Friday, March 16, 2012

Health Care, Women, and the Catholic Church: A Reality Check

'Everybody knows' that the Catholic Church is in league with Satan, and causes cancer. 'Everybody' is wrong. About the 'in league with Satan' thing, anyway. It's remotely possible that the 'cancer' assumption is based on something other than bias and screwball science. And that's another topic.

In some circles, 'everybody knows' that the Catholic Church is against people getting health care. Out here in the real world, Catholic bishops in America have been pushing for universal health care for almost a century:
"...The bishops stated that the debate is not about the Church trying to ban access to contraception, which is already 'ubiquitous and inexpensive.'...

"...They added that the debate is not a matter of political parties, nor is it 'a matter of opposition to universal health care,' which the bishops have supported in some form since 1919.

"Rather, the mandate is an 'unwarranted' and 'unprecedented' attempt by the government to redefine 'who we are as people of faith and what constitutes our ministry.'..."
(CNA/EWTN (March 14, 2012)) [emphasis mine]
Catholics routinely help people: digging wells; providing inexpensive health care; whatever folks need. The Archdiocese of New York's Cardinal Dolan gave several examples in today's post on his The Gospel in the Digital Age blog.1

I suppose that providing a source of clean water, or letting folks who weren't rich get health care, could be spun as bullying the natives and interfering with indigenous cultures. But in both cases, the natives don't seem to mind.

Catholic Rules, Native Customs

Catholic bishops in America, all of them, say that a particular Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate is wrong.

They're fine with providing health care: to anybody.

What the Catholic bishops say we can't do is kill innocent people. That rule puts practicing Catholics at odds with the laws and dominant culture of today's America. On the whole, I think it's more prudent to stick with what the Church says, than adopt the notions of some ephemeral secular outfit.

I updated a link list of what the Catholic Church in America actually says, earlier today:
If you follow those links, and find something you didn't see in the news: I'm not surprised. I've been over that sort of thing before:

Health Care is Okay: Murder Isn't

At first glance, rules of the Catholic Church that encourage folks to take care of their health - but say that killing an innocent person is wrong - may seem unreasonable. What the Church says certainly isn't what America's rulers want us to believe.

I've been over this sort of thing before. Quite often, lately. Catholic rules about taking care of our bodies come from the belief that life and health are gifts from God:
  • Concern for health is a good idea
    (Catechism, 2288-2291)
    • Within reason
      (Catechism, 2289)
  • Scientific medical research is a good idea
    (Catechism, 2292-2296)
So far, what the Catholic Church says is fairly close to what America's native culture believes. Although Catholics are supposed to treat everybody as if they're human beings. Remember the Tuskegee experiments?

Why Murder is Wrong

The Catholic Church also says that it's not it's okay to kill people who can't defend themselves. That's where we are in conflict with America's dominant culture. The counter-cultural values and beliefs of the Catholic Church make sense, when you look at why we believe it's wrong to kill the helpless:I strongly recommend following those links. My take on what the Church says is that human is sacred, a gift from God. That means that we must not disrespect that gift - and God - by killing innocent people. Even someone who can't fight back.

It's a very counter-cultural belief, but it's what I've chosen to believe.

I also plan to vote this November. And that's yet another topic.

Background, call to action, letters, bulletin inserts:
More posts about forcing Catholics to violate our conscience:
The Department of Health and Human Services vs. Conscience

Related posts:
In the news:
1Excerpt from Cardinal Dolan's blog:
"Religious Freedom"
Cardinal Dolan, The Gospel in the Digital Age, Archdiocese of New York (March 16, 2012)

" 'These are the ones most grateful to you for the new well ...'

"With that, the chieftain of this Islamic village in Ethiopia, not far from Meki, took me over to meet about twenty beaming young girls, all who looked to be about the age of my niece, Grace, seven or eight years old.

"I was in the village with a delegation from Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the acclaimed international assistance agency supported by the Catholic community of the United States. We had just been enthusiastically welcomed to this small village to bless and start-up their new well, dug and outfitted by CRS.

"The hundred-or-so inhabitants were all ecstatic over the new well . . . but the happiest, the leader told me, through the translator, were the little girls. Why? I inquired.

" 'Because up to now everyday was the same for them, as it has been for centuries of our women. The girls are the ones designated to walk the daily two-hour trek to the river, to fill up the buckets with water- – enough for their hut and family – - and walk two hours back. Each day, the men go out to the fields; the boys go off to school; the women stay in the village to care for their families . . . and the young girls "take the walk." They'll do it until they marry and have a baby. The survival of the village depends on them. But this means,' the chief wrapped-it-up, 'that they can never go to school. If they did, who would get the water? But now' he pointed radiantly to the jubilant girls, 'they can go to school because we have good water right here because of our new well.'..."

"...We bishops of New York sponsor an agency called Fidelis, which provides health insurance to low-income folks. I'm told we're the largest such private provider in our state.

"A recent physician survey of Fidelis showed that we got the highest ratings of anybody else in the area of – - guess what? – - supporting healthcare for women and children...."
[emphasis mine]

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Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.