The Obama Administration's Lack of Mercy
By Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC (Feb 28, 2012)
One hundred percent of the Bishops of the United States have now spoken out against the recent Obama Health and Human Services mandate requiring Catholic institutions to violate their consciences and the Church's moral teaching regarding coverage of contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.
One of the 181 bishops, Francis Cardinal George of Chicago, made a startling statement this past Sunday, the First Sunday of Lent:
If you haven't already purchased the Archdiocesan Directory for 2012, I would suggest you get one as a souvenir. On page L-3, there is a complete list of Catholic hospitals and health care institutions in Cook and Lake counties. Each entry represents much sacrifice on the part of medical personnel, administrators and religious sponsors. Each name signifies the love of Christ to people of all classes and races and religions. Two Lents from now, unless something changes, that page will be blank.
The Cardinal's words hit home when I visited a patient last night at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany, N.Y., which is affiliated with the Sisters of Mercy, a religious community dedicated to the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
I'd never been to this particular hospital, and I was immediately moved by how different it was from the secular hospital where I normally make hospital visits. Instead of a cold, institutional feel, it had an atmosphere of humanity, mercy, and love. Surely, the warm décor and welcoming words above the reception desk — "In the care of the sick, great tenderness above all things," from Mother Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy — had something to do with it. Certainly, having our Lord truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament at the hospital chapel also helped make the difference.
As I walked the halls after the pastoral visit, I came across a display that described the history of the hospital and the hard work and sacrifice of the sisters who founded it. One picture showed a Sister of Mercy tenderly ministering to a sick patient. Looking at that picture, I suddenly realized a grave injustice of the Obama Administration's mandate: One bully decision gets to single-handedly end a 143-year legacy of mercy?
This Lent, this year, let's work for change so that two Lents from now places like St. Peter's Hospital won't disappear. For more information on how you can help, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Your spiritual help is also needed. Consider praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and offering at least one of your daily Lenten sacrifices so that this unjust mandate will be overcome. Get your friends, family, and prayer groups to pray and sacrifice for this very special intention.
Read Cardinal George's full address.
Father Michael Gaitley, MIC, is the director of the Association of Marian Helpers, based in Stockbridge, Mass.