Pull up a chair in my domestic church and let's chat!

I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.

All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.
"The important thing is that we do not let a single day go by in vain without putting it to good use for eternity"--Blessed Franz J├Ągerst├Ątter

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

40 Days for Life is Underway!

40 Days for Life is a three-prong program. Everyone can participate in one way or another. Begin with fasting and prayer to end abortion. If you are able, join one of the prayer vigils outside an abortion clinic. Finally, support community outreach to educate others about the evil of abortion and support community programs that provide alternatives to abortion. Read more here.

As expected, Democrats defeat pro-life amendments

In spite of the assurances from President Obama that the health care reform package would not fund abortion, the Democrats have defeated the Hatch Amendment that would keep abortion funding out of federal health care. Pray. Pray. Pray.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

President Obama's credibility put to the test in today's Senate votes

The Senate votes on amendments to the Baucus Bill that would codify what President Obama claimed in his address to Congress: no federal dollars will fund abortion. So far all such efforts have failed. The President has offered no support for these efforts. In fact, his staff has explicitly refused to support them. Right now his words look pretty empty.

Since today is the Feast of the Archangels, a St. Michael's prayer in support of the amendments that would defeat evil would be appropriate.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Convergining Roads

I am now back from another trip to Texas. This one combined business with pleasure. I visited with my parents in Houston and saw my daughter at Rice. Then my mother and I made a trip to College Station to work on plans for the rehearsal dinner for my oldest son's wedding. It seems like only yesterday that I was announcing the engagement and suddenly the December wedding is nearly upon us. For those of you who like this sort of thing, here is where we are having the dinner. This is a very old home in Bryan Texas. I was told this was the "city" home of the Astin family. Those with Texas A&M roots will recognize the name Astin. It is the same family for which Astin Hall is named. The house's history is somewhat unusual. After it was no longer a family home, it became a frat house. These frat boys must have been very different than those depicted in Animal House because they left all the original decorative moldings, hard wood floors, and light fixtures intact. The fraternity sold it to its current owners who use it as a venue for business and social events. I can say that it has been a pleasure to work with the folks at Astin Mansion to pick the menu and the decorations. This is really exciting.

The business end of my trip was a bioethics conference in San Antonio. This is really an amazing educational program that involves a total of four seminars from now through April. It is called Converging Roads and brings together a study of bioethics, health care, and Catholic teaching. There are three remaining seminars so if you would like to spend some time in San Antonio exploring this fabulous city and learning about Catholic health care ethics, take a look at the Converging Roads program.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Catholic Medical Association is talking to you

The Catholic Medical Association has issued an open letter calling all Catholics to work for health care reform that is grounded in authentically Catholic moral principles. Read more here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Baucus health care proposal pressures physicians to minimize care to the elderly

The National Right to LIfe Committee has released a statement opposing the Baucus health care reform proposal. It is not surprising to see that the first reason for this opposition is the inclusion of federal funding for abortion in the legislation. However, the Medicare provisions are equally worrisome. This bill will financially penalize physicians who are in the top 10% of medical resource use for Medicare patients. There is no evaluation as to whether the care rendered by these physicians is appropriate. There is no evaluation of the physicians who fall in the bottom 10% of medical resource use to see if they are providing inadequate care. Even if all physicians cut their utilization of Medicare in half, 10% of all physicians utilizing Medicare resources will be penalized. Therefore, every physician will be under pressure to do as little for the elderly as possible.

Archbishop Wuerl speaks on health care

I've just published an article on Archbishop Wuerl's additon to the health care debate. It is important to note that Archbishop Wuerl, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, as well as a host of other bishops who have spoken out on the issue are articulating core principles that must guide health care reform. They are not offering specific programs. The details of the implementation of health care reform is a matter of prudential judgment.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monday, September 14, 2009

President Obama lies?

While I do not like shouting matches and I think Representative Joe Wilson should have exercised more self-control during the President's speech, Joe Wilson's exclamation of "He lies!" was not necessarily inaccurate. Take a look at this article in today's Wall Street Journal:

To highlight abusive practices, Mr. Obama referred to an Illinois man who "lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found he hadn't reported gallstones that he didn't even know about." The president continued: "They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it."

Although the president has used this example previously, his conclusion is contradicted by the transcript of a June 16 hearing on industry practices before the Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigation of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The deceased's sister testified that the insurer reinstated her brother's coverage following intervention by the Illinois Attorney General's Office. She testified that her brother received a prescribed stem-cell transplant within the desired three- to four-week "window of opportunity" from "one of the most renowned doctors in the whole world on the specific routine," that the procedure "was extremely successful," and that "it extended his life nearly three and a half years."

The president's second example was a Texas woman "about to get a double mastectomy when her insurance company canceled her policy because she forgot to declare a case of acne." He said that "By the time she had her insurance reinstated, her breast cancer more than doubled in size."

The woman's testimony at the June 16 hearing confirms that her surgery was delayed several months. It also suggests that the dermatologist's chart may have described her skin condition as precancerous, that the insurer also took issue with an apparent failure to disclose an earlier problem with an irregular heartbeat, and that she knowingly underreported her weight on the application.

These two cases are presumably among the most egregious identified by Congressional staffers' analysis of 116,000 pages of documents from three large health insurers, which identified a total of about 20,000 rescissions from millions of policies issued by the insurers over a five-year period. Company representatives testified that less than one half of one percent of policies were rescinded (less than 0.1% for one of the companies).

Similarly, take a look at this article from Our Sunday Visitor that corrects President Obama's claims on abortion coverage:

Cardinal Justin Rigali and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops say the existing health reform legislation mandates abortion and would allow government funding of abortion -- even though the president of the United States has labeled such statements "fabrications."

Nonpartisan says the president is wrong.

"Despite what Obama said, the House bill would allow abortions to be covered by a federal plan and by federally subsidized private plans," stated an Aug. 21 news analysis.

Meanwhile, Michigan Democrat Rep. Bart Stupak, with the backing of the U.S. bishops, is trying to force a full public House vote on an amendment to block government funding of abortion when the health care reform legislation is sent to the House floor after the August recess.

Despite the Catholic Church's long-standing support for health care reform, Philadelphia's Cardinal Rigali, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, is urging lawmakers not to approve health reform that would mandate funding or coverage of elective abortions.

As currently written, the health care reform legislation marks a "radical change" in U.S. abortion policy, the cardinal wrote in an Aug. 11 letter to the House of Representatives. With the addition of an amendment introduced by New York Democrat Rep. Lois Capps, the House legislation specifically makes abortion a mandated benefit in the public health insurance plan and requires participants to pay a premium surcharge for mandatory abortion coverage.

All versions of the health care legislation introduced so far create government funding of abortion by allowing proposed federally subsidized health care vouchers to be used for public or private health insurance plans that include abortion, he said.

You know, this abortion funding issue could easily be cleared up by including something like the Hyde-amendment in the final bill. If as the President claims, the bill does not fund abortion, the addition of such an amendment would change nothing and would give the pro-life community the assurance it needs to be more supportive of reform. However, attempts in both the House and the Senate to include such an amendment have been defeated. If this legislation does not provide for federal funding of abortion, why should there be opposition to such an amendment?

When my children tell me only part of the story in order to mislead me, I don't cut them any slack. They lied and they are punished accordingly. I would say that the President is similarly guilty of telling only part of the story.

Health Care writing consolidated

I've been doing a lot of writing about health care reform over at my site. I have now put up a health care tag so you can see all the articles from one link. Hope that helps

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11: Historical date or personal memory?

September 11. For most children in elementary school, this date has very little meaning. It is another historical marker, but has no more personal relevance than any other event that older people muse upon: Pearl Harbor, D-Day, President Kennedy's assassination, the Challenger explosion.

I, on the other hand, find the relevance of this day intensely personal. In 1992, I watched as my husband deployed for what was then known as Desert Shield. It would become Desert Storm. He was an F-16 pilot. I knew there would be no hanging back in safe zones for him. I was left at home with three children, ages 4,3, and 1, and with my own duffle bag packed and ready to deploy. I was an Air Force doctor. That turbulent time rocked both my husband and I to our core. By the grace of God, we emerged as stronger Catholics and better parents. Our marriage grew stronger. Everything we loved had been threatened, forcing us to appreciate what is truly important. Still, I would not wish such an experience on anyone.

So eight years ago, when I watched television images of the flame and the smoke pouring forth from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, I felt my world once again reeling out of control. I reached for my rosary, hit my knees, and prayed with an ardor that I had not felt in quite a while. My three older children were in school. Part of me wanted to rush out, gather them in, and huddle in the safety of our home. I resisted that urge. Our country may have been attacked, but we were not going to be victims.

And so began a new era of military life. Deployments are now the rule, not the exception. Eight years later, I am still a military wife. However, I am also a military mother. My oldest is now an Army officer. There is one complex set of emotions that accompany sending your husband to war. Contemplating sending your son to war involves a completely different set, equally complex, but very different.

We owe it to the innocent victims and to the heroes who died on September 11, 2001 to do everything possible to make sure such horror does not occur again. For the last eight years and for the foreseeable future, military action is a necessary part of the strategy to accomplish this. Today, let us raise up in prayer those who died on September 11 as well as their families. Let us also offer prayers for all military members and their families. Our men and women in uniform are risking their lives to make sure that terrorist atrocities remain a remote history lesson and not a personal experience.

Related Posts:

Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer at Ground Zero

A Pilot's Prayer

Spouse of a Soldier

Mother of a Soldier

Those Who Serve and Those Who Don't

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Exciting Eucharistic Congress in DC this weekend

If you can make it to DC this weekend, check out this Eucharistic Congress sponsored by the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious.

"Personally Opposed" Bishops?

Are American bishops really doing their own "personally opposed but can't impose" act when it comes to pro-abortion politicians? Read the words of Fr. Roger J. Landry (H/T Jay Anderson) and you may very well answer that question with an emphatic "yes". Read his entire article, but this excerpt concisely sums up the indictment:

When we examine the education-alone approach of pastors with respect to pro-choice politicians, we see that it has basically become a personally opposed, publicly pro-choice position as well. There’s obviously a clear personal repugnance on the part of pastors to the pro-choice Catholic politicians’ separation between faith and moral action, schizophrenia between private and public personality, and lip service to the Church’s teachings. Many pastors have sought to exercise their teaching office, stating forthrightly what abortion is and what the responsibilities of all legislators are with respect to it. All of their teaching, however, has been trumped by the weightier educational value of the de facto “law” that has left everything to the conscience, however ill-informed, of the pro-choice Catholic politicians. These men and women have learned over time that, regardless of what canon law says, they are at liberty to ignore the Church’s teachings on life. Even though the U.S. bishops have taught with one voice that pro-choice Catholic legislators should not present themselves to receive Holy Communion, if they pay no heed to that teaching and present themselves anyway, they have observed that in practice they will almost never be denied. With Senator Kennedy’s funeral, they have now grasped that even a 100% pro-abortion voting record will not only not prevent them from having a Catholic funeral, but will not even stop them from receiving possibly one of the most publicly panegyrical Catholic funerals in U.S. history. The upshot — these smart men and women have concluded — is that the Church’s practice is essentially “pro-choice” with respect to “pro-choice” Catholic politicians. The politicians’ own determination in conscience, erroneous or not, is given greater weight than, combined, the truth proclaimed by the Church, the duty to protect the politicians’ souls from a potentially mortal wound, and the responsibility to do all that is possible according to one’s office to try to stop the killing. The education-alone approach has failed for the same reason that the personally opposed, publicly pro-choice position has led to massive abortion on demand: the nature of sin is that the easier it is to commit, and the fewer the consequences for doing it, the more sin we’ll have.

The issue of Senator Edward Kennedy's elaborate Catholic funeral Mass that turned into the circus of adoration has been covered all over the blogosphere. There is no problem with Senator Kennedy receiving a Catholic funeral. There is no problem with Cardinal O'Malley presiding at this funeral. There is a huge problem with the public praise and adulation of Senator Kennedy. There is a problem with the abuse of the Eucharist by turning the Holy Mass into a public political platform. The intercessory prayers for the passage of health care reform and for gay rights were beyond the pale. Cardinal Sean O'Malley has shot back with a strong defense of his actions. Think about this in light of the second reading from this past Sunday (James 2:1-5)

1 My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.
2 For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in,
3 and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "Have a seat here, please," while you say to the poor man, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet,"
4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?

Senator Edward Kennedy and most of the Kennedy clan (Eunice Kennedy Shriver being the most notable exception) made a mockery of the Catholic Church for decades. They have publicly flouted her teachings on marriage, sexuality, and life issues including abortion, contraception, and embryonic stem cell destructive research. In spite of this they were courted and lauded by the Church hierarchy in Boston. Their public dissent from Church teachings never received public repudiation. This lack of pastoral discipline produced two results. It told the average Catholic in the pew that Church teachings are negotiable if you have enough wealth, power, and prestige. It also very clearly sends the message that all the priests' and bishops' words about the sanctity of human life are empty. They lose all credibility as teachers on all issues, not just life issues. It is only bishops like Finn, Burke, Chaput, and Naumann, who do not bow to the altar of earthly prestige who will be able to lead us to the Truth.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Fr. Leo in a Throwdown with Bobby Flay

My favorite cooking priest is at it again. Fr. Leo Patalinghug has been challenged to a steak fajita throwdown by the Food Network's Iron Chef Bobby Flay. Read more here.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

More Indoctrination Instead of Education

I am certain that if my children were just now approaching school age I would seriously consider home schooling. As it is, I am grateful I still just have one in high school. On Tuesday, September 8, President Obama will present an address to all students. President Obama is a political figure. He espouses ideas that are contrary to my family's values. I would strongly resent my young, impressionable child being part of a captive audience and subjected to political propaganda. Why do I think that might be part the agenda for this event? The Department of Education study guide for teachers that accompanies this activity includes the following questions:

Why is it important that we listen to the President and other elected officials, like the mayor, senators, members of congress, or the governor? Why is what they say important?

That is a very good question. The truth of the matter is these officials were elected by the people. If there is any listening going on, these officials should be listening to us. I am very uncomfortable with our elected officials being presented as trusted sages to young children.

The study guide suggests that after the speech children discuss the following questions:

What do you think the President wants us to do?
Does the speech make you want to do anything?
Are we able to do what President Obama is asking of us?

How about the question "Should we do what President Obama is asking of us?"

Hillary Clinton made famous the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child." I agree. Raising a child is made infinitely easier if there is a supportive community. However, Hillary Clinton's idea was to make the government the village. As a parent, I will choose my own village, thank you very much.

Archbishop Wuerl speaks out in support of marriage

Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC has joined the campaign to protect marriage in Washington D.C. Read more here.