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Support the Pope! March 15, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic.
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We’re seeing a new round of attacks on the Church, and in particular the Pope, lately.  I am not saying that investigations into past abuse in Europe or anywhere else is an attack on the Pope, but much of the commentary has gone far beyond reporting the facts into the realm of fantasy in efforts to discredit the Pope.   All faithful Catholics need to support and defend the Pope to the best of their ability in this time of trial.  The attacks on him are ultimately an effort to discredit the faith.

I urge everyone to say a prayer for the Pope, the success of his pontificate, and his intentions.  And always pray for the strengthening of Christ’s Church.

Archbishop Chaput: Health care bill doesn’t meet moral standards March 15, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, Society.
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The very good Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput, released a column recently regarding the socialist takeover that wouldn’t die pending health care legislation in Congress.  He also criticizes, strongly, groups like CHA and pseudo-Catholic lobbies like Catholics United for the Common Good and Catholics for a Free Choice.  I don’t normally post entire pieces into my blog, but this is so concise and so good that I will in this case:

Catholics, Health Care and the Senate’s bad bill 

The Senate version of health-care reform currently being forced ahead by congressional leaders and the White House is a bad bill that will result in bad law.  It does not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops of our country.  Nor does the American public want it.  As I write this column on March 14, the Senate bill remains gravely flawed.  It does not meet minimum moral standards in at least three important areas: the exclusion of abortion funding and services; adequate conscience protections for health-care professionals and institutions; and the inclusion of immigrants.

Groups, trade associations and publications describing themselves as “Catholic” or “prolife” that endorse the Senate version – whatever their intentions – are doing a serious disservice to the nation and to the Church, undermining the witness of the Catholic community; and ensuring the failure of genuine, ethical health-care reform.  By their public actions, they create confusion at exactly the moment Catholics need to think clearly about the remaining issues in the health-care debate.  They also provide the illusion of moral cover for an unethical piece of legislation.

As we enter a critical week in the national health-care debate, Catholics across northern Colorado need to remember a few simple facts.

First, the Catholic bishops of the United States have pressed for real national health-care reform in this country for more than half a century.  They began long before either political party or the public media found it convenient.  That commitment hasn’t changed.  Nor will it.

Second, the bishops have tried earnestly for more than seven months to work with elected officials to craft reform that would serve all Americans in a manner respecting minimum moral standards.  The failure of their effort has one source.  It comes entirely from the stubbornness and evasions of certain key congressional leaders, and the unwillingness of the White House to honor promises made by the president last September.

Third, the health-care reform debate has never been merely a matter of party politics.  Nor is it now.  Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak and a number of his Democratic colleagues have shown extraordinary character in pushing for good health-care reform while resisting attempts to poison it with abortion-related entitlements and other bad ideas that have nothing to do with real “health care.”  Many Republicans share the goal of decent health-care reform, even if their solutions would differ dramatically.  To put it another way, few persons seriously oppose making adequate health services available for all Americans.  But God, or the devil, is in the details—and by that measure, the current Senate version of health-care reform is not merely defective, but also a dangerous mistake.

The long, unpleasant and too often dishonest national health-care debate is now in its last days.  Its most painful feature has been those “Catholic” groups that by their eagerness for some kind of deal undercut the witness of the Catholic community and help advance a bad bill into a bad law. Their flawed judgment could now have damaging consequences for all of us.

Do not be misled.  The Senate version of health-care reform currently being pushed ahead by congressional leaders and the White House—despite public resistance and numerous moral concerns—is bad law; and not simply bad, but dangerous.  It does not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops in our country, who speak for the believing Catholic community.  In its current content, the Senate version of health-care legislation is not “reform.”  Catholics and other persons of good will concerned about the foundations of human dignity should oppose it.

Sr. Keehan’s ears should be ringing.  When the Archbishop says “The long, unpleasant and too often dishonest national health-care debate is now in its last days.  Its most painful feature has been those “Catholic” groups that by their eagerness for some kind of deal undercut the witness of the Catholic community and help advance a bad bill into a bad law. Their flawed judgment could now have damaging consequences for all of us.”  While the Archbishop doesn’t name CHA directly, I feel that they, and other groups, have done great damage to the Church by stating, in opposition to the opinion of many bishops, that the pending legislation is somehow ‘abortion neutral.’  I have not seen a single statement from a reputable pro-life group (not a fake astro-turf group like the Soros funded Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good) that corroborates Keehan’s opinion that this legislation is “pro-life.”  I have sadly been forced to conclude, over months of observing CHA in this present health care debate, that CHAs desire for a nationalized health care system (single payer – their stated objective), is greater than their commitment to the prevention of abortion. 

In the seamless garment, some colors, some threads, apparently have more weight than others.

More coverage on Pius XII March 15, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, General Catholic.
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A very long time ago, I wrote a blog post regarding Pope Pius XII being made venerable as his cause for canonization proceeded.  I got some rather strong complaints, including from some officials in our local diocese and from some bishops from different parts of the US.   These complainants seemed to be of the opinion that strongly defending Pius XII and his record of trying to aid victims of the Holocaust during WWII should not be done, or at least, not very stoutly.    Since then, there has been increasing evidence supporting my views that Pius XII has been falsely maligned and that his actions during WWII, far from being somewhat complicit in the Holocaust, was one of heroic virtue in saving more Jews than any other single actor. 

There are two recent articles on the subject.  AP and the NYT both have pieces covering work of a man names Gary Krupp, a Jew who has researched Pope Pius XIIs efforts during WWII and has  proclaimed him a hero, calling the effort to denounce him “the worst character assassination of the 20th Century.”  Now, this being the AP and the New York Slimes, there of course have to be copious quotes from those who claim that Krupp doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  However, in response to his well researched book, the critics can only claim that Pope Pius XII didn’t save 860,000 Jews as Krupp claims, but only somewhat less than that.  You’re right……he should be denounced if he only saved 400,000, or 350,000, Jewish lives.  The monster.  In addition, the criticism also involves alot of appeals to authority and hand waving – he’s not a professor, and so he should be dismissed.  He’s a pawn of the Vatican.  All of his research is old news.  Etc., ad nauseum.  I note in passing the strong confluence between the political left and those who denounce Pope Pius XII, including the ADL and Professor Dwork, who writes for Huffpost.   

I’ve heard Mr. Krupp interviewed – he comes across as someone surprised to have reached the conclusions he has.  He states that he grew up thinking Pius XII was an anti-semite.  But over time, as he researched the efforts of Pius XII during WWII, he became increasingly convinced that not only was he wrongly maligned, but that he was a hero who should be held up by Jews and Christians alike as an amazing example of heroic virtue. His evidence was very convincing to me, especially records of thousands of Jews being sent to the western Hemisphere on Vatican passports.  There are many who say that Pius XII failed morally by not specifically condemning Nazism, which is false, as Pius primarily wrote the encyclical Mit brennender Sorge, released in 1937 under Pius XI which did condemn Nazism.  Krupp details many other efforts Pius XII undertook to oppose fascism and save as many Holocaust victims as he could.

Almost all the criticisms directed against the Pope state that “he could have done more.”    Roosevelt and Churchill knew about the concentration camps for years, but they didn’t release that knowledge, and did essentially nothing to prevent the continued extermination of the Jews.  We don’t hear them condemned as anti-semites.  Instead, they are held up as heroes, and in the case of Churchill, rightly so.  The Vatican was in a very parlous state.  Just 70 years earlier, Pope Pius IX had to flee the Vatican as it was invaded by Italian troops.  The Vatican has a long memory, and spent all of WWII surrounded by hostile fascists.  Pius XII had to weigh the continued ability of the Vatican to function, against his dedicated efforts to save human lives.  So perhaps he could have done more, but he did more than anyone else. 

My opinion has been, and remains, that the effort to denounce Pius XII has less to do with historical facts and more to do with a general antipathy towards the Catholic Church, and especially the less worldly pre-Vatican II Church.

Still more on CHA and abortion March 15, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals, Society.
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I would not think that a Canadian business journal has much of  a dog in this fight.  Canadianbusiness.com has an article on the split between our good friends at the Catholic Health Association and the USCCB and National Right to Life over whether the pending health insurance legislation in Congress does, indeed, fund abortion.  The USCCB is strongly opposed to the passing of this legislation, as is National Right to Life.  Our new best friend, Sr. Carol Keehan, maintains that while CHA opposes abortion morally, they do not feel that the pending legislation does indeed fund abortion, based on a technicality in how the insurance plans created with the new legislation will pay for abortion.   USCCB and National Right to Life disagree, and they are correct.

I am sorry to say, I feel that CHA and Sr. Keehan are engaging in Orwellian doublethink.  While they maintain on the one hand that they are faithful Catholics unalterably opposed to abortion, on the other hand they are so wedded to this chimera of “health insurance for all” that they are willing to compromise essentially anything to achieve that end.  CHA in the form of Sr. Keehan is either naively deluding themselves as to what the proposed legislation will mean for abortion (which is, a massively expanded and permanently enshrined “right” of women to have one), or they have decided that their burning desire for a more European style social welfare state outweighs their opposition to abortion.  And so, in the latter, they are willing to take grave risks with the status of abortion in this country to achieve their long held dream.