Monday, November 22, 2010

"Pharmacological Consumerism" at Its Worst

The Most Reverend Michael J. Fitzgerald
The Most Reverend John J. McIntyre
The Most Reverend Timothy C. Senior
The Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas
Auxiliaries to the Archbishop of Philadelphia
222 North 17th Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103

Your Excellencies:

As per a translation of the Holy Father's November 15th message to the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, "In our time we witness on one hand a care of health that risks being transformed into pharmacological consumerism, medical and surgical, becoming almost a cult of the body, and on the other, the difficulty of millions of persons to accede to conditions of minimal subsistence and indispensable medicines to be cured....Health justice should be among the priorities of governments and international institutions. Unfortunately, next to positive and encouraging results, there are opinions and lines of thought that wound it....Love of justice, the protection of life from conception to its natural end, respect for the dignity of every human being, are to be upheld and witnessed, even against the current."

In our country, genuine health care reform was taken captive by promoters of a Culture of Death. In response to an absolutely appalling, heinous example of "pharmacological consumerism," the USCCB's Office of General Counsel recently wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services, imploring that "contraceptives and sterilization not be mandated as 'preventive' services under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ('PPACA')....There has been an announcement by Planned Parenthood that it will lobby public officials to insist on mandating 'family planning' services under this rubric -- including mandatory coverage, without co-pays or out-of-pocket expenses, of 'all forms of FDA-approved prescription contraception.'"

The USCCB's letter went on to address the abortifacient nature of SO-CALLED contraceptives and the covert attack on the conscience rights of health care providers. As per last Tuesday's follow-up from the USCCB's Deidre McQuade, we are to be further reminded that the “Use of prescription contraception actually increases a woman’s risk of developing some of the very conditions that the ‘preventive services’ listed in the Interim Final Rules are designed to prevent, such as stroke, heart attacks and blood clots (especially for women who also smoke), so a policy mandating contraceptive services as ‘preventive services’ would be in contradiction with itself.

Truth be told, numerous Catholics - laity, clergy, and religious - evidence ignorance of the gravity of abortifacients, contraceptives, sterilization, and their assault on the sanctity of human life and the marital bond. These "opinions and lines of thought that wound" health justice, leave us ill equipped to fight the good fight. The situation is exacerbated by the inadvertent and unintended (but nonetheless loud) message, which emanates from the carelessness of including providers of abortifacients and contraceptives in parish bulletins (i.e., "It's no big deal."). In my correspondences of November 9th and November 14th, I cited examples of inappropriate ads in several bulletins:

  • Assumption BVM, Feasterville
  • Epiphany, Philadelphia
  • Holy Martyres, Oreland
  • Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Bridgeport
  • Our Mother of Consolation, Philadelphia
  • Sacred Heart, Royersford
  • St Ann, Phoenixville
  • St Anselm, Philadelphia
  • St Helena, Blue Bell
  • St Helena, Philadelphia
  • St John the Baptist, Philadelphia
  • St Joseph, Collingdale
  • St Joseph, Spring City

Cross checking ads in bulletins handled by just one popular publisher with a web site tool provided by Teva Women's Health even reveals parish bulletins advertising for providers of the notorious abortifacient Plan B! Let me cite just one example. One year ago, I first brought to the attention of Father Pidgeon that an ad in Epiphany's bulletin was for a provider of Plan B. It is shocking to find that the ad for Zevin's Drug Store remains in Epiphany's bulletin.

I speak for myself and only for myself. I am struggling with whether to honor my Heritage of Faith commitment, while these situations are seemingly allowed to continue. I wonder whether I should instead direct my monies directly to pro life / pro family causes. I would very much appreciate your guidance on these matters.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

re: "Church Helping Set Addicts Free" (Catholic Standard & Times, 11/11/10)

As Jesus told us that "the truth will set you free" (John 8:32), it should be no surprise that our Faith is key to dealing with destructive addictions and compulsions. Yet, some historical connections between Catholicism and treatment often go overlooked.

As per a 1996 article in This Rock magazine, moral theologian John C. Ford S.J. (1902 - 1989) was "one of the earliest Catholic proponents of addressing alcoholism as a problem having spiritual, physiological, and psychological, dimensions. Ford said that alcohol addiction is a pathology which is not consciously chosen, but he rejected the deterministic idea that alcoholism is solely a disease without any moral component....In so many ways, Ford's approach to addiction and recovery remains a model of spiritual discernment for our own time." Ford's shining the light of Catholicism on destructive addictions and compulsions goes almost as overlooked as Ford's contribution to upholding the truth about marriage and marital relations!

In 1930's Casti Connubii, Pope Pius XI provided a confrontive challenge to the clergy, with regard to teaching the truth about marriage and marital relations: "If any confessor or pastor of souls, which may God forbid, lead the faithful entrusted to him into these errors or should at least confirm them by approval or by guilty silence, let him be mindful of the fact that he must render a strict account to God, the Supreme Judge, for the betrayal of his sacred trust." For his entire priesthood, it is clear that Father Ford took these words with the utmost seriousness. Some 38 years after Casti Connubii, Father Ford played a vital role in Humane Vitae. While he presents this in an unappreciative manner, Eric Genilo, S.J. acknowledges that Father Ford worked closely with Pope Paul VI, helping to embolden the Holy Father with his prophetic encyclical.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"every man and woman is a true sanctuary of God, and should be treated with the highest respect and affection, above all when they are in need"

In early November, Pope Benedict XVI made an overnight trip to Spain. Arriving at the International Airport of Santiago de Compostela, he explained that he wished to "encourage Spain and Europe to build their present and to project their future on the basis of the authentic truth about man, on the basis of the freedom which respects this truth and never harms it, and on the basis of justice for all, beginning with the poorest and the most defenceless. A Spain and a Europe concerned not only with people’s material needs but also with their moral and social, spiritual and religious needs, since all these are genuine requirements of our common humanity and only in this way can work be done effectively, integrally and fruitfully for man’s good."

Later that day, the Holy Father spoke at the architecturally magnificent Cathedral Santiago de Compostela, "la Sagrada Familia", the masterpiece of architect Antoni Gaudi: "To go on pilgrimage is not simply to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage really means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe." As he continued in that evening's homily, "Tragically, above all in nineteenth century Europe, the conviction grew that God is somehow man’s antagonist and an enemy of his freedom. As a result, there was an attempt to obscure the true biblical faith in the God who sent into the world his Son Jesus Christ, so that no one should perish but that all might have eternal life (cf. Jn 3:16). The author of the Book of Wisdom, faced with a paganism in which God envied or despised humans, puts it clearly: how could God have created all things if he did not love them, he who in his infinite fullness, has need of nothing (cf. Wis 11:24-26)? Why would he have revealed himself to human beings if he did not wish to take care of them? God is the origin of our being and the foundation and apex of our freedom, not its opponent."

As per the following day's homily, "I consider that the dedication of this church of the Sagrada Familia is an event of great importance, at a time in which man claims to be able to build his life without God, as if God had nothing to say to him. In this masterpiece, Gaudí shows us that God is the true measure of man....As we consecrate the altar of this church, which has Christ as its foundation, we are presenting to the world a God who is the friend of man and we invite men and women to become friends of God....Only where love and faithfulness are present can true freedom come to birth and endure. For this reason the Church advocates adequate economic and social means so that women may find in the home and at work their full development, that men and women who contract marriage and form a family receive decisive support from the state, that life of children may be defended as sacred and inviolable from the moment of their conception, that the reality of birth be given due respect and receive juridical, social and legislative support. For this reason the Church resists every form of denial of human life and gives its support to everything that would promote the natural order in the sphere of the institution of the family."

Later that day, the Holy Father described la Sagrada Familia as a catechesis and "a hymn of praise to God carved in stone." While visiting the Obra Benéfico-Social del Nen Déu, he reminded the world that : "every man and woman is a true sanctuary of God, and should be treated with the highest respect and affection, above all when they are in is indispensable that new technological developments in the field of medicine never be to the detriment of respect for human life and dignity." At his departure, he commented: "I return to Rome after visiting only two places in this beautiful country. Nevertheless, in my thoughts and prayers, I have wished to embrace all Spaniards without exception and all those born elsewhere but now living here. I hold all of you in my heart and I pray for you, especially for those who suffer."

And how was this magnificent overnight junket covered by the Courier Times? In November 8th's paper, 120 words were re-printed from an Associated Press piece, which treated as fact women's alleged: "second-class status in the church."

I would like to remind Lower Bucks of what fabulous material the Courier Times provides for picking up after the dog.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Parishes advertising providers of contraceptives & ABORTIFACIENTS

11 9 10 email -

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Re: "Takes Issue with 'Secular' Homily" (CS&T, 10/21/10)

10 24 10 letter to CS _ T

The Beatitudes from "Jesus of Nazareth"


Use of Emergency So-Called Contraceptives in Catholic Hospitals for Those Reporting Rape

Book & Film Reviews, pt 1

Book & Film Reviews, pt 2

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12/12/08 Interview with Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph.D. of the National Catholic Bioethics Center

March for Life 2010