What if Catholic bishops aren’t bluffing?

posted at 8:40 am on March 1, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier this week, Francis Cardinal George of the archdiocese of Chicago sent a message to parishioners in Barack Obama’s home town that imposition of the HHS mandate to fund and facilitate contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization would force the Catholic Church to close its hospitals, clinics, schools, and all other organizations that would otherwise have to comply.  “Two Lents from now,” Cardinal George warned, “unless something changes, the page [listing Catholic organizations] will be blank.”  At the time, some commenters wrote that this has been Obama’s plan all along — to force religious charities out of business to make people more dependent on government.  Others, including myself, figure that Obama just thinks the bishops are bluffing, and wants to engage in a high-stakes bout of brinksmanship to force them to kneel to secular authority over doctrine.

But how high are those stakes?  In my column for The Fiscal Times today, I did a little research just on Catholic hospitals and their significance in American health care.  As it turns out, this bet involved nearly $100 billion in annual costs and about one-seventh of all hospital beds in the US — and that’s not all:

The Catholic Church has perhaps the most extensive private health-care delivery system in the nation. It operates 12.6 percent of hospitals in the U.S., according to the Catholic Health Association of the U.S., accounting for 15.6 percent of all admissions and 14.5 percent of all hospital expenses, a total for Catholic hospitals in 2010 of $98.6 billion. Whom do these hospitals serve? Catholic hospitals handle more than their share of Medicare (16.6 percent) and Medicaid (13.65) discharges, meaning that more than one in six seniors and disabled patients get attention from these hospitals, and more than one in every eight low-income patients as well. Almost a third (32 percent) of these hospitals are located in rural areas, where patients usually have few other options for care.

Compared to their competition, Catholic hospitals take a leading role in providing less-profitable services to patients. They lead the sector in breast cancer screenings, nutrition programs, trauma, geriatric services, and social work. In most of these areas, other non-profits come close, but hospitals run by state and local governments fall significantly off the pace. Where patients have trouble paying for care, Catholic hospitals cover more of the costs. For instance, Catholic Health Services in Florida provides free care to families below 200 percent of federal poverty line, accepting Medicaid reimbursements as payment in full, and caps costs at 20 percent of household income for families that fall between 200 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line.

Imagine the impact if these hospitals shut down, discounting the other 400-plus health centers and 1,500 specialized homes that the Catholic Church operates as part of its mission that would also disappear. Thanks to the economic models of these hospitals, no one will rush to buy them. One in six patients in the current system would have to vie for service in the remaining system, which would have to absorb almost $100 billion in costs each year to treat them. Over 120,000 beds would disappear from an already-stressed system.

The poor and working class families that get assistance from Catholic benefactors would end up having to pay more for their care than they do under the current system. Rural patients would have to travel farther for medical care, and services like social work and breast-cancer screenings would fall to the less-efficient government-run institutions. That would not only impact the poor and working class patients, but would create much longer wait times for everyone else in the system. Finally, over a half-million people employed by Catholic hospitals now would lose their jobs almost overnight, which would have a big impact on the economy as well as on health care.

Of course, it’s not just hospitals.  The Catholic Church runs over 7500 primary and secondary education schools in the US (where over a third of students are non-Catholics), educating more than 2.5 million students.  Thanks to a near-blanket moratorium on vouchers, taxpayer money doesn’t get used in teaching these students in a system that has a 99% graduation rate and a 97% success rate at placing students in college.  Based on an average student cost of $8000 in public schools, Catholic schools save taxpayers about $20 billion dollars a year.

Perhaps with schools, though, the notion that Obama wants to crowd out private enterprise in favor of the public sector makes more sense. How about charities?  Catholic Charities would also have to close its doors if the bishops refuse to comply with the HHS mandate.  In 2003, the latest data available, they provided emergency food services to 6.5 million people, temporary shelter to over 200,000 people, and a range of other assistance to another 1.5 million people, including assistance in clothing, finances, utilities, and even medication.  Those efforts would disappear overnight, along with schools and hospitals.

Surely, some will think, the bishops are just bluffing, and won’t purposefully create such a social disaster.  Perhaps, but consider the teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit order and a deeply influential figure in Catholic thinking:

Some may doubt that the bishops would create this kind of havoc and disruption, and perhaps President Obama believes Cardinal George and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to be bluffing. However, Obama may want to read St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and his Principle and Foundation of faith, which informs Catholics on the priority of salvation. The first task of mankind, according to St. Ignatius, is to serve God and “save his soul,” and “other things on the face of the earth” should be used only as long as they serve that purpose. When they become a hindrance to salvation, St. Ignatius warns to “rid himself of them.”

If the HHS mandate forces the Catholic Church to fund and facilitate access to products and services they believe imperil souls, they will apply Ignatius’ principle and stick with salvation — which is the entire raison d’être of any religious organization.  The implications for public-sector spending and services is massive, and Obama may be pushing all in with only a pair of jacks.  Don’t count on the bishops to blink first.


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A week or two ago I concluded Eastern European, like maybe Russian or Polish.

slickwillie2001 on March 1, 2012 at 2:44 PM

I have no idea what part of the world geographically that the Catholic Church could be viewed as totalitarian? It would be some 3rd world country where only the church is providing the population services? Somewhere that has bandwidth that’s for sure LOL!

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 2:57 PM

…Is English your second language? It would explain your inability to process the simplest concepts stated in English. The last phrase reads like someone of perhaps Arabic descent having difficultly with English language usage.

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 2:22 PM

A week or two ago I concluded Eastern European, like maybe Russian or Polish.

slickwillie2001 on March 1, 2012 at 2:44 PM

?!?
:)
lol!

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 2:59 PM

“but they still think they are the right church and consider other churches, your denomination as well heretic.”

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 2:30 PM

You couldn’t prove it by me. My sister is Catholic and she has never indicated any concern for my soul because I’m not. She was more concerned both times I got divorced. But I think she eventually understood that I didn’t, as she did, as part of my faith promise to marry for life.

I was raised Baptist (raised my children in the Methodist Church) and the old joke is about the Baptists mistakenly believing they were the only ones in heaven, not the Catholics.

Every religion believes it is “the way.” But I’m not personally familiar with any, other than Islam, that actively proclaims everyone else will and should go to hell.

bertielou on March 1, 2012 at 3:13 PM

For a parent who has experienced firsthand the visceral difference in spiritual presence that one feels at Catholic Hospital as compared to a secular institution, this article hits home. There really is a different spirit at St. Vincent, a warm comforting spirit that just isn’t felt at other hospitals we’ve experienced. I presume that other Catholic hospitals are similar, and it would be a crime if that option were no longer available to believers.

Reason 1,436,987 to kick deceptive, evil president out of office.

guitarman67 on March 1, 2012 at 12:22 PM

This is a great hospital. In the 70′s, I think it was a teaching hospital, if not still is a teaching hospital. My college roommate went to med school in Indy and I know many Purdue grads did a lot of their training at this hospital. If my memory serves me correctly, they also had one in Lafayette, IN.

We had a hospital in my home town run by the Catholic church. I had my appendix out there in high school. I remember the nuns coming by each day to see how I was doing, even though I was not Catholic. She was an elderly woman, and would just serenely smile and pray by my bed, then go to the next room. On the hospital grounds was a convent. They used to teach at the local Catholic school, too.

People just take these institutions for granted, but frankly, I hope the Catholic church holds firm on this. ANd if the government tries to steal their properties if they are shut down, that the Church fights them in court.

Ultimately the easiest thing to do will be just to beat them in November and undo everything next year. The Catholics in this country are just going to have to figure out what is more important to them, do they want liberty or Ameritopia where the government is stripping them of their 1st amendment rights?

karenhasfreedom on March 1, 2012 at 3:14 PM

While official party propaganda makes it sound like Obama wouldn’t be delighted to see the entire national web of Catholic hospitals and universities close their doors and disappear, think about it? It is just another phony image for the phony to apply for his legions of suckers.

The cadaverous commie in the White House is more than determined to see all of us sliding down the pole to 4th World status – he wants to see the US of A and all of us real Americans who are left, wearing hand-me-downs and eating out of garbage cans (outside of local Democrat party clubhouses, of course) while his financial/party supporters live it up high on the liberal hog.

Wake up!

dockywocky on March 1, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Keep flogging this one Ed.

How does the Church pay for all of this?

Investments and donations?

Yea right.

Tax dollars.

You think they should get the money no strings attached, then turn around and put whatever strings they want to attach before doling it out.

Conservatism 2012.

freshface on March 1, 2012 at 9:01 AM

omg you are kidding me right? the Catholic church does NOT recieve tax dollars to operate any of its churches or subsidiaries. the only money they get from the govt is payment for services rendered as in medicaid payments for seeing patients with medicaid. are you suggesting that they not treat patients due to the type of insurance they carry ?

katee bayer on March 1, 2012 at 3:43 PM

and you guys live under the illusion that the catholic church is democratic or something. they are also totalitarian. why should the american state bend to the diktats of the vatican?
since when is contraception immoral? since when the vatican become the definer of what is moral and immoral in america?
nathor on March 1, 2012 at 9:20 AM

hmmmmm well seems to me the Church has been in charge of what is Moral and Immoral in the eyes of the world for oh …about 2000 years . as for how is contraception immoral ……. ” Be Fruitful and multiply” and the Vatican has dictated NOTHING to the USA . what it HAS done is declare that they WILL NOT COMPLY with laws that force them to go against the WORD OF GOD.

you sure do post alot for someone who has absolutely no clue. If you want people to take you seriously and listen then maybe you should actually understand the people you are vilifying.

katee bayer on March 1, 2012 at 3:48 PM

You couldn’t prove it by me. My sister is Catholic and she has never indicated any concern for my soul because I’m not. She was more concerned both times I got divorced. But I think she eventually understood that I didn’t, as she did, as part of my faith promise to marry for life.

I was raised Baptist (raised my children in the Methodist Church) and the old joke is about the Baptists mistakenly believing they were the only ones in heaven, not the Catholics.

Every religion believes it is “the way.” But I’m not personally familiar with any, other than Islam, that actively proclaims everyone else will and should go to hell.

bertielou on March 1, 2012 at 3:13 PM

some catholics believe only trough the church you avoid hell, others believe there “exceptions” to this rule.

officially:
http://www.catholic.com/tracts/salvation-outside-the-church

the Catechism of the Catholic Church, following historic Christian theology since the time of the early Church Fathers, refers to the Catholic Church as “the universal sacrament of salvation” (CCC 774–776), and states: “The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men” (CCC 780).

Many people misunderstand the nature of this teaching.

Indifferentists, going to one extreme, claim that it makes no difference what church one belongs to. Certain radical traditionalists, going to the other extreme, claim that unless one is a full-fledged, baptized member of the Catholic Church, one will be damned.

The following quotations from the Church Fathers give the straight story. They show that the early Church held the same position on this as the contemporary Church does—that is, while it is normatively necessary to be a Catholic to be saved (see CCC 846; Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 14), there are exceptions, and it is possible in some circumstances for people to be saved who have not been fully initiated into the Catholic Church (CCC 847).

http://www.catholic.com/tracts/the-great-heresies

Protestantism (16th Century)

Protestant groups display a wide variety of different doctrines. However, virtually all claim to believe in the teachings of sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”—the idea that we must use only the Bible when forming our theology) and sola fide (“by faith alone”— the idea that we are justified by faith only).

The great diversity of Protestant doctrines stems from the doctrine of private judgment, which denies the infallible authority of the Church and claims that each individual is to interpret Scripture for himself. This idea is rejected in 2 Peter 1:20, where we are told the first rule of Bible interpretation: “First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.” A significant feature of this heresy is the attempt to pit the Church “against” the Bible, denying that the magisterium has any infallible authority to teach and interpret Scripture.

The doctrine of private judgment has resulted in an enormous number of different denominations. According to The Christian Sourcebook, there are approximately 20-30,000 denominations, with 270 new ones being formed each year. Virtually all of these are Protestant.

resuming, yep, islam seems to be the only one that for sure condemns non believers to hell. I not sure about diferent sects of islam.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 3:55 PM

hmmmmm well seems to me the Church has been in charge of what is Moral and Immoral in the eyes of the world for oh …about 2000 years .

the church done many immoral things, such as, trading salvation for money. and hide pedophiles from justice.
obey the moral diktats of a ancient corrupted institution at your own peril.

as for how is contraception immoral ……. ” Be Fruitful and multiply” and the Vatican has dictated NOTHING to the USA . what it HAS done is declare that they WILL NOT COMPLY with laws that force them to go against the WORD OF GOD.

that is so Islamic! The US is a land of many faiths and gods and we build laws that fit all citizens. if some sect feels that strongly about their faith and cannot obey the law of the land, then they should leave. no sharia and no moral diktats from the vatican!

you sure do post alot for someone who has absolutely no clue. If you want people to take you seriously and listen then maybe you should actually understand the people you are vilifying.

katee bayer on March 1, 2012 at 3:48 PM

maybe the pope should stop vilifying secularists like me. I do listen and I dont like what I hear. just google “pope secularism”.
however, please correct me when I say something that is not true about the church. I dont vilify, I put in evidence unsavory facts.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 4:09 PM

?!?
:)
lol!

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 2:59 PM

You are a cut up nathor.

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 4:24 PM

really? seems to me just about EVERY post you have written pertaining to the Church in the slightest you have expressed nothing but contempt and anger for not only the institution but also its followers. you claim to be a secularist and in your eyes you probably are , but just so you understand what others see…. in my view as well as those of a few others im certain , you are nothing but a Bigot. I have never claimed the Church as an institution is perfect , it can not be as it is made up of individual persons and no person is perfect, however the good deeds and the help that stem from the persons following that faith far out weigh the bad. all i see from you is this insane need to villify me and others like me , all the while claiming that we dont give the same ideals of freedom to other religions. thats a crock. Islam is a religion and yes if they did decide to open a hospital i would be perfectly fine with practiceing Sharia while under their roof. i even have an Aunt who married a muslim man and converted and i did attend the wedding. i believe as do many catholics that a persons religion is between them and God , and with that said i will say one last thing i will continue to uphold the teachings of my church unto my dieing breath and i feel nothing but pity for you , for the Grace of the Lord is patently absent from your life as is evidenced by the shrill and bigoted words you aim at The Holy Mother Church.

katee bayer on March 1, 2012 at 4:25 PM

maybe the pope should stop vilifying secularists like me. I do listen and I dont like what I hear. just google “pope secularism”.
however, please correct me when I say something that is not true about the church. I dont vilify, I put in evidence unsavory facts.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Good Allah, are you still on your Pope trip? The issue is not the Catholic Church. The issue involves the government.

If you don’t want to be a Catholic, don’t. If you don’t want to work for a Catholic organisation, don’t. If you want “free” abortifacients provided by your employer, go work for an employer that will provide them.

Everyone knows the position of the Catholic Church on this subject. It has been around for a lot longer than the Left and the US. It WILL close the hospitals, etc., before it capitulates to Obama. You can take that to the bank. The question you must answer for yourself is whether you are prepared to inflict the misery on the poor that will ensue as a result.

I’m an atheist, but make no mistake about it, I will fight along side the bishops all day long against the bloody Leviathan in Washington. I’d rather see the Catholic Church burn every hospital in the country down to the ground than concede one millimeter of ground to les bâtards in DC and, if you were a true libertarian, you would feel the same way.

Screw Leviathan.

Resist We Much on March 1, 2012 at 4:32 PM

And its BY THE PEOPLE! not BY THE CHURCH, or BY THE POPE!

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 12:37 PM

The Red Herring of all red herring.

hillbillyjim on March 1, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Christians forged many of those martyrs stories.

Yeah, about all those bones in the catacombs of Rome?

Fake.

/gobstoppingly flabbergasted

hillbillyjim on March 1, 2012 at 4:40 PM

I have no idea what part of the world geographically that the Catholic Church could be viewed as totalitarian? It would be some 3rd world country where only the church is providing the population services? Somewhere that has bandwidth that’s for sure LOL!

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Totalitarian???? Are you nuts? That is not a rhetorical question. I am a Catholic and there is nothing totalitarian in believing in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Period.

chai on March 1, 2012 at 4:48 PM

And its BY THE PEOPLE! not BY THE CHURCH, or BY THE POPE!

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 12:37 PM

The Red Herring of all red herring.

hillbillyjim on March 1, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Christians forged many of those martyrs stories.

Yeah, about all those bones in the catacombs of Rome?

Fake.

/gobstoppingly flabbergasted

hillbillyjim on March 1, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Why don’t you two try going to church for once? Then you may understand something about universal truths.

chai on March 1, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Yeah, about all those bones in the catacombs of Rome?

Fake.

/gobstoppingly flabbergasted

hillbillyjim on March 1, 2012 at 4:40 PM

hey, I give you an example straight from the catholic encyclopedia about saint george:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06453a.htm

Remembering the unscrupulous freedom with which any wild story, even when pagan in origin, was appropriated by the early hagiographers to the honour of a popular saint (see, for example, the case of St. Procopius as detailed in Delehaye, “Legends”, ch. v) we are fairly safe in assuming that the Acts of St. George, though ancient in date and preserved to us (with endless variations) in many different languages, afford absolutely no indication at all for arriving at the saint’s authentic history.

read more here if you want:
http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/joseph_mccabe/religious_controversy/chapter_15.html

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 5:38 PM

nathor,

I would remind you we started with what you seemed to think was an irrefutable statement of fact that, ”the catholic church was totalitarian” to which I disagreed. You followed up with, “but they still think they are the right church and consider other churches, your denomination as well heretic.”

I never presumed to explain Catholic “doctrine” or what the Catholic Church “officially” says but rather the reality, the practical effect that is clearly not totalitarian.

I’m saying, the Catholic Church has never, in any way negatively impacted my life. That to the contrary I have had positive experiences with Catholic institutions. That neither the Catholic Church nor any Catholic institution has tried in any way to make me adhere to their values or abandon my own. Not even my sister who is a Catholic and would presumably attempt to convert me if her church taught what you think it does.

As you say, “resuming….”

You wrote, “maybe the pope should stop vilifying secularists like me.”

I don’t care what the Pope says, why in the world do you?

bertielou on March 1, 2012 at 5:41 PM

infidels.org?

that explains sooooo much. i guess my assetion you are a bigot is more true than i thought. and all your prateing about Islam has its purpose. Well if you lean so much towards Islam then you are in NO WAY SHAPE OR FASHION a secularist , seeing as how the two are incompatible.

katee bayer on March 1, 2012 at 5:51 PM

I would remind you we started with what you seemed to think was an irrefutable statement of fact that, ”the catholic church was totalitarian” to which I disagreed. You followed up with, “but they still think they are the right church and consider other churches, your denomination as well heretic.”

I never presumed to explain Catholic “doctrine” or what the Catholic Church “officially” says but rather the reality, the practical effect that is clearly not totalitarian.

I’m saying, the Catholic Church has never, in any way negatively impacted my life. That to the contrary I have had positive experiences with Catholic institutions. That neither the Catholic Church nor any Catholic institution has tried in any way to make me adhere to their values or abandon my own. Not even my sister who is a Catholic and would presumably attempt to convert me if her church taught what you think it does.

As you say, “resuming….”

You wrote, “maybe the pope should stop vilifying secularists like me.”

I don’t care what the Pope says, why in the world do you?

bertielou on March 1, 2012 at 5:41 PM

very well, my arguments are mostly historical. although the church as an organization is totalitarian, it does not have the power to influence the life of citizens of secular independent states. the hospitals and schools of catholic ownership are very secular themselves and dont really follow catholic doctrine.
while I understand your argument, why does this matter if they are quite peaceful today and mostly ignored(even the pope in his anti secular rants or anti contraception mandates)?
well, sure, I could just let it by and let the church take another brick from that wall between the state and the church. or not. any way, I really dont wish bad to all those churches, universities, hospitals and charities. hell, my family goes to a catholic hospital.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 5:59 PM

If the HHS mandate forces the Catholic Church to fund and facilitate access to products and services they believe imperil souls

How I wish it were their main concern but this Catholic bemoans the fact that the mission of this American Church seems more and more to be one of social service run by the great Caesar (the state)

The bishops funded ACORN, usurped the laity’s priority on illegal immigration, violated the Catholic principle of subsidiarity by pushing hard for a giant government healthcare (and predictably got whacked in the miters for their efforts)

The mission of the Church is saving souls-charity is never the obligation to be given to the government, particularly to an immoral government that has condoned the legal slaughter of 53 million of God’s innocent lives thus far. Why would they ever trust the very man that has demanded infanticide as a senator in Illinois? Weren’t they instructed to be as wise as serpents…?.

Don L on March 1, 2012 at 6:00 PM

infidels.org?

that explains sooooo much. i guess my assetion you are a bigot is more true than i thought. and all your prateing about Islam has its purpose. Well if you lean so much towards Islam then you are in NO WAY SHAPE OR FASHION a secularist , seeing as how the two are incompatible.

katee bayer on March 1, 2012 at 5:51 PM

i dont care what site it is, it is some site, although i think its an atheist site. the link contains references of this book:
http://books.google.com/books/about/Legends_of_Saints_and_Martyrs.html?id=wHxDcgAACAAJ&redir_esc=y
which unfortunately, I cannot give to you but details very well and this is admitted by the church, that most of the stories of martyrs are bogus.

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 6:05 PM

I have no idea what part of the world geographically that the Catholic Church could be viewed as totalitarian? It would be some 3rd world country where only the church is providing the population services? Somewhere that has bandwidth that’s for sure LOL!

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Totalitarian???? Are you nuts? That is not a rhetorical question. I am a Catholic and there is nothing totalitarian in believing in the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Period.

chai on March 1, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Having a problem with reading comprehension? I didn’t call the Catholic Church totalitarian. Perhaps you should try reading the thread before beclowning yourself.

Dr Evil on March 1, 2012 at 6:06 PM

katee bayer on March 1, 2012 at 4:25 PM

I’d rate that little piece of scribery as a “10″

One could almost whiff the Roman air. Great job!

Don L on March 1, 2012 at 6:18 PM

I have no doubt the Obama administration thinks it’s going to force religious charities out of business in favor of more government control. I’d like to remind President Obama that the Communist Party took on the Catholic Church in Poland and lost. He has far overreached himself if he thinks he can bully an institution that’s been around for a couple of thousand years… and I say that as a non-Catholic.

RebeccaH on March 1, 2012 at 6:22 PM

katee bayer on March 1, 2012 at 5:51 PM

you remind me of time spend in islamic forums where between the death threats due my true accusations of Mohammad of being an pedophile warlord, sometimes they also called me a jew. in HA, I got called a muslim. surprising to say the least.
anyway, about that “islamic” site:
http://www.infidels.org/infidels/

Our Mission
Internet Infidels at a Glance
Founded: 1995
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
IRS Status: 501(c)3 nonprofit educational organization
Philosophy: metaphysical naturalism
unique Visitors: 260,000/month
Pageviews: 640,000/month
Visits Per Day: 10,000
Alexa Traffic Ranking: 40,000
Reach: Worldwide
Staff: 1 part-time Executive Director and several dedicated volunteers

The Secular Web is owned and operated by Internet Infidels, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization dedicated to defending and promoting a naturalistic worldview on the Internet. Naturalism is the “hypothesis that the natural world is a closed system” in the sense that “nothing that is not a part of the natural world affects it.” As such, “naturalism implies that there are no supernatural entities,” such as gods, angels, demons, ghosts, or other spirits, “or at least none that actually exercises its power to affect the natural world.”[1] And without miraculous interventions into nature from a spiritual realm, neither prayer nor magick are more effective than a placebo.

seems the normal atheist site. :)

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 6:29 PM

I am a medical oncologist who works in a Catholic healthcare system. I am a staunch conservative Christian, and thus have been grateful to work in such a place, where I have been able to care for everyone regardless of their circumstances, and we provide oncology services for patients over a large portion of the Florida panhandle. This recent HHS mandate has been all over the news, and does indeed represent an assault on religious freedom protected by the First Amendment. That is what the conservative and religious community has focused on in the media the past several days, but when I saw the comments made by the Bishop in Chicago, I connected the dots so to speak. While not Catholic, I have been extremely impressed by the Catholic health care system and its ability to provide high quality compassionate medical care to the needy, as well as “well-insured” patients throughout the country. There are many throughout our nation, insured and uninsured, who depend on their local Catholic healthcare facility or Catholic charity for their well-being. Obama and his socialist machine want to create a secular government-based single payor healthcare system, and they need to get the Catholics out of the way. They provide an alternative that the government doesn’t want to have to compete with, whether it is for insured or uninsured patients. The socialists knew that they couldn’t rid themselves of Catholic healthcare UNLESS they made it impossible for the Catholic church to provide healthcare without violating their conscience (providing services for contraception, abortion, or abortion-inducing drugs). The bishops will stand their ground on this issue, and I stand with them. If Obama is not defeated, and Obamacare repealed, I firmly believe Catholics will be forced by their convictions to pull out of the health care industry…this is exactly what Obama wants. Obamacare has to go.

Panhandler on March 1, 2012 at 11:05 PM

very well, my arguments are mostly historical. although the church as an organization is totalitarian, it does not have the power to influence the life of citizens of secular independent states. the hospitals and schools of catholic ownership are very secular themselves and dont really follow catholic doctrine…

nathor on March 1, 2012 at 6:05 PM

It’s bemusing the way “secular” people pose as informed thinkers while spouting ludicrous statements of such ignorance. “…my arguments are mostly historical…” What a clown. In the same paragraph you state the Catholic church “does not have the power to influence the life of citizens…” What sweep of time do you consider in this “historical” perspective of yours? An hour or two? What an ass!

BTW ignoramous the Catholic Church is in no way totalitarian. It is theocratic. The structure of that theocracy, the shepherding responsibilities of the Vicar of Christ and his subordinate bishops, the call to be the servant of all, is so totally different than a secular numbskull like you would even comprehend that it’s pointless to go into any detail. Suffice to say the Church, it’s role in history and it’s influence on the future is beyond your ken.

Please put me on the list along with Benedict XVI as Catholics who justly vilify you and all the other self-centered fools who mistake a shriveled spirit for intelligence.

rcl on March 2, 2012 at 2:01 AM

It’s bemusing the way “secular” people pose as informed thinkers while spouting ludicrous statements of such ignorance. “…my arguments are mostly historical…” What a clown. In the same paragraph you state the Catholic church “does not have the power to influence the life of citizens…” What sweep of time do you consider in this “historical” perspective of yours? An hour or two? What an ass!

“does not have the power to influence the life of citizens…”. what I mean is, not in way where they can force citizens to follow catholic morals. of course, they impact the lives of citizens with their charities, institutions and spiritual babble.

BTW ignoramous the Catholic Church is in no way totalitarian. It is theocratic. The structure of that theocracy, the shepherding responsibilities of the Vicar of Christ and his subordinate bishops, the call to be the servant of all,

look, the church dispenses moral diktats, and the members of the church try the best they can to follow. as with the case of contraception, its largely ignored.
they also control a huge amount of health and political influence all controlled by a tight hierarchy. historically, the church engaged in corruption and unsavory secular politics.
criticizing the hierarchy of the church only does them good.

is so totally different than a secular numbskull like you would even comprehend that it’s pointless to go into any detail. Suffice to say the Church, it’s role in history and it’s influence on the future is beyond your ken.

the history of the church is dark, its present is acceptable, its future is to be seen. but I hope the church continues to be insignificant in my life as it has been so far.

Please put me on the list along with Benedict XVI as Catholics who justly vilify you and all the other self-centered fools who mistake a shriveled spirit for intelligence.

rcl on March 2, 2012 at 2:01 AM

no. I wont do such thing the same way i dont vilify my catholic parents and relatives. get a grip.

nathor on March 2, 2012 at 6:02 AM

but I hope the church continues to be insignificant in my life as it has been so far.

nathor on March 2, 2012 at 6:02 AM

It doesn’t appear to be insignificant at all as you can’t stop talking about it.

darwin on March 2, 2012 at 7:58 AM

It doesn’t appear to be insignificant at all as you can’t stop talking about it.

darwin on March 2, 2012 at 7:58 AM

I am a very curious person. I was reading the history of the papacy and I found out that there was a time where the papacy was considered a “pornocracy” meaning rule by harlots.

this character:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marozia

married a pope, and had a children with him, that was also a pope. then, married Alberic I of Spoleto and Hugh of Italy and descendants of children of these relationships also where popes.
amazing stuff.

there where also the anti popes, the popes appointed by rulers, and so on.

nathor on March 2, 2012 at 8:44 AM

nathor on March 2, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Well that’s all fine and dandy. The Catholic church is comprised of people. People are not perfect and subject to corruption. The church became powerful and weak men succumbed to corruption.

However, you seem intent on projecting that corruption onto the mission of the church and everyone associated with it.

darwin on March 2, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Well that’s all fine and dandy. The Catholic church is comprised of people. People are not perfect and subject to corruption. The church became powerful and weak men succumbed to corruption.

However, you seem intent on projecting that corruption onto the mission of the church and everyone associated with it.

darwin on March 2, 2012 at 9:12 AM

you misread me. the catholic church today wields strong influence in our society. for example through its hospital and schools, all fine and they do good work. but when they blackmail the government into getting exceptions to secular laws, then, they need to be reminded of their long corrupted history, and stop acting like they something special, to the point of demanding citizens that work for their numerous institutions, follow their own fallible moral diktats.

nathor on March 2, 2012 at 9:42 AM

but when they blackmail the government into getting exceptions to secular laws, then, they need to be reminded of their long corrupted history, and stop acting like they something special, to the point of demanding citizens that work for their numerous institutions, follow their own fallible moral diktats.

nathor on March 2, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Oh knock it off and eff you and your “secular” laws. The damn 1st Amendment is the damn law. If you don’t like it move somewhere else where they worship “secular laws”.

If you don’t like the Catholic church don’t become Catholic, don’t read about Catholics, don’t write about Catholics and leave Catholics and the church alone.

darwin on March 2, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Oh knock it off and eff you and your “secular” laws. The damn 1st Amendment is the damn law. If you don’t like it move somewhere else where they worship “secular laws”.

If you don’t like the Catholic church don’t become Catholic, don’t read about Catholics, don’t write about Catholics and leave Catholics and the church alone.

darwin on March 2, 2012 at 10:29 AM

i will leave it alone, for now…

nathor on March 2, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Don L on March 1, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Thank you , it probably has something to do with years of Catholic schooling. Though I must admit at times it is very difficult for me to remember im a lady and should maintain proper decorum when dealing with bigotted personages.

katee bayer on March 2, 2012 at 6:16 PM

It’s difficult to have much sympathy for the Bishops who, over many years, have supported the socialist trend leading to the problems they are having with the Communists in the WH. They’ve been riding a Tiger, and now it has turned to rend them.

Perhaps they are waking up, but I have my doubts. They may shut down the parachurch activities, but they will end up supporting other things that will eventually came back to bite them again.

Quartermaster on March 2, 2012 at 8:27 PM

Who is John Galt?

Esthier on March 2, 2012 at 11:41 PM

Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest

Resist We Much on June 1, 2012 at 2:33 PM

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