Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Dear Secretary Sebelius,
We would like to express our opposition to the current religious exemption which Health and Human Services has granted to healthcare institutions in reference to the new health care reform law. As Roman Catholics, we are deeply concerned about the implications and precedence this regulation holds for religious freedom and the free exercise of conscience.
The current proposed religious exemption applies only to those organizations employing and serving primarily members of their own faith community. It requires these institutions, such as Catholic hospitals, to proselytize those citizens coming to them for help.
We are aware, Madame Secretary, that you are yourself a professed Roman Catholic. Although we also understand that you hold a very different view of human reproduction and fertility than we do, we hope that we can appeal to you and your Department on the level of fellow citizens and members of the same faith community. It would violate the whole purpose of the Catholic Church's service to the poor for the government to require that we provide services (e.g., contraception and sterilization) that violate our deepest held beliefs about the human person. It would also violate the American view of public service to require Catholic institutions to either close their doors to the poor or proselytize those coming to seek comfort and aide. Please remember what you do love about your own faith community--it's free service to the poorest of the poor--which cannot be forcibly divorced from its ancient respect for the human person.
We disagree with your political stance on reproductive rights, but we are also glad that you are free to exercise the dictates of your conscience. Please protect the rights of Catholic healthcare workers and administrators to do the same.
Expand the religious exemption to allow Catholic institutions (and all other religious institutions) to serve and employ the entire population without recourse to indoctrination.
Thank you for your service to our country and for your consideration.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Here is Eliot for Thursday. Ten years ago, I was studying in England and coping with being abroad for 9/11. I will always think of England as "the end of the world" and of Eliot as my voice of those days.
"I. .... There are other places
Which also are the world's end, some at the sea jaws,
Or over a dark lake, in a desert or a city—
But this is the nearest, in place and time,
Now and in England.
If you came this way,
Taking any route, starting from anywhere,
At any time or at any season,
It would always be the same: you would have to put off
Sense and notion. You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself, or inform curiosity
Or carry report. You are here to kneel
Where prayer has been valid. And prayer is more
Than an order of words, the conscious occupation
Of the praying mind, or the sound of the voice praying.
And what the dead had no speech for, when living,
They can tell you, being dead: the communication
Of the dead is tongued with fire beyond the language of the living.
Here, the intersection of the timeless moment
Is England and nowhere. Never and always."
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
"... and Angelina said, 'I won't make a mistake! I will be perfect!'" reads the lovely lady. "But, girls! No one is perfect, isn't that right?"
Noooo, three little heads shake.
Noooo, all the watching parents shake their heads.
Noooo, the ballet teacher approvingly shakes her head.
"That's not true!" says one little girl named Miriam, offended.
Everyone looks at her, the tallest girl dressed all in white.
"Well, I wonder..." begins the teacher.
"Jesus never makes mistakes. He is perfect." Miriam's eyes are anxious, but firm. Her cheeks and neck are flushed. I wince. I've been right there in her seat.
"Well, I wonder," says the teacher, "I really wonder..." She continues the story and it all brushes past.
Miriam sits stolidly in her rightness and in the immutable rightness of God. I am in the corner of the room, hugging my toddler, throwing graham crackers to placate the baby, and wondering... "I wonder.... I wonder." I wonder at the perfect Word made flesh. I wonder at the spine of steel in my little girl, and I wonder how it will all be for her.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Saturday, September 3, 2011
Friday, September 2, 2011
Thursday, September 1, 2011
But we are still without power. I have headed north to the great state of New Hampshire where my parents' home sits as a place of refuge and rest. And I can access the Internet. I felt rather like an addict as I logged into Facebook for the first time and drooled a little. Oh, sweet, instant gratification!
I hope you are all safe and well. My one recommendation: Next time, stock up on candles. Their light is far superior to any noisy generator or waning flashlight.