The bishops look back — and forward — on health reform

Those who followed the ins and outs of the health reform debate — and especially the Catholic participation in that debate — will be interested in reading a new statement by the chairmen of the three U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ committees most involved. Called “Setting the Record Straight,” the statement reviews the various USCCB actions in the effort to achieve health reform that would be “in accord with the dignity of each and every human person, showing full respect for the life, health and conscience of all.” The three — Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, chairman of the pro-life committee; Bishop William F. Murphy of the Committee on Domestic Justice, Peace and Human Development; and Bishop John C. Wester of the Committee on Migration — said some hoped the bishops might be persuaded to abandon some of their key concerns “in response to political pressures from left or right.” There was “never any chance” of that happening, they said.

The statement came on the heels of a May 20 letter to House members from Cardinal DiNardo urging passage of a bipartisan bill that he said would fix some of the health reform law’s flaws on abortion and conscience rights. You can read that story here.

Flood stories of survival, resilience

Debris from flooded homes is seen along the curb in a Nashville, Tenn., neighborhood May 10. (CNS photo/Rick Musacchio)

As the floodwaters recede in Nashville, Tenn., the cleanup efforts show no sign of abating nor does the resiliency of  local residents.

This week’s issue of the Tennessee Register, Nashville’s diocesan newspaper, gives a behind-the-scenes look at what some people faced in the torrential rains of early May and how they are now coping with loss. The stories — of  people wading through water, helping nuns by rope reach dry land, delivering a baby by flashlight or grabbing photos before rushing from their homes — paint a vivid  picture of those surprised by rapidly rising waters.

The response of many, to pitch in and help or to try to save others, is to say the least,  impressive.

Those who were spared from water damage counted their blessings, and if not, their mothers reminded them to do so.

As one woman told her son whose house was not flooded: “You  better never, never stop going to church” to give thanks.