Jan 11, 2008

Medical Tourism and the Coming Election

"Medical Tourism" occurs when people travel all over the world for medical procedures that either cost a lot or have a long wait time in their own country. In Canada with universal health care, the number of medical procedures in 2005 for which people were waiting was 782,936.[1] That means doctors and hospital beds to treat even seriously ill patients are not available on anything near a timely basis. Everyone has to wait. See this video "A Short Course in Brain Surgery for an example.

A friend in San Antonio tells me that her father was a medical tourist who came to the U.S. several years ago for a heart bypass operation. His wait time in Canada was going to be at least three to four months and the family didn't believe he could survive that long. So he flew to San Antonio where the surgery was performed almost immediately, then flew home after recovery from the successful surgery.

If the U.S. votes for a new president who is able to install Universal Health Care, then our country also will have significant wait times for medical treatment. For those able to afford it, they'll travel to other countries--not a good situation for our country's already unfavorable balance of payments.

A sister returned from Costa Rica recently and said that she and her husband saw large signboards that greet tourists with claims of much reduced costs for dental treatment. Will older people with limited savings and poor teeth be attracted? Of course! Why not take a vacation to Costa Rica during the winter to get dental implants? Or why not go to India, Argentina, a Scandanavian country, or Thailand for other medical procedures--most of which will cost much less than what it will cost in the U.S. Moreover, the treatments will be performed by well-trained physicians in good hospitals (if good homework is done to research the selected physicians and medical facilities).

There are good reasons for not traveling to another country for medical treatment: (1) unknown risks; (2) no applied insurance; and (3) inability to sue for damages if the procedure is badly performed. Still, as pointed out in a 60 Minutes news program, people will follow the demands of their pocketbook with respect to getting the most cost effective medical treatments. Will you be a medical tourist if Universal Health Care comes to the U.S.?

Jan 9, 2008


Over a year ago, this blog published a post on ordination of priestesses. I haven't kept up with this deformed religious escapade until today, when I reviewed a article lavishing attention and praise on "Roman Catholic Womenpriests." The group recently attempted ordinations of two women, ages 67 and 69, in the St. Louis area.

They weren't able to afford a boat ("the cost of renting boats has proven high"), nor were they able to easily arrange for a Christian church, so they conducted their illegitimate ceremonies in a Jewish Synagogue with a woman rabbi as the hostess. The article was originally published last month (Dec 7, 2007), but it was revised the day after tomorrow, on January 11, 2008???

I was flabbergasted by a number of quotes in the article and have several questions:
"These are women “of a certain age” -- often in their 60s...."
"...it has often been noted that many young Catholics are of a conservative bent -- and not a few have raged against ordaining women on blogs." [Q: Are mostly old liberal females being ordained? What is the future when the new young priests are more like Benedict XVI?
"A harbinger of the sorts of communities the Womenpriests’ movement would create, Spiritus Christi supported priestly roles for women, celebrated gay unions and offered Communion to non-Catholics in violation of church law." [Q: Is Disobedience a virtue with these women? Should God and husbands beware?]
...the Womenpriests movement discourages titles for priests and bishops and requires no vow of obedience. [my emphasis] [Q: Did Satan suggest this?]

continuing the work we have espoused for the last 30 years.... forced to resign her position as head of health care ministry for the Boston archdiocese.... fired from a prestigious teaching post.... a former editor at Liguori, a Catholic publishing house... [Q: Why did the Church ignore these saboteurs for so long?]

promote a “discipleship of equals,” a church without clerics. [Q: Does this mean women's ordination is directed to destroying the male priesthood?]

“We are using the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house” [Q: Did you forget to capitalize the word Master?]

BTW, The latest news on the St. Louis attempted "ordinations" is found on the TinMan's blog.

BTW, The latest news on the attempted "ordinations" of priestesses in St. Louis is found on Timman's blog.

"The Devil's Advocate" and "Defender of the Bond"

The Church must exercise 'greater caution and more accuracy' in the process for beatification and canonization of new saints, according to the head of the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes. Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins stated in Osservatore Romano (January 8, 2008) that more precision is needed in diocesan procedures that open and advance sainthood for particular individuals. The Cardinal's desk, stated one news article in October 2007, "has turned into a frequent-flyer assignment", as he represents the the Pope at many different canonization ceremonies around the world.

I'm happy to see the tightening up of canonization procedures that good Cardinal Silvio Oddi once called a "saint factory." Since the time of Pope Sixtus V in the 16th century, well over half the new saints were canonized under the direction of Pope John Paul II. Sometimes it seemed that ideological, political, and other interests were able to push through beatifications and canonizations in record time.

Here are the statistics from Catholic Online that show the unprecedented explosion of saints under Pope John Paul II. Compare these numbers to the 296 total saints who were canonized in the 400+ years before his pontificate.

Beatifications and Canonizations in the Pontificate of John Paul II





Beatification Ceremonies





Canonization Ceremonies





Statistics: Ceremonies in Rome - Ceremonies in Italia outside of Rome - Ceremonies outside of Italy during Apostolic Voyages [Italian]

The position and duties of the Devil's Advocate (Advocatus Diaboli), whose job it is to attack the integrity of the proposed saint, may be restored if I read the Vatican report correctly. This person is described by the Catholic Encyclopedia as:
...one of the most important officers of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, established in 1587, by Sixtus V, to deal juridically with processes of beatification and canonization. His official title is Promoter of the Faith (Promotor Fidei). His duty requires him to prepare in writing all possible arguments, even at times seemingly slight, against the raising of any one to the honours of the altar. The interest and honour of the Church are concerned in preventing any one from receiving those honours whose death is not juridically proved to have been "precious in the sight of God"...
We next need to see the position of Defensor matrimonii (defender of the bond) restored. This would allow a more precise and consistent analysis to determine whether the bond of marriage exists in a case before the diocesan marriage tribunal.

Back in the 70's, I remember one priest who loudly asked at a public meeting, "WHERE is the defender of the bond?!" His rage was expressed after a discussion of the many annulments being granted. At the time we knew that virtually all applications for annulments were being approved, and it seemed there was always some new reason identified as a serious defect in the marriage under consideration that prevented it from being recognized as valid. I even remember one woman (RIP) who told me that her husband received an annulment, but she was not aware of it until several years later when she confronted the priest who was giving Holy Communion to her husband who had remarried.

Do I want to see a return to the days when only two canonizations took place under a papacy? NO! Clearly these and recent times indicate there are likely more than a few great saints who should be canonized each year. Yet the procedures must be strict and carefully followed, including carrying out those necessary duties performed by the "Devil's Advocate."

The same as for hearing and granting annulment petitions. Diocesan procedures need to be tightened so that the Church can begin to restore credibility to the annulment process. In other words, let the "defender of the bond" do his necessary job. Yet there appears to be good reasons why more annulments should be granted than during the 1940s and 1950s.