in Pennsylvania's First Congressional District's_1st_congressional_district
and the Central Garden State

Monday, July 29, 2013

The CHAUSA Vision: "Standing in the Middle" Between the "Vice"s of Church and State....

You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

Along with Ronald Hamel, Ph.D.Rev. Thomas Nairn, OFM, Ph.D. is "senior director of ethics" at the Catholic Health Association of the USA (CHAUSA).

"As for Me and My Household, We Will Serve the Lord" (Joshua 24:15)????

What follows are excerpts from Father Nairn's Catholic Health Care Must Stand in the Middle, which appears in the July/August 2013 issue of Health Progress, the journal of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.  Father Nairn tells us that,
    "The commitment to serve an increasingly secular society while remaining truly a ministry of the church can indeed cause discomfort for Catholic health care. More problematic for the future, however, might be the consequences if Catholic health care appropriates the mixed model and leaders use each perspective as a way to get around the other — emphasizing the public, secular face of Catholic health care when it seems too difficult to foster the institution’s Catholic identity, or using the Catholic, religious face as a way out when government or society in general raises uncomfortable questions.

    "The danger of uncritically relying upon the mixed model could result either in our institutions not knowing who they really are or — even worse — in our institutions hiding behind their mixed identity so that they do not have to take a stance regarding who they are and should be....

    "Over 700 years ago, the great medieval theologian and doctor of the church, St. Thomas Aquinas, OP, articulated an understanding of theology in which, following the ancient philosopher Aristotle, he described virtue as 'standing in the middle' between two extremes, each of which is considered vice.7

    "What does the virtuous middle look like for Catholic health care today? It is not some sort of static average, but rather a dynamic middle ground that is comfortable with the tension described above. This virtuous middle, with feet planted firmly in both realities, allows each side of the tension to influence the other, inviting real cross-fertilization between both realities. To consciously embrace this mixed model of Catholic health care means that we are not apologetic about either side of the tension."
When will the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops finally acknowledge that the CHAUSA has lost its moral compass?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Closer Look at CHAUSA's "Alternative Magisterium"

"Choose Life"?
"Hospital Administrators Now 'Shop' for Theologians Who Will Support Their Decisions"

As per a 2010 Wall Street Journal article,

In 2010, average pay for theologians was $62,050 (cf, Bureau of Labor Statistics).  As a senior director of ethics for the Catholic Health Association of the USA, Ronald Hamel, Ph.D. received total compensation of $219,088 (See IRS Form 990).  The Franciscans received $194,947 on behalf of Rev. Thomas Nairn, OFM, Ph.D., also a CHAUSA senior director of ethics (See IRS Form 990).  As per Hamel:
    "Upholding the church's teaching can at times be very difficult because real people are affected, sometimes quite negatively....In the last 30 years or so....There's been almost an obsession with orthodoxy, almost an eagerness to exclude those who don't adhere perfectly to the orthodoxy litmus test, a harsh judgmental attitude and a general nastiness. I see a preoccupation among some with trappings that seem to return the church to Renaissance times" (Ethics director helps make tough calls for Catholic Health Association, National Catholic Reporter, 7/23/13). 
Is $200K Hamel's price to deal with the supposed "harsh judgmental attitude and...general nastiness" of those who do not approve of CHAUSA's "alternative magisterium"?

Does Hamel Believe that the Church is Guardian of the Truth, Which Will Set us Free?

In Tip of the Iceberg for Church-Backed Hospitals?‎ (National Catholic Register, 2/26/10), it was posited that an article by Hamel gave cover to the illegitimate practice of direct sterilizations in Catholic hospitals:
    "According to Ron Hamel’s article 'In the Name of God and Truth: The Catholic Ban on Sterilization' in the January 1994 issue of the bioethics journal Second Opinion, 'Most Catholic hospitals that permit tubal ligations do so without the knowledge of local Church authorities. Their practice is in some ways covert.'
    "Hamel took the Church to task for cautioning against the 'scandal that might result from Catholic hospitals’ performing tubal ligations' and stated, 'the scandal really lies in the Catholic church’s [sic] refusal to permit direct sterilizations in the face of human tragedy and suffering'....
    "In an e-mail response to the Register, Hamel said, 'I do think there is validity to many of the points I make in the [Second Opinion] article, although I would probably word things differently today.'"
Tip of the Iceberg for Church-Backed Hospitals?‎ went on to cite several other of Hamel's works as potentially promoting misunderstanding of Catholic teaching.

"Talking Points"

Also with potential to sow seeds of misunderstanding is CHAUSA's "Talking Points on Dignitas Personae."  On 9/8/08, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released its beautiful Instruction Dignitas Personae on Certain Bioethical Questions:
    "Dignitas Personae proclaims
    1. ) human dignity from the first moment of fertilization until natural death and
    2. ) the right of everyone to originate in the loving embrace of a mom and dad, who are wife and husband.

    "Dignitas Personae screams that each human being is owed uncompromising respect, no matter how she came to be, and that we must stand with the weak and powerless against exploitation....

    "Recent years have seen a vast increase in reports of infertility and interest in reproductive technology. When employed by a husband and wife, Dignitas Personae says assistance to AID the 'marital act' toward procreation can be moral. However, even when used by a husband and wife, Dignitas Personae says that methods REPLACING the marital act - such as IVF - are immoral. Exacerbating IVF’s immorality is the discarding or freezing of 'extra', unwanted embryos. Dignitas Personae
    forbids using these new humans as research material or implanting one in the womb of a woman other than her mom. Also recognized as immoral are
    • human cloning,
    • the mixing of human with animal genetic material (Yup, some 'scientists' are doing that!),
    • germ line cell therapy,
    • 'genetic engineering for purposes other than medical treatment' (# 27), and
    • research using illicitly obtained cell lines. 

    "Yet, it would be an absolute mistake to dismiss Dignitas Personae as a laundry list of prohibitions.

    "Dignitas Personae beautifully declares, 'Behind every "no" in the difficult task of discerning between good and evil, there shines a great "yes" to the recognition of the dignity and inalienable value of every single and unique human being called into existence [# 37].'
It was apparently on the watch of Hamel and Father Nairn that the CHAUSA released "Talking Points on Dignitas Personae" (While no longer on CHAUSA's web site, a condensed version can  be found on pages 6 and 7 of the January 2009 newsletter of the Catholic Health Association of Minnesota.  The images below were previously accessed through Google's "cache" feature.)I would like to point to a few areas, where it holds great potential for sowing misunderstandings.
  • "Comments in S 23 may raise some questions....implementation of Directive 36 of the Ethical and Religious Directives remains unchanged.  Plan B, the medication of choice for emergency contraception does not appear to have a post-fertilization effect, given the results of repeated scientific studies": CHAUSA's hasty dismissal of Section 23 of Dignitas Personae (and inherently of the Vatican's 2000 Statement on the So-Called "Morning After Pill" ) is even less defensible now. Fr. Juan Vélez is an Opus Dei priest with a doctorate in dogmatic theology and an M.D.  Along with Rebecca Peck, M.D., Fr. Juan writes:
    • "All physicians who value life, and especially Catholic healthcare institutions, have a duty to re-examine the available scientific information on Plan B. We think the data shows a small anovulatory effect and suggests a significant post-fertilization or abortifacient effect. Given this information, the Peoria Protocol, and other rape-based protocols should be abandoned, as use of Plan B during the critical fertile period, would not be expected to prevent ovulations in a majority of cases, and in fact, would lead to a significant possibility of post-fertilization effect.
      "Moreover, as newer emergency contraceptives with better efficacies emerge, the precedent has been set for allowing agents with abortifacient mechanisms of action" ("Plan B’s Main Mechanism of Action: The Case for a Post-Fertilization Effect," Human Life International).
    In the words of Human Life International, I pray "that Catholic bishops and those who advise them in these issues will see the urgency of revisiting the approval of Plan B for treatment of women who have been raped. These women deserve the absolute best life-affirming care possible, and this care should not include drugs that only compound the violence already suffered by causing abortions."
  • "The document is unlikely to have much of an impact on Catholic hospitals because these hospitals do not employ the procedures addressed in the document": Catholic hospitals allow "privileges" to those who engage in procedures condemned in Dignitas Personae, as long as those individuals promise that such practices will be on their own time and dime.  Such casuistry is NOT in keeping with Dignitas Personae.
  • "The document does not pretend to be science":  Other than to discredit Digntias Personae, that sentence holds no purpose.  As per William Strunk, Jr, Cornell's late professor of English stylistics, "A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts."  One simply cannot read Dignitas Personae and not come away with the realization that scientific experts had been intensely consulted. 

For all the reasons recently cited by Pat Archbold in the National Catholic Register, the CHAUSA does not deserve the name "Catholic."  Please consider signing the petition: "If we are to save truly Catholic healthcare in this country, we must amputate the rotting limbs immediately or risk losing the patient" (

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Pa Catholic Conference: "ACLU Attacks Pa.’s DOMA in Lawsuit"

As explained by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference (7/12/13),
    "On Tuesday, July 9, 2013, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a Philadelphia law firm filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). ACLU is representing 10 gay couples and one gay 'widow' seeking to overturn the DOMA passed in 1996. Witold Walczak, legal director of the ACLU, claims that overturning Pennsylvania’s DOMA will not redefine marriage, only make it 'fairer.'

    "The suit comes only 13 days after the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act in a 5-4 decision on the basis that the Federal law invaded the rights of the states to define marriage as they deemed best. At this time, only 13 states and the District of Columbia have legalized gay marriages. The case is predicted to come to trial within the next year, move to the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, and then possibly, the Supreme Court. A federal judge will hear the case in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, located in Harrisburg, Pa.

    "On Thursday, July 11, 2013, Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Kathleen Kane, a Democrat from Scranton, announced that she will not defend the Pennsylvania law. Also named in the suit is Governor Tom Corbett, whose legal counsel could defend the DOMA in court. He has not yet indicated his intentions [Emphases added.].

    "The Pennsylvania Catholic will be watching the case closely. Marriage is a personal relationship with great public significance—not a private affair—that affects all in society. Marriage is not just about adult relationships, it is the foundation of the family. Every child has a mother and a father. And every child has a basic right to a mother and a father united in marriage. While circumstances may prevent a child being raised by his or her own mother and father, marriage is the way society provides for children’s needs in ordinary circumstances. There are many ways to protect the basic human rights of all, but redefining marriage serves no one’s rights, least of all those of children. Treating different things differently is not unjust discrimination."
The Pennsylvania Family Institute has a web site to facilitate contact with AG Kane and express disapproval of her intention to disregard the law (  Governor Corbett can be contacted at 717 787 2500 or
The USCCB's Natural Family Planning Awareness Week (JULY 21 - JULY 27, 2013) presents pastors with a special opportunity to present the Church's authentic teaching on marriage/family and human sexuality.  Tragically, many bishops and pastors have been missing this opportunity to "offer a variety of educational focus attention on Natural Family Planning methods and Church teachings which support their use in marriage.The dates of Natural Family Planning Awareness Week highlight the anniversary of the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae (July 25) which articulates Catholic beliefs about human sexuality, conjugal love and responsible parenthood."
It certainly goes without saying that proclamation of the Truth is not limited to Natural Family Planning Awareness Week - or any week - for any of us!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lumen Fidei

From Pope Franics' Lumen Fidei:
    "52. In Abraham’s journey towards the future city, the Letter to the Hebrews mentions the blessing which was passed on from fathers to sons (cf. Heb 11:20-21). The first setting in which faith enlightens the human city is the family. I think first and foremost of the stable union of man and woman in marriage. This union is born of their love, as a sign and presence of God’s own love, and of the acknowledgment and acceptance of the goodness of sexual differentiation, whereby spouses can become one flesh (cf. Gen 2:24) and are enabled to give birth to a new life, a manifestation of the Creator’s goodness, wisdom and loving plan. Grounded in this love, a man and a woman can promise each other mutual love in a gesture which engages their entire lives and mirrors many features of faith. Promising love for ever is possible when we perceive a plan bigger than our own ideas and undertakings, a plan which sustains us and enables us to surrender our future entirely to the one we love. Faith also helps us to grasp in all its depth and richness the begetting of children, as a sign of the love of the Creator who entrusts us with the mystery of a new person. So it was that Sarah, by faith, became a mother, for she trusted in God’s fidelity to his promise (cf. Heb 11:11)."

The 10 Commandments

The Beatitudes (from "Jesus of Nazareth")

Our representation in D.C....

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Bucks County in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives;;;;;;;;;

Bucks County in the Pennsylvania Senate;;;

Contacting Our Governor

717 787 2500 or

Contacting Our Bishops