Reflections on loving God, being Catholic, being a woman, being ill, loving life and anything else that comes to mind.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Catholic Witness and the Healthcare Bill

Fallen Sparrow sent me the link to this First Things article. It is well worth a read as are many of the comments both to enhance our catechesis and to learn the dismal state of many in the Church today. We need to do some work cleaning our own house.

I strongly ecommend Grace McLoughlin's comments at 3.20.2010/12.00 p.m. and Matt Beck's at 3.20.2010/10.19 p.m. My comment, which hadn't appeared as of the time of this post, is below:

Obebedience to the teaching Magisterium is central to what it means to be a faithful Catholic. We may like it or hate it but that's the choice.

In most of the world, people are subject to the state. In the United States, the state is subject to the people. And that puts American Catholics in an odd position. Whereas we are accustomed to being subject to the Church and to the state, here we are subject to the Church and we are each sovereign. We owe obedience to the Church, the government is our servant. We must get that through our head. This is what it means to be an American Catholic.

I am so grateful that Bishop Chaput has made it clear that the nuns who have come out in support of the health care bill are causing confusion amongst the faithful. I am also grateful to God that abortion, conscience protection or any other issues cause the bishops to oppose this bill because whereas abortion is an absolute deal breaker (the blood of 50 million babies is already on our hands) I don't think the bishops have gone far enough.

As Grace commented, subsidiarity is also central to Church teaching. In simple terms, we are to govern our own selves and love our neighbours as locally as possible. We cannot get away with sending a cheque to DC in the form of taxes and have DC love our neighbour for us. We must do it ourselves because the goal of this whole thing is holiness and we only get that by loving one another as Christ loves us.

Charity is a good thing. Church charity, local charity, personal charity are all good things. The Church teaches that health care is a right but how we provide it is left to us. The Church (both Catholics and other Christian denominations) provides an enormous amount of charity health care. We need to support them with our money. We need to provide for our brothers and sisters who are in need, which many do. It's our job. The state can't do it.

Accepting charity is tough. I know this personally. As I write this, I am disabled and in pain (in 15 min I can take my pain meds). I am in one of the many doughnut holes waiting for my disability insurance company to begin making payments to me. Disability has always been part of my salary package and I have paid for it for many years. I never intended to get sick and am hoping to either get better or figure out something I can do to earn a living while being sick. But right now, I'm too sick to work and don't have any savings left and I must wait. But in my wallet are a number of cheques from friends and friends of friends that will pay for meds and utility bills and food. Friends have paid my bills over the past three months. Of course, I can't buy clothes but then I don't need any clothes. I've been fine. I've had what I need. I've had to give up my pride. It hurts. Being homeless and without food and medicine would hurt more. My pride isn't worth keeping. I've been afraid and then I've asked for help and the community in which I live my life has helped me and I am beginning to be less afraid of being in need, in general - my body flesh is learning Christ's mercy.

Charity is a good thing. And it is available to those who want it. It's easier if one is part of a community but it is available to those who want it. We need to do a better job of letting that be known. And we need the Church to stop making negative statements about picking up the pieces of a flawed healthcare system. That is the Church's job and it's a good thing. (It would be even better if we could get rid of the flawed healthcare system but that's another post.)

We have a nation of people who are badly catechised, have poorly formed consciences and are poorly educated as citizens. The Church must do a better job of catechising us. We need the bishops and our parish priests, to remind us regularly of Church teaching on the sanctity of life AND of social teaching including subsidiarity (which many have never heard of before). We need homilies and teaching on pride and all the other deadly sins. We need modern references for humility and love. We need the Church to be more specific and proclaim Church teaching rather than the general homilies about how special we are and how much God loves us.

I pray this bill doesn't pass because I am sick and though I have private health insurance, I will be one of the many who are given pain meds and sent off to die because it is too expensive to pay for my healthcare. I pray it doesn't pass because I know babies will continue to be slaughtered on the altar of convenience. I pray it doesn't pass because the elderly will die of treatable illnesses because some central bureaucracy decides it's too expensive. I pray it doesn't pass because suicide will be recommended. If this bill is passed and actually enacted, death and misery will spread throughout the country but we will have paid our taxes so it won't be our fault.

1 comment:

peskemom said...

I had a conversation with a Catholic friend last month who was very confused by her parish priest who told her (when she asked his opinion of Catholic women priests) that personally he had no problem. My dear friend asked me and I told her: this is not a decision for me to make. That's what being a Catholic means...I humbly submit to the Magesterium,Tradition and the Holy Father who have spoken on this matter. It's the same principal you refer to here. As a former Anglican of 35 years where decisions are all about 'your conscience ', it is tremendously freeing to see the Roman Catholic church as an anchor!