Many of you know that I'm a practicing Catholic. Once upon a time, I was pleasantly surprised when Pope Benedict's first encyclical turned out far better than I'd hoped. Recent revelations have shown he did far worse than I ever knew, back when some of us followed the career of Cardinal Ratzinger with trepidation. I am horrified and saddened by what he (and far too many others in the Church) knew and allowed, and even covered up.

Yet all is not lost. My pastor preached yesterday against the death penalty. That takes guts—especially in a parish in real financial straits, where it would surely be safer not to risk offending a fairly conservative congregation.

Today I read Nicholas Kristof's column, "Who Can Mock This Church?" (I'm not sure this is a permanent link, but it's what I can find right now; look for the title), and I'm very cheered to find him saying, "overwhelmingly it’s at the grass roots that I find the great soul of the Catholic Church." That's my Church: the one that feeds the hungry, clothes the needy, visits the sick, and works tirelessly for justice. I hope and pray the hierarchy get with the program now.

The Church is not just those robed men in Rome. The Church is my husband and I; my daughter, who has helped feed the hungry every Lent for three years now; my parents, whose work with the poor I cannot begin to catalog; my younger brother, who helps feed the hungry in his area and in other countries, where he has gone to volunteer on vacations; my older brother, with his donations; and my fellow parishioners, who perform all kinds of works of mercy and love.
Many of you know that I'm a practicing Catholic. Once upon a time, I was pleasantly surprised when Pope Benedict's first encyclical turned out far better than I'd hoped. Recent revelations have shown he did far worse than I ever knew, back when some of us followed the career of Cardinal Ratzinger with trepidation. I am horrified and saddened by what he (and far too many others in the Church) knew and allowed, and even covered up.

Yet all is not lost. My pastor preached yesterday against the death penalty. That takes guts—especially in a parish in real financial straits, where it would surely be safer not to risk offending a fairly conservative congregation.

Today I read Nicholas Kristof's column, "Who Can Mock This Church?" (I'm not sure this is a permanent link, but it's what I can find right now; look for the title), and I'm very cheered to find him saying, "overwhelmingly it’s at the grass roots that I find the great soul of the Catholic Church." That's my Church: the one that feeds the hungry, clothes the needy, visits the sick, and works tirelessly for justice. I hope and pray the hierarchy get with the program now.

The Church is not just those robed men in Rome. The Church is my husband and I; my daughter, who has helped feed the hungry every Lent for three years now; my parents, whose work with the poor I cannot begin to catalog; my younger brother, who helps feed the hungry in his area and in other countries, where he has gone to volunteer on vacations; my older brother, with his donations; and my fellow parishioners, who perform all kinds of works of mercy and love.
aelfgyfu_mead: Aelfgyfu as a South Park-style cartoon (Carson Beckett)
( Mar. 19th, 2010 10:44 pm)
I try not to get political often, but I'm fed up with the anti-health-care bill rhetoric that says the US Senate health care bill funds abortion. I'm especially disgusted because I believed it for a time—I had it from what I thought were good sources.

Two quick links:
"The Senate Bill Funds Abortions? Nope, and It's More Pro-Life Than the House Version," at Politics Daily
"Pro-life group urges Congress to pass Senate health care bill" from The National Catholic Reporter—this piece cites specific provisions in the bill.

Rational people can disagree about the specifics of this health care plan and whether it's the best possible plan, but I'm sick of hearing it's "anti-life."

I'm pro-life. I want to help women and men, children and infants, the unborn and the elderly. I do not appreciate people using my commitment to life to try to manipulate me.
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aelfgyfu_mead: Aelfgyfu as a South Park-style cartoon (Carson Beckett)
( Mar. 19th, 2010 10:44 pm)
I try not to get political often, but I'm fed up with the anti-health-care bill rhetoric that says the US Senate health care bill funds abortion. I'm especially disgusted because I believed it for a time—I had it from what I thought were good sources.

Two quick links:
"The Senate Bill Funds Abortions? Nope, and It's More Pro-Life Than the House Version," at Politics Daily
"Pro-life group urges Congress to pass Senate health care bill" from The National Catholic Reporter—this piece cites specific provisions in the bill.

Rational people can disagree about the specifics of this health care plan and whether it's the best possible plan, but I'm sick of hearing it's "anti-life."

I'm pro-life. I want to help women and men, children and infants, the unborn and the elderly. I do not appreciate people using my commitment to life to try to manipulate me.
Tags:
aelfgyfu_mead: Aelfgyfu as a South Park-style cartoon (Carson Beckett)
( Nov. 20th, 2009 08:12 pm)
I've blogged in the past about my pro-life stance. I have the distinct feeling that I've won no one over, but at least I can show that there are intelligent, principled, consistent pro-lifers: those of us who support alternatives to abortion; support adoption, fostering, and caring for children, mothers, and fathers in general; oppose the death penalty, war, and all forms of violence. In return, I've been very grateful to find both people who agree with me and people who disagree respectfully—and that most of us can agree on a lot of positive steps, despite our differences.

Wow, do I need that kind of reassurance today. I was cruising through the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website to get the readings for this Sunday, and the top headline on the page gave me pause: "Bishop Morin calls claims against CCHD's work 'outrageous'". I thought, "What claims?" and clicked. I found out what claims; I did a Google search and found that these claims are indeed out there on the Internet, they're ugly, and some of them come up pretty high on the Google list. A little ranting and a little more detail )

CCHD are the good guys. Their goal is to help people escape poverty; many of the groups with whom they work help the very women who without this help might feel they had no choice but abortion, and the children who are born to parents in difficult circumstances who chose to have a baby even when it was hard. They don't limit themselves to families, however. Here's what their brochure says: "The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the Gospel at work and Catholic social teaching in action. CCHD practices the principles the Church teaches: the option for the poor, solidarity, subsidiarity, and participation. CCHD defends human life and dignity every day, in countless ways, all across our nation." They've been doing it for many years. That's why I give: they're my kind of pro-life.

My choice is clear. I'm doubling my annual contribution to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development this weekend.
Tags:
aelfgyfu_mead: Aelfgyfu as a South Park-style cartoon (Carson Beckett)
( Nov. 20th, 2009 08:12 pm)
I've blogged in the past about my pro-life stance. I have the distinct feeling that I've won no one over, but at least I can show that there are intelligent, principled, consistent pro-lifers: those of us who support alternatives to abortion; support adoption, fostering, and caring for children, mothers, and fathers in general; oppose the death penalty, war, and all forms of violence. In return, I've been very grateful to find both people who agree with me and people who disagree respectfully—and that most of us can agree on a lot of positive steps, despite our differences.

Wow, do I need that kind of reassurance today. I was cruising through the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website to get the readings for this Sunday, and the top headline on the page gave me pause: "Bishop Morin calls claims against CCHD's work 'outrageous'". I thought, "What claims?" and clicked. I found out what claims; I did a Google search and found that these claims are indeed out there on the Internet, they're ugly, and some of them come up pretty high on the Google list. A little ranting and a little more detail )

CCHD are the good guys. Their goal is to help people escape poverty; many of the groups with whom they work help the very women who without this help might feel they had no choice but abortion, and the children who are born to parents in difficult circumstances who chose to have a baby even when it was hard. They don't limit themselves to families, however. Here's what their brochure says: "The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the Gospel at work and Catholic social teaching in action. CCHD practices the principles the Church teaches: the option for the poor, solidarity, subsidiarity, and participation. CCHD defends human life and dignity every day, in countless ways, all across our nation." They've been doing it for many years. That's why I give: they're my kind of pro-life.

My choice is clear. I'm doubling my annual contribution to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development this weekend.
Tags:
Everyone can agree that no one should be compelled to commit murder, right? Well, why is it that when some of us disagree on the definition of murder, many of the same people who join me in opposing war and opposing the death penalty think that it's perfectly all right to require who believe that abortion is murder to perform abortions?

If you don't believe it's murder, I'm not stopping you from performing or having an abortion. (Yes, I know some people are trying, but many pro-lifers are trying through purely legal means like changing the laws, or doing what I do and working instead to support alternative.) But I don't think anyone the right to compel someone else who thinks it's murder to do it (except in the case where the mother's life is in danger). I live in a society where abortion is legal. I wish it weren't, and I work and give money to make alternatives to abortion more available. I don't interfere with anyone's legal right to get an abortion. Why should people interfere with the rights of conscience of people like me? I can't seem to be brief, but here are my reasons )
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Everyone can agree that no one should be compelled to commit murder, right? Well, why is it that when some of us disagree on the definition of murder, many of the same people who join me in opposing war and opposing the death penalty think that it's perfectly all right to require who believe that abortion is murder to perform abortions?

If you don't believe it's murder, I'm not stopping you from performing or having an abortion. (Yes, I know some people are trying, but many pro-lifers are trying through purely legal means like changing the laws, or doing what I do and working instead to support alternative.) But I don't think anyone the right to compel someone else who thinks it's murder to do it (except in the case where the mother's life is in danger). I live in a society where abortion is legal. I wish it weren't, and I work and give money to make alternatives to abortion more available. I don't interfere with anyone's legal right to get an abortion. Why should people interfere with the rights of conscience of people like me? I can't seem to be brief, but here are my reasons )
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Many of you will already have heard this news: "New study finds 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage" (Harvard's own press release on the study). Analysis and critique have already begun.

I find this situation completely unacceptable, even if we debate the exact numbers. I am pro-life, and allowing these deaths to continue is not a pro-life stance. I'm not alone in feeling this way; my mom was pleased to tell me, as I was pleased to hear, that the pastor of my old church preached this very topic a few weeks ago, and she didn't see visible disagreement from the other Catholics. I hope more will come around to this point of view. but I also want those who don't know a lot of pro-lifers to realize that many of us do feel this way. Extremists are trying to shear off pro-lifers from supporting healthcare reform through scare tactics. It's working on some, but not all!

I hope that pro-life and pro-choice can work together constructively on the issue, because people dying for lack of insurance is neither pro-life nor pro-choice. Don't let the crazies shout more thoughtful people down.
Many of you will already have heard this news: "New study finds 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage" (Harvard's own press release on the study). Analysis and critique have already begun.

I find this situation completely unacceptable, even if we debate the exact numbers. I am pro-life, and allowing these deaths to continue is not a pro-life stance. I'm not alone in feeling this way; my mom was pleased to tell me, as I was pleased to hear, that the pastor of my old church preached this very topic a few weeks ago, and she didn't see visible disagreement from the other Catholics. I hope more will come around to this point of view. but I also want those who don't know a lot of pro-lifers to realize that many of us do feel this way. Extremists are trying to shear off pro-lifers from supporting healthcare reform through scare tactics. It's working on some, but not all!

I hope that pro-life and pro-choice can work together constructively on the issue, because people dying for lack of insurance is neither pro-life nor pro-choice. Don't let the crazies shout more thoughtful people down.
aelfgyfu_mead: Aelfgyfu as a South Park-style cartoon (Janet)
( Aug. 14th, 2009 09:58 am)
I know this is the second time in about four weeks I've said "I try to avoid politics" on my blog only to touch on what might be considered political, but I've been pushed a little far. As I've mentioned before, I have ties to St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay society working to help the poor: I have family members with literally decades of service through SVDP, a relative who had a paid job with them for a number of years, and I myself have worked with my own parish's chapter sometimes, as well as donating financially on a regular basis.

The last straw in the health care debacle debate is that I'm hearing members of SVDP and some other Catholic organizations are getting shelled because the SVDP US National supports health care reform (read statements here).

Health care and lies )
aelfgyfu_mead: Aelfgyfu as a South Park-style cartoon (Janet)
( Aug. 14th, 2009 09:58 am)
I know this is the second time in about four weeks I've said "I try to avoid politics" on my blog only to touch on what might be considered political, but I've been pushed a little far. As I've mentioned before, I have ties to St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay society working to help the poor: I have family members with literally decades of service through SVDP, a relative who had a paid job with them for a number of years, and I myself have worked with my own parish's chapter sometimes, as well as donating financially on a regular basis.

The last straw in the health care debacle debate is that I'm hearing members of SVDP and some other Catholic organizations are getting shelled because the SVDP US National supports health care reform (read statements here).

Health care and lies )
aelfgyfu_mead: Aelfgyfu as a South Park-style cartoon (Default)
( Jun. 6th, 2009 09:10 pm)
I was surprised and cheered to find that our local bishop has written a piece for the Tampa Tribune decrying the murder of Dr. George Tiller. He strongly opposes abortion, but he's calling for less divisive tactics and, indeed, working together. You can read it here if you wish: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Bishop Lynch is very conservative and traditional, and I disagree with him on some significant issues. But he was also one of the founders of Pinellas Hope, a tent city that provides dinners, job and addiction counseling, and some other services to the homeless. Pinellas Hope was born when the St. Petersburg (FL) police destroyed a camp of homeless people's tents and started a major crackdown on the homeless, including giving them one-way bus tickets out of the county. Bishop Lynch is seriously committed to life.

I'm embarrassed that so few pro-life groups have come forward with statements about the murder. I fear some of them think it's nothing to do with them. Feminists for Life happily sent me a statement when I asked for one--but they sent it by e-mail. It's not on their website, which disappoints me greatly. (I should note that while their website says it's copyright 2009, I see no evidence any of it has been updated this year, so it may be as much Web Fail as anything else.) I do hope more will follow our bishop's lead.

ETA: FFL did post a statement decrying the killing, here. It seems clearly to have been posted before mid-July, because the link is lower on their News page than a link to an article from July 8.
Tags:
aelfgyfu_mead: Aelfgyfu as a South Park-style cartoon (Default)
( Jun. 6th, 2009 09:10 pm)
I was surprised and cheered to find that our local bishop has written a piece for the Tampa Tribune decrying the murder of Dr. George Tiller. He strongly opposes abortion, but he's calling for less divisive tactics and, indeed, working together. You can read it here if you wish: Thou Shalt Not Kill. Bishop Lynch is very conservative and traditional, and I disagree with him on some significant issues. But he was also one of the founders of Pinellas Hope, a tent city that provides dinners, job and addiction counseling, and some other services to the homeless. Pinellas Hope was born when the St. Petersburg (FL) police destroyed a camp of homeless people's tents and started a major crackdown on the homeless, including giving them one-way bus tickets out of the county. Bishop Lynch is seriously committed to life.

I'm embarrassed that so few pro-life groups have come forward with statements about the murder. I fear some of them think it's nothing to do with them. Feminists for Life happily sent me a statement when I asked for one--but they sent it by e-mail. It's not on their website, which disappoints me greatly. (I should note that while their website says it's copyright 2009, I see no evidence any of it has been updated this year, so it may be as much Web Fail as anything else.) I do hope more will follow our bishop's lead.

ETA: FFL did post a statement decrying the killing, here. It seems clearly to have been posted before mid-July, because the link is lower on their News page than a link to an article from July 8.
Tags:
I heard about this on the news a little earlier this evening: Doctor George Tiller was killed. That's not pro-life. That's not "pro" anything. A true pro-lifer would be working to help women in crisis pregnancies (in any of a number of ways), to foster or adopt children, or to help children in poverty. A true pro-lifer helps the poor and homeless. Many of us pro-lifers also oppose war and the death penalty.

A true pro-lifer doesn't kill. Period. And when I note that the killer shot Dr. Tiller while the doctor was in church, I pretty much run out of words.

I'm sorry for the loss Dr. Tiller's family and friends have suffered. I'm sorry that his life was wrongly cut short, and I'll pray for him and his family. I read that a suspect is in custody. I hope they have the perp, or that they get the perp, and that the justice system works.
Tags:
I heard about this on the news a little earlier this evening: Doctor George Tiller was killed. That's not pro-life. That's not "pro" anything. A true pro-lifer would be working to help women in crisis pregnancies (in any of a number of ways), to foster or adopt children, or to help children in poverty. A true pro-lifer helps the poor and homeless. Many of us pro-lifers also oppose war and the death penalty.

A true pro-lifer doesn't kill. Period. And when I note that the killer shot Dr. Tiller while the doctor was in church, I pretty much run out of words.

I'm sorry for the loss Dr. Tiller's family and friends have suffered. I'm sorry that his life was wrongly cut short, and I'll pray for him and his family. I read that a suspect is in custody. I hope they have the perp, or that they get the perp, and that the justice system works.
Tags:
aelfgyfu_mead: Aelfgyfu as a South Park-style cartoon (Default)
( Apr. 5th, 2009 10:47 am)
A blessed Holy Week to all those who celebrate it!


Feminists for Life is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary. Those curious about it might want to check out Feminists for Life Celebrates Fifteen Years of Activism for Women at their website. FFL's "pro-woman, pro-life" approach emphasizes fighting violence against women, supporting women in crisis pregnancies, and expanding support to families in crisis and in poverty. Recently, FFL has worked particularly on college campuses to ensure women aren't forced to choose between children and education. In these days of divisive politics, I am happy to support an organization that has had a positive impact on a lot of lives and embraces a definition of "pro-life" with which I can agree.
aelfgyfu_mead: Aelfgyfu as a South Park-style cartoon (Default)
( Apr. 5th, 2009 10:47 am)
A blessed Holy Week to all those who celebrate it!


Feminists for Life is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary. Those curious about it might want to check out Feminists for Life Celebrates Fifteen Years of Activism for Women at their website. FFL's "pro-woman, pro-life" approach emphasizes fighting violence against women, supporting women in crisis pregnancies, and expanding support to families in crisis and in poverty. Recently, FFL has worked particularly on college campuses to ensure women aren't forced to choose between children and education. In these days of divisive politics, I am happy to support an organization that has had a positive impact on a lot of lives and embraces a definition of "pro-life" with which I can agree.
Thank you all who replied to last night's post. I learned a lot. I'm still in the dark about what, precisely, the draft document by HHS says, and why it was drafted; if you have any links on the matter, please let me know!

I'm especially grateful to [livejournal.com profile] lydiabell for her links about how most contraceptive pills (and emergency contraception) do NOT in fact act as abortifacients; the exceptions might be progestin-only pills and Norplant, but we're talking about a much smaller group of drugs. Here are her links:
LifeEthics.org
"Hormone Contraceptives Controversies and Clarifications"
and LTI blog.

I am mortified to find that my information was out-of-date at best and probably simply wrong. I thought about it a lot last night, and I'm pretty sure I got my info at a long session on contraception I attended as an undergrad that had grad students (medical? or public health?) as leaders, not actual doctors. I seem to remember the pitch going, "And if it doesn't stop ovulation, then it prevents implantation, so the woman's body just purges the egg!" And I sat there thinking, "The fertilized egg" but being too mortified to ask questions. (I had to be there to get the birth-control pills for my secondary amenorrhea. I was the only woman there without a man. I swear everyone stared at me much of the evening.)

So on the one hand, I did feel my sources of info were legit, and I'm not a complete idiot. On the other hand, I clearly haven't kept up on recent developments, or double-checked statements made by student leaders who I realized that night made at least a couple of misstatements.

I still don't want doctors and nurses who don't believe in it to have to perform or assist at elective abortions; they should choose their specialties, and their hospitals, carefully. Therapeutic abortions are different, and while I believe fetuses are human life, the mother is also a human life, and she is the patient in these cases! You don't let your patient die because you might be able to save someone else if you do. Ever.

Pharmacists are a different issue. They need to dispense what's prescribed; making prescriptions is not their job, nor is judging the use to which medications will be put.

I'm sorry if I've confused (or infuriated) anyone in my own confusion, but I'm very grateful to know what I know now. I've done birth control pills; I don't want them again. But it's very reassuring to know that most of them are a safer option than I thought, that if I do have a medical need for them ever again I can take the combination pills without fear (those were the kind I took to start), and that, if worst ever comes to worst, emergency contraception after rape is something I could personally accept.

Thank you all for listening and yes, arguing with me.
Tags:
Thank you all who replied to last night's post. I learned a lot. I'm still in the dark about what, precisely, the draft document by HHS says, and why it was drafted; if you have any links on the matter, please let me know!

I'm especially grateful to [livejournal.com profile] lydiabell for her links about how most contraceptive pills (and emergency contraception) do NOT in fact act as abortifacients; the exceptions might be progestin-only pills and Norplant, but we're talking about a much smaller group of drugs. Here are her links:
LifeEthics.org
"Hormone Contraceptives Controversies and Clarifications"
and LTI blog.

I am mortified to find that my information was out-of-date at best and probably simply wrong. I thought about it a lot last night, and I'm pretty sure I got my info at a long session on contraception I attended as an undergrad that had grad students (medical? or public health?) as leaders, not actual doctors. I seem to remember the pitch going, "And if it doesn't stop ovulation, then it prevents implantation, so the woman's body just purges the egg!" And I sat there thinking, "The fertilized egg" but being too mortified to ask questions. (I had to be there to get the birth-control pills for my secondary amenorrhea. I was the only woman there without a man. I swear everyone stared at me much of the evening.)

So on the one hand, I did feel my sources of info were legit, and I'm not a complete idiot. On the other hand, I clearly haven't kept up on recent developments, or double-checked statements made by student leaders who I realized that night made at least a couple of misstatements.

I still don't want doctors and nurses who don't believe in it to have to perform or assist at elective abortions; they should choose their specialties, and their hospitals, carefully. Therapeutic abortions are different, and while I believe fetuses are human life, the mother is also a human life, and she is the patient in these cases! You don't let your patient die because you might be able to save someone else if you do. Ever.

Pharmacists are a different issue. They need to dispense what's prescribed; making prescriptions is not their job, nor is judging the use to which medications will be put.

I'm sorry if I've confused (or infuriated) anyone in my own confusion, but I'm very grateful to know what I know now. I've done birth control pills; I don't want them again. But it's very reassuring to know that most of them are a safer option than I thought, that if I do have a medical need for them ever again I can take the combination pills without fear (those were the kind I took to start), and that, if worst ever comes to worst, emergency contraception after rape is something I could personally accept.

Thank you all for listening and yes, arguing with me.
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