resolutions to honor Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta on August 26, 2010, the 100th anniversary of her birth.

The first resolution responds to the recent rejection of an application to illuminate the Empire State Building in blue and white, the colors of her congregation, the Missionaries of Charity, on Mother Teresa’s centenary. The Empire State Building Lighting Partners denied the request without explanation.Yet last Fall, the Partners approved of lighting the tower in red and yellow to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Communist revolution, whose dictator Mao Zedong was responsible for the deaths of millions of people. The resolution urges the Partners and owner Anthony Malkin to reconsider their decision.

"Outside Calcutta, few places have been more touched by Mother Teresa than our metropolitan area," stated Webber. "Her Missionaries of Charity minister to the poor in the Bronx and across New Jersey, from Newark to Plainfield to Asbury Park. It is absurd and beyond belief that the Empire State Building would honor an oppressive Communist regime defined by terror and tyranny, but refuse to honor a life-saving Catholic woman defined by compassion and caring.

"The New York City skyline is a treasured part of daily life for millions of New Jerseyans, many of whom have been helped or inspired by the heroic life of Mother Teresa. On their behalf, I ask the Empire State Building Lighting Partners to use their powerful icon to honor this great saint. Such a tribute in lights would be fitting for a woman who brought the light of love to so many suffering in darkness," continued Webber.

The second resolution would declare August 26, 2010, to be Mother Teresa Day in New Jersey, to honor and celebrate her centennial. Mother Teresa received in her lifetime 124 awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Medal of Freedom.

"New Jerseyans of all beliefs and backgrounds agree that Mother Teresa will be a model of selflessness for centuries to come, and I call on my colleagues in the Legislature to join me in honoring her extraordinary life and work,” concluded Webber.

Assemblyman Jay Webber / 973-884-6190


Obama Proclamation 2010 and 2009

President Obama has declared June to be National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. There was an interesting change on the President's website from 2009 to 2010 in the wording of the language of this proclamation.

May 28, 2010 version of the Proclamation: (excerpt)

Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

June 1, 2009 version of the Proclamation: (excerpt)

Much work remains to fulfill our Nation's promise of equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.  That is why we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. (emphasis mine)  We must protect the rights of LGBT families by securing their adoption rights, ending employment discrimination against LGBT Americans, and ensuring Federal employees receive equal benefits.  We must create safer schools so all our children may learn in a supportive environment.  I am also committed to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" so patriotic LGBT Americans can serve openly in our military, and I am working with the Congress and our military leadership to accomplish that goal.

Read the official version of the proclamation  2009 Version

   Here's the 2010 Version

Read about the powers of a presidential proclamation at Wikipedia

 

  


“Seek dialogue, but be ready for martyrdom," says Pope Benedict XVI

I hope you have been reading the pope's remarks he made on his trip to Portugal. Each speech, no matter to whom it is addressed, has wisdom for everyone and thoughts for prayer.

While addressing his entourage on the flight to Portugal, the pope welcomed dialogue with secular power and affirmed its necessity, but issued a clarion call to Christians: "Seek dialogue, but be ready for martyrdom."

Benedictandbabyatfatima courtesty of "The Anchoress"      Fatima1  

Photo courtesy of The Anchoress, a great blog to visit often.


Facebook and Social Cruelty

Facebook_logoA few years ago I discovered a Yahoo group for alumni of my parish Catholic grammar school. It was really fun to relive old memories and catch up on what has happened to former classmates since graduation (so long ago!). Two things began to make it not so much fun for me: 1) people began saying really vicious things about former teachers (lay and religious) and parish priests; 2) the whole group became involved in a controversy concerning placement and use of a flagpole on the school and church property. The controversy itself was benign enough – it was the rhetoric around the conversation that quickly became vitriolic. When name-calling and character assassination took control over substance, I knew it was time for me to stop checking the page and check out. I let the moderator of the group know how I felt and left.

Recently, you may know of two Facebook pages regarding teachers at Holy Cross that were taken down by their owners for violating Holy Cross’ school policy regarding use of the Internet. The pages contained derogatory remarks about the teachers and one included a photo of the teacher in the classroom taken clandestinely with school computer equipment.

Today, I was emailed a link to a Facebook page for Holy Cross alumni which looks like it would be fun if it were moderated. Once again, however, the derogatory language used by some about the school and certain teachers ruin the fun of reliving memories both good and bad. What is it about the Internet that makes people think they can publicly post whatever they want to say about someone?  And why do 158 members of the group say nothing when it happens?


Sober, Thoughtful Article on Clerical Child Abuse Scandal

016-St-Peters-Rome-From-The-Tiber-q75-1733x1151  If you are struggling to find some perspective before the flames of moral panic regarding clerical child abuse engulf us all, Joseph Bottum has an interesting piece at the WeeklyStandard.com, which really needs to be read in its entirety before making a judgment about his viewpoint. I think it's a good article. 

Anti-Catholicism Again: The Permanent Scandal of the Vatican


You May Even Find Yourself Fighting Against God

Today's Lectionary Readings


Antiquity_culture_194861
The criticisms and media hysteria swirling around the Pope continue and almost as if on cue, today's readings give us solace. While the Church has and always will undergo continuous reform, many of the cries against her sound more anti-religious and hate-filled by the day.

Let us renew our prayers for Pope Benedict, especially for his spiritual strength and moral courage.

 


We Gave You Strict Orders To Stop Teaching In That Name, Did We Not?

Today's Lectionary Readings

Mob
The apostles kept preaching the good news about Jesus Christ and stuck together as a band of missioners even when threatened by the Sanhedrin.

Our resolve should be as great, but manytimes we surrender to popular thinking or criticism and give up when faithful discipleship becomes difficult.

However tiring it may be to defend Pope Benedict from outrageous charges, especially when the threat that doing so may seem to condone molesting children, we must persevere in his defence and condemn wrongdoing at the same time. The latest outrageous plan by some in Britain to arrest our pope when he travels there for "crimes against humanity" would be ludicrous if they were not also fueled by hate-filled invective.

Let us pray for the pope and our church. 


Nicodemus Moves From Darkness to Light

Today's Lectionary Readings

Henry_Ossawa_Tanner_-_Nicodemus_coming_to_Christ
NIcodemus has a public reputation to uphold, so he comes to ask Jesus questions under cover of darkness. Afraid of being seen in public as anything other than a critic of Jesus, his search for truth forces him to take the first tentative steps toward Jesus. His encounter with Christ must have had a positive impact on him, since not long after, he is unafraid to accompany Joseph of Arimathea and help bury Jesus' body.

Sad to say we're enduring a period of time when it's not easy to be seen in public as anything other than a critic of Jesus' church. Many are more intent on generating heat, even smoke, than searching for the light of truth. It is difficult, but necessary, to avoid condoning reprehensible behavior by priests or bishops and yet to condemn inaccurate, incomplete or agenda-driven reporting.

Slowly but surely, more truth is coming to light. There are several commentators and reporters that are putting the incendiary reporting of the New York Times in perspective. See "Mean Men" by Pat Wingert in Newsweek, which puts the sad statistics in the Catholic church in context with the even more alarming figures outside the church; also "What Went Wrong: Don't Blame Celibacy," by George Weigel.

  

The painting is by Henry Ossawa Tanner, an African-American ex-patriot living in France, who painted many biblical and spiritual themes. You may know his painting the "Banjo Lesson," which I believe is owned by Bill Cosby.


Moral Panic: Changing Concepts of the Child Molester in America

Ocyp Until recently, I had never heard the term "moral panic." I came across the term in researching articles about the latest child abuse scandals in the Church, which attributed the media frenzy to such a state. Philip Jenkins did not originate the term, but he has carefully explored the pheonomenon, especially when it comes to protecting children, the Catholic church and its clergy.

Two of his books are of note: Moral Panic:Changing Concepts of the Child Molester in America (Yale University Press, 2004) and Pedophiles and Priests:Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis (Oxford Press, 2001)

Professor Jenkins' work is a bit old, but not really outdated, especially since he clearly outlines the different groups of "moral entrepreneurs" who are clamoring loudly even now about the meaning, context and remedy for the abuse.

He clearly distinguishes pedophilia (sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children) from ephebophilia (sexual attraction to adolescents), pointing out that the vast number of abuse cases in the Catholic church are ephebophilia. His research shows that neither are more common in Catholic clergy than clergy of other denominations, or in the general population - a controversial assertion these days to be sure. But loudly screaming or printing daily that these perversions are exclusive to the Catholic priesthood and the structure of the Catholic church does not make it true either.

If you've read the more popular books by Berry, Bruni, Doyle or Podles, then you should read either of Jenkin's books. Berry has just published a new book discussing John Paul II and Fr. Maciel of the Legionnaires of Christ, which I have not yet read. In light of the continuing media coverage, including a front page article in today's Asbury Park Press, it might be well to schedule a Wednesday night Faith Seeking Understanding discussion on the recent abuse scandal news articles - not to feed the frenzy, but to shed some light. 

Let me know if you would be interested; send an email to the webmaster on the Church's homepage, or leave a signed, courteous comment here.


New England Journal of Medicine Hails Catholic Health Association and Leadership Council of Women Religious for Their "Pro-Life" Support of Obama's Health Care Reform

Intrauterine Surgery to save life of baby  Many have written about the damage done by the CHA and the Leadership Council of Women Religious because of their support for the recently passed Health Care reform bill.

Here's a bit more of the fallout: George Annas, JD, MPH a frequent contributor to NEJM, who has criticized restricting a woman's right to abortion, recently authored an article congratulating the CHA and Leadership Council of Women Religious for their support of the Health Care Reform Act without the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to explicitly exlude elective abortions as a health care benefit. Here's the concluding paragraph:

"Perhaps the most conspicuous winners are the Catholic Health Association of the United States and the Catholic women's religious orders, whose members deliver health care in 1200 facilities and organizations nationwide. In mid-March, shortly before the final vote, both groups came out very strongly in favor of the Senate bill without the Stupak-Pitts amendment; the nuns noted that the bill "will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions. It will uphold longstanding conscience protections, and it will make historic new investments...in support of pregnant women. This is the REAL pro-life stance, and we as Catholics are all for it." Amen."

(The cynical co-opting of pro-life language is the responsibility of the nuns group. The cynical use of "Amen" to conclude the less than prayerful opinion piece, is George Annas'. A congratulations from the pro physician-assisted suicide NEJM is only a Catholic merit badge in certain circles. Since Annas does not use the nuns' formal title, I wonder if he is aware that there is another group representing "Catholic religious orders?")

The US Bishops, however, and their legal consultants, concluded that the bill did not adequately protect the individual consciences of those opposed to abortion, nor continue the ban on the use of federal funds for abortions. Here's their statement:

 Health care reform must protect life and conscience, not threaten them. The Senate bill extends abortion coverage, allows federal funds to pay for elective abortions (for example, through a new appropriation for services at Community Health Centers that bypasses the Hyde amendment), and denies adequate conscience protection to individuals and institutions.

The regulations to prevent clever channeling of federal funds to abortion coverage have not yet been written. The bill's provision to allocate federal funds to Community Health Centers (e.g. run by Planned Parenthood) also did not concern CHA or LCWR.

Since the media didn't cover the statement by the "other" nuns leadership council, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, here is their statement:

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.

As Annas confides in his article, "There's no politics like abortion politics." How true. It is unfortunate that some Catholic groups are aligning themselves with those who have no interest whatsoever in limiting abortion or anything that the Church teaches, for a slice of the federal pie. At least Judas didn't keep the money.

The Real Pro-Life Stance - Health Care Reform and Abortion Funding, New England Journal of Medicine

US Bishops to House of Representatives: Fix Flaws or Vote No on Health Care Reform Statement from Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious

Statement from Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious

Statement from Leadership Conference of Women Religious 

The photo shows life-saving surgery on a baby within its mothers womb.


Rumson-Fair Haven Community Leaders Task Force Meeting May 5th

Silhouette of unidentified male teen drinking beer Community leaders of both the Rumson and Fair Haven communities have been invited to a Task Force meeting on the problem of adolescent drug and alcohol use. This is a follow-up to the first meeting which reviewed data from a self-reported survey of our high school students. Since the community leaders meeting, 94% of our high school parents have seen the same statistics. Now it's time to do something about them. Representatives from the Caron Foundation, an addiction recovery and research group, will also attend the meeting.



The New York Times vs. Pope Benedict XVI

Newspaper Both Archbishop Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio have written and preached some hard hitting criticism impugning the accuracy and objectivity of the New York Times on the matter of the pope's involvement with child abuse scandals in Germany and around the world.

Bishop DiMarzio Calls Upon the Priests and Parishioners to Besiege the New York Times

Archbishop Dolan's Blog on the New York Times, Pope Benedict and Fair Reporting

Be clear, no one criticizing the Times intends to minimize the tremendous damage done to the children, the priesthood and the Church by the abuse committed by the clergy - but, misrepresenting the facts and assuming guilt by innuendo are not worthy of an American newspaper.