Health Care Reform Passes: Catholic Democrat Bart Stupak Protects Life
told a reporter before the vote, "We're asking members to maintain current law and oppose federal funding on abortion." He affirmed that he did not somehow barter his vote for the legislation in exchange for the allowing of the vote on his amendment. He actually supports the notion of Reform which is offered in the legislation but would never, ever, ever compromise on the fundamental human right to life and the first freedom, the freedom to be born. Now, other Catholics can and do disagree with him on many other aspects of this legislation. In fact, I do - and I have written concerning my disagreements as it relates to the principle of subsidiarity and whether such a concentration of power on the Federal level is prudent. However, Congressman Stupak is an example of how a faithful Catholic can be – indeed must be – morally and politically consistent and never compromise of the inviolable dignity of every human life.
Promoters of the tax funded killing of children in the womb such as Colorado Democratic Rep. Diana Degette, formed a chorus of opposition to the Stupak/Pitts amendment. Among her specious arguments, she tried to compare the funding of abortion (the intentional killing of a child) with cancer treatment! Think about what this reveals, she views the child as a disease to be eradicated? However, Congressman Stupak and his allies did not back down! Congressman Chris Smith noted on the floor the recent account of a former Planned Parenthood director who resigned after watching an ultrasound of an abortion killing a baby and stated "Abortion not only kills children, it harms women physically and psychologically and risks significant subsequent harm for future children… If we truly want to see fewer abortions and want to reduce them, then don't fund it…. Millions of people are alive today because of the Hyde amendment." God Bless faithful Catholic Republican Congressman Chris Smith!
Other courageous Pro-Life voices who spoke out in support of the Stupak/Pitts amendment were Democratic Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania, Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Marcy Kaptur of Ohio and Republican Reps. Mike Pence of Indiana, Cathy Rodgers of Washington, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota, Louis Gohmert of Texas, and Fortenberry of Nebraska. The Anti-Life voices were the Democratic lawmakers who supported the funding of the continued killing of children in the womb with tax dollars included Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, Lois Capps of California, Nita Lowey of New York, Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Mike Quickley of Illinois, Barbara Lee of California, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, and Louise Slaughter and Maloney of New York.
I know that my friend Deal Hudson is concerned that the fight over securing this protection for life in the womb is far from over as this Legislation moves to the Senate. I share that concern. I also know he has other concerns over other many aspects of the legislation. I share some of those as well. However, where we have some disagreement is over the long term solution to the bigger problems faced in our Nation and the best political approach to be taken by Catholic citizens. I believe it is time for a “New Catholic Action” which brings together Catholics who are Democrats, Republicans, Independents - and any and all other permutations of political labels - who will work together in accordance with a hierarchy of issues and values which are first informed by Catholic Social Doctrine, rightly understood.
I maintain that our Nation would be better served if both major political parties began with the clear foundational understanding of what constitutes authentic justice, which must of necessity begin with the recognition of the dignity of every human person, at every age and stage of the continuum of life up to and including natural death. In other words, if both major parties were Pro-Life, we could then have a debate over so many other issues concerning the best way to continue in extraordinary American experiment in self governance. I know many like my friend Deal Hudson may see that as a bit unrealistic. And, I must acknowledge, that the Platforms of the two major Parties are clearly divergent on this matter of the fundamental Right to Life. But, soon to be 55 yrs old, I have never lost my idealism and refuse to begin to do so now.
What occurred last night with the heroic Pro-Life courage of an authentically Catholic Democrat named Bart Stupak and his pro-life colleagues on both sides of the aisle only further confirms my conviction of the need for a new model of Catholic activism which moves away from the stale labels of “conservative”, “liberal”, neo-conservative” (which may be what used to be called neo-liberal?), “Republican”, Democrat”, “left”, “right”…. And moves into the heart of what our Church offers the entire world in the truths and principles offered in what is called her Social Teaching. A “New Catholic Action" would focus only on the issues which matter most and apply a hierarchy of principles leading to effective political participation and Catholic action. Once again I maintain, “Catholic” must always be the "Noun". It must be what defines us before any adjectival political description is added on.
It must also become the ground from which we move into the broader culture acting to to renew it from within through our participation as leaven in the loaf. The Social Teaching of the Catholic Church, properly understood must become the framework through which we inform all of our political and policy positions. It should also become the material with which we build a new model of political participation and a better society for all serving the true common good.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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