In Pennsylvania's

Saturday, January 28, 2012

What Archbishop Dolan said & did NOT say....

This past Wednesday, a piece by Archbishop Dolan of the New York Archdiocese (who is also the USCCB president) appeared in the Wall Street Journal:



  • "[The Obama administration] has refused to exempt religious institutions that serve the common good—including Catholic schools, charities and hospitals—from its sweeping new health-care mandate that requires employers to purchase contraception, including abortion-producing drugs, and sterilization coverage for their employees....

    "On Friday, the administration reaffirmed the mandate, and offered only a one-year delay in enforcement in some cases—as if we might suddenly be more willing to violate our consciences 12 months from now. As a result, all but a few employers will be forced to purchase coverage for contraception, abortion drugs and sterilization services even when they seriously object to them. All who share the cost of health plans that include such services will be forced to pay for them as well. Surely it violates freedom of religion to force religious ministries and citizens to buy health coverage to which they object as a matter of conscience and religious principle....

    "Coercing religious ministries and citizens to pay directly for actions that violate their teaching is an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience. Organizations fear that this unjust rule will force them to take one horn or the other of an unacceptable dilemma: Stop serving people of all faiths in their ministries—so that they will fall under the narrow exemption—or stop providing health-care coverage to their own employees....

    "This latest erosion of our first freedom should make all Americans pause. When the government tampers with a freedom so fundamental to the life of our nation, one shudders to think what lies ahead"(ObamaCare and Religious Freedom , Wall Street Journal, 1/25/12)

During the comment period leading up to Archbishop Dolan's aforementioned mandate, efforts were made to contact every diocese and archdiocese in the United States for signatures on a petition. Among the resultant signers, this blogger recognizes several physicians and nurses, the head of Pharmacists for Life International, the chair of a university theology department (and an adjunct from another college), an emeritus member of a USCCB advisory board, three priests and a deacon from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, one priest from the Diocese of Trenton, and the bishop of Grand Island in Nebraska. Kudos and thank you's to all those signers!!! Yet, why did we fall short of a mere 100 signatures? Why only one bishop, four priests, and one deacon?

Archbishop Dolan is reportedly a big baseball fan. Hasn't the time long passed for our bishops to step up to the plate and take more courageous stands? Why doesn't Archbishop Dolan's article unequivocally announce that NO CATHOLIC INSTITUTION IN THE UNITED STATES WILL PROVIDE COVERAGE FOR MORALLY PROHIBITED SERVICES!

At the moment, we absolutely need to be advocating for the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.



  • Senator Bob Casey, Jr is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 1467 (as of 1/21/2012).

  • Representative Mike Fitzpatrick IS a co-sponsor of HR 1179.

  • Senator Pat Toomey IS a co-sponsor of S.1467.

Senator Casey's office can be contacted via his chief of staff, James Brown (james_brown@casey.senate.gov).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

S. 1467, S. 165, S.906, and S. 877

James W. Brown, Chief of Staff
Office of U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr.
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Mr. Brown,

I appreciate your speaking with me yesterday afternoon, after Senator Casey brought an end to his time with constituents who had traveled to Washington, DC for the March for Life. I am deeply troubled by Senator Casey's failure, thus far, to show support for four particular pieces of legislation, championed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):



  • "The Catholic bishops of the United States called 'literally unconscionable' a decision by the Obama Administration to continue to demand that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans....The HHS rule requires that sterilization and contraception – including controversial abortifacients – be included among 'preventive services' coverage in almost every healthcare plan available to Americans....At issue, the U.S. bishops and other religious leaders insist, is the survival of a cornerstone constitutionally protected freedom that ensures respect for the conscience of Catholics and all other Americans" (USCCB, 1/20/2012).

    As per the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, "On Friday, the Obama Administration announced that it would not honor the request of millions of Americans by allowing for a conscience exemption in its requirement that all employers pay for 'health care' that includes sterilization, contraception and abortion-causing drugs....Voice your disappointment with the HHS ruling and ask your legislators to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (HR1170/S 1467)"

    Yesterday, Senator Casey seemed to bemoan the Obama Adminstration's callous action. Yet, he has NOT come out in support of S 1467! Today's Wall Street Journal reminds us that it was Senator Casey who chaired candidate Obama's "National Catholic Advisory Council." To people of conscience across the United States, I suggest that Senator Casey owes a deep corrective obligation to champion S 1467.


  • The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has urged support for the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act: "Passage of ANDA is urgently needed to protect the civil rights of health professionals and other health care entities. This bill reaffirms a basic principle: No health care entity should be forced by government to perform or participate in abortions." Thus far, Senator Casey is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 165.



  • The USCCB has urged support for the Protect Life Act. Thus far, Senator Casey is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 877.

Mr. Brown, please urge Senator Casey to support S. 1467, S. 165, S.906, and S. 877.


Thank you.


Sincerely,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

re: "Newt Gingrich, The Catholic Church, and Spousal Abandonment" (CatholicVote.org)

When Rick Santorum is available, why would anyone who shares Catholics' views on the sanctity of human life and marriage/family be supporting New Gingrich?


In a December 2nd interview with ABC, Gingrich - whose intelligence no one challenges -




  • indicated that human life only begins at "Implantation and successful implantation." Gingrich's failure to note the very moment of fertilization as the beginning of human life leaves the door open for those who try to redefine conception and insist that abortifacients are mere contraceptives. In that same interview,

  • he went on to show confusion about stem cells obtained from placentas and umbilical cords, apparently trying to justify his history of support for embryonic stem cell research.

When we have a candidate who truly embraces what the Church teaches about contraceptives, embryonic stem cell research, and marriage/family, why would anyone who shares our views on human life and the sanctity of marriage/family be giving Newt Gingrich a second look - at this time? Earlier this year, psychologist Hilary Towers posted a disturbing piece, which is worth reading in its entirety...



  • "As we approach the presidential election of 2012 there is a crisis in this country about which few are talking. It’s not about politics or economic trends. It has nothing to do with the price of oil or reformation of the tax code. This crisis receives no coverage in the press because it isn’t politically correct subject matter. And so far it has gone unacknowledged and unaddressed by the leadership of the Catholic Church, whose teachings and beliefs are directly implicated in its outcome....

    "Data from the National Survey of Children (NSC) indicate that approximately 80% of divorce cases in this country are forced divorces. In other words, the vast majority of divorces are situations in which one person puts an end to the marriage through legal coercion, even while the other is fighting to save it....to date, we seem content with viewing spousal abandonment as a mental health issue for the person left behind, rather than the danger to the institution of marriage it is....

    "In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network last month Newt explained his double spousal abandonment this way:



    • “There’s no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate.”

    "For a convert in the public eye – one who has now announced that he’s a presidential candidate – who has had ample time to reflect on his own behavior relative to the Church’s teachings on marriage, this explanation seems insincere and even reckless....Catholics should expect more from 'our own' – not because we demand perfection in our leaders or because we can’t forgive, but because the actions and words of the faithful in the public eye matter whether they occur before or after a professed conversion of heart" ( http://www.catholicvote.org/discuss/index.php?p=16952 ).


As Dr. Towers wrote elsewhere,



  • "We need a renewed effort on the part of bishops and priests to recognize that spousal abandonment is a crisis in our Church. Church leaders need to acknowledge this — and they need to encourage new, more effective responses in our parishes and chanceries....In a world that would have us believe that divorce is just an opportunity for a new start, the Church’s message must be loud and clear: We will hold fast to our ancient teachings on marriage – for the sake of our souls, our families, and our civilization."

I am certainly not a canon lawyer, but I have read Dignitas Connubii and each of the addresses to the Roman Rota from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI (1/28/06, 1/27/07, 1/26/08, 1/29/09, 1/29/10, 1/22/11). In my opinion, it seemed that our late Holy Father had growing concerns about how marriage tribunals were operating in some parts of the world, and that our current Holy Father continues to have such concerns! If Gingrich is to wind up being elected, the USCCB should count on being repeatedly challenged by the media to explain how neither of Newt's earlier marriages (both of nearly two decades duration) were valid marriages! If the Gingrichs have such baggage, why aren't they stepping aside in favor of a candidate with a better track record?


Personally, I'm also going to pray for the intercession of Queen Katherine of Aragon (a potential patron saint for victims of spousal abandonment? See http://katharineofaragon.com/wordpress/the-petition/ , if you are interested in adding your voice to promoting her cause.), that the Gingrichs recognize the potential harm that they can do to their country and Church & step aside in favor of Santorum.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

If You Talk with Casey, Fitzpatrick, &/or Toomey on Monday....

Dear Fathers and Monsignors,

On Monday, Senator Casey, Representative Fitzpatrick, and Senator Toomey are each hosting receptions for constituents in DC for the March for Life. As you are certainly aware, each of these officials identifies himself as both pro life and Catholic. Please remind your parishioners - particularly those who will be in Washington - of the pertinent track records of these officials, so that they will be best able to advocate for pro-life/pro-family concerns....




Federal ProLife Legislation Specifically Suported by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (An Update on the Eve of the 39th Anniversary of the Infamous Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision)
The USCCB has urged support for the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act: "Passage of ANDA is urgently needed to protect the civil rights of health professionals and other health care entities. This bill reaffirms a basic principle: No health care entity should be forced by government to perform or participate in abortions."



  • Senator Casey is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 165 (as of 1/21/2012).


  • Representative Fitzpatrick is a co-sponsor of HR 361.


  • Senator Toomey is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 165 (as of 1/20/2012).

The USCCB has urged support for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.




  • Senator Casey is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 906 (as of 1/21/2012).


  • Representative Fitzpatrick voted for HR 3.


  • Senator Toomey IS a co-sponsor of S. 906.

The USCCB has urged support for the Protect Life Act.




  • Senator Casey is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 877 (as of 1/21/2012).


  • Representative Fitzpatrick voted for HR 358.


  • Senator Toomey is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 877 (as of 1/21/2012).


The USCCB has urged support for the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.



  • Senator Casey is NOT a co-sponsor of S. 1467 (as of 1/21/2012).

  • Representative Fitzpatrick IS a co-sponsor of HR 1179.

  • Senator Toomey IS a co-sponsor of S.1467.
"The Catholic bishops of the United States called 'literally unconscionable' a decision by the Obama Administration to continue to demand that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. Today's announcement means that this mandate and its very narrow exemption will not change at all; instead there will only be a delay in enforcement against some employers....The HHS rule requires that sterilization and contraception – including controversial abortifacients – be included among 'preventive services' coverage in almost every healthcare plan available to Americans....At issue, the U.S. bishops and other religious leaders insist, is the survival of a cornerstone constitutionally protected freedom that ensures respect for the conscience of Catholics and all other Americans" (USCCB, 1/20/2012)




    Protecting the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)



    "DOMA is rational, and its repeal would be unjust....


    "Redefining marriage to mean simply an arrangement of consenting adults violates justice because it interferes with basic human rights.


    "First, changing the institution of marriage by making it indifferent to the absence of one sex or the other denies that children have the fundamental human right to be cared by both their mother and father. Such revision transforms marriage from a child-centered to an adult-centered status to the detriment of children....


    "Second, redefining marriage also threatens the fundamental human right of religious freedom. Those who refuse on moral and religious grounds to accept or accommodate the redefinition of legal marriage are already being wrongly accused of bigotry and hatred, bias and prejudice....


    "All persons have a rightful claim to our utmost respect. There is no corresponding duty, however, for society to disregard the meaning of sexual difference and its practical consequences for the common good; to override fundamental rights, such as religious liberty; and to re-define our most basic social institution" (Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, chairman of the USCCB's Subcommittee for the Promotion & Defense of Marriage, November 2011).



    • Senator Casey is NOT a co-sponsor of S.CON.RES.11, "A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress with respect to the Obama administration's discontinuing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act" (as of 1/21/2012)

    • Representative Fitzpatrick is NOT a co-sponsor of H.CON.RES.25 , "Expressing the sense of Congress with respect to the Obama administration's discontinuing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act" (as of 1/21/2012; NOR is he a co-sponsor of H.R.875, the Marriage Protection Act).

    • Senator Toomey is NOT a co-sponsor of S.CON.RES.11, "A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress with respect to the Obama administration's discontinuing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act" (as of 1/21/2012).

    ARCHBISHOP CHAPUT ON CATHOLICS IN PUBLIC OFFICE


    "I think that people who make decisions contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in public ways, in matters of faith and morals, should decide for themselves not to receive communion. They've broken their communion with the church, and to receive communion means you're in communion with the church. If you're not, it's hypocritical to receive communion.

    "I think the best way to handle this is the way the bishops of the United States have agreed together to handle it, which is first of all to talk personally with those individuals who make decisions contrary to the teaching of the church. If they fully understand the teaching of the church and continue to act contrary to it, we should ask them not to receive communion.

    "If they persistently decide to do so in a way that causes scandal, which means leading other people into the same kind of sin, then I think it's necessary for the bishop to publicly say something" (
    Archbishop Chaput, 7/19/11).

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    "Child sex abuse: When Concern for Institutional Risk Trumps the Truth" (Courier Times, 1/15/12)

    Rep. Thomas Murt
    427 Irvis Office Building
    Post Office Box 202152
    Harrisburg, PA 17120

    Dear Representative Murt,

    When I first read Child sex abuse: When Concern for Institutional Risk Trumps the Truth and learned that you had "taught at Archbishop Ryan High School" and were "a life-long Catholic"and "a religious education instructor," I confess to an initial "uh oh" feeling. My thought was, "Here comes the Catholic bashing" from one of our own. After a little research, I quickly realized that you are a public official who takes authentic Catholic Social Teaching very seriously:



    • Thank you for your December 12th vote for HB 1977. As per the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, this would "remove abortion funding from the state health care exchanges that will be created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)."

    • Thank you for your December 13th vote for SB 732. As per the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, "The new law addresses concerns that stemmed from a tragedy that occurred in the Philadelphia abortion clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell....The measure holds abortion facilities to the same fire and safety standards, personnel and equipment requirements, and quality assurance procedures as other freestanding ambulatory surgical facilities."

    • Thank you for being one of the co-sponsors of HB 1077. As per the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, this would require "that a woman be given the option to see her ultrasound and see/hear her unborn child’s heartbeat."

    Especially in light of your excellent track record, I pray that our hierachy will take your call with with utmost seriousness: "We need to open the window and allow the light of truth to shine into this dark place." Amen. Be that said, it should also go without saying that the light must shine brightly and widely, because "Sexual Abuse [Is] Not an Exclusive Specialty of Catholic Priests" or Penn State coaches.


    With regard to institutional reactions, it does indeed appear that some bishops previously responded by sweeping accusations "under the rug." Yet at this point, it seems that the knee jerk reaction may be shifting to simply throwing the accused "under the bus." With regard to the latter, I would like to call your attention to two articles:



    I am certain that you agree that "Justice delayed is justice denied." If a priest - or anyone for that matter - is accused, he deserves confidentiality, as well as a fair and speedy resolution. If an accussation becomes public but is subsequently determined to be unfounded, exhaustive efforts must be made to restore the priest's good name. That does not seem to be the case with regard to the previously cleared priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia or the incident cited in the Diocese of Trenton.


    We have begun to see cases, where it appears that (arch)dioceses are failing to do everything to restore a priest's good name, even when the priest has not been charged or has been cleared by civil authorities. In December, our new archbishop told us that "Since arriving in September, I have pressed for a rapid resolution of the cases of those priests placed on administrative leave earlier this year." With danger of sounding flip, I would have liked to see him act as quickly in these matters, as he has acted with regard to our schools.


    Again, thank God that you and others are shining the "light of truth" on these matters. While ensuring that this light shines brightly and widely, may I inquire as to your thoughts on how Catholics might ensure that the civil and canonical rights of accused priests are safeguarded? I am disturbed that many seem to be losing sight of what the Church teaches about social justice and offenses to our brothers' good names.



    Sincerely,

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    "so fainthearted that the sound of a driven leaf will pursue them"

    How do we stand aside, when "Catholic" hospitals are associating with abortionists and failing to show true solidarity with those medical professionals who refuse to prescribe abortifacients/contraceptives? Why are so many pastors accepting parish bulletin advertisements from pharmacists who prescribe Plan B and other abortifacients?

    It appears that moral cowardice is the "reward" (i.e., result) of failure to obey God's Law. Leviticus 26 assures us of blessings
    • "If you live in accordance with my statutes and are careful to observe my commandments,"
    but it also describes a pathetic lack of fortitude resulting from disobedience:
    • "You will flee though no one pursues you....Those of you who survive in the lands of their enemies, I will make so fainthearted that the sound of a driven leaf will pursue them, and they shall run as if from the sword, and fall though no one pursues them; stumbling over one another as if to escape a sword, while no one is after them—so helpless will you be to take a stand against your foes! You shall perish among the nations, swallowed up in your enemies’ country. Those of you who survive will waste away in the lands of their enemies, for their own and their ancestors’ guilt."

    Wednesday, January 4, 2012

    re: "Pro-Life Review of Top 10 Bioethics Stories from 2011" (LifeSite

    Dear Ms. Taylor,

    Listed as third worst in your list of bioethics stories is the "Rise of selective reduction." You rightly explain that,



    • "This year we were introduced to the ugly practice of selective reduction, a euphemistic term that describes the killing of one fetus in a multiple pregnancy. Selective reduction is becoming more commonplace because of fertility treatments like IVF are creating more and more multiples and doctors are advising patients to 'reduce' their quadruplets, triplets and even twins down to two or even one baby. In 2011 the world discovered the truth that abortion is the 'safety net' for IVF."

    Elsewhere, you have explained that



    • "No one knows how pervasive selective reduction is in the IVF industry because practitioners are reluctant to discuss much less report the procedure. What started as a procedure to 'reduce' the number of fetuses resulting from over zealous fertility treatments has become more commonplace for naturally conceived multiples."

    Ms. Taylor, thank you for shedding light on this crime against God and humanity. With regard to "selective reduction," Dr. Frank Craparo is a published expert and a popular practitioner (See 1 and 2.). Yet, a Catholic hospital in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia - Suburban Mercy (which is part of the Mercy Health System, which in turn is part of Catholic Health East) - continues to be associated with Dr. Craparo!


    Again, thank you for shedding light on the barbaric practive of "selective reduction."


    Sincerely,

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    "We found ourselves a Mr. Smith who has proven that he will do the right thing no matter what anybody says."

    re: "State Legislators Debate Pro-Life, School Choice Bills" (Catholic Standard & Times, January 2012)

    A. B. Hill, APR. Director of Communications.
    Pennsylvania Catholic Conference
    223 North Street. PO Box 2835

    Dear Ms. Hill,

    Your recent update appeared in my archdiocesan newspaper, under the title "State Legislators Debate Pro-Life, School Choice Bills" (Catholic Standard & Times, January 2012).

    With regard to SB 732, you rightfully note that "The passage of this bill into law is a victory for women and children in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (PCC) is urging all advocates to thank their legislators who voted yes for their pro-life vote on SB 732." Well said, but incomplete....

    Many thought that SB 732's application of common sense health standards to abortion facilities - especially in light of the grand jury report on Kermit Gosnell & his associates - would find quick and easy consensus. Yet 62 members of the Pennsylvania Legislature opposed SB 732. In the House, 2 of the 44 opposing SB 732 on December 13th identify themselves as Catholic :
    •Eddie Day Pashinski (121) of Wilkes-Barre; Epashinski@pahouse.net
    •John Sabatina, Jr (174) of Philadelphia; jsabatin@pahouse.net
    In the Senate, 4 of the 18 opposing SB 732 on December 14th identify themselves as Catholic:
    •Lisa M. Boscola (18) of Bethlehem; boscola@pasenate.com
    •Jay Costa, Jr (43) of Pittsburgh; costa@pasenate.com
    •Wayne Fontana (42) of Pittsburgh; fontana@pasenate.com
    •Charles 'Chuck' T. McIlhinney, Jr (10) of Doylestown; cmcilhinney@pasen.gov

    With regard to HB 1977, you rightfully note that "the Pennsylvania House of Representatives voted 146 to 45 to remove abortion funding from the state health care exchanges that will be created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)." It should be added that 7 of the 45 in the House who opposed HB 1977 identify themselves as Catholic:
    •Paul Costa (34) of Turtle Creek; pcosta@pahouse.net
    •Frank Dermody (33) of Oakmont; fdermody@pahouse.net
    •Michael McGeehan of Philadelphia; mmcgeeha@pahouse.net
    •Eddie Day Pashinski (121) of Wilkes-Barre; Epashinski@pahouse.net
    •John Sabatina, Jr (174) of Philadelphia; jsabatin@pahouse.net
    •Dante Santoni, Jr (126) of Reading; dsantoni@pahouse.net
    •Jesse White (46) of Cecil; jwhite@pahouse.net

    You go on to explain that "House Bill 1977 now goes to the state senate. This bill is similar to Senate Bill 3, which passed 37-12 in the Senate earlier this year." It should be noted that of the 12 senators who opposed SB 3 in June, two identify themselves as Catholic:
    •Jay Costa, Jr (43) of Pittsburgh; costa@pasenate.com
    •Wayne Fontana (42) of Pittsburgh; fontana@pasenate.com

    To quote Archbishop Chaput, I believe that the scandalous votes of these Catholic politicians has created an environment, where it is "necessary for the bishop to publicly say something." I hope and pray that the bishops of Pennsylvania will do just that.

    All of us need to show concern for the common good and for our elected officials' souls.

    Sincerely,

    The 10 Commandments

    The Beatitudes (from "Jesus of Nazareth")

    Christifideles Laici

    Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

    Our representation in D.C....

    Click the below image, to check on the status of federal legislation:
    Click the below images, to ascertain what pro-life and pro-marriage/family legislation is being sponsored or co-sponsored (as well as what legislation is NOT being sponsored or co-sponsored):
    https://www.congress.gov/member/brian-fitzpatrick/F000466?q={%22search%22:[%22brian+fitzpatrick%22]}&r=1

    To check U.S. House votes:

    To check U.S. Senate votes:

    Contacts:

    Bucks County in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives

    Bucks County in the Pennsylvania Senate

    Contacting Our Governor

    717 787 2500 or governor@pa.gov.

    Contacting Our Bishops