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Wednesday, 16 May 2012

LifeSiteNews, Steubenville, and the Pope on Catholic Universities-two stories

LifeSiteNews online has the story of the catastrophe of Catholic insurance coverage being forced to shut because of the Obamacare stand.

The Franciscan University of Steubenville announced it will not furnish students with health care coverage effective this fall, specifically citing the HHS mandate as the reason.
“The Obama Administration has mandated that all health insurance plans must cover ‘women’s health services’ including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing medications as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),” a statement posted on its website states. “Up to this time, Franciscan University has specifically excluded these services and products from its student health insurance policy, and we will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.
“Due to these changes in regulation by the federal government, beginning with the 2012-13 school year, the University 1) will no longer require that all full-time undergraduate students carry health insurance, 2) will no longer offer a student health insurance plan, and 3) will no longer bill those not covered under a parent/guardian plan or personal plan for student health insurance.”
The rising premiums that attend a greater government role in health care were another reason for the cancellation. “Additionally, the PPACA increased the mandated maximum coverage amount for student policies to $100,000 for the 2012-13 school year, which would effectively double your premium cost for the policy in fall 2012, with the expectation of further increases in the future,” the statement said.
The college located in eastern Ohio, which is ranked one of the best private college values by Kiplinger, noted its current student health insurance plan will expire on August 15th

See article for more.

And, remember,last week, there was a story on the Pope's call to clean up American universities which are not being Catholic? If you missed it, here is a snippet from the article.

ROME, May 11, 2012 ( – Against a backdrop of institutionalized opposition to Catholic teaching in much of American Catholic academia, Pope Benedict XVI has told visiting U.S. bishops that Catholic colleges need to return to being a bastion of orthodoxy against an increasingly hostile and aggressive secular world.
While improvements have been made, Pope Benedict said, “much remains to be done,” particularly in “such basic areas” as compliance with Canon 812 of the Code of Canon Law. That section mandates that theology professors at Catholic universities be faithful to the teaching of the Church.
Pope Benedict XVI
Canon 218 says, “Those who are engaged in the sacred disciplines enjoy a lawful freedom of inquiry and of prudently expressing their opinions on matters in which they have expertise, while observing due respect for the magisterium of the Church.”
This lack of progress, the pope said, has created confusion by “instances of apparent dissidence” between academics and the bishops. “Such discord harms the Church’s witness and, as experience has shown, can easily be exploited to compromise her authority and her freedom.”
The issue of religious freedom is at the top of the American bishops’ agenda at the moment, in the midst of their fight against the Obama administration’s attempt to mandate coverage of artificial birth control by Catholic institutions. Even as the U.S. bishops have fought the Obama mandate, prominent Catholic organizations have expressed their support, undercutting the efforts of the bishops. Most recently Georgetown University, a Catholic Jesuit university, invited Kathleen Sebelius, who as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services was the architect of the birth control mandate, as a commencement speaker.
The pope called the need to reform Catholic academia the “most urgent internal challenge facing the Catholic community” in the U.S.
“Catholic identity, not least at the university level, entails much more than the teaching of religion or the mere presence of a chaplaincy on campus.
“All too often, it seems, Catholic schools and colleges have failed to challenge students to reappropriate their faith,” Benedict continued.

More on link above.

Prayer for the Success of the SSPX and Vatican Talks

I and many others have been praying for the success of the SSPX talks in Rome. Some of us have been praying to the Holy Spirit. May I share this prayer today.

Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Your heavenly fruits, Your charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Your inspiration may merit to be united eternally with You in the love of the Father and the Son, Amen. Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us. St. Peter, pray for us. St. Benedict, pray for us. St. Pius X, pray for us.

Trivia quiz answers?

Not an answer to the trivia quiz yesterday is the couple SS. Isidore the Farmer and his wife, Maria de la Cabeza. The question has to do with married people being beatified together... and these two were not. I am open to other alternatives. One reader suggested SS. Henry and Cunegunda, or Kunigunde, who I have mentioned on this blog before, as patrons of Luxembourg, from which came 50% of my family members.

The first mentioned farming couple makes up two of the patrons of Madrid, which needs all the help it can get as a city today.

Their feast day was yesterday, May 15th, in some places...SS. Henry and Cunegunda have different feast days, July 13th and March 3rd. More input from readers?

Astounding Idea from Bloomberg Editorial-The Religious Right Helped American Investments Compared to Other Places--the Result of Roe v. Wade

I am not going to quote the entire article and here is the link, but an interesting and credible take on the horror of Roe v. Wade as organizing the Christian Right in the States has led this author to an interesting conclusion. I think this is worthy of debate and comment. One must not fall into cynicism, but Roe v. Wade took many of us by surprise and many Catholics were, well, sleeping politically. One may or may not agree with Edward Conard, but the ideas are stimulating and may point to what needs to happen in November, 2012--the marriage of convenience noted here. Of course, those of us who pay attention must add to this argument that the Democratic Party, since the 1999 platform, has officially been the party of death-pro-abortion and women's reproductive rights. Just look online at the platform and follow the history.

Why does the U.S. have lower labor redeployment costs, more open trade borders, lower marginal tax rates and, ultimately, more tolerance for unequal distribution of income?
By the random dint of history, the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade of 1973 brought pro-investment voters to power in the U.S. The faction of pro-investment voters, representing about 35 percent of the electorate, combined with enough of the now-mobilized social conservatives -- principally the members of the Christian Right, who vote Republican and represent 15 percent of the electorate -- to seize the majority and permanently shift the political economic center to the right.
A similar shift in political power didn’t occur in Europe and Japan, and pro-labor, anti-investment majorities continued to control those economies. These majorities increased labor- redeployment costs and closed trade borders to slow the need for redeploying labor; supported unionism by strengthening trade barriers; failed to lower marginal tax rates as much as the U.S.; and discouraged unequal distribution of income and wealth.
The U.S. differs from Europe and Japan in four ways. Europe and Japan have parliamentary democracies where parties are represented in proportion to their share of the vote. In the U.S., it’s a winner takes all, two-party system and that makes it easier for a large minority of voters -- in this case, pro- investment tax cutters -- to join forces with another large minority of voters -- the Christian Right -- to seize power.
Roe might have had a minimal effect on U.S. politics were it not for the fact that Christian fundamentalists are a large enough portion of the country’s population to affect the outcome of an election. About 25 percent of U.S. voters identify themselves as evangelical Christians. Prior to Roe v. Wade, three-fifths of evangelical Christian voters were Democrats, and two-fifths were Republicans.

Reagan Embrace

When Ronald Reagan endorsed the pro-life movement, these proportions reversed. Reagan combined the Christian Right with the pro-investment tax cutters to create a majority. Pro- investment tax cutters maintained control of the party, selecting fiscally conservative, but socially moderate, presidential candidates such as John McCainGeorge W. Bush, Bob Dole,George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford.
The fact that conservative Southern Democrats controlled political power throughout the southeastern U.S. amplified Roe’s political impact. As conservative pro-life voters defected to the Republican Party because of the ruling, it became increasingly difficult for fiscally conservative Southern Democrats to win elections as Democrats. Over time, these conservative Southern Democrats changed sides, gradually shifting political power to Republicans.
Most voters don’t realize that Roe does more than legalize abortion. It legalizes controversial third-trimester abortions in certain cases and takes away the electorate’s right to vote on this issue by making the late procedures a judicial right rather than a legislative decision. Third-term abortions are illegal throughout most of the democratic world. Their legalization by Roe, even if few women chose to have them, made opposition to the ruling more tolerable to pro-choice moderates.
The court’s denial of the electorate’s right to vote on an issue where both sides have legitimate points of view -- the majority of Americans opposes third-term abortions -- further increased the tolerance for opposition to Roe by pro-choice moderates. The denial of the other side’s right to vote -- because one fears the possible outcome of that vote -- is difficult for many to swallow when they acknowledge the reasonableness of the other side’s position.
The stance of pro-investment Republicans adds to this tolerance of pro-choice voters toward their position. Pro- investment Republicans oppose outlawing abortions by shrewdly arguing that the decision should be legislative, not judicial. Studies by the Pew Research Center show that more than half the voters support Roe, and only a quarter supports a ban on all abortions. If put to a vote, support among voters for first- and second-term abortions would assure legalization in all but a handful of states. If Roe remains as a judicial matter, it is far more likely that courts will outlaw abortions.........
Capturing an additional 10 percent to 15 percent of the electorate at the center likely demands at least a 10-point increase in the marginal tax rate -- probably significantly more. Ironically, the defection of these pro-investment tax cutters to the left increases the clout of social conservatives within the pro-investment coalition -- exactly the opposite of their objective.
This permanent shift in the center to the pro-investment right had a significant effect on U.S. economic policy. Americans remember the Reagan administration using its alliance with the Christian Right to cut marginal tax rates, tame inflation, and deregulate numerous industries, including trucking, telecommunications and airlines.
Less recognized is the administration’s profound effect on labor polices and private-sector unions. By deregulating industries and leaving trade borders open to international competition, Reagan put enormous pressure on heavily unionized industries, like trucking, airlines, steel and automobile manufacturing. He fired air-traffic controllers and replaced them with non-unionized workers, symbolically signaling to business leaders that he expected them to take a more aggressive stance toward unions. His ally, Margaret Thatcher, did the same thing in the U.K., enduring a long strike to weaken the coal miners’ union......
Democratic lawmakers and their public-union supporters recognize that consumers (voters) ultimately bear the increased cost of private-sector unions, closed trade borders, and the restriction on trade necessary to maintain them. They result in higher prices, slower growth, and less employment. Why would public-sector unions bite the hand that feeds them? Unlike private-sector unions, they have not pushed for these inefficiencies.

Also, update on Greek banks.....