Monday, July 29, 2013

What the pope didn't say about gays

  • All the fanfare acts as if what Pope Francis said was a change in the Catholic Church's teaching.  The Huffington Post labeled it as a breakthrough.  However, the Catechism of the Catholic Church has always said almost exactly this same thing.  From paragraph 2358:

  • 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.
    •  Immediately after paragraph 2358 is (wait for it) 2359, which lays out what the pope didn't say:
    Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
    • The pope was responding with forgiveness of the sins of gay priests and others.  Their sins can be found in paragraph 2359.  However, the pope never said a word about recruiting homosexuals for the priesthood.
    • The pope never affirmed the idea of gay marriage.  In fact he has been very vocal in the past against gay marriage.
    • The pope never gave approval or affirmation to the gay lifestyle.  He is talking about same sex attraction, not action.
    • I particularly liked the tweet from @TomWehner, which sums up what has really happened here:

    Thursday, June 28, 2012

    Some thoughts on today's ACA (aka Obamacare) ruling

    1. Why Roberts and not Kennedy?  That was unexpected and, in fact, Kennedy was in favor of completely overturning.
    2. Don't judge the outcome based on oral arguments.  It was widely held that the individual mandate would pass review by the legal world before oral arguments.  Then, when the solicitor general did such a horrible job, everyone assumed he had lost the case.
    3. My favorite Roberts' comment: " It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices."
    4. Will we ever see a liberal justice siding with a conservative majority on any landmark cases?
    5. Is this good for Obama or Romney in the election?  I think it could be argued both ways.
    6. In the end I guess I can see Roberts' point that the penalty can be seen as a tax os good and I'm relieved that this didn't turn into a ruling that the government could force anything they wanted with commerce.
    7. The argument to me has always been whether this is a free nation (free to buy health coverage or not, free to buy only coverage for high cost conditions, etc.) or whether the government will be mandating everything.  Looks like the latter.
    8. I think it's great that people will be able to get insurance with pre-existing conditions and such.  However, I'm more concerned about moving a small step closer to tipping point where the free money we're paying out becomes more than the economy can absorb.

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

    What a difference a president makes

    Saw this article on Politico about snappy things presidents have said at the White House Correspondents Dinner.  I was struck by the difference between Reagan and Obama:

    "I understand ABC's having some budget problems. The news division has already laid off three hairstylists. Well, they aren't alone. That sweater Dan Rather wears came from Goodwill Industries. And I hear that NBC's going to do a hard-hitting report saying the only reason Ron Reagan, Jr.'s, career has taken off is because he has a famous father, and the guy saying it will be Chris Wallace. At my last press conference, I thought that gimmick of wearing a red dress to get my attention went a little too far, but it was a nice try, Sam [Donaldson]."

    "Of course, the deficit is a serious issue. That’s why [Rep.] Paul Ryan couldn’t be here tonight. His budget has no room for laughter.

    Michele Bachmann is here, though, I understand, and she is thinking about running for president, which is weird because I hear she was born in Canada. Yes, Michele, this is how it starts. Just letting you know.

    Tim Pawlenty — he seems all-American, but have you heard his real middle name, Tim Hosni Pawlenty? What a shame.

    My buddy, our outstanding Ambassador Jon Huntsman is with us. Now, there’s something you might not know about Jon. He didn’t learn to speak Chinese to go there. Oh no. He learned English to come here.

    And then there’s a vicious rumor floating around that I think could really hurt Mitt Romney. I heard he passed universal health care when he was governor of Massachusetts. Someone should get to the bottom of that."

    My first thought was: Were those the best and funniest lines Politico could come up with for Obama?  My second thought was: How self serving can you be ... what a jackass!

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    Thoughts on Divine Mercy Sunday

    Last Sunday (the Sunday after Easter) was Divine Mercy Sunday in the Catholic Church.  We had a nice service at church that included exposition of the blessed sacrament, reconciliation, and recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.  My thoughts:

    1. I always enjoy Eucharistic adoration.  It is always a very quiet time with our Lord.
    2. Long lines at confession.  Always good to see.  As Fr. Aaron (our pastor) said, Jesus offers His divine mercy and confession is how we ask for it.
    3. The depths of God's mercy are so amazing to me and give even me hope.

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Top 5 mis-directions by supporters of the HHS mandate

    What are the top 5 disingenuous reasons supporters of the HHS Mandate for contraceptive and sterilization coverage give?

    1. I'll bet these organization receive federal dollars!  Maybe, but why does that presuppose that you will give up your moral beliefs when asked?
    2. All or almost all Catholics have used birth control! Maybe, but I would say that 100% of Catholics or those of any other group have sinned in some way.  Does that mean that we should just change the rules so that no one is sinning?
    3. Well, I'll bet they pay for Viagra!  Maybe, but Viagra does not produce an effect that the Catholic church finds to be morally wrong.  So they could or not provide coverage for this, but what difference does it make.
    4. Republicans are waging a war on women and trying to prevent women's access to birth control!  No, Republicans believe in the first amendment.  It was the Obama administration that started this whole issue and made it worse by lying outright to Archbishop (now Cardinal) Timothy Dolan (telling him that the church's concerns would be taken in to account).  Women's access to birth control has not changed at all and it would not change if the HHS Mandate (or all of Obamacare) was rescinded.
    5. The Catholic Church is out of touch with the needs of their members, they need to modernize their beliefs.  Wrong, the church is over 2000 years old and they do not just change their beliefs to get in sync with what society or their members are doing.  They are the guiding light to society, not the other way around.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    Federal funding does not pay for abortions at Planned Parenthood?

    I often hear this argument that federal funding is not used to pay for abortions at planned parenthood.  Is this true?  Well directly it is not true, but indirectly it is true.  That doesn't sound so bad, but indirect funding is just as bad as direct funding.  Here's an example.

    Let's say that Planned Parenthood (PP) has 3 priorities, abortions, family planning, and breast cancer screening.  Of these 3 priorities PP plans to fund them each equally.  They know that there is a need for $210 in abortions, $190 in family planning and $175 in cancer screening.  However, they only get $100 in donations from their supporters and another $110 in fees paid by customers.  So PP has $210 to spend and they fund their 3 priorities with $60 each.  Now, let's say the federal government comes along and provides PP with $60 worth of funding, but with a provision that they don't spend any of this money on abortions.  PP agrees, and changes their total funding to $270.  While keeping to their provision, they can now fund their 3 priorities with $90 each and report that the $60 given by the fed went to $30 for family planning and $30 for cancer screenings.  None of the federal money went directly to abortions, but $20 of it went indirectly to abortions.  In fact, PP could still keep their agreement and change their priorities to provide $30 for family planning, $30 for cancer screening and $210 for abortions.  In that case, the entire amount of federal funding went (indirectly) to providing abortions.  Yet the funding provision was upheld.

    So, please don't tell me that no federal funding is used to provide abortions.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Contraceptives and Viagra: Linkage?

    Is there some linkage between insurance companies and employers providing for contraceptives and Viagra?  How many times have I recently seen a statement sort of like:
    What's good for the goose is good for the gander.  If the Republicans want to block women from getting contraceptives we should also block men from getting Viagra.
    What is the link?  The only linkage I can think of is that oral contraceptives are mostly given to women (though they've been talking about equivalent for men for years) and Viagra is mostly given to men.  So it seems like these perpetrators of misconceptions want to equate medical treatments that are considered morally evil by at least one major religious institution to something that no one is trying to not cover.  Plus, most of the people on my side of argument would be happy to let companies refuse to cover Viagra if it violates their moral criteria.

    The other thing this argument tries to do is to mask the fact that we're only talking about paying for contraceptives, not whether the same contraceptives are available or not.  So the secondary argument is that these oral contraceptives are really really expensive. Since then it has been shown that discount retailers like Walmart offer generic contraceptives for around $9 a month.

    So what's next?  Yes, it's the Republican war on women.  This is best shown by the Democrats fund raising efforts as seen here.

    Does it get any worse?  Yes, now you have Democratic state reps proposing legislation that, in order to receive Viagra, a man must undergo some pretty strenuous tests like shown here.

    What's after all this?  We'll just have to wait and see.