Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Catholic approach to universal healthcare...

Cardinal Martino applauds universal health care initiative

Cardinal Renato Martino

Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, speaks at a press conference Dec. 11, 2008. (CNS photo/Emanuela De Meo, Catholic Press Photo)

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican hasn’t weighed in very much yet concerning the fierce debate in the United States over health care reform. Some of the opposition in the U.S. centers around whether the government should have such a dominant role in providing affordable coverage for all Americans.

Cardinal Renato Martino, who is head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, lived in the United States for 16 years when he served the Vatican’s permanent observer to the United Nations from 1986-2002.

When I interviewed the cardinal today at the end of a Vatican press conference, I asked him what he thought of the current health care debate in the U.S. and whether the government should be offering universal coverage or if it should just be left up to private businesses. Here’s what he said:

The health of their own citizens belongs to the authorities, to the central government. And so I have been 16 years in the States and I was wondering why a big portion of the American people is deprived, have no health assistance at all. I could never explain this… [read the rest here]

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Dumbstruck by the Mystery

...our temptation is always to impose our prejudices or our measure on reality -- except when we are faced with a fact that leaves us dumbstruck, and instead of dominating the fact ourselves, we are dominated, overcome by it. If there were no moments of this kind, the Mystery could do anything, but in the end, we would reduce everything to the usual explanation. But not even a Nobel Prize winner can stop himself from being dumbstruck before an absolutely gratuitous gesture. If there were not these moments, we would find answers, explanations, and interpretations to avoid being struck by anything. It is good that some things happen that we cannot dominate, then we have to take them seriously, and this is the great question of philosophy. If the conditions for the possibility of knowledge (see Kant) impose themselves on reality or if there is something that is so powerfully disproportionate that it does not let itself be "grasped" by the conditions of possibility, then the horizon opens. If this were not the case, then we could dominate everything and be in peace, or at least without drama. Instead, not even the intelligence of a Nobel Prize winner could prevent him from coming face-to-face with a fact that made him dumbstruck -- instead of dominating, it was he who was dominated. Here begins the drama, because I am called to answer. It is the drama that unfolds between us and the Mystery, through certain facts, certain moments, in which the Mystery imposes itself with this evidence. These are facts that we cannot put in our pocket, which we cannot reduce to antecedent factors.
-- Julian Carron in "Friends, that is, Witnesses."