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Slaps Down U. S. Bishops' 'Social Wedge' Outrage
With one fell swoop, the Vatican's unstinting defender of health care as a universal right proposes a real-world answer to its one "American problem" open to change. Deep institutional fissures are more intractable, the still rippling pedophile scandal/coverup, dwindling church membership and, oddly enough, a rush by would-be altar boys for football, reckoning it was safer. Interestingly, both Pope Francis and President Obama share a destiny, struggling to serve the old and needy by urging younger folks to sign up and embrace their different versions of pie-in-the-sky.
Pushing reform, will the new Pope turn a blind eye when the Church's richest stronghold can't even manage online sign-ups for halfway national health care coverage? How can Francis' reborn Church, pushing "life" on birth control, abortion, and traditional marriage, disregard moral dereliction that assures thousands die miserably, without medicine or hospice care? "How can it be," Francis asks, "that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure"? It's not easy being the new pontiff on the planet, though commanding your own sovereign state helps.
Not only is America the health-care dinosaur of "advanced" nations, the Pope must negotiate this quandary: how to correct (read: slap down) the policy of regressive U.S. Bishops battling the opening Obamacare gambit? Spewing forth litigation and threats to shutter Catholic health institutions, even go to jail , Catholic clerics full of homey "family values" imagine ACA as total horror show, shredding their "religious freedom" by promoting birth control and abortions galore, all official exemptions to the contrary.
'Romanism' to the Rescue?
So imagine the shock within the unfeeling obstructionist posse when the Pope exhorts Catholic wiz kids to redeem the ACA by getting it out the starting gate. Why shouldn't the best and brightest, computer-savvy Catholics improve life-saving online accessibility? Wholly unconfirmed rumors abound this reform Pope is mulling over this game-changer: whether the doctrine over which he rules infallibly approves informational, church-run health exchanges, designed to reign in regressive governors who punish the poor. Talk about reform.
As my senior Vatican source, Father Monkfish, declared impatiently, "the Pope wonders why, with countless Catholic hospitals, clinics, ministries, parishes, missions, monasteries and schools, plus pastoral outreach, charities and human services, we aren't the perfect platform for ecumenical progress? Are we not masters in delivering topdown, complex, often unpopular messages globally, dwarfing those upstart evangelical hustlers? At the very least, we will distract suspect priests, instead of ogling young boys, to start canvasing, using shoe leather to spread the word and sign-up the poor. Good exercise, gets them out of the rectory, apt penance for those nearly impossible to unfrock."
Noting that millions who distrust anything called government, the adviser rolled on, "still have faith in the eternal Church. Who else has the clout and range, immune from elections by the riffraff, to take on rapacious corporations? We are, after all, the world's most profitable non-profit international corporation, thanks to divine injunctions against paying taxes. Lucky, too, considering multi-million dollar, sex maniac settlements were doubled by idiotic coverups. Figure a century to recoup assets."
Without prohibitions against wider exchanges, a covert White House source enthused, "Sure, jump in. We're still at sea, and the Church can corral young and healthy prospects we need most. So church-state separation gets strained, it'll take years before partisan obstructionists get their day in court. Our PR problem remains, though, as all this makes the Pope look so much more progressive than our campaign-liberal administration. And dump the overwrought rhetoric about the "tyranny" of capitalism; makes Obama look even more the rank corporatist. Talk up the "idolatry of money" and people will start blaming us because the homeless choose to die painfully under bridges. How can this otherwise conservative Pope, lost in the weeds on procreation, outflank our corporate-friendly, centrist taking points?"
Crusaders for Health Care
According to Monkfish, the Pope could soon authorize "full-fledged computer intervention" the same way faithful knights in the Crusades saved the Holy Land from infidels. Like ancient Jerusalem, America is the current, backward realm crying out for brave, heroic warriors. Why not commit our top graduates from peerless, if rather pricey Jesuit high schools and Catholic universities to save the day? Think of our PR leverage: the oldest western institution enhanced with high-tech panache. After all, what other than smarts and superior schooling explain how a mere 25% of the U.S. population boasts majority Supreme Court rule (5 of 9) plus more Catholic senators (28) than any other single denomination?"
Apparently, the Vatican is confident its true believers can't screw up any more than today's hotshot geeks. Beyond prayer and meditation, this Pope reinforces what made the earthly Church great: "God helps those who helps themselves." No doubt arch-conservatives archly whisper only a dark force could bring about such hellaciously inexplicable ACA screw-ups. That, they say, must be that old devil, Satan himself. "Mere ineptitude" barely captures the fiasco. In any case, like God, ACA software crashes in mysterious ways, with "through a glass darkly" a common report by frustrated users.
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