Faith in Action Blog

Faith in Action Blog

Make Straight the PathwayWhile the battle to preserve Catholic values in American health care has reached fever pitch with the recent HHS contraceptive mandate, it has endured, often quietly, for years. Throughout that time, two alumni of the College — Katie Short (’80) and John Damiani (’84) — have been at the forefront of that fight.

Mrs. Short is a founder and the legal director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, which provides legal aid to those who need help in their efforts to protect the unborn. Dr. Damiani is president of  the Christus Medicus Foundation, which works to ensure the right of conscience for health-care workers, promote the Culture of Life in American health care, and assist in the establishment of Christ-centered health-care centers.

Now, through their respective organizations, Mrs. Short and Dr. Damiani are collaborating on a conference dedicated to defending life and religious liberty. “Make Straight the Pathway: An Integrated and Unified Solution for Catholic Healthcare Reform” will be held in San Francisco on March 29-31. Hosted by Life Legal Defense Foundation and Christus Medicus Foundation, the conference is sponsored by the Archdiocese of San Francisco; the Dioceses of Oakland, Santa Rosa, and Sacramento; and several other pro-life and medical organizations.

The conference follows a similar event that Dr. Damiani arranged last year in Detroit. That conference proved so successful that Medicus’ episcopal advisor, the Most Rev. Robert F. Vasa, Bishop of Santa Rosa, asked that one like it be held for the Western region of the country.

“The current trajectory of public health policy points to a future where the phrase ‘Catholic health care’ will be an oxymoron,” warns Mrs. Short. “This conference aims to equip medical professionals, policymakers, and others to help our country make a desperately needed course correction.”

Adds Dr. Damiani, “Our Holy Father, in his Ad Limina address to the bishops, warned of the rise of secular humanism. He reminded  the bishops of their baptismal and consecrated vows to not let the gates of hell prevail against the spread of the Gospel to all. He pointed out that our founding principles enshrine that freedom. Therefore we must not let the state restrict or worse, define, what is the proper living out of our call to faith. The laity need to respond to the urging of the Holy Father and support the bishops in fulfilling their charge from the Holy See by educating themselves on these issues and organizing for action in the sphere of their own community.”

Information and registration forms for the conference are available online.


February
29, 2012

Dr. Pia de Solenni

One of several alumni of the College who have taken a leadership role in opposing the HHS contraceptive mandate, Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93) appeared as part of a panel on the subject at the Heritage Foundation on February 27. The panel, entitled Women Speak Out, featured notable experts from various religious, women’s, and public-policy groups.

“This goes much broader than most religious groups because it’s about freedom per se,” said Dr. de Solenni, owner of Diotima Consulting, LLC. “It’s about whether or not individuals have the rights to make decisions for themselves.”

Video and a podcast of the forum are available via the Heritage Foundation’s website.
 


Rosie Grimm ('10)Please pray for Rosie Grimm (’10), daughter of Rose and Dan (both ‘76), who has been diagnosed with cancer. We recently received the following update from her sister:

Dear friends and family,

Rosie met with an oncologist in Ventura [Friday], and learned that the cancer has spread … she has three nodules in one lung and one in the other. She will probably start immunotherapy next week. Please pray for all aspects of her treatment to go well. She (impressing me greatly) continues in pretty good spirits ... I’m sure supported by your prayers. Thanks yet again for them, and for continuing them ... as you can imagine, this is a pretty hard time! But it is greatly helped by the aid God has given through your prayers. May He reward you as He knows how.

Love in Christ,
Wendy-Irene (Grimm ’99) Zepeda

Please take a moment to say the following prayer through the intercession of Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman:
 
Bl. John Henry Cardinal NewmanGod our Father, you granted to your servant Blessed John Henry Newman wonderful gifts of nature and of grace, that he should be a spiritual light in the darkness of this world, an eloquent herald of the Gospel, and a devoted servant of the one Church of Christ. With confidence in his heavenly intercession, we make the following petition:
 
For a successful treatment for Rosie and for her speedy and complete healing.

For his insight into the mysteries of the kingdom, his zealous defense of the teachings of the Church, and his priestly love for each of your children, we pray that he may soon be numbered among the saints. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Full-Gae Ad (PDF)It has come to our attention that back on December 21, 2011, two alumni of the College were signatories to a statement organized by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to oppose the HHS contraceptive mandate. The statement (PDF) appeared as a full-page advertisement in that day’s New York Times and Washington Post.

Among the signatories, who included some 150 Catholic leaders from across the United States, were Dr. John Damiani (’84), president of  the Christus Medicus Foundation, and Mr. Jeremy McNeil (’96), president of the Catholic Professional & Business Group.

The statement reads:

“We, the undersigned, strongly support access to life-affirming health care for all, and the ability of secular and religious groups and individuals to provide and receive such care. That is why we have raised objections to a rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services forcing almost all private health plans to cover sterilization procedures and contraceptive drugs, including drugs that may cause an early abortion.

“As written, the rule will force Catholic organizations that play a vital role in providing health care and other needed services either to violate their conscience or severely curtail those services. This would harm both religious freedom and access to health care.

“The HHS mandate puts many faith-based organizations and individuals in an untenable position. But it also harms society as a whole by undermining a long American tradition of respect for religious liberty and freedom of conscience. In a pluralistic society, our health care system should respect the religious and ethical convictions of all. We ask Congress, the Administration, and our fellow Americans to acknowledge this truth and work with us to reform the law accordingly.”

The statement was also signed by His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, and the Most Rev. José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles.

 


Peter Baklinksi (’04)  Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93)
 

Two alumni have recently published stories about the HHS contraceptive mandate that threatens the religious freedom of faithfully Catholic institutions such as Thomas Aquinas College.

First, writing for LifeSiteNews.com, Peter Baklinski (’04) reports on College President Michael F. McLean’s letter protesting the mandate. Then, following the Obama Administration’s supposed compromise to the mandate (which Dr. McLean has rejected as “not acceptable” and “a distinction without a difference”), Dr. Pia de Solenni (’93) penned a critical column for CatholicVote. Writes Dr. de Solenni:

“President Obama has offered a so-called compromise on the HHS Mandate. Instead of forcing Catholic institutions to pay for insurance that covers contraceptives, insurance providers will be forced to cover contraception. Yep, same situation, just a different way of keeping books on it. Hmmm, when Enron was exposed, we called it accounting fraud, among other things. Bernie Madoff’s investment practices were denounced as a Ponzi scheme. But when the funny math is proposed by the White House, we call it a compromise.”

How inspiring it is to see these alumni speaking out in defense of their alma mater, freedom of religion, and truth!
 


Isabel Cacho ('11)A member of Thomas Aquinas College’s most recent graduating class, Isabel Cacho (’11) has been named to the John Jay Institute’s Fellows Program. The program, an “educational and professional experience for men and women aspiring to public stations in society and the Church,” consists of an intensive semester-long academic residency in Philadelphia, Penn., followed by an “externship” in a national or international governmental agency or non-governmental organization.

Miss Cacho’s biography on the John Jay website notes that she “has always had a desire to pursue truth, which led her to study the great books curriculum” at Thomas Aquinas College, where she was “surrounded by a faith-affirming community.” It further observes that “in addition to a strong calling to marriage and motherhood, Isabel has an interest in pursuing constitutional law and a commitment to the pro-life movement.”