The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Signs of the Times

My, my, how things can change in just a few weeks...

As a candidate our new president spent the past two years promising change in almost every aspect of public and private life. And from all indications he's a man who keeps his promises. Some of us, of course, believed him -- which is why we didn't vote for him. Others, particularly those on the left, also believed him -- which is why they voted for him. But a lot of folks seemed to believe that candidate Obama was just kidding, that we had misunderstood him, that he really didn't intend to follow through on all that stuff. For them the important thing was Obama's commitment to change. They weren't really concerned about the specifics. Their mantra? Change is good. The status quo is bad.

I wonder if all these people, most of them believing and practicing Christians, who assured me that those promises were just campaign rhetoric, have since changed their minds. Probably not. No one likes to admit they were wrong and will usually go to extremes of illogic to justify their errors of judgment. Perhaps in time...

But now let's look at just a couple of the president's recent actions from a Christian perspective.

The first is today's bombshell. Of course, it really wasn't that much of a surprise since the president had addressed the issue during the campaign. He announced an executive order that rescinds the previous prohibition on the use of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. As one Boston research scientist said today, "Now science can take the lead and work unencumbered by all those political restrictions." I believe, however, that he mis-spoke. He really didn't mean "political restrictions." What he meant to say was, "...unencumbered by all those moral and ethical restrictions."

So now the taxpayer -- that's you and me -- will pay for the development of nice, sterile embryo farms, where human embryos will be...what a good euphemistic word for it? Hmm, maybe cultivated would work. Yes., where human embryos will be cultivated so they can be destroyed for use in medical research. Who can object to that?

Another recent action by the president is his choice of Governor Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas as his Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Governor Sebelius, a Catholic and I am sure a very intelligent woman, is also pro-choice across the board. Throughout her political career she has been a champion of legalized abortion and has been closely associated with such pro-abortion organizations as Planned Parenthood, the National Organization of Women, and NARAL, to name just a few. Even more disturbing is her seeming support for compelling doctors, nurses and health care institutions to provide abortion and other "family planning" services. Such a move, of course, would be more than interesting. Would Catholic nurses and doctors walk off the job rather than comply? I would hope so. Would Catholic hospitals shut their doors in protest? I would hope so. That would be the only way to force the government to back off. Who would have thought that it would come to this? I expect that we'll be encountering this and a lot more in the years to come.

The governor has twice vetoed legislation that would have regulated abortion clinics. And she’s known by Kansas pro-lifers as “Tiller’s Governor” because of the tens of thousands of dollars she’s accepted in donations from Dr. George Tiller, the infamous late term abortionist. As you might imagine, the governor is also a strong supporter of embryonic stem-cell research.

Above: Governor Sebelius (center) with Dr. & Mrs. George Tiller at a party held in Tiller's honor at the governor's mansion. Dr. Tiller is a notorious late-term abortionist.

Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann has instructed Governor Sebelius not to present herself for the reception of Holy Communion, in the hope that this will cause her to reconsider her consistent anti-life positions. Sadly, I suspect it will have little effect. Most of the pro-choice Catholics I have encountered seem to hold about the same level of respect for the Eucharist as they do for the Church's Magisterial teaching. I hope, however, that I am wrong. Please pray for her.

There's is so much more to address, but you can find it all on hundreds of other sites. I only want to stress that despite all the craziness, despite all the hate, despite the evil that people choose, God has promised us eternal life. He calls all of us, saint and sinner alike, and calls us all continuously. Never lose hope. To do so is to deny God's promises. Live your faith. And never forget that the sole task of those who have been called by Jesus is to call others to Jesus. That's our job as disciples.

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