Some people say that it doesn't matter that the Republican health plan has terrible flaws because there is "no chance" it will be approved. That isn't what bothers me.
Firstly and most obviously is that Donald Trump campaigned on a completely different health plan. He promised that everyone would be covered, the coverage would be better, and that it would be cheaper. Innocent, guillible people in the rust belt and in agricultural areas, took him at his word and voted for him, which is all that Trump wanted. He promised what he had no intention of delivering, just for the purpose of getting votes, and now he abandons his supporters to the ravening wolves.
What bothers me is that the ruling party, supposedly the party of pro-life Christians, have created something cruel and hurtful to the poor, the elderly and the sick. Ryan is particularly thrilled with the aspect of the plan that will defund 800 BILLION dollars from Medicaid and, at the same time, give wealthy people 600 BILLION DOLLARS IN TAX BREAKS. He says he is 'very excited about it.' I want to retch every time I hear that piece of the speech (the entirety of which I watched a couple times.)
Only in a hyper-individualized sink-or-swim culture would a politician GLEEFULLY present this type of craven piece of legislation that takes money away from programs that assist the poor, sick, children and elderly and gives the majority of those billions to millionaires and billionaires.
Another thing that bothers me is that Republican Catholics, who appear to be obsessed with ONE PART of the pro-life agenda, are willing to justify and defend any manner of other types of legislation that will kill the poor, the elderly and the sick, on the off chance that Trump will install a pro life judge or two and that the judge will subsequently make sure that Roe v. Wade will be overturned.
I have watched and listened to a small parade of ultra right wing nationalists as they have defended Trump's lies and weird ideas. I have seen the shocked reactions of the leaders of other civilized countries, most recently Angela Merkel of Germany, as Trump bumbles through official engagements with all the charm of a carnival barker with a 4th grade education, after which he retires every weekend to a country club 1,000 miles away, blithely costing the American people more in 2 months than Obama cost in an entire year.
The Grand Old Party, a shadow of its former self, is shattered into many groups that either can not or will not take this matter into hand.
This bizarre accommodation to the insanity of Donald Trump and the worship of the wealthy that is the current norm of American politics is the natural result of an individualized culture that has turned against its own people. Illogically couched in the middle of this hatred toward the poor and minorities is an anti-abortion plank of a platform that makes no ideological sense. Its presence in a hateful platform is odd because it is incongruous. It is a ruse. Abortion became legal, thanks to REPUBLICAN justices on the Supreme Court. The supposedly anti-abortion plank of the Republican platform is a device calculated to gain a large block of voters. The Republican Party has been in power in America at various times since Roe v. Wade, and almost nothing has been done by any of them to reverse it.
Anyone who clings to the notion that poor people will not die when their medical care is ripped away from them, is being deliberately obtuse.
For background on this topic, read this news item: Trump betrays those who believed his health care promises
I am poor, and I have had a really hard time getting services. This is because Medicaid ALREADY fails to meet the needs of all the poor people. It only covers those whose income falls at the bottom third of the poverty spectrum. I fall in the middle spectrum of poverty. I don't qualify for Medicaid. The top two tiers of poor people don't qualify for Medicaid right now. I mention this because you need to know that, when I advocate for those whose Medicaid will be taken away, I am not advocating for myself. I am not affected by it except inasmuch as I have compassion for those with even fewer resources than I possess.
Let me be clear. It is not the position of the Catholic faith that causing the death of the poor, the elderly and the sick is an acceptable price to pay in exchange for the off chance that a proven liar and breaker of promises will install pro-life Supreme Court Justices. Nor is it the belief of the Catholic faith that the planet may be deliberately decimated with unclean air and water by disreputable oil and gas corporations, thanks to the recent repeal of laws that were enacted to protect the environment.
Doing an evil thing to accomplish a positive thing is against our faith. Anyone who claims differently is just wrong. The lives of babies are not more important than the lives of the elderly, the sick or the poor. Life is precious and beloved of God at all stages, and there is no moral caste system, no matter how strident or prestigious the voice that tries to hammer home the false idea that the lives of unborn babies are somehow more valuable than everyone else's and that it is therefore permissible to cause irreparable harm to other innocent populations in a futile effort to make abortion illegal.
Furthermore, while it is disgusting that abortion is legal and that there are so many of these murders of little babies being done every day, our problem is not that abortion is legal. Our most obvious problem, (which is also a symptom, actually) is that people want abortions. People want abortions because the church has not done its job in evangelizing the culture. The Christian Church, in general, has grown lax in its teachings about the blessing of chastity.
People want abortions, not because they really want to kill their children, but because our culture has deteriorated to the extent that women feel compelled to have sex outside marriage or risk the very real possibility of spending their lives alone because men have grown to expect sex and, if you don't give it to them, they will move on to someone who will...laughing at your "nutty" religious fanaticism while they walk away. Very young women who are naturally more susceptible to peer pressure and terrified of not being considered cool, cooperate in a lifestyle that is not necessarily natural to them.
Television is full of fornication. Magazines and books celebrate it. It is hard for individuals to buck the overwhelming, pervasive messages of our culture, a culture that has been abandoned by Christianity.
How did we get to this point? what is at the root of this horrible moral bankruptcy in our culture that ultimately results in politicians crowing about defunding Medicaid, Meals on Wheels, PBS (Public Broadcasting System), LIHEAP (Once a year help with utility bills for the very poor.), and other much needed programs?
I contend that one of the primary factors occurred early in the 20th century. The relevance will be hard to perceive, at first, but follow the line of reasoning.
Until 1930, contraception was considered a mortal sin in all Christian Churches. Refer to previous posts on this topic for a larger explanation of how it happened that the protestant churches very publicly abandoned this ancient proscription. Eventually, people in the Catholic Church gave tacit consent to it, seeming to ignore completely the very clear teachings in the catechism which reflect the specific Biblical teaching and consistent tradition of the Church.
The approval of contraception by the Christian Church, either directly or tacitly, is responsible for the abortion industry because contraception encourages fornication, and contraception fails, resulting in inappropriately formed "couples" becoming pregnant with children that are not intended or wanted, children that were not created intentionally, in a loving, committed relationship. The killing of babies that results is just the beginning of the damage that is done.
The reason that many Christians are so positively hysterical about the issue of abortion is because they know, on some level, that the Christian Church is actually responsible for the death of those babies. If we jump up and down and point at OTHER people, we can create a smoke screen that obscures the truth. Don't look at the man behind the curtain!
I have never heard a homily that dealt with the necessity for chastity for ALL persons who are not in a valid sacramental marriage. Likewise with regard to contraception. I have never read an article by any bishop or cardinal about this topic. That doesn't mean they don't happen. I just haven't seen them, in all the reading I have done...and I do a lot of reading.
What women want, with some exceptions, is to be loved deeply and completely for themselves. They want to be treated with respect and tenderness. They want the undying devotion, love and faithfulness of one good man. Every man, somewhere in his soul, wants to be that one good man. There are perversions in our culture that twist the psyche and convince people they want something else, but, in our hearts, we want to be loved. Even a monastic is engaged in a loving relationship with God that is intense and personal also.
People try to ignore the immense consequences that sin creates in every area of our lives. This is why a loving God sets boundaries for his children, just as we set boundaries for OUR children in order to keep them safe. Children are oblivious to the consequences of their actions. They do not know that licking their finger and then sticking it in an electrical socket will hurt them and may kill them.
Perhaps it seems to you that I have run off the rails and that the topic has veered wildly, but it hasn't. Everything is connected. The Church's approval of contraception, specifically or tacitly, and the resulting abandonment of our sexual morals has had huge "unintended consequences."
Digging even further down to the root of the abandonment of our moral compass is the loss of our faith. People with weak faith are poor evangelists, or very superficial ones. This is obviously a generalization. Maybe you are a saint and you are reading this and you think I am completely wrong...about you and people you know...and apologies to you, dear saint. I am not talking about you. General trends naturally exclude remarkable exceptions.
Here are the bare bones: Contraception fails, making abortions "necessary,"
In keeping with this year's 100 year celebration of the miracles of Fatima, I would like to suggest a tonic for our flagging faith, the root of many of the problems that face us today. It includes a sustained meditation on the implications of the facts and the messages of Fatima.
First of all, it is one of those miracles that simply can't be argued with. The day that the miracle of the sun happened was a day that was announced by Our Lady in advance, which is why there were 70,000 people at that location at that time. They were waiting for the apparition, and any convincing mystical happening. All 70,000 people saw the same thing. The sun appeared to move wildly in the sky. A full description can be found in many of the books that have been written about it. There are also some newspaper reports, complete with photographs of the miracle and the people watching.
The advantage of a bonafide, solid, modern miracle can't be discounted. Mull over in your mind the undeniable Truth, with a capital "T" of this miraculous set of apparitions, first by an angel and then several by our beloved Blessed Mother. Acquaint yourself with Our Lady's expectations and requests. Let your mind roll around the implications of the very real existence of our precious Virgin Mary, our mother by adoption, and what She would say about some of the things to which we have become accustomed in our lives here on earth.
Get it firmly fixed in your mind that this is the real deal. The Catholic Church isn't some quaint old religion from the olden days that has some dusty old beliefs that entertain the mind. God is as real today as the day he sent his angel to our Blessed Mother and asked her if she would agree to become the Mother of Him who made Her. She came to speak to us in the 20th Century! Think of it. Almost 2,000 years since she was assumed into heaven, she appeared to three children in a little town in Portugal and affirmed the Catholic faith, producing a miracle witnessed by 70,000 people to prove the reality of the faith.
After your faith has become refreshed, at some point it will hit you very hard that the Lord did not give us a temporary set of commandments that were meant to be abandoned by us in the future. None of the wisdom in our Bible and our traditions passed down through the ages was meant to be abandoned in favor of selfishness.
Donald Trump,a malignant nationalist, the consummate con artist, professional liar, the boasting individual unable to work within a group setting where cooperation is key, the nutty conspiracy theorist married to ideologies that cater to the narcissist, is the logical result of the trajectory of immorality of America. This is what you get when you lose your moral compass, which is what is lost when you lose real faith.
When you have a nut case such as Donald Trump at the helm, he brings along with him the rest of the nuts from the asylum from which he has been loosed.
On the other hand, humble and obedient adherence to the commandments of the Lord naturally results in more loving behavior toward all human beings, something that is hard to do without faith rooted in the love of the Lord and not in an intellectual exercise that twists the faith into a self-aggrandizing mechanism for justifying selfishness. This love is reflected in all areas of one's life, including one's political orientation.
I pray that all of us experience a renewing and refreshment of our faith and, as a natural result, that our precious Catholic Church become refreshed and renewed, not with clever new devices and practices, but in the solid unchanging faith of the ages...the faith of the changeless God.
Finally, I ask that you pray for me so that my faith and practice may be strengthened and that I may also become more regular with my rosary prayers and other devotions.
God bless us all.