Friday, March 19, 2010

"Bishop Prays for Demise of Health Care Bill", the Vatican news agency, isn't usually the source of a good laugh, but I thought one of their recent headlines was uncharacteristically humorous: Bishop Prays for Demise of Health Care Bill .

The title of the article is suggesting that while Obama and Pelosi are praying for 216 votes to pass their health care bill, Bishop Loverde in the nearby Archdiocese of Arlington, VA, is praying for 215 votes to defeat it.

The mental image of Obama and Pelosi stopping off to pray to God for passage of their bill as they bully and bribe their way through the halls of Congress is kind of funny-- for a moment. It's also a bit tongue-in-cheek of the Zenit writer to suggest that Bishop Loverde is urging us to pray for 215 votes.

Rather, as the article adopts a more serious tone, Bishop Loverde urges us to pray for a conversion of hearts and minds and that means we are to pray for the Obamas and Pelosis, the renegade nuns who support Obama's bill, the Doug Kmiecs, the Joe Bidens and all those Obama Catholics who voted to put this callow, unprincipled man into the office of president. The bishop says, " Through our fasting and prayers, we ask the Lord to lead the hearts and minds of our nation's leaders as they make crucial decisions concerning the protection of life."

The bishop is reminding us to pray for our enemies! I confess to stumbling over Obama's name when I do attempt to include the likes of our president in my prayers, but the bishop's statement is also a reminder that God does hear us and he does answer prayer. Kind of ironic that, in yesterday's Bible reading, Moses reminds us of that. After the Israelites erected the Golden Calf, God told Moses that He had had enough of this "stiff-necked" people and that He intended to let His anger "burn hot against them" and "consume them." But Moses confronted God and interceded on behalf of his fellow wanderers, and God changed his mind.

In the present situation, I'm inclined to pray that God would consume most of Congress along with President Obama as quickly as possible, but that's not the idea here. Our own New York Archdiocese has all the information one needs to follow the true Catholic position on the health care issue including this prayer:

That Congress will act to ensure that needed health care reform will truly protect the life, dignity and health care of all and that we will raise our voices to protect the unborn and the most vulnerable and to preserve our freedom of conscience. We pray to the Lord.

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