My Spring Reading List!

After the heavier reading of Lent, I thought I'd like to continue some inspirational spiritual reading through the Easter season as well. 

Here's my book list!

Private and Pithy lessons from Scripture - Mother Angelica
Little Book of Life Lessons - Mother Angelica
Three to Get Married - Fulton Sheen
The Little Oratory
Diary Sister Faustina
Getting Past Perfect - Kate Wicker
The Words We Pray - Amy Welborn
Perfectly Yourself - Matthew Kelly 
Crossing the Threshold of Hope - Pope John Paul II

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Politics in the church bulletin

One of my favorite parts of belonging to a parish is reading the bulletin.We have been in this parish for over 20 years, it is very nice that we know a lot of the people and have a history here so I recognize the names and pictures in each edition. I like being kept up to date on what's going on in the parish, I peruse who is sick and who is getting married, and I read the pastor's corner and make note of what the youth group is up to. I love having our bulletin online too so that I can refer to it later.  But one part of the bulletin I tend to avoid is the Social Justice section - partly because I don't understand it, but also because even though it is presented as if it is an article of the faith,  I'm not sure every column written is authentic and complete Catholic teaching.

Last week was a good example. We were asked to call our Senators to tell them to "create a circle of protection around vital programs for the hungry and poor people in the United States and abroad."

Well, I'm all for helping the less fortunate in this country and abroad. I'm just not sure that it is responsibility of the United States government to do that. I'm not even sure if having the government involved is the best or most effective way to do it. And what defines a "vital program?"  With our country in such poor economic straits shouldn't we be trying to get our own house in order first?  and why don't the other countries have an obligation to their own citizens first?

Moving on the column said: "Our budget is a moral document that tells the world who we are as a people and what our national priorities are."

A budget is a financial document. Calling it anything else is manipulative. I think if you want to look at the morals of the country it is best to look at our constitution and founding documents as well as our laws.

It continues: "Congress must oppose caps on overall federal spending." Now I'm wondering if the authors of the country understand the dire financial times that we are currently under! A "cap" isn't a "cut."  Holding the line on spending seems a reasonable first step in balancing the budget.  After all isn't that what a household would do in the same situation?  To not at least cap our spending seems a tad out of touch with the reality of the situation.

Interestingly, last night I saw that back when the Great Society started under President Johnson in the 1960s, poverty was at 14%. Now decades later and billions of dollars of investment - the poverty rate is at 14.3%. I think it's pretty clear that government is not the answer to eliminating poverty - if you can eliminate it at all. Didn't Jesus say we would have poor always?

It seems to me that the Social Justice Committee is sort of a political action group that gets to write unopposed opinions in the parish bulletin - not that I want to read political debate in my church bulletin! But other than guiding us to events and ways we can help in the community I kind of wish they would keep the political stuff out of the bulletin.

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  1. You might try:

    Google social justice encyclicals.

    I may not agree with the current political debate- but you need to know the Vatican's stance on caring for the poor as well as the stance on the unborn. I am reading them now.
    One cannot pick and choose which parts of the Church one believes in- I have been told many,many times- or you are not really Catholic.

  2. Gee whiz did I say that I don't believe in helping the poor? No. What I said was I don't believe that government involvement and government programs are necessarily the best or most effective ways to help the poor. And I do not believe that there is any Catholic document or encyclical that states that I must believe that government programs are the best and most effective ways of helping the poor.

    Historically, as I already mentioned, they apparently aren't that effective since the poverty rate in this country has remained about the same since the 1960s.

  3. Really, I think we should be out of every other country in the world. I think we should START with Israel- and move on to Somalia. Get out of Afghanistan- we have no need to support such an economy.

    Then I think that people who did not pay into the SS and Medicare system should not benefit in any way. I was forced to pay 6.5% of my salary for 35 years - and my husband for 43 years. Why should some widow or orphan gain from what I have been forced to put in? Why should I have to pay the medical bills of some elderly woman who has only worked out of the home?

    But I have amassed what is necessary- my children are well educated in important areas- so maybe your way is the better one for me? I do agree with most of the cuts being proposed. Heck, I can even afford the dramatic rise in my health care. I will have to cut back here and there- but I can afford it.

    I will never understand how it is the most dependent on the system to work are the ones who fight the system the most.

  4. I can't tell if you're serious or tongue-in-cheek. And since you've decided not to include me as a blog reader I guess I'll never know.

    That said, I don't know if "the most dependent" on the system are the ones fighting it the most. I will say that for me, as the wife of a small business owner, governmental taxes, high legal and medical costs have certainly been a foot on the back of our necks making prosperity all the more difficult to attain.

  5. I no longer write a blog. I kept it since it was my diary for seven years.

    BUT- you can write off any business expenses. In turn I get the privilege of helping you stay in business by paying taxes that you do not have to pay. AND I get the privilege of paying for your services! It is a circle.

    I pay health care costs and legal costs as well. I also am helping the elderly by paying even higher costs when they break a leg and have Medicare pay the bill. I certainly get to pay the costs of a person who is employed-but uninsured. Again- it is a circle.

    I am getting to the place that I am thinking I am no longer tongue in cheek. If someone does not pay in- they should get NOTHING! I never used Pell Grants or unemployment. I worked the big and small jobs. Why should someone get money that I have earned? The poor- they will always be with us- let them ALL starve! Why should I care about childhood nutrition or pregnancy exams for the poor? I can help my daughter with those if she needs it.

    I give up! Government should be tiny- non existent. Let the criminals have what I cannot protect. I am sick of the argument. Let the government default. All of it!

  6. Well alright then. I think you have exited liberalism, slid clear through the other side of conservatism with a short stop in Libertarian fill and have entered the realm of the Anarchist?

  7. You LOVE those labels don't you!

    Smallest government possible- flat tax- 10%. I'd be happy with a tax on sold (non basic food) goods only. I am a Catholic. My family is at the top of my list of importance. I take care of poor through direct and indirect ways. My stands have not changed in 30 years. I do look deeply into my views- and always come back to the same thing. What seems to confuse you is that I passionately look at every side. It is not flip flopping- it is intelligent intellectual debate.

    Sometimes I even see a glimmer of hope that someone in one of the two branches actually gives a rat's patuty about those of us who don't have a million- but that is wrong- over and over.

    Although your 14% stat is correct for general population---20% children under 18 and 23% of elderly are poor (meaning $10,800 a year for one person living alone). I have always worried about the poor and those who do not have the ability to get to where I am in life. I believe without government intervention- there are so few who actually are faithful to help the poor- that our poor could easily look like fourth world poor (and that is bad).

    I simply do not understand how you cannot see why social justice is Jesus' calling. You can see it in the unborn- but when you say "the poor will always be with you" - I just don't get it.
    It is as the old RE board used to say "make sure to have that baby- but if it is hungry or sick---oh well ---the poor will always be with us." I used to cringe when that debate came around---now I see it for myself.

  8. I think definitions are important. I think it is important to know what you believe in. I think it is important to try to understand where other people are coming from too. I actually agree most of your first paragraph!
    I think government should be small.
    I'd love to try the flat tax on nonfood items.
    Absolutely Catholic.
    Family top importance
    Taking care of the poor...

    We agree on all of that.

    What confuses me is that you voted for the biggest tax and spend, socialist for president since Jimmy Carter who is also the biggest pro-choice president! Not only did you vote for him, but then you flew to Washington to watch his inauguration! This is a guy who does not support any of the things you said were so important.

    I don't think we are called to passionately look at every side. We are called to weigh everything carefully - which is a much different thing.

    and I didn't say "the poor will always be with you." Jesus did.

  9. I have flown to Washington to see three Presidents inaugurated. It is the single most inspiring ceremony that I have enjoyed witnessing. I have also been there for a funeral. I was a history teacher- and history is a passion. I was there for both Bush one and Reagan (which was cancelled because of the bitter cold).

    I do not believe that most federal politicians legislate pro choice. I think most federal Republicans give it lip service for people like you who are basic one issue voters. IF the federal Republicans were pro choice- they would have passed an anti abortion amendment while they held both houses AND the White House---which they did not.There is much more going on in the states. I totally support my state and what they have done to eliminate abortion.

    Taxes are the lowest they have been for a very long time for business owners and wealthy. Heck- most big companies are making money hand over fist and hoarding it- not hiring people back because they have done more with less people.
    Socialist? Back to the health care- that your won children are going to be covered by? We will simply have to disagree on that one. I believe that everyone should be covered by health care. ALL people- not just those who can afford it. I have always paid for health care. I think people with pre exisiting conditions should not be put on death panels because they are dropped by their insurance. Clearly you feel differently. But, you might have convinced me that it is in my own self interest NOT to believe in social health care (HMOs are socialized health care). We have no background of cancer or heart disease. Then again my grandson would have likely died if my sil was not in the Army when my gs didn't wake up. That socialized medicine (of someone who made $12,000 a year) saved my gs' life.

    As far as what Jesus says- don't forget that "give all you have and follow me" How about "when you give a feast, invite the poor" or Love your neighbor as yourself".
    And here is the actual quote - please note you left out the end....John 12:7-9
    New International Version (NIV)
    7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8 You will always have the poor among you,[a] but you will not always have me.”

    I think that has much more to do with our exhalation of the Lord than it does to dismiss the poor as people who should not be cared for.

    I guess you read it differently.

    Always good to debate with you Elena! It is interesting debating someone who was raise with union roots and became a small business person vs a small business background that became public servant.

  10. I agree that the pro-life federal government officials could represent life issues more forcefully. An amendment still takes 2/3 of the states to ratify. Bush did put solid conservatives on the supreme court though and there was the partial birth abortion ban - both of which were big steps. He also defunded a lot of the discretionary funding that went to support abortion - funding which Obama put right back in place. I'm not sure how any of that supports voting for the most extreme pro-abortion president ever!

    Big companies are making a lot of money because they are investing overseas. our economy is too shaky for them to invest here - again that is the fault of the current administration and their economy-killing policies.

    I do not believe that everyone should be covered by health care. I think government has artificially inflated costs. We would be much better off to have government out of health care, let market forces bring rates to reasonable levels and then have good programs and charities come from organizations, churches and other citizens to take care of the needy.

    "Give all you have and follow me" was a calling to the rich young man - a call to vocation that he could not handle. It does not say, "Give all to the government and follow me." Have a feast and invite the poor does not mean give everyone foodstamps!

    Janette, I never said that the poor should not be cared for. Now read carefully - I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT GOVERNMENT IS THE ONLY OR THE BEST WAY TO CARE FOR THE POOR.

    The difference between us as I see it is that you think it is the best way. I do not think it is, I have seen no evidence that it is, in most instances government caused or added to the problems it is trying to solve, and I think if government got out of the way we could find amazing and creative ways to solve many of these problems.

  11. Do you feel that your parents would have been better off without Medicare?
    I don't think it would have made much difference to my father's treatment. Time will tell with my mother- although she sees the doctor for many more things than my grandmother did.
    I guess we could see what happens when the safety net is taken away. You and I both have access to first responders. An interesting thought.

    I do not think that government is the BEST way to care for the poor- but I do see that the religious are barely holding on to what they already do. I also think that my children (and yours?) are some of the very few still attending and tithing.... I read loads of blogs of 30 somethings who state they will never give to US churches because they are so corrupt. Only about 25% of 18-44 year olds go to Church weekly.
    The state of Church in the US is slightly better than Europe. My dh exclaimed this morning- we are not China---we are RUSSIA. Of course- in the minority religions- like Islam and LDS - they both care for their sick and poor- but are growing by leaps and bounds.
    I've heard for a long time that if the government steps out- Churches will step in. So far, I am not seeing that in the VERY conservative midwest.

    I won't quibble over Obama. You have beaten that horse into the ground over abortion. Abortion has not become rampant in the streets- in fact it has become more severely regulated with no impingement of the US Attorney gen. Things are going much better now that he permits it to be argued where it started- states' rights.

    At least we finally have a family man- no divorces, mistresses (that we know of), or booze in his background. Yup, he is black and a family man. He doesn't even command a reality tv show!

  12. I think Medicare might have hastened my mother's death. Because she wasn't meeting their pre-determined goals for her, they quit coverage and she was put on hospice.

    I think there is a "wandering" away from the faith for young people that changes for them when they have their first child or hit middle age. But we don't really know how the churches or other charities will fare because we haven't seen government step back yet. Some younger Catholics who perhaps don't tithe to church will give their monies to Catholic Workers or Right to Life. It's all speculation but what we do know now is that the status quo isn't working - so why should we proceed with more of the same?

    Here is Obama's pro-abortion record. It's not pretty.

    And your so-called family man has publically admitted that he would allow his grandchild to be killed if it would saddle his daughter with a problem. Some family man.

  13. Talking about twisting another's words. Isn't THAT a sin?

    I am prolife- and have two adult children who are also pro life---the apple doesn't fall....

    i do not agree with President Obama on abortion. I don't agree with him on many issues- BUT
    I did not want someone who was entirely pro war- who admitted he knew nothing about economy- who graduated near the bottom of his class- who got his wings cause daddy had stars- who continued to womanize until he finally married someone with a ton of money - with a person who was a member of an anti Catholic by his side to be my President.

    I am not an one issue voter. Never will be- or I would move to the Vatican. I am not going to argue your stand that it is your idea of what makes someone a Catholic. Cafeteria Catholic is also someone who does not follow the social justice encyclicals.

    On another note.
    My understanding is that the patient has to CHOOSE to be in Hospice. I am confused- was she paying for all her care before hospice? Did she not use medicare and then move to hospice when medicare kicked in? Did she have her surgeries and chemo with medicare or simply, fully private insurance? Her stay in a nursing center- was that private insurance as well? Was that through her retirement as a public worker?

    My mom has great private insurance. She sure uses a great deal of Medicare as well.

    Do you really have to blame someone in order to see agree that there is a time and place for death? Sad as it is. I hope to all grow to be as old and have as much influence on a generation as your mom had. I believe in heaven- or I would be pretty angry about my father's death as well.

    Think it ALL the way through.

  14. What words did I twist exactly? Christian Fathers, patriarchs, grandpa don't advocate killing their grandchildren. He said it. I didn't.

    Obama was a community organizer. Until he was a state senator that was the extent of his work experience. What exactly does he know about the economy? Look around you Janette - we're about to face recesson 2.0.

    And for the record there were other moral choices in 2008 besides McCain and Obama.

    The abortion issue is a litmus test. It tells me a lot about a person. And incidentally, which social justice encyclicals am I not following exactly? name the document and paragraph and be specific.

    Yes you get to choose to be in hospice. But the option of continuing therapy with the hope of improving was taken away. She then became self-pay.

    I know people die. We all do but is it too much to expect:
    an oncologist that is seeing a patient every other week to pick up on the classic symptoms of ovarian cancer?
    a rehab facility to actually do some rehab?
    or a hospice care center to offer more than platitudes about the dying process?

    Is it too much to ask that these people actually do their jobs?

  15. Do you think that health care givers are actually GOD? They know every disease when presented? The family is the advocate- period. I can site case after case in my family when we did the search for the problem. Then we talked to the overwhelmed doctor and set a course. Unfortunately, we did not learn this scenario until we had lost both our father and brother in law to misdiagnosis. Trusting a doctor to know everything is like trusting a police man to know every law in the books. Something that seems obvious to the family member does not even cross the mind of the doctor.

    You might want to view this clip before you continue to say what Obama did not say.
    He is clearly talking about birth control.

    Rehab- the person has to be willing- some are ready to go to their Maker even if their family is not ready.

    Hospice. It used to be a volunteer organization. They are trained- but no one knows the day or hour of passing. It is God's time. I, personally, think hospice uses too many drugs. My next experience will be at home- the way it has been for thousands of years. No hospice for my mother. Caring for the dying is a corporal work of mercy and, if she is willing, I am willing to step in without the hospice this time. I learned- too late- it is not their job- it is mine.

  16. I would like to know specifically the document and the paragraph you think that I am deliberately not following.

    Oh and Obama - it was about birth control - and about abortion as a back up - because he doesn't want his daughter "punished with a baby."

    and here it is in full context:

  17. He never mentioned abortion. So this "And your so-called family man has publically admitted that he would allow his grandchild to be killed if it would saddle his daughter with a problem." is a lie and a sin in my understanding.

    I wondered where you came up with the 14% talking point. ORielly- the same person who said that the poor are just hiding income- like his car guy who gets a twenty for parking the car.


  18. The most pro-abortion president ever - the man who voted twice to deny medical care to babies who survive abortion attempts, and the man who has provided funding and protection for abortion rights to the full extent of his executive powers, said he didn't want his daughter to be punished with a baby. What exactly do you think he meant by that if not abortion?

    And lastly, since you raised the accusation that I am not following the Catholic church's teaching on the poor, please provide the exact document and paragraph that I am denying. This is my third request.


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