Monday, January 31, 2011

Fw: Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3, to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions

Senator Charles T. McIlhinney, Jr.
Senate Box 203010
Harrisburg, PA 17120

Dear Senator McIlhinney,

I am troubled by your lack of response to my recent email, requesting support for Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3. In spite of disingenuous, self-interested outrage from Planned Parenthood, the Pennsylvania Family Institute explains that Senate Bill 3 “would respect the conscience and respect for life of millions of Pennsylvanians, and ensure that their tax dollars do not subsidize abortion coverage through the back door of the new state insurance exchanges.” Senate Bill 3 received a favorable vote in the Banking and Insurance Committee (Kudos to Senator Stewart Greenleaf) and now particularly needs the support of other senators.

Though you identify yourself as Roman Catholic, Planned Parenthood identified you as one of their "pro-choice endorsed candidates" in the November elections (In fact, they gave you a 100% rating.). In spite of what you may have been misled to believe, respect for human life and respect for consciences are not optional, sectarian issues and only applicable to Catholics. The Natural Law requires that all of us respect human life and consciences.

Sincerely,

Sunday, January 30, 2011

An inarticulate letter from Planned Parenthood

On January 30th, you published a letter from Maggie Leigh Groff of Bucks County Planned Parenthood. Though Ms. Groff expressed strong concern about several pieces of proposed legislation, her letter did not bother to properly identify those initiatives. Interested readers are left guessing as to what she is referring.

When Ms. Groff notes that "extreme conservatives are introducing a federal bill to strip family planning funding from Planned Parenthood health centers," she is very likely referring to HR 217, Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act. Upon introducing HR 217, Rep. Mike Pence explained that "It is morally wrong to end an unborn human life by abortion. It is also morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to promote abortion at home or abroad. Last year, Planned Parenthood received more than $363 million in revenue from government grants and contracts. During that same time, they performed an unprecedented 324,008 abortions. The largest abortion provider in America should not also be the largest recipient of federal funding under Title X." Rep. Pence is articulating a position on which reasonable people - who lack a vested, financial interest in promoting abortion - can certainly agree!

Ms. Groff goes on to complain that "Another bill would take health insurance benefits away from women by severely restricting their ability to purchase private health insurance that covers abortion." In this case, Ms. Groff seems to be referring to H.R. 3, No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. Isn't it only an absolute extremist who would want abortion to not only be legal but to be financed by those who are opposed to it? As per Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston/Houston, "H.R. 3 will write into permanent law a policy on which there has been strong popular and congressional agreement for over 35 years: The federal government should not use taxpayers’ money to support and promote elective abortion."

Ms. Groff is also upset that "A similar bill has already been introduced in Pennsylvania." Here, she seems to be referring to Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3. Kudos to Senator Stewart Greenleaf for supporting Senate Bill 3 in the Banking and Insurance Committee. As per Michael Geer of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, “The bill would respect the conscience and respect for life of millions of Pennsylvanians, and ensure that their tax dollars do not subsidize abortion coverage through the back door of the new state insurance exchanges.”

In my opinion, true extremism is evidenced by those who make claims without offering anything - save some ad hominem inuendo - to back up those claims.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI's 1/22/11 address to the Roman Rota

The Holy Father's 1/22/11 address to the Roman Rota....

Pope Benedict XVI's 1 22 11 Address to the Roman Rota

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3, to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions

Senator Stewart J. Greenleaf
Senator Charles T. McIlhinney Jr.
Senator Bob Mensch
Senator Robert M. Tomlinson

Dear Senators,

As you represent Bucks County in the Pennsylvania Senate, I am writing to inquire as to your position on Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3. Will you support this effort to prevent taxpayer funding of abortions?

Please respond to all of those copied on this email.

Sincerely,

"Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age"

These are excerpts from Pope Benedict XVI's Message for 2011 World Media Day, which were issued on the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of communicators and of deaf people....

"On the occasion of the 45th World Day of Social Communications, I would like to share some reflections that are motivated by a phenomenon characteristic of our age: the emergence of the internet as a network for communication....This means of spreading information and knowledge is giving birth to a new way of learning and thinking, with unprecedented opportunities for establishing relationships and building fellowship....

"As with every other fruit of human ingenuity, the new communications technologies must be placed at the service of the integral good of the individual and of the whole of humanity. If used wisely, they can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being.

"In the digital world, transmitting information increasingly means making it known within a social network where knowledge is shared in the context of personal exchanges. The clear distinction between the producer and consumer of information is relativized and communication appears not only as an exchange of data, but also as a form of sharing. This dynamic has contributed to a new appreciation of communication itself, which is seen first of all as dialogue, exchange, solidarity and the creation of positive relations. On the other hand, this is contrasted with the limits typical of digital communication: the one-sidedness of the interaction, the tendency to communicate only some parts of one’s interior world, the risk of constructing a false image of oneself, which can become a form of self-indulgence....

"To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically. Furthermore, it is also true in the digital world that a message cannot be proclaimed without a consistent witness on the part of the one who proclaims it. In these new circumstances and with these new forms of expression, Christian are once again called to offer a response to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is within them (cf. 1 Pet 3:15)....

"we must be aware that the truth which we long to share does not derive its worth from its 'popularity' or from the amount of attention it receives. We must make it known in its integrity, instead of seeking to make it acceptable or diluting it. It must become daily nourishment and not a fleeting attraction. The truth of the Gospel is not something to be consumed or used superficially; rather it is a gift that calls for a free response. Even when it is proclaimed in the virtual space of the web, the Gospel demands to be incarnated in the real world and linked to the real faces of our brothers and sisters, those with whom we share our daily lives. Direct human relations always remain fundamental for the transmission of the faith!

"I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible. This is not simply to satisfy the desire to be present, but because this network is an integral part of human life. The web is contributing to the development of new and more complex intellectual and spiritual horizons, new forms of shared awareness. In this field too we are called to proclaim our faith that Christ is God, the Saviour of humanity and of history, the one in whom all things find their fulfilment (cf. Eph 1:10). The proclamation of the Gospel requires a communication which is at once respectful and sensitive, which stimulates the heart and moves the conscience; one which reflects the example of the risen Jesus when he joined the disciples on the way to Emmaus (cf. Lk 24:13-35). By his approach to them, his dialogue with them, his way of gently drawing forth what was in their heart, they were led gradually to an understanding of the mystery.

"In the final analysis, the truth of Christ is the full and authentic response to that human desire for relationship, communion and meaning which is reflected in the immense popularity of social networks. Believers who bear witness to their most profound convictions greatly help prevent the web from becoming an instrument which depersonalizes people, attempts to manipulate them emotionally or allows those who are powerful to monopolize the opinions of others. On the contrary, believers encourage everyone to keep alive the eternal human questions which testify to our desire for transcendence and our longing for authentic forms of life, truly worthy of being lived. It is precisely this uniquely human spiritual yearning which inspires our quest for truth and for communion and which impels us to communicate with integrity and honesty."

A Beautiful Gift from Sayreville!

Most Rev. Paul G. Bootkoski, D.D.
Bishop of the Diocese of Metuchen
Post Office Box 191
Metuchen, New Jersey 08840

Your Excellency:

For the first time in a number of years, my wife and I were unable to attend yesterday's March for Life in Washington, D.C. While that was a great disappointment, it afforded us the chance to hear some of the Rally for Life speakers from the nearby state house in Trenton.

In proclaiming that "You have today, and for the rest of my life, an ally....Every life is precious, and a gift from God," Governor Chris Christie spoke the most widely reported words of the day. Yet it was from someone else that I heard the most challenging, insightful, inspiring, well-informed, Pro Life words of my 52 years.

We often hear that there have been 50 million abortions in the United States, since 1973's heinous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision. As absolutely appalling and tragic as that number is, it is a gross underestimate of the genocide which has been perpetrated. When so-called "contraceptive" abortifacients are rightly included in the count, Pharmacists for Life International estimates that 276,675,000 have been "killed by chemical, mechanical, and surgical abortion since 1973." While we have aborted almost as many Americans as are alive today, the connection between contraceptives, so-called contraceptives, and abortion is invariably the proverbial 800 pound gorilla, whom most people are ignoring. Not so for a courageous young priest from your diocese!

While it was only one priest whom I saw at yesterday's Rally, Father Thomas Ryan, pastor of Our Lady of Victories in Sayreville, spoke louder than any army (literally and figuratively!). While his words were challenging, he absolutely energized the crowd. It is so rare to hear of the connection between contraceptives, so-called contraceptives, and abortions from our pulpits, but Father Ryan spoke that truth from the State House steps! God bless him for his magnificent courage!

Among contraceptives and so-called contraceptive abortiacients, the “Pill” is the most popular temporary method (Particularly since the "Morning After Pill" and the "Pill" can act as abortifacients, I struggle to understand how some pastors include ads in their weekly bulletins for those who market in "hormonal contraceptive" poisons.). According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, “a handful of multinational companies account for the majority of hormonal contraceptive brands registered around the world....[There is] an oligopoly that benefits Western-based large contraceptive manufacturers.” Father Ryan mentioned the involvement of "Ortho" in this type of manufacturing. Central Jersey is also home to Merck/Schering-Plough and Johnson and Johnson, which are among the so-called "top companies" in this "market."

It is to the great shame of the Greater Philadelphia and Central Jersey areas that so much of the world's abortifacient poisons get produced here. I believe that the absolute least which we can do is to restrict our pharmaceutical dollars to those such as the Saint Clare Pharmacy, which are not dealing in abortifacients or contraceptives.

Sincerely,



Monday, January 24, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI's 1/22/11 Address to the Roman Rota (an extremely unofficial translation!)

The below translation does seem to be in keeping with Dignitas Connubii, Pope John Paul II's annual addresses to the Roman Rota, and Pope Benedict XVI's earlier addresses to the Roman Roman (i.e., 1/28/06, 1/27/07, 1/26/08, 1/29/09, 1/28/10)....

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS

Dear Members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota
I am pleased to meet you to this annual event for the inauguration of the judicial year. A cordial greeting goes to the College of Prelate Auditors, starting with the Dean, Bishop Antoni Stankiewicz, whom I thank for the kind words. I greet the officials, the lawyers and other staff of this Tribunal, as well as all those present. This moment offers me the opportunity to renew my appreciation for the work you do to serve the Church and to encourage a greater commitment in an area as sensitive and important for the pastoral and the salus animarum.

The relationship between law and pastoral care was the focus of the debate on post-conciliar canon law. The well-known statement of the Venerable Servant of God John Paul II, according to which "it is not true that to be more pastoral, the law should become less legal" (Address to the Roman Rota, January 18, 1990, 4: AAS 82 [1990 ], p. 874) expresses the excess of apparent radical opposition. 'The legal dimension and the pastoral - he said - are inseparably united in the pilgrim Church on earth. First, there is a harmony arising from their common goal: the salvation of souls "(ibid.). In my first meeting I had with you in 2006, I tried to highlight the true sense of the pastoral process of nullity of marriage based on love for the truth (cf. Address to the Roman Rota, January 28, 2006: AAS 98 [2006 ], pp. 135-138). Today I would like to consider the legal dimension that is inherent in pastoral preparation and admission to the wedding, trying to highlight the link between such activities and processes legal marriage.

The canonical dimension of marriage preparation is perhaps not an element of immediate perception. In fact, on the one hand it can be seen in the marriage preparation course to canonical issues occupy a very modest, if not insignificant, since they tend to think that the bride and groom have a very low interest for issues reserved for specialists. Second, while not for everyone to see the need for legal work before marriage, aimed at verifying that "there is no obstacle to its valid and licit celebration" (CIC, can. 1066) is a widespread mentality which claims that the ' examination of the spouses, the publication of banns and other appropriate means to carry out the necessary investigations before marriage (cf. ibid., can. 1067), which lie between the courses of preparation for marriage, would be the fulfillment of purely formal. In fact, it is often assumed that, in admitting the couples for marriage, pastors should proceed with width, being in the game the natural right of people to marry.

It is good in that regard, consider the legal dimension of marriage itself. It is a topic that I mentioned in the context of a reflection on the truth of marriage, in which he stated, inter alia: "In front of the subjective and libertarian relativization of the sexual experience, the tradition of the Church clearly affirms the nature course of legal marriage, that it belongs by nature to the field of justice in interpersonal relations. In this respect, the law is truly interwoven with life and love, as an intrinsic need to be "(Address to the Roman Rota, January 27, 2007, AAS 99 [2007], p. 90).

There is, therefore, a marriage of life and another's right: there is only one marriage, which is constitutionally legal bond between a man and a real woman, a constraint on which the true dynamics of married life and love. The marriage of husband and wife, what does the ministry and that focused on the canonical doctrine, are one and saving natural reality, which certainly gives rise to a rich variety of approaches, but without fail it 's essential identity. The legal aspect is intrinsically linked to the essence of marriage. That is understandable in light of a non-positivistic concept of law, but considered from the perspective of relational fairly.

The right to marry, or jus connubii should be viewed in this perspective. It is not, that is, a subjective claim that must be satisfied by mere formal recognition by pastors, regardless of the actual contents of the union.

The right to marry implies that we can and we will celebrate really, in the truth of its essence as taught by the Church. No one has the right to a wedding. Jus connubii, in fact, refers to the right to celebrate a true marriage. Do not deny it, then jus connubii where it was obvious that there are the conditions for its exercise, if you miss, that is, clearly the skills needed to get married, or will be brought to an objective that is contrary to the natural reality of marriage.

In this regard I wish to reiterate what I wrote after the Synod of Bishops on: "Given the complexity of the cultural context in which the Church lives in many countries, the Synod also recommended devoting maximum pastoral attention to training couples preparing for marriage and to ascertaining beforehand their convictions regarding the obligations required for the validity of the Sacrament of Marriage. Serious discernment in this matter will avoid impulsive decisions or superficial reasons lead two young people to take on responsibilities that will then meet (cf. Propositio 40). Too big is good that the Church and society as a whole expect from marriage and the family founded upon it not to work hard in this specific pastoral care. Marriage and family are institutions that must be promoted and defended from every possible misrepresentation of their true nature, since whatever is injurious to them is in fact a wound that is injurious to society as such "(Apostolic Exhortation. Post-synodal exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, February 22 2007, 29: AAS 99 [2007], p. 130).

Preparation for marriage in its various stages described by Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio has certainly purposes that transcend the legal dimension, as its horizon is the integral good of human and Christian, their spouses and their future children (cf. n. 66: AAS 73 [1981], pp. 159-162), which aims ultimately to the sanctity of life (cf. CIC, can. 1063.2 °). Never forget, however, that the immediate objective of the training is to promote the free celebration of a true marriage, namely the establishment of a relationship of justice and love between the spouses, with the features and indissoluble unity, ordered to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of children, and that between the baptized is one of the sacraments of the New Covenant. This is not the couple is facing an ideological message extrinsic However, there is imposed a cultural model, but rather, the engaged couple are in a position to discover the truth of a natural inclination and capacity to undertake that they are inscribed in their be male-female relationships. That's where the law comes as an essential component of the marriage relationship, rooted in a natural potential of the couple that the donation consensual updates. Reason and faith combine to illuminate this truth of life, having to stay clear however that, even as he taught the Venerable John Paul II, "the Church does not refuse to celebrate a marriage who is well disposed, even if imperfectly prepared from the point of view supernatural, provided they have the right intention to marry according to the natural reality of niugalit√† c @ "(Address to the Roman Rota, January 30, 2003, 8: AAS 95 [2003], p. 397). In this perspective, special care must be taken in assisting the preparation for marriage is remote, is next, is immediate (cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation. Ap. Familiaris Consortio, November 22, 1981, n. 66: AAS 73 [1981 ], pp. 159-162)

Among the means to ensure that the project is actually married couples preparing for marriage stands the test before marriage. This examination is primarily a legal purpose: ensure that there is no impediment to the valid and licit celebration of marriage.

Formalistic legal does not mean, however, like a bureaucratic step which is to fill out a form on the basis of ritual questions. It is rather unique ministry opportunity - to be developed with all the seriousness and attention it requires - in which, through a box full of respect and cordiality, the pastor tries to help the person to make a serious attempt before the truth about itself and its own human and Christian vocation to marriage. In this sense, the dialogue, always conducted separately with each of the two lovers - without detracting from the convenience of other interviews with the couple - it requires a climate of complete sincerity, which will have to rely on the fact that the same contractors are primarily concerned and first obliged in conscience to celebrate a marriage.

In this way, the various means available for thorough preparation and verification, we can develop an effective pastoral action aimed at preventing the marriage void. We must ensure that you stop, to the extent possible, the vicious cycle that often occurs between the admission granted to marriage, without adequate preparation and a serious examination of the requirements for its celebration, and a judicial declaration that sometimes just as easy but of opposite sign, in which the marriage is considered invalid solely on the basis of the finding of his failure.

It is true that not all reasons for a possible declaration of nullity can be detected or occurred in preparation for marriage, but, equally, it would be wrong to hinder access to marriage on the basis of unfounded assumptions, such as believing that, Nowadays, people would generally be unable or will apparently have a double. In this perspective it is important that there is an even more effective awareness of the responsibility in this regard to those who have the care of souls. Canon law in general, and especially the bed and the case, certainly requires special preparation, but the knowledge of basic and of those immediately practical canon law relating to its functions, constitute a training of primary importance for all pastoral workers, especially those acting in family ministry.

All this also requires that the work of ecclesiastical courts send a unique message about what is essential in marriage, in harmony with the Magisterium and the canon law, speaking with one voice. Given the need for unity of jurisprudence, and curated by this Tribunal, the other ecclesiastical courts must adapt to the Rota Court (John Paul II, Address to the Roman Rota, January 17, 1998, 4: AAS 90 [1998] p. 783). I have recently stressed the need to make correct judgments about the causes for the inability consensus (cf. Address to the Roman Rota, January 29, 2009: AAS 101 [2009], pp. 124-128). The question continues to be very timely, and unfortunately there are still poor posture, how to identify the discretionary judgment request for marriage (cf. CIC, can. 1095, No. 2) with the desired prudence in the decision to marry, thereby treating a question of ability with one that does not affect the validity, as regards the degree of practical wisdom with which he has taken a decision, however, is really double. Even more serious was the misunderstanding if we wanted to give effective incapacitating imprudent choices made during the marriage.

As part of nullity for the exclusion of essential goods of marriage (cf. ibid., Can. 1101, § 2) should also be a serious commitment because the judicial decisions reflect the truth about marriage, which must illuminate the same time of ' admission to the wedding. I am thinking in particular, the issue of exclusion of the bonum coniugum. In relation to this exclusion seems to be repeating the same danger that threatens the proper application of rules relating to incapacity, that is to seek the grounds for invalidity in behaviors that do not concern the establishment of the marriage bond but its fulfillment in life. We must resist the temptation to transform the simple lack of husband and wife in their married life in defects of consent. The real foreclosure can occur only when it affected his order to the good of the spouses (cf. ibid., Can. 1055, § 1), except with a positive act of will. Certainly are very exceptional cases in which there is no recognition of the other as spouse, or is excluded the ordination of married life of the community is essential to the welfare of others. The clarification of these grounds for exclusion of the bonum coniugum should be carefully considered by the Court of the Roman Rota.

In concluding these reflections, I return to consider the relationship between law and pastoral care. It is subject to misunderstanding, to the detriment of the law but also of pastoral care. It should instead assist in all areas, and particularly in the field of marriage and family dynamics to the contrary, the profound harmony between pastoral and juridical, which certainly will prove fruitful in the service provided to people who are approaching marriage.

Dear Members of the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, I commend you all the powerful intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so that there will never be lacking divine assistance in carrying out faithfully, the spirit of service and capitalize on your daily work, and I gladly impart to all a special Apostolic Blessing.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

MaritalHealing.com

Richard P. Fitzgibbons, M.D., Director
The Institute for Marital Healing
100 Four Falls Center, Suite 312
West Conshohocken, PA 19428

Dear Dr. Fitzgibbons,

While driving to Mass, I happened to briefly hear the homily from this morning's Mass at EWTN. As it turned out, the homilist was highlighting your magnificent "Divorce Prevention in Catholic Marriages" webinar, to which I've subsequently had the chance to listen (It is extremely generous of you to make your webinar and notes available online.). As we recall the anniversary of the heinous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision this weekend, you remind us that the assault on human dignity has gone hand in hand with an assault on marriage/family.

When a cleric is laicized or a religious is dispensed from their vows, it is certainly a sad occasion. Since I've never seen announcements for "laicization/vow dispensal information sessions," it always strikes me as odd to see announcements for "annulment information sessions" (See http://www.ahherald.com/index.php/200802233421/State/annulment-information-evenings-planned.html for an example.) While I am confident it is unintentional, I suspect that such announcements inadvertently promote a subtle disrespect for the indissolubility of Marriage. I wonder if they have contributed to the "I am entitled to an annulment" myth/delusion, of which you speak in your webinar.

Whether by accident or by design, this morning's homilist was discussing your webinar on the day following the Holy Father's annual address to the Roman Rota. While a transcript of that address is not yet available, NPR is reporting that "Benedict has used his annual speech to the Rota to impress on its members the indissolubility of marriage and that they should avoid the temptation of granting annulments on a whim....The Vatican's concern about marriage annulments is largely directed at the United States, which in 2006 had more annulment cases launched than the rest of the world combined." While NPR's reporting certainly cannot be uncritically accepted, that very brief description does seem to be in keeping with concerns raised in Dignitas Connubii, Pope John Paul II's annual addresses to the Roman Rota, and Pope Benedict XVI's earlier addresses to the Roman Roman (i.e., 1/28/06, 1/27/07, 1/26/08, 1/29/09, 1/28/10).

As I have heard you speak over the past few years at annual conferences of the Catholic Medical Association and the Philadelphia Natural Family Planning Network, it was no surprise that your webinar would also deal directly with the absolutely destructive impact of contraceptives on the marital bond (This is to not even mention the abortifacient quality of many so-called "contraceptives"!). Somehow or other, there continue to be individuals involved in Catholic marriage preparation programs who do not embrace the beautiful, magnificent truth of what the Church proclaims about human sexuality, marriage, and family.

The Philadelphia / Central Jersey area is absolutely blessed to be home to our nation's most distinguished Catholic psychiatrist.

Sincerely,

Saturday, January 8, 2011

re: "Dangerous Precedent" (Our Sunday Visitor, 1/9/11)

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted's 12/21/10 statement makes clear that defiance of Catholic teaching at Catholic Healthcare West's St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center has run long, wide, and deep:
  • "Authentic Catholic care in the institutions of Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) in the Diocese of Phoenix has been a topic of discussion between CHW and me from the time of our initial meeting nearly seven years ago....The moral guide for Hospitals and Healthcare Institutions is spelled out in what are called the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I objected strongly to CHW’s lack of compliance with these directives, and told CHW leaders that this constituted cooperation in evil that must be corrected....over the course of these years, CHW has chosen not to comply. Then, earlier this year, it was brought to my attention that an abortion had taken place at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix....the mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St. Joseph’s medical staff and ethics committee decided that the healthy, 11-week-old baby should be directly killed....subsequent communications with leadership at St. Joseph’s Hospital and CHW have only eroded my confidence....Moreover, I have recently learned that many other violations of the ERDs have been taking place at CHW facilities in Arizona....Here are some of the things which CHW has been formally responsible for throughout these years:
    • Contraceptive counseling, medications, supplies and associated medical and laboratory examinations, including, but not limited to, oral and injectable contraceptives, intrauterine devices, diaphragms, condoms, foams and suppositories;
    • Voluntary sterilization (male and female); and
    • Abortions due to the mental or physical health of the mother or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest....
    CHW and St. Joseph’s Hospital have made more than a hundred million dollars every year from this [Mercy Care Plan] partnership with the government. In light of all these failures to comply with the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Church, it is my duty to decree that, in the Diocese of Phoenix, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, CHW is not committed to following the teaching of the Catholic Church and therefore this hospital cannot be considered Catholic....the faithful of the Diocese have a right to know whether institutions of this importance are indeed Catholic in identity and practice."

Just three days before we celebrated the birth of our Infant Savior, the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHAUSA) defied Bishop Olmstead with a sparse statement, barely mentioning Bishop Olmstead's concerns. According to CHAUSA Executive Director Sister Carol Keehan,

  • St. Joseph Hospital and Medical Center "carefully evaluated the patient's situation and correctly applied the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services to it, saving the only life that was possible to save."

As Professor Leonard J. Nelson III' chillingly reminds us in "Dangerous Precedent: Hospital's Defiance of Bishop Over Morality of Procedures Sets Stage for More Secularizations."

  • "The defiance of Bishop Olmsted’s authority sets a dangerous precedent, and could presage a further secularization of Catholic health care. If Catholic hospitals are no longer subject to the supervision of local bishops to ensure their adherence to the ERDs, then we are on the verge of a massive change to Catholic life in America."
Is insidious defiance of Catholic teaching only running long, wide, and deep in the Diocese of Phoenix? Tragically, Professor Nelson's prophetic "Diagnosis Critical: The Urgent Threats Confronting Catholic Healthcare" suggests that answer to be NO:
  • "the widespread prevalence of dissent among both religious and lay Catholics may make it more difficult for Catholic health care institutions to persuade policymakers that they should be exempt from laws of general application requiring the provision of sterilizations and abortions. And, of course, the situation of Catholic health care institutions has become even more problematic since it has become commonplace for high-profile Catholic politicians to be openly and avowedly `pro-choice'" (p. 32).
  • "compliance with the ERDs has been uneven when it comes to contraception and sterilization. Typically, obstetrician-gynecologists practicing in Catholic hospitals and physician office buildings owned by Catholic hospitals provide prescriptions for contraceptives to their patients" (p. 53).
  • "Occasionally, in order to reduce opposition to a merger or affiliation, Catholic hospitals have entered into arrangements to allow continuation of services such as surgical sterilizations in separate facilities to be provided by unrelated organizations" (p. 88).
  • Some Catholic health "systems have entered into arrangements to provide services such as direct sterilizations and abortion referrals....The existence of such arrangements increases the risk of scandal and could embolden those who favor a mandate requiring all hospitals...to provide a full range of [so-called] reproductive services" (p. 102).
  • "If legal protection for individual conscience erodes, then this also endangers legal protection for institutions that refuse to perform sterilizations and abortions....any argument in favor of exemption from laws requiring a hospital to provide these services may be substantially undermined by the fact that the Catholic hospital is already, in some fashion, involved in either providing those services - as in the case of sterilizations - or involved in partnerships with entities providing such services" (pp. 132, 137).
All hope is NOT lost - it can NEVER be! We need to wake up, smell the coffee, and reclaim our Catholic institutions!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

re: "Planned Parenthood's use of tax money deserves scrutiny" (BC Courier Times, 12/21/10)

In the December 21st Courier Times, guest opinion writer Robert Morrison provocatively suggested that "Planned Parenthood's use of tax money deserves scrutiny." Morrison claimed that there has been minimal media coverage of Planned Parenthood's "grossly overcharging the federal government and/or states for contraception and other services." He mentioned a California audit of Planned Parenthood, as well as Planned Parenthood's connections with politicians on state and federal levels.

Whatever one's view of Planned Parenthood, Morrison wrote the type of piece which left readers wanting more information. Yet at the close of his piece, it is simply noted that Mr. Morrison's sources are "Available upon request." Is it correct to assume that it was the Courier Times editing staff which chose not to publish the sources - NOT Mr. Morrison himself?

As per its self-description, the "Planned Parenthood Federation of America is a not-for-profit organization led by experts in medicine, sexual health, advocacy, law, communications, and fundraising. Our national offices in New York City and Washington, DC, provide support for the dual health and advocacy mission of our affiliates across the country." To its credit, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is forthcoming about its agenda in its annual report. Online, its most recently available report is from 2008-2009, "The Promise of Change." These are some highlights:

  • PPFA acknowledges $1.2 billion in total assets (p. 28) and $1.1 billion in annual revenue from "Health Center Income," "Government Grants and Contracts," "Private Contributions and Requests," "Support from Affiliates," and "Other Operating Revenue" (p. 29).

  • While the dollar amounts earned are not clear, PPFA readily acknowledges that "services" at its "affiliate health centers" include both contraceptives and abortion (p. 2; As per National Right to Life, "Planned Parenthood, with 164 affiliates operating 915 clinics, is the largest abortion provider in the United States. Although not all clinics perform abortions, all refer and counsel for them." These abortion tallies do NOT include those "contraceptives" which can act in an abortifacient manner.).

  • "With the election of President Barack Obama, a self-described pro-choice president, Planned Parenthood launched reinvigorated advocacy campaigns" to expand so-called reproductive services and Medicaid-funding for such (p. 12; Based on the above, it is to be noted that PPFA has a strong financial interest in such expansions.)

  • PPFA is opposed to conscience protections for "doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who oppose contraception and abortion" (p. 12; So much for medical professionals' choice!).

  • PPFA strongly favors expanded funding of abortion: "As of June 30, 2009, Planned Parenthood had helped defeat all of the most dangerous anti-choice amendments considered in both the House and Senate, several of which would have resulted in a complete prohibition of private health insurance coverage for abortion in the proposed health insurance exchange" (p. 15).

  • "In coordination with President Obama’s commitment to eliminate abstinence-only school programs, Planned Parenthood continued to lobby Congress to ensure that teen pregnancy prevention funding is available and that funding for Title V abstinence-only programs will not be reauthorized" (p. 15). Dismayed that any minors might "go to schools with abstinence-only programs," PPFA is able to bypass parents via "Planned Parenthood Online (PPOL)". In 2008, PPOL reached "13 million people PPFA could not reach in any other way" (p. 8).

  • "Throughout the year, members of the PPFA Clergy Advisory Board (CAB) spoke out about the theological basis for choice and mobilized fellow clergy and lay religious leaders to join the PPFA Pro-Choice Religious Network, which advocates for the right of women and men to make informed, morally responsible choices about their reproductive lives" (p. 16; According to the Pew Forum, only 0.5% of the U.S. population consists of members of the United Church of Christ. Yet, United Church of Christ clergy constitute a full 15% of the PPFA Clergy Advisory Board (See www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/files/CV_Spring2009_vFinal.pdf.).).

  • PPFA speaks proudly of its efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy (p. 20; According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, “a handful of multinational companies account for the majority of hormonal contraceptive brands registered around the world....[There is] an oligopoly that benefits Western-based large contraceptive manufacturers.” Shouldn't we be looking more closely at the impact of this marketeering and our lack of popularity in many developing nations?)

  • PPFA brags of its association with politicians and/or entertainers, such as Hillary Clinton, Tim Daly, Hector Elizondo, Jane Fonda, Christie Heffner (i.e., Hugh's daughter), Gwyneth Paltrow, Montana Gov Brian Schweitzer, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebullus (pp. 22, 23; In the 2010 elections, Planned Parenthood's endorsements included Joe Sestak and Patrick Murphy. As explained in the 2010 Scorecard and Voter Guide, "For current members of Congress, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund tallies choice score by taking the number of pro-choice votes over three congressional sessions and divides them by the total number of votes relating to Health Care, Sex Education, Access to Abortion, and Family Planning." Both Sestak and Murphy received 100% favorable ratings from the Planned Parenthhood Action Fund.).

I have difficulty understanding how anyone tries to justify public funding of this affluent organization, which openly advocates a self-serving agenda (including one involving foreign policy) and efforts to impose that agenda on others. I would like to know more about Mr. Morrison's sources - tell me more about the audit and connections to politicians. I am hereby requesting that the Courier Times publish an UNEDITED VERSION of his opinion piece.

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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About Me

I am an enormously blessed husband and dad. In regard to my Catholic theological background, I have a certificate in social ministry & a master's degree (moral theology concentration), as well as a catechetical diploma from the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Nope, I am not now - nor have I have ever been - a seminarian, deacon, or priest.). I feel particularly proud to have a mandatum. I also have a doctorate in Christian counseling psychology.

And yup, that's me!

And yup, that's me!
(from page 1 of the NY Sun, 3/22/04)

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

March for Life 2010

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