In Pennsylvania's

Friday, August 30, 2013

Pennsylvania SB 872 and its Catholic Co-Sponsors

As reported in print edition of the 8/30/13 Bucks County Courier Times,
    "A federal appeals court sided with California on Thursday and upheld the first law in the nation banning a psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay [sic] youth straight [sic]In a resounding, unanimous opinion, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found the state law barring the so-called gay aversion therapy legal in every respect.... New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has signed a similar law that would also outlaw the therapy in his state.... Supporters of the therapy argued in court that the state law violated the free speech rights of counselors; the law was so poorly written that it left practitioners confused over determining the legality of their treatment; and trampled on parental rights to make mental health decisions for their children. In short, the proponents of the therapy argued that the state law cut off a legitimate mental health treatment.  The law says therapists and counselors who practice the therapy would be engaging in unprofessional conduct and subject to discipline by state licensing boards."
Senators Anthony Williams, LeAna Washington, Judith Schwank, Jim Ferlo, Daylin Leach, Mike Stack (who is identified as a Catholic from Philadelphia), and Sean Wiley (who is identified as a Catholic from Erie) are co-sponsoring Pennsylvania SB 872, "Prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual under 18 years of age."

As per the National Catholic Bioethics Center, "A persons sexual identity is not determined by one's subjective beliefs, desires, or feelings.... Psyco-therapy and loving acceptance...is the proper way to love them" (FAQ on Gender Identity Disorder and "Sex Change" Operations).

Will Archbishop Chaput, Bishop Persico, and the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference have anything to say with regard to SB 872 and its Catholic co-sponsors from Philly and Erie?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Human Trafficking and the Respect for Each Human Life

As per the Trafficking in Persons Report 2013,
    [Only] "a mere fraction of the more than 26 million men, women, and children who are estimated to suffer in modern slavery have been recognized by governments as such and are eligible to receive the protection and support they are owed.... traffickers who enslave and exploit millions are operating with impunity, beyond the reach of the law....

    "meaningful participation of survivors in antitrafficking efforts– whether during an investigation or prosecution or in the broader policy realm—not only gives them a long-denied voice but also makes justice systems more effective....

    "As the movement to combat modern slavery has evolved, so too has the understanding of what constitutes a trafficking victim. In the first few years..., nearly all of the trafficking cases prosecuted by governments were sex trafficking cases; identified victims were nearly all women and girls.  Though today’s estimates suggest that the majority of trafficking victims are indeed women and girls, it is now clear that trafficking victims are subjected to both sex and labor trafficking, and a significant percentage of trafficking victims are men and boys."

Just one year prior to stepping down from office for patronizing prostitution,
    "New York's governor signed an anti-trafficking law, which raised patronizing prostitution to a Class A misdemeanor.... New York is the abortion capital of America.'  Not satisfied, Eliot Spitzer [had also sought to]...further liberalize New York's abortion laws....Unless built on a foundation of respect for all human life, anti-trafficking measures seem doomed to flounder (Keeping the escape hatch open: Middle-aged men and casual sex, Bucks County Courier Times, 4/9/08).

This past June, there was a stunning tribute to Mercer County (NJ) Congressman and pro life champion Chris Smith from an unlikely source:
    "I’m also particularly happy to be joined here today by Congressman Chris Smith. I’ve worked with Chris on this stuff. There’s nobody more committed or dedicated. So thank you, Chris, for your strong voice and leadership in these efforts.  Trafficking in persons is one of those rare issues that can bring people together across the aisles without regard to ideology and without regard to politics, and that’s the way it ought to be. I appreciate Chris’s advocacy on this issue. For years together in Congress, we were able to work on this and some other issues. And it’s no understatement to say that he was banging the drum on this long before many in Congress even knew the term 'trafficking in persons' or understood what it really meant" (Secretary of State John Kerry, Remarks at the Annual Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) Release, 6/19/13).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pennsylvania HB300/SB300 - "unjust discrimination" toward families

With regard to to those who have "deep-seated homosexual tendencies," the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that
    "They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition" (CCC #2358).
Back in 1986, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
    "10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law....[But this does not include] when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right....

    "13....The Bishops have the particularly grave responsibility to see to it that their assistants in the ministry, above all the priests, are rightly informed and personally disposed to bring the teaching of the Church in its integrity to everyone....

    "15.... departure from the Church's teaching, or silence about it, in an effort to provide pastoral care is neither caring nor pastoral. Only what is true can ultimately be pastoral....

    "16....every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, His child and heir to eternal life.

    "17....In assessing proposed legislation, the Bishops should keep as their uppermost concern the responsibility to defend and promote family life" (Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, 1986).


While the sponsors of Pennsylvania HB 300 and SB 300 may be well intentioned, this legislation would "protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right."  Both measures specifically speak of "freedom from discrimination in...public accommodation," regardless of "'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity or expression.'"  We desperately need our bishops and priests to "keep as their uppermost concern the responsibility to defend and promote family life."  Barring men from ladies' restrooms and vice versa is clearly NOT "unjust discrimination."  While the Pennsylvania Family Council has been raising awareness about this legislation, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference is silent.  

Of particular concern is the scandalous number of legislators (including some who have heretofore been viewed as "pro life" and "pro family") who are sponsoring this legislation.  Of those sponsors from Bucks County, Representatives Tina Davis, John Galloway, and Marguerite Quinn are also believed to indentify themselves as Catholic - as does Senator Chuck McIlhinney.

Friday, August 23, 2013

HB300 and SB300

As per the Pa Family Council, calls are needed to your representative and senator in Harrisburg, to oppose HB300 and SB300, which would obstensibly let people choose by which gender they identify themselves, thus negating the right for separate toileting facilities for those with biological differences (Yes, you read that correctly.)....

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20130821_Naked_truth_about_gender-ID_bill.html

http://www.philly.com/philly/opinion/20130821_Bill_an_attack_on_religious_freedom.html

Thursday, August 22, 2013

We are GOD's Works of Art - NOT the IVF Specialists!

"For we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them" (Ephesians 2: 10).  An ad on New Jersey Transit trains offers a very different take on whose works of art new humans are.  As per "Works of ART by Dr. Debbra Keegan,"
    I always knew that I wanted to become a physician and that women’s health would be the focus of my medical career. I find inspiration in the very beginnings of human development; the early human embryo is simply fascinating. I feel my responsibility as a physician is to take all of the complexity that surrounds the world of Assisted Reproduction and educate my patients such that they can make the most informed decisions for themselves and their families.
While this IVF specialist professes to "find inspiration in the very beginnings of human development," she is employing techniques that sever the unitive and procreative dimensions of the marital embrace and treat new human life like a laboratory product.
Countless new human lives are also endangered and/or discarded.

Via her Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas (NOT a Catholic hospital), Dr. Keegan now has an office in East Windsor (Mercer County). Yet, she is NOT the only game in town. The below ad for IVFNJ.COM is displayed at the Hamilton Train Station (Mercer County):

Now, who are the doctors of IVFNJ.COM?

And with what hospitals are "Doctor" Darder and "Doctor" Treiser affiliated?


Yup, that's right. Darder and Treiser are affiliated with St Peter's in New Brunswick.

It is said that only 13% of Catholics think that IVF is morally wrong (http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=18768).

Why are we surprised?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What Does It Profit Our Catholic Hospitals to Gain the Whole World and Lose Their Souls?

Just last week, young Calvin Frieburger provided excellent insight into the bizarre situation of physicians with morally repugnant practices having "privileges" at Catholic hospitals:
    "The Church Amendments [PDF link] state that no hospital receiving federal money for biomedical or behavioral research, or under the Public Health Service Act, the Community Mental Health Centers Act, or the Developmental Disabilities Services and Facilities Construction Act is permitted to 'discriminate in the extension of staff or other privileges to any physician or health care personnel, because he performed or assisted in the performance of a lawful sterilization procedure or abortion' (They also protect doctors who refuse to perform abortions from the same.).  In a similar vein to the way many churches have let the government buy their silence with tax-exempt status, federal statute makes hospitals’ compliance the price of receiving cash....religious hospitals will have to make a choice: take the money and admit the abortionists, or stand on principle and let the chips fall where they may. After all, Christianity only survived to the modern day because of people who chose to trust that God would steer them through far greater sacrifices than losing some federal grants (In Admitting Privileges Fight, Wisconsin Churches Discover the Flip Side of Federal Funding, Live Action News, 8/15/13.).
Frieburger maintains that federal funding has placed Catholic hospitals in positions of untenable ethical compromise.  While those in leadership may talk as though Catholic hospitals have no choice but to allow "privileges" to all doctors, can't hospitals always choose to push themselves away from the funding trough?

"Privileges" and Catholic Hospitals in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Excellent as it was, Frieburger's commentary just touched the tip of the iceburg. Many would be shocked to learn of how vastly inappropriate it can be, as to who gets "privileges" at many Catholic hospitals.  In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, for example, there are six Catholic hospitals:
  1. Holy Redeemer
  2. St. Mary's (under Catholic Health East)
  3. Mercy Health System (under Catholic Health East)
  4. Mercy Fitzgerald
  5. Mercy Philadelphia
  6. Mercy Suburban
  7. Nazareth
I have repeatedly tried to raise concern to the Archdiocese (and to the National Catholic Bioethics Center, which is headquartered in the Archdiocese) about highly inappropriate patterns of "privileges" with direct impact on core identification as "Catholic" hospitals:
    1) among OBGYNs with privileges, there is a paucity of NFP-only physicians (i.e., I have only been able to find one OBGYN associated with our hospitals who is on One More Soul's list of NFP only OBGYNs);
Philadelphia's Catholic hospitals also provide information on "advance directives,"which fails to clearly specify that Catholic teaching must be honored - particularly with regard to the provision of nutrition and hydration (i.e., Neither Saint Mary's Advanced Directives and Living Wills, nor Holy Redeemer's Making Your Own Health Care Decisions and Advance Directive Form, nor Mercy Health System's Vendor Compliance Program properly specify
    • Catholic teaching with regard to nutrition and hydration, and
    • that health care services cannot honor advance directives (e.g., non-specific directives to forego nutrition and hydration) opposed to Catholic teaching.).

While the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is generally non-responsive, I was recently told I write too prolifically (That is NOT how it was phrased.) and that much of what I write is "too harsh and unreasonable."  Were my parents still alive, I'd have no doubt gotten a good crack in the mouth just for receiving that criticism and reminded of how I was taught better - to always be respectful.  It's been a struggle, I've failed repeatedly, and I need frequent recourse to the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  I know that my parents would have also reminded me of Jesus' harsh words about scandal (cf., Mark 9: 6 - 9).  We are responsible for each other's salvation.

When "the activity of a particular charitable agency is no longer being carried out in conformity with the Church’s teaching"

Shortly before his resignation, Pope Benedict XVI provided guidance which would certainly appear to have direct bearing on Catholic hospitals:
Sister Carol Keehan's Catholic Health Association of the USA (CHAUSA) recently brought in a retired professor of canon law for commentary on Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio: "although offering health care is certainly a charitable activity, ...it seems that the text refers to works such as those of Catholic Relief Services, Pontifical Mission Societies, Development and Peace, Catholic Charities, Caritas and the like in other countries" (Rev. Francis G. Morrisey, Benedict XVIs Motu Proprio - What Is Its Scope, Health Progress, May/June 2013). Huh?

With surprising candidness, one of CHAUSA's senior directors of ethics recently wrote of how end runs have been maneuvered at Catholic hospitals: "in the context of partnerships with secular organizations, pastoral exceptions have been replaced with carve-outs, namely, creating firewalls between the Catholic partner and the secular partner performing sterilizations" (Ron Hamel, Catholic Identity, Ethics Need Focus In New Era, Health Progress, May/June 2013).   On the streets of my native New York, that sort of deception has long been employed in shell games and "Three Card Monte."

The HHS Mandate, the USCCB, and the CHAUSA

As per Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,
    "the Administration issued its final rule regarding the HHS mandate, which requires healthcare coverage for sterilization, contraception, and drugs and devices that may cause abortions....[There are] three categories of religious freedom problems in the mandate—in short,
      "problems with the 'religious employer' exemption;
      problems with the 'accommodation' for employers deemed not 'religious enough' for the exemption; and
      problems with the lack of any exemption or'accommodation' for individuals and for-profit businesses....
    "our study has not discovered any new change that eliminates the need to continue defending our rights in Congress and the courts."

It probably should have come as no surprise that the CHAUSA would quickly defy the USCCB with an "approval" of the mandate, "throwing under the bus" any who struggle to be faithful witnesses in the face of assaults on conscience (See www.chausa.org/newsroom/women's-preventive-health-services-final-rule.).  When it comes to rendering unto God or unto Caesar, they appear to have made a choice. 

The Fellowship of the Ring 

I sometimes envy that my parents were not faced with such things as the CHAUSA's duplicitousness.
Echoing Pat Archbold of the National Catholic Register (7/12/13), many have decided that the time has come to ask the USCCB to immediately remove the designation "Catholic" from Sister Carol Keehan's group.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The USCCB: "No one should be an object of scorn, hatred, or violence for any reason, including sexual inclination."

Representing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, there was a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions from Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Archbishop William E. Lori, and Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone:
    "Catholic teaching states that all people are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess an innate human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected, by other persons and by law. No one should be an object of scorn, hatred, or violence for any reason, including sexual inclination. The Church affords special concern and pastoral attention to those who experience a homosexual inclination and stands committed to avoid 'every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard.' CCC, no. 2358....

    "While the Church is ardently opposed to all unjust discrimination on the grounds of sexual inclination, whether homosexual or heterosexual, it does teach that all sexual acts outside of a marriage between one man and one woman are morally wrong and do not serve the good of the person or society....

    "ENDA [i.e., S. 815, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013], if enacted, could be used to punish as discrimination what the Catholic Church teaches....

    "We are also concerned that ENDA may be invoked by federal courts to support the claim that, as a matter of federal constitutional right, marriage must be redefined to include two persons of the same sex....

    "The bill’s treatment of 'gender identity' ...would have an adverse effect on privacy and associational rights of others. The bill also lacks an exemption for a 'bona fide occupational qualification' (BFOQ), for those cases where it is neither unjust nor inappropriate to consider an applicant’s sexual inclination."
Heretofore, some legislators have opposed a federal marriage amendment, claiming marriage to only be a "state" issue.  Just a short time ago, they were able to cite how each time that marriage came to a vote of the citizens, the traditional definition of marriage stood firm.  That is no longer the case.   Congressman Time Huelskamp has introduced H.J. RES. 51, supporting a an amendment to the U.S. Constitution:
    "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman."
Please ask Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (mikefitzpatrickpa08@live.com) to join Rep Michele Bachmann, and Rep Chris Smith, as well as fellow Pennsylvanians Rep Mike Kelly [PA-3] and Rep Joe Pitts [PA-16], as one of the 51 co-sponsors of  H.J. RES. 51.

On the state level, Governor Corbett's office has announced that it WILL Pennsylvania's Defense of Marriage Act.  The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has a web page to facilitate supportive messages to Governor Corbett, "to say you support marriage and the defense of Pennsylvania’s DOMA." Go to https://www.votervoice.net/PACC/Campaigns/32995/Respond.  Governor Corbett can also be contacted at 717 787 2500 or governor@pa.gov.



Friday, August 2, 2013

Pa Catholic Conference: "I Support Marriage and Pennsylvania's DOMA"

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference has a web page to facilitate messages to Governor Corbett, "to say you support marriage and the defense of Pennsylvania’s DOMA." Go to https://www.votervoice.net/PACC/Campaigns/32995/Respond.

On a federal level, Congressman Time Huelskamp has introduced H.J. RES. 51, supporting a an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting marriage to a man and a woman.  Please ask Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (mikefitzpatrickpa08@live.com/ ) to be a co-sponsor.

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