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Commentary: Caritas Christi’s Deal with the Devil – Part II

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Commentary by Judie Brown

See Part I of this two part series.

May 27, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The events in the Archdiocese of Boston that brought about the unbelievably bad news regarding the “joint venture” between Caritas Christi Health Care System and the Centene Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri, continue to unfold at a fast and furious pace.

In view of the public reports that Massachusetts regulators had approved a joint venture between the two entities in early March 2009, public expressions of alarm grew. Concerned Catholics could not help but see that this union would result in Caritas Christi being complicit in some way with providing for, or referring for surgical abortion, medical abortion, contraceptives or sterilization procedures – each of which are considered unacceptable according to Catholic teaching and Catholic health-care ethics.

In early March 2009, headlines and subsequent expressions of serious concern finally led to Cardinal Seán O’Malley’s first statement on the announced business partnership. In response to the questions being asked, Cardinal O’Malley issued this statement:

While I appreciate the opportunity given to Caritas Christi to serve the poor through this agreement, I wish to reaffirm that this agreement can only be realized if the moral obligations for Catholic hospitals as articulated in the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are fulfilled at all times and in all cases. In order to assure me that this agreement will provide for the integrity of the Catholic identity and practices of Caritas Christi Health Care System, I have asked theNational Catholic Bioethics Centerto review the agreement and to assure me that it is faithful to Catholic principles.

The cardinal’s words might have set aside concerns for most Catholics if the fear had not persisted that an acceptable compromise was being forged in the shadows without all of the facts being presented by the cardinal’s office and/or the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC).

One observer astutely told me:

The legalistic fig leafs floated by the [a]rchdiocese so far cannot, and do not, conceal the glaring fact that, by entering into a partnership with Centene, and by agreeing to the immoral requirements of the Massachusetts universal health-care insurance program, Caritas will necessarily be doing and profiting from immoral services that are directly contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Another concerned Catholic wrote in a letter addressed to officials at the NCBC:

You should know that in March of 2008, Attorney General Martha Coakley in her role of overseeing public charities, released a public report with the assertions that the Catholic Church was mismanaging the Caritas Christi Health Care System, and pressured the [a]rchdiocese to cede control of the operation of Caritas Christi Health Care System so that an independent board with expertise in healthcare management can run it.

This indicates the presence of serious financial problems, which might have led, at least in part, to the inauspicious announcement of the venture and back room negotiations that were obviously ongoing.

It is apparent from what we have been able to discern that since the initial announcement of the joint venture between Caritas Christi and the Centene Corporation, details have been either vague or simply do not exist. We have further learned that as of this writing the NCBC has not issued any type of definitive statement involving the acceptance or rejection of the agreement.

Catholic Action League said it best on May 19,

In the continuing controversy over the decision of Caritas Christi Health Care – a network of six Catholic hospitals affiliated with the Boston Archdiocese – to seek a state contract, which will require abortion referrals, there have been several new developments.

 

- On May 4, 2009, CeltiCare Health Plan of Massachusetts announced that Richard D. Lynch had been appointed Plan President and Chief Executive Officer. Based in their new corporate office in Brighton, CeltiCare is a managed care organization that will provide health insurance to Massachusetts residents enrolled in the Commonwealth Care program. CeltiCare’s participation in the Commonwealth Care contract comes as a result of the partnership between Caritas Christi and the Centene Corporation, whose wholly owned subsidiary, the Celtic Insurance Company, is the parent organization of CeltiCare.

 

- In response to an inquiry from the Catholic Action League, Brian Delaney, Director of Communications for CeltiCare, stated on May 11 that, “CeltiCare’s program has been approved by the Massachusetts Connector Authority. Under the contract, CeltiCare will be operational July 1, 2009, and will meet all the [s]tate’s requirements under the Commonwealth Care program, including providing family planning services as appropriate.” Assertions to the contrary by Cardinal O’Malley notwithstanding, this is the third time since February 26 that a representative of the Caritas/Centene partnership has affirmed that the Commonwealth Care contract will include abortion and contraception.

 

- It has now been more than two months since Cardinal O'Malley requested an advisory opinion on the contract from the National Catholic Bioethics Center. On May 14, Fr. Tadeuscz Pacholczyk, [d]irector of [e]ducation for NCBC, stated that, “The NCBC is not able to comment regarding on-going, confidential consultations. Your best source of information would probably be the Archdiocese or perhaps Caritas Christi.” Later, when asked if the opinion had been given to the Archdiocese, another NCBC official told the League “I’m not at liberty to say.”

 

- On May 3, at the annual convention of the Massachusetts Knights of Columbus, the State Council repudiated a resolution by former District Deputy Joseph B. Craven Jr. opposing the Caritas contract with Commonwealth Care. The State Council ruled the measure “rejected” and “out of order,” an impossibility under parliamentary procedure. State Officers claimed that an unnamed Archdiocesan official (reportedly one of the Cardinal’s two secretaries), stated that the resolution contained unspecified factual errors. Deacon John Baniukiewicz then told assembled delegates that “We can’t be more Catholic than the Church,” and “We can’t tell the Cardinal what to do.” The measure was defeated.

 

Catholic Action League Executive Director C.J. Doyle made the following comment: “It is clear that the Caritas/Centene partnership is proceeding with all deliberate speed towards the July 1 start-up date of the Commonwealth Care contract, while the Archdiocese continues its efforts to suppress Catholic opposition to the arrangement. Given the prolonged uncertainty about the nature, or even the public availability of the NCBC advisory opinion, one might reasonably surmise that the Cardinal’s request for their involvement was a public relations tactic intended to buy time and diffuse pro-life opposition. Catholics need to keep the pressure up on the Archdiocese to cancel the contract, and they need to keep Rome informed.”

According to the Boston Rescuer, Bill Cotter, head of Boston’s Operation Rescue and one of the heroic pro-life leaders of the state of Massachusetts “believes the archdiocese was taken off guard by the Caritas move. ‘But,’ he said, ‘there’s been a terrible loss of credibility for the archdiocese. It must forgo the potential financial gain and refuse this pact with the devil.’”

As we mentioned yesterday, American Life League is well aware of the health-care plans being orchestrated by the Obama administration. We are equally aware of President Barack Obama’s track record of using Catholics to his advantage and their willingness, for whatever reason, to be used. Obama’s relatively short history of appointments of totally pro-abortion Catholics, the Notre Dame scandal and other such events lead us to suspect that if the Archdiocese of Boston remains silent and does not demand immediate dissolution of the “joint venture” agreement, the death knell for genuine Catholic health care will have been sounded.

The evil that has gone unaddressed by Cardinal O’Malley, and persists in the context of unanswered questions and absent policies based on Catholic doctrine is scripted by the devil himself. Of that, there is no doubt.

American Life League cannot be silent while such a dastardly plan moves forward with nary a whimper.

It should be obvious that the Archdiocese of Boston could, either knowingly or unknowingly, become the first Catholic casualty as it falls beneath the Obama nationalized health-care bulldozer. Clearly if the Archdiocese of Boston succumbs to dollars over dogma, the end result could devastate Catholic health care nationwide.

As the wise director of Catholic Action League, C.J. Doyle, told Kathleen Gilbert of LifeSiteNews.com:

If Caritas actually intended to accept tax dollars while evading state demands for abortion coverage, every voice on the political left would be raised against it – in the media, in the [l]egislature, and among the advocacy groups. Instead, we have heard nothing but silence from the usual adversaries of the Church.

The only solution is for Caritas to withdraw from the contract.

If there is a morally acceptable justification for all of this, the archdiocese has not disclosed it, notwithstanding three months of raging public scandal. Not only that, but regardless of public opinion that there is little the archdiocese could do in this situation, our perspective is that there is plenty they could do, starting with revocation of the contract itself.

Want to voice your concern? Please do so, writing respectfully but firmly to Seán Cardinal O’Malley. Remember: time is of the essence.

Cardinal Seán O'Malley
66 Brooks Drive
Braintree, MA 02184
Telephone: 617-254-0100
e-mail form:
http://www.bostoncatholic.org/ContactUs.aspx


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‘It’s a miracle’: Newborn girl survives two days after being abandoned in a field

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

The survival of a baby who was abandoned by her mother and left in a field for two days has been described as "a miracle" by the doctor attending the newborn girl.

"She had been left alone naked, and weighed less than a kilogram, in part because she was so severely dehydrated," said Doctor Barbara Chomik at the hospital in the northern Polish city of Elblag, according to a report from Central European News.

"It is a miracle that she survived under those conditions for so long. It is simply a miracle," Dr. Chomik said.

The report said that the child's mother, Jolanta Czarnecka, 30, of Ilawa in northeastern Poland, had concealed her pregnancy from friends and fellow workers, and had given birth in a field during a lunch break, then returned to work.

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However, when investigation found no evidence supporting her claims, Czarnecka admitted to having given birth to the child in a nearby field and leaving her there.

When searchers found the child, two days after her birth, the little girl was dehydrated and covered with insects.

Czarnecka is facing charges of attempted murder for allegedly abandoning her child.

Czarnecka, who has entered a not guilty plea to the charges against her, could be sentenced to five years in prison if she is convicted.


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Because nothing says love quite like a whip and restraints, right? Shutterstock
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To the Christians who think 50 Shades is all sorts of awesome: Please, stop and THINK

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By Jonathon van Maren

It’s pretty depressing when you realize that, in 2014, many people seem to think that destruction of human dignity is a small price to pay for an orgasm.

I suppose when I write a column about a book that just sold its 100 millionth copy I shouldn’t be surprised when I get a bit of a kickback. But I have to say—I wasn’t expecting hundreds of commenters, many saying they were Christian, to come out loudly defending the porn novel 50 Shades of Grey, often tastelessly interspersed with details from their own sex lives.

People squawked that we “shouldn’t judge” those who practice bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM), and informed me that “no one gets hurt” and that it “isn’t abuse” and said that it was “just fantasy” (as if we have a separate brain and body for fantasy).

Meanwhile, not a single commenter addressed one of the main arguments I laid out—that with boys watching violent porn and girls being socialized to accept violence and torture inside of a sexual relationship, we have created a toxic situation in which people very much are being hurt.

In response to the defenders of this trash, let me make just a few points.

  1. Not all consent is equal.

People keep trumpeting this stupid idea that just because someone consents to something or allows something to happen, it isn’t abusive.

But if someone consents to being beaten up, punched, slapped, whipped, called disgusting and degrading names, and have other things done to them that I will choose not to describe here, does that make it any less abusive? It makes it legal (perhaps, but it certainly doesn’t make it any less disgusting or violent.

Would you want your daughter to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? Would you want your son to turn into Christian Grey? If the answer is yes to either of those, someone should call social services.

Anyone who works with victims of domestic and sexual assault will tell you that just because someone permits something to happen or doesn’t extricate themselves from a situation doesn’t mean it isn’t, in fact, abuse. Only when it comes to sex are people starting to make this argument, so that they can cling to their fetishes and justify their turn-ons. Those women who defend the book because they think it spiced up their sex life are being incredibly selfish and negligent, refusing to think about how this book could affect other women in different situations, as well as young and impressionable girls.

In the words of renowned porn researcher and sociologist Dr. Gail Dines:

In his book on batterers, Lundy Bancroft provides a list of potentially dangerous signs to watch out for from boyfriends. Needless to say, Christian [Grey of 50 Shades of Grey] is the poster boy of the list, not only with his jealous, controlling, stalking, sexually sadistic behavior, but his hypersensitivity to what he perceives as any slight against him, his whirlwind romancing of a younger, less powerful woman, and his Jekyll-and-Hyde mood swings. Any one of these is potentially dangerous, but a man who exhibits them all is lethal.

The most likely real-world ending of Fifty Shades of Grey is fifty shades of black and blue. The awful truth in the real world is that women who partner with a Christian Grey often end up hightailing it to a battered women's shelter with traumatized kids in tow. The less fortunate end up in graveyards.

  1. 50 Shades of Grey normalizes intimate partner violence…

…and sickeningly, even portrays it as romantic and erotic. Amy Bonomi, Lauren Altenburger, and Nicole Walton published an article on the impact of 50 Shades last year in the Journal of Women’s Health. Their conclusions are intuitive and horrifying:

While intimate partner violence (IPV) affects 25% of women and impairs health, current societal conditions—including the normalization of abuse in popular culture such as novels, film, and music—create the context to support such violence.

Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction, including: stalking (Christian deliberately follows Anastasia and appears in unusual places, uses a phone and computer to track Anastasia’s whereabouts, and delivers expensive gifts); intimidation (Christian uses intimidating verbal and nonverbal behaviors, such as routinely commanding Anastasia to eat and threatening to punish her); and isolation (Christian limits Anastasia’s social contact). Sexual violence is pervasive—including using alcohol to compromise Anastasia’s consent, as well as intimidation (Christian initiates sexual encounters when genuinely angry, dismisses Anastasia’s requests for boundaries, and threatens her). Anastasia experiences reactions typical of abused women, including: constant perceived threat (“my stomach churns from his threats”); altered identity (describes herself as a “pale, haunted ghost”); and stressful managing (engages in behaviors to “keep the peace,” such as withholding information about her social whereabouts to avoid Christian’s anger). Anastasia becomes disempowered and entrapped in the relationship as her behaviors become mechanized in response to Christian’s abuse.

Our analysis identified patterns in Fifty Shades that reflect pervasive intimate partner violence—one of the biggest problems of our time. Further, our analysis adds to a growing body of literature noting dangerous violence standards being perpetuated in popular culture.

  1. Really? Sadism?

I notice that commenters rarely break down what the acronym “BDSM” actually stands for: bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism. If they did, they could no longer make the repulsive claim that “love” or “intimacy” have anything to do with it.

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The definition of sadism is “enjoyment that someone gets from being violent or cruel or from causing pain, especially sexual enjoyment from hurting or punishing someone…a sexual perversion in which gratification is obtained by the infliction of physical or mental pain on others.”

As one of my colleagues noted, we used to send sadists to a therapist or to prison, not to the bedroom. And 100 million copies of this porn novel have been unleashed on our society informing people that getting off on hurting someone is romantic and erotic. It is a brutal irony that people who scream about water-boarding terrorists are watching and experimenting with sexual practices far more brutal. As one porn researcher noted, some online BDSM porn promotes practices and behaviors that would be considered unlawful under the Geneva Convention if they were taking place in a wartime context.

It seems the Sexual Revolutionaries have gone from promoting “safe sex” to “safe words”—just in case the pain gets too rough. And none of them seem to be volunteering information on just how a woman is supposed to employ a safe word with a gag or bondage headgear on.

But who cares, right? Just one more casualty on our culture’s new Sexual Frontier.

  1. “It’s just fiction and fantasy and has no effect on the real world!”

That’s total garbage and they know it. I’ve met multiple girls who were abused like this inside of relationships. Hotels are offering “50 Shades of Grey” packages replete with the helicopter and private suites for the proceedings. According to the New York Post, sales of rope exploded tenfold after the release of the book. Babeland reported that visits to the bondage section of their website spiked 81%, with an almost 30% increase in the sale of things like riding crops and handcuffs.

I could go on, but I won’t. As Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah noted, “It’s like a juggernaut. You’d be surprised to see how very ordinary these people are who are coming in. The book is just an explosion of permission for them to try something new in the bedroom.”

  1. What does this book and the BDSM movement say about the value of women and girls?

I’d like the defenders of this book to try stop thinking with their nether-regions for just a moment and ask themselves a few simple questions: What does sadism and sexual torture (consensual or not) say to our culture about the value of girls? What does it say to boys about how they should treat girls? The youth of today are inundated with porn and sexually violent material—is nobody—nobody—at all worried about the impact this has on them? On the girls who are being abused by boys who think this is normal behavior—and think it is normal themselves?

Dr. Gail Dines relates that when speaking to groups of women who loved the book, they all grow deathly silent when she asks them two simple questions: Would you want your daughter to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? Would you want your son to turn into Christian Grey?

If the answer is yes to either of those, someone should call social services.

__

This book and the sadism it promotes are an assault on human dignity, and most of all an assault on the worth and value of girls and women. Please consider the impact you will have on your daughters and the vulnerable and confused people around you when you read and promote this book. Anastasia Steele is, thankfully, a fictional character. But real girls are facing these expectations and demands from a culture that elevates a sexual sadist to the level of a romantic hero. Ask yourselves if you want their “love” and “intimacy” to include sadism and domination, or real respect.

Because you can’t have both.

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Ryan T. Anderson

,

New York Times reporter: ‘Anti-LGBT’ people ‘deserve’ incivility

Ryan T. Anderson
By Ryan Anderson

As I recounted Monday at The Daily Signal, The New York Times reporter Josh Barro thinks some people are “unworthy of respect.” Yesterday Barro doubled-down and tweeted back at me that “some people are deserving of incivility.” He argued that I am such a person because of my views about marriage policy. You can see the entire exchange on my twitter page.

What Josh Barro says or does doesn’t really affect me. I’m not a victim, and I’ll keep doing what I do. But incivility, accepted and entrenched, is toxic to a political community. Indeed, civility is essential for political life in a pluralistic society.

It also has deep roots.

The Hebrew Bible tells us that all people are made in the image and likeness of God and have a profound and inherent dignity. Sound philosophy comes to a similar conclusion: as rational beings capable of freedom and love, all human beings have intrinsic and inestimable worth. And so we should always treat people with respect and dignity—we should honor their basic humanity. We should always engage with civility—even when we sharply disagree with them. Faith and reason, the natural law and the divine law, both point to the same conclusion.

Just as I think the best of theology and philosophy point to the conclusion that we should always treat people with respect, so I think they show that marriage is the union of a man and a woman—and that redefining marriage will undermine the political common good.

The work that I’ve done for the past few years for The Heritage Foundation has been at the service of explaining why I think this to be the case. Bookish by nature, I thought the best contribution I could make to public life was to help us think about marriage. So while my early work after college was in philosophy and bioethics, and my graduate coursework was in the history of political philosophy, I put my dissertation about economic and social justice on hold so I could devote myself to this debate at this crucial time.

Along with my co-authors, a classmate of mine from Princeton and a professor of ours there, we set out to write a book making what we considered the best philosophical argument for what marriage is and why it matters. Our book seemed to help the Supreme Court think about the issue, as Justice Samuel Alito cited it twice. The reason I’ve written various and sundry policy papers for Heritage, and traveled across the country speaking on college campuses, and appeared on numerous news shows (including, of course, Piers Morgan) is that I know the only way forward in our national debate about marriage is to make the arguments in as reasonable and civil a spirit as possible.

Some people, like Barro, want to do everything they can to shut down this discussion. They want to demonize those who hold contrary viewpoints. They want to equate us with racists and claim we are unworthy of respect and ought to be treated with incivility. This is how bullies behave. In all of recorded history, ours is the first time where we can have open and honest conversations about same-sex attraction and marriage. This discussion is just beginning. It is nowhere near being over.

All our fellow citizens, including those identifying as LGBT, should enjoy the full panoply of civil rights—the free exercise of religion, freedoms of speech and press, the right to own property and enter into contracts, the right to vote and have a fair trial, and every other freedom to live as they choose, consistent with the common good.

Government redefinition of marriage, however, is not a civil right—nor will redefining marriage serve the common good. Indeed, redefining marriage will have negative consequences.

We make our arguments, in many fora, as transparently as possible. We welcome counterarguments. And we strive to treat all people with the dignity and respect they deserve as we carry on this conversation.

One of the most unfortunate parts of my exchange with Barro last night was his reaction toward those who identify as LGBT and aspire to lives of chastity. They freely choose to live by their conviction that sex is reserved for the marital bond of a husband and wife. Some of them also seek professional help in dealing with and perhaps even diminishing (not repressing) their same-sex sexual desires.

I have written in their defense and against government coercion that would prevent them from receiving the help they desire, as New Jersey and California have done. Barro describes my support for their freedom as “sowing misery…doing a bad thing to people…making the world worse.”

There really is anti-LGBT bigotry in the world. But Barro does a disservice to his cause when he lumps in reasonable debates about marriage policy and the pastoral care that some same-sex attracted persons voluntarily seek out as, in his words, “anti-LGBT.” If we can’t draw a line between real bigotry and reasonable disagreement, we’re not helping anyone.

This debate isn’t about restricting anyone’s personal freedom. However it goes, people will remain free to live their romantic lives as they choose. So too people who experience same-sex attraction but aspire to chastity should be free to lead their lives in line with their beliefs, and to seek out the help they desire. We can have a civil conversation about which course of action is best—but let’s leave aside the extremism.

Barro asks, “Why shouldn’t I call you names?” My answer is simple: you should not practice the disdain and contempt you claim to abhor.

All my life, I’ve been educated at left-leaning institutions. Most of my friends disagree with me about these issues. But they’re still friends. And their feedback has made me a better person.

My final tweet to Barro is where I still remain committed: “people on all sides of LGBT debates and marriage debates need to find a way to discuss these issues without demonizing anyone.”

Reprinted with permission from the Daily Signal, where you can find Ryan Anderson's Twitter exchange with Barro.


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