Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Thought Benedict was Pope...

I dunno - I must've missed it, since I haven't been in church in a while. Last time I was there, BENEDICT was pope. Not that I like him much, but hey - he was duly appointed by the cardinals, and I saw the white smoke.

One thing I do like about him is that he isn't burying his head in the doctrine when it comes to some social justice issues. Note his stance on health care:

The title of this little ditty is: Pope Benedict XVI: Universal Morality, Justice Must Guide Access to Health Care and the gist is this (italics mine):

In his Message the Pope highlights "the need to work with greater commitment at all levels in order for the right to healthcare to be effective, facilitating access to primary medical assistance. In our own time", he continues, "we are witnessing, on the one hand, a care for health which risks turning into pharmacological, medical and surgical consumerism, almost a cult of the body while, on the other hand, we see the difficulties millions of people face as they seek to obtain minimal subsistence and the medicines they need to cure themselves".   

But. Then we have Pope Santorum.... who says: "I would tell you that my first priority as a president of the United States is to repeal Barack Obama's healthcare plan. It is the reason that I'm running for office. I believe Obamacare will rob America, the best way I can put it is, rob America of its soul. I say that without any kind of fear of being discredited, I really believe that. That the reason the left for a hundred years has been trying to get a national healthcare plan done is because they realize that once they have you dependent on the government for your health, freedom as we know it in America is forfeit."

He said this in Iowa Falls, IA in 2011.

Now, just this week, I saw a Jamie Oliver program. He's "cooking his way across America" and as a Brit, he's being exposed to some very different sides of America. He was in the deep south, and was talking to some folks; he happened upon a trailer park and was talking to some disgruntled construction workers and the poor lad heard the "N"-word uttered in a totally contemptible comment about the president. He was shocked. But then he talked to a restaurant owner about the economy.

The restaurant owner remarked that her daughter had cerebral palsy and that they hadn't taken a paycheck in months. Oliver says, 'Oh, but the government steps in, right?' --- and he's again visibly shocked when the woman says that in order to be a Medicaid patient, the government makes sure you have no assets at all. He says, in reply, "Well, I guess being a Brit during a recession isn't all that bad since we have universal health care." You could see the wheels working in the mind of that woman, because I'll bet you that all she listens to is Fox, and of course they paint "Obamacare" as the devil's work. But here's a charming young Brit saying, 'No, not really - it helps you get through rough patches like this without worrying about whether you can eat or see a doctor. You don't have to make that choice.'

Except that if Pope Rick gets elected, by some strange confluence of the planets, who clearly says that the separation of church and state is "abominable" to his ears, we will all be in deep crap. He wants to be the head of a theocracy. The theocracy that's apparently in his head.

Like I said: I missed the memo that some guy doesn't want to be president - but pope!

Santorum wants everyone to be "his" particular brand of Catholic. And he's outta luck. Christians still view Catholics as "cultists." And there are a whole lot more of them than there are Catholics. And as well, Catholics aren't the most generous people in the world when it comes to religious tolerance. Take, for example, the "communion rule."

I was investigating Episcopal churches, because I absolutely can't sit in the pew one more time knowing that the Catholic bishops are now "fighting to the death" about birth control, while they played chess with priests to stay one step ahead of the child abuse scandal. Anyway, funny thing about the Episcopals: they welcome everyone to communion.

The Catholics don't. And that's just one little thing. Some priests (and the Cardinal in Chicago) will not give communion to people who are gay. Some tell you how to vote from the pulpit. Some will actively counsel a woman to not divorce a spouse who's abusive or who strays from the marriage. Which begs the question of how someone who's never navigated a marriage can give advice...

Anyway, I'm watching how this Republican stuff goes on and on and on (how about it, Newt -- please just hang it up and go home!). I'm watching as Poopsie Palin "offers" herself at a potentially brokered convention.

And I'm watching Santorum shoot himself in the foot every time he opens his mouth. He's almost as entertaining as Mitt - but what's scary about Santorum is that he is not flip-flopping. He's dead serious. And I'm afraid that if he manages to get elected, the inmates will be running the asylum.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I'm on the verge of leaving...

...something that's been a big part of my life. What, you might ask, would that be? Not my marriage!! That's my anchor.

But my church. I am sorely displeased with the Council of Catholic Bishops. They are in some sort of uber-bubble in which they are ignoring the fact that it's 2012. It's time for them to acknowledge that 98% of us use or have used birth control. And it's not always for family planning.

And let's face it, when you're in the mood, what's wrong with sex for fun with your husband or wife? What's wrong with something that helps keep your marriage solid and helps you reconnect with someone you love? It's not always about procreation. Otherwise, we'd be dogs who go into heat 2 or 3 times a year, breed, and then have litters.

See this:

This preacher is pointing out something glaring. The bishops need to stop preaching politics from the pulpit. That is where you become a political committee and not a church. That is where you risk really annoying a good chunk of your membership.

However, we Catholics have developed a "skin." We show up; we participate; we take Communion. And then we go home and practice birth control. Some of us are divorced. Some of us may never marry our significant others. Some of us do other things contrary to the beliefs of the church, like maybe being pro-choice. Maybe having had an abortion or being married to someone who has. Maybe participating in the candidacy of a politician who's aired beliefs not sanctioned by the Catholic Church.

We just go about our business, taking what we want from the Church and really not being "wholly" Catholic, because that would mean we'd contravene some of our own closely held beliefs.

I spent some time with a friend, both of us Catholic. And we chatted. Both of us have used birth control, mostly for medical reasons. She mentioned in passing that she "got a letter from her doctor" explaining that she had both endometriosis AND fibroids. Both of those conditions, for those who don't know, are very painful and can cause excruciating and long periods. Click on the words; the Mayo Clinic goes into really good detail.

My first thought, though I kept it "inside" was "Why on EARTH would you get a letter??" Unless you need it for insurance purposes (which may be, because we work for a Catholic organization), it's certainly no business of your priest's - just like the confessional is sacred, so is what happens between you and your doctor.

I had fibroids. I also have what my doctor charmingly calls "incompetent reproductive organs." Which means my plumbing can achieve a pregnancy. And it's done so four times. But I've only managed to bring TWO of them to fruition, and both of those resulted in premature births. My doctor basically told me, "I don't care if you're the first cousin of Pope John Paul II - you need to NOT be pregnant anymore."

So I went on birth control. Then, after years and years of periods so bad that I was anemic, lasting 2 weeks or more (even the pill didn't fix that), causing me to land in the ER more times than once, I had an endometrial ablation. That's a nifty little procedure that cauterizes your uterus. I'm "lucky" enough (yeesh) that I still have periods at age 54, even though I am certainly ready for the "off" switch. But they're "normal" - 3 or 4 days instead of 14 - 18 days. And only 1 day that's "heavy" instead of 9 - 10 of them. For the most part, during a period, I can stand up from a sitting position and not feel as if my uterus and all its contents will be hitting the floor.

I'm angry that the bishops don't want to see reason. I'm angry that Catholics themselves will probably do what they've always done: show up on Sundays. We need to show our feelings with our wallets AND our rear ends. As in, don't put your rear end in a pew if you disagree with the bishops' position.

If you do agree, then by all means: show up. Support the Church and its hierarchy. But leave the rest of us to our own consciences. And stop asking for the tax exemption as long as you're using your pulpit to preach something that's not in the Gospels. What did Jesus say? "Render unto Caeser what is Caeser's."

Politics belongs to Caeser. Not to Jesus.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Yes, they are Ed!!!!

Ed Schultz is hammering away about the Catholic Church and the birth control issue.

The Catholic Church, as an employer, is NOT able to restrict its hires to only Catholics. "What is your religion?" is one of the "Do Not Ask" questions for hiring managers.

Basic Employment Law, Ed... You want to play with the big kids and want to be an employer, then you have to hire the qualified applicant who presents himself or herself.

So if I'm a Druid, an atheist, a Baptist or a Moonie, if I'm the most qualified candidate for the job, you MUST hire me. And I should be able to enjoy the benefits I would enjoy at any other job. If you don't provide those, within reasonable limits, I can choose to go elsewhere, but you also have to realize that in some communities, maybe the Catholic hospital is THE employer in the area.

Also, I just visited a website to get an answer...on The Viagra Question. Apparently, it's okey-dokey for Catholic MARRIED men. Because it "helps complete the marital act with his wife" as long as he uses it for "for morally upright intentions."

Sooooooooooooo - by reverse reasoning, it's still ok to wear out your wife with repeated pregnancies, no matter what it does to her health (the "Full Quiver" argument) and you can go get all perky... But SHE is not entitled to a respite from the the wear and tear a pregnancy has on a woman's body.

Yes, pregnancy is not a disease. But I've been pregnant 4 times. And I only have 2 kids. The others were miscarriages. God's plan for a not-so-healthy fetus? Or, as my doctor said, "Incompetent reproductive organs" --- also, if we're going there, given to me by God.

So yes, I've used birth control. It's helped me keep from bleeding for 2 weeks solid. It's helped me plan my family. And I will gladly stand before God and tell Her that. Along with 95%+ of the rest of Catholic women.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Four Funerals and Komen...

So it's been a week or so of funerals. Two expected, and two unexpected. One of them was a gal I knew from grade school; instead of dying from the leukemia she had, she died after a fall (unexpected).

One of them was a friend's dad. This friend is the person (outside of my mother) that I've known the longest in my life. We were born 11 months apart, and grew up together, literally. Across a playlot. Her dad died of cancer (this we expected).

Another one was a friend's husband. This was a case of a very vicious cancer and it was unexpected in that I didn't know he had cancer! He was sick only a few months.

And the final one was a friend I've known for almost 10 years. He died on a trip and we are just stunned. We have had no details; just that he died. It's like we want to know "why" but it feels ignorant to ask. You know the feeling...

And then, we see the Susan G. Komen decision to yank support from Planned Parenthood pressured by the right-wing-right-to-life-as-long-as-you-stay-a-fetus group. Honestly, I can't say it any better than this:

Just read it. This blogger puts it perfectly. And let's just look at something called "math." Which is closely related to that thing called "facts." Something that a lot of RTLALAYSAF people seem to want to ignore. Planned Parenthood does not operate a "drive-through" abortion factory. They provide preventive care to women. Preventive care includes screening for other ailments, including breast cancer, Pap smears, and general health care. See the following link: for more information.

And let's look at this little chart. According to the math, a full 97% of Planned Parenthood's care for women does not include abortions. That means that out of 100% of services to women who otherwise couldn't afford health care, only three percent of their services include abortions. THREE percent. OK, this is from 2009, but I can't imagine that they've changed much at all.

Because this organization helps poor and underinsured women, the RTL(etc.) people are all up in arms. Because you know those poor people. They're lazy; they're not willing to work; they expect "entitlements;" and they want all they can get from US -- the working folks, dont'cha know? If they "get pregnant" (because of course you know it's ALWAYS the woman... men apparently don't have any responsibility in this case), it's their own fault. ONLY their fault.

I thought it took two to tango.

Maybe it's because I'm grieving anyway, but the Komen Foundation makes me sick. Literally. And everyone who bought into the whole "pink" campaign? Take a look at who's sporting pink and what they're trying to sell you. Open your eyes and do some more research.

I'm planning to do the Avon 2-day walk. See - and click on "Where the money goes" to do some research.

It seems like this post is all over the place; but it just seems that it's that kind of day. And that kind of week.