Friday, January 27, 2012

Christianity did it better- 7 Quicktakes

Compare Mozart's Requiem to Tupac's Life Goes On
Compare Chartres Cathedral and the Hagia Sofia to the UN headquarters
Compare the protest song of Michael Card to Bob Dylan's.
Compare Frida Khalo's icon-like Double-Self Portrait to Morley's street art.

Priest's wife- why are you getting down on Tupac, the UN, Bob Dylan of all people and a humble LA-based street artist (who happens to be a first-cousin), you ask? Well, there is a lot to like with the non-Christianity-inspired (my label) art that is in my examples. The street art is optimistic. The UN headquarters is glossy and practical. Bob Dylan and Tupac (as timeless as Mozart- I'm not so sure) are genius in their style of music. But I will offer that these examples are not informed by a Christian/Catholic/Orthodox view of creation. They are post-Christian works of art.

Art doesn't need to be old (Michael Card is a modern singer). Art doesn't need to be Western (overwhelm yourself with the beauty of Coptic, Indian and Byzantine icons, music and architecture). The artist doesn't need to be a good Christian (Frida had her problems), but it can help (once again, icon writers usually fast and pray while working). Art is more 'successful' in its aims when it is a manifestation of God's creation. That doesn't mean it has to be pretty. 

Priest's wife- you haven't answered my question- you say. What's with the depressing quick takes? Well....this week my husband was informed that his hospital's parent company has decided to shake off those pesky Catholic bishops and no longer be a ministry of the Catholic Church. While his specific hospital will remain Catholic for now (about 2/3 of the network will remain Catholic), the network will no longer need to abide by catholic ethics and moral teaching. It is hard to do business in a post-Christian, now-Obama world. 

Compare and contrast: 100 years ago, seven sisters in full habits traveled from Ireland to the Western part of the United States to open a small hospital. The hospital became a center for hope for everyone- all colors and creeds. It was nothing fancy, but they worked hard to make a difference. Now, the sisters who were affiliated with this network have signed away their legacy because it is simply easier to not be Catholic and have all those rules.

I would contend that God (not just those bishops) isn't thrilled with sterilization, abortion, IVF and cardiac-death transplant harvesting . But by the smiles of some of the people going through this corporate-level change, you would think that God is rejoicing that some of these hospitals will be free to perform these 'procedures.' So this week has been one of melancholy and panic at 'casa priest's wife.'


  1. Never thought I'd see a Tupac video over here!

    I'm not a fan of Obama (even though I did vote for him in 08; I've changed), but I don't think he is fully to blame for what happened. Yes, recently, rules were put into place by his administration regarding health care that target Catholics specifically, but the framework and the culture for them was a long time coming. It's hard to be a Christian in this world, regardless of who is sitting in the White House. I know you know that all too well, given your vocation. And honestly, until more Christians and NOT just Catholics take a bigger stance on these and similar issues, I hesitate to wonder if anything will get done. What helps Catholics is that we have a body to speak for all of us, whereas Protestants are very segmented.

  2. Also, I don't know if you read this in the Washington Post:

    Bishop Lori writes, "When people in need walk into a Catholic institution we serve them. We serve our neighbor based on need, not creed. The HHS mandate would reverse that, telling us we must serve based on creed not need for the government to consider us an organization deserving religious liberty. Here the HHS mandate steps on, indeed tramples, the mandate of Jesus Christ."

    Playing Devil's Advocate for a second...if an institution goes by the rules of their creed, they are then forced to discriminate, because people of other creeds or even atheists might want those procedures or services. It's not sinful to them. How is the HHS mandate right, when you look at the situation from that way? (Yes, they could go somewhere else, as always.)

  3. You do a beautiful job writing your blog. I stumbled on it somehow & have been reading for about a year. I need to ask, is the hospital you refer to here Mercy in Pittsburgh? 7 sisters came from you wrote -- they had to sell the hospital a few years ago but part of the agreement was that it would not compomise their Catholic identity. The website reads: "UPMC Mercy remains Pittsburgh’s only Catholic hospital with specialized services, including...etc" and one of the Sisters of Mercy is on the webpage. Maybe you were referring to another hospital,but it sounded like it might be where I worked. Anyway, keep up the great work!

  4. It's not a pretty time to live in. There is a blatant attack on the Catholic church and Christianity as a whole. God help us :(

  5. I have had a c-section twice in a CHW hospital and have been comforted by the crucifixes on the walls and the knowledge of the tabernacle containing the Eucharist in the chapel. I was saddened to hear of this story when it came out. I was educated by the Sisters of Mercy, and I often wonder what happened to them.

  6. Rabbit,

    "...[I]f an institution goes by the rules of their creed, they are then forced to discriminate, because people of other creeds or even atheists might want those procedures or services."

    Nope. Discrimination means treating persons of one group different than persons of another. Unless the hospital is offering services to Catholics and not to atheists, the atheists are not being discriminated against. Do you think you're being discriminated against as a Christian when you walk into a Jewish deli looking for ham and the owner tells you he doesn't sell it?

    "It's not sinful to them."

    Wrong again. The "services" mandated are objectively sinful because they go against the Natural Law. Non-Catholics may be less culpable for various reasons, but that does not change the objective sinfulness of the "services."

    "How is the HHS mandate right, when you look at the situation from that way?"

    It's still wrong. The people running HHS may believe that people have a right to these "services" and that that right trumps conscience rights, but HHS is wrong.

    "(Yes, they could go somewhere else, as always.)"

    Yes, and it would still be sinful, just Catholics would not be required to cooperate.

  7. Another think about giving birth in the "Catholic" hospital, though... The official line is that they don't do sterilizations. I was 42 years old, having my 5th baby and my 4th c-section. Around 30 weeks my doctor asked me if I wanted my tubes tied. She said that she had to get permission ahead of time based on "medical necessity" to do the procedure. I was shocked. I really, really thought that they did not do sterilizations there. She joked that she "had to get permission from the Pope" because it is a Catholic hospital. It is only a matter of time before they are run just like any other hospital.

  8. Rabbit - Regarding your Devil's Advocate question: To discriminate can mean either 1) To make a distinction in favor of/against a person/thing based on prejudice OR 2) To distinguish accurately. Prejudice is 1) An unfavorable opinion formed beforehand or without knowledge 2) Hatred or dislike directed against a racial, religious or or national group... (Random House).

    If a Catholic hospital refuses, for example, to kill an unborn baby at the request of a pregnant woman who believes abortion is OK, it is because the hospital has made an accurate distinction between what is and what is not a legitimate medical procedure (see definition 2 of discrimination). Sadly, baby killing is legal and people want it. Nevertheless, the hospital's refusal to take part in an objectively immoral and unethical act isn't discriminatory (definition 1) towards anyone.


  9. I'm sorry to hear your family is going through this. You will all be in my prayers.

    Please thank your husband for his priesthood and let him know I will be praying for him.

  10. I'm not arguing in any way that the secular ant-Christian changes of recent history are a good thing, but these times refine the faith of the faithful and separate the wheat from the chaff. I try to encourage myself that now the mission field and sharing the Good News of Christ does not anymore mean going to some far-off exotic locale, but very much it is all around us. The Christian Soldier needs not march far.
    Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

  11. Thanks everybody for your comments!...I'm going to try and take time today to answer specifics.

  12. A wonderful post and intelligent answers too. You are facing the realities of what we are being told is not going to happen. The only things that Catholic hospitals won't are related to prevent children from being born and killing them afterwards.

    These things are available everywhere else, so it seems to be a get-the religion-of-substance-off the-earth mentality. Not really caring that Catholic hospitals are for those who want a difference in the atmosphere of a healing facility.

    Having a child being killed by abortion or having a doctor do this heinous act is not healing.

  13. Thanks Alice and M for clarifying/explaining! Makes much more sense now :)

  14. I'm sorry the parent company of the hospital has surrendered to the world. I pray for God's will in how this will effect your husband and family. Thanks for the comparisons you gave in art , music and architecture. Thank God we have those gifts. Keep the Faith.

  15. I'm so sorry about the hospital's choice, and for how it affects your family. But thank you for blogging about it in such a pro-Christ way.


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