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.

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