Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Schmitt Lecturer Yuval Levin on the Health Care Debate

Our fall semester Schmitt lecturer, Yuval Levin, today had a piece published on the Witherspoon Institute's Public Discourse web journal. He addresses the moral and practical issues of the health care debate, the subject of his lecture here coming up on December 7 at 4 p.m. in McKenna Hall, highlighting the social justice principle of subsidiarity. An excerpt:

"Of course, any system of health insurance has to involve decisions about what to cover and pay for—and, in that sense, what to ration. But an underappreciated virtue of the market is that it puts such decisions far closer to the ground, and so to the people involved. Allowing for a wide variety of insurance options means giving people more choices and more power, and therefore also allowing families far greater freedom to choose among treatment options with their doctors. Hard choices will still need to be made, but having more of them made by families and physicians with some power to choose is vastly better than having all of them made by distant bureaucrats with the power to impose.

Believing in equality does not mean pursuing one-size-fits-all public policies. On the contrary, central planning and command-and-control administration too often require a betrayal of equality. Public rationing is not private rationing writ large; it requires an explicit rejection of our most fundamental national premise. Enabling a private market—backed with subsidies to allow those with lesser means to choose among options for themselves—would not only avoid the economic inefficiencies of central planning; it would also reduce the moral enormities of public rationing."

Read the full article here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

World Youth Day begins

Notre Dame class of 2007 valedictorian Michael Rossmann, SJ, reports from Madrid where he is chaperoning a group of young people for World Youth Day. Stuck in a back alley during an enormous celebration of Mass that spanned several city blocks, when it came time for Communion, his student's attitude was:

"Can we receive Jesus? Let's go!"

Read Mike's full report here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New 'Catholicism' Documentary enthusiastically reviewed

Our Fall Conference this year features Rev. Robert Barron of Word on Fire Ministries for our Thursday night (Nov. 10) keynote address. Fr. Barron has recently produced a book and DVD documentary, "Catholicism," which is being reviewed extraordinarily positively by the Catholic press. It is designed to present a comprehensive introduction to the Catholic faith through a multimedia approach, and by all reports the finished product is masterful. In the first review to be published, by The Catholic Thing, the reviewer says:  

"I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a Catholic film or TV program and commented, “Surely we can do better than this!” Well, Catholicism is better than I ever imagined such a film could be – a feast for eye and ear and soul."

Read more here, and learn more about the Catholicism Project.

Monday, August 8, 2011

ND Scholars Speak Out Against Coverage for Contraception

Notre Dame scholars are speaking out against the contraception coverage mandated under President Obama's health care plan. It was reported last week that all health insurance policies will be required to provide contraception and sterilization without a co-pay to all policy holders in the future, and the conscience clause for religious institutions is now up for debate. “This will likely drive many important Catholic social service providers to close up shop, inevitably harming the poor communities that they serve,” Notre Dame Law School professor O. Carter Snead told the Catholic News Agency.

The debate over coverage for contraception is already lost. Now conscience protection for religious institutions hangs in the balance. CNA reports: "The Obama administration has released an amendment allowing religious institutions the choice of whether to cover contraceptive services. However, the exemption applies only to non-profit religious employers whose purpose is “the inculcation of religious values.” Exempted employers must primarily employ persons who share their religious tenets and must primarily serve those who share those beliefs.
'The so-called ‘exemptions’ are extremely narrow,' Snead said. 'This category does not cover virtually any Catholic institution that serves or employs non-Catholics.  Accordingly, Catholic universities, Catholic social service agencies, and even perhaps the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will be required to provide contraceptive coverage (including abortifacients like the recently FDA-approved ‘Ella’),' he explained. Notre Dame Law School professor and associate dean Richard W. Garnett also criticized the exemption. It is not broad enough 'because it excludes those religious institutions, employers, and ministries that are engaged actively in the world, providing care, services, and education to a diverse group of people, besides our fellow Catholics,' he told CNA."

Read the full article here.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Free contraceptives mandated under new health care law

President Obama's Health and Human Services adminstration determined today that all health insurance policies will be required to offer all contraceptive methods, including the aborficant  Morning After pill, and sterilization for both men and women, for free, with no copayment under the new health care legislation. The HHS is now considering whether or not there should be a conscience exemption for religious organizations that provide health insurance for their employees and do not want to cover contraception and sterilization.

More chillingly, LifeSiteNews reports that "The same report even suggested that elective abortion could also have been considered a mandatory “preventive service” had it not been for federal law: the authors note that abortion had to be ruled out “despite the health and well-being benefits to some women.” Read the full article here.