Civility and Health Care Reform

Go Placidly amid the Fray

Go Placidly amid the Fray

Brothers and sisters:
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,
with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.
All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you,
along with all malice.
And be kind to one another, compassionate,
forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. (Eph 4:30-5:2)

How timely is Paul’s message as we get an hourly dose of footage of people shouting, shoving, and reviling one another. Civility is gone. Dialogue does not exist. Paul re-centers us—be kind to one another.

Another Paul—John Paul to be exact—gives us hope:

From the Urbi et Orbi Message of Pope John Paul II, Easter Sunday, 23 April 2000

The Risen Christ signals the paths of hope
along which we can advance together
towards a world more just and mutually supportive,
in which the blind egoism of the few
will not prevail over the cries of pain of the many,
reducing entire peoples
to conditions of degrading misery.

May the message of life proclaimed by the angel
near the stone rolled back from the tomb
overturn the hardness of our hearts;
may it lead to removing unjustified barriers
and promote a fruitful exchange between peoples and cultures.

May the image of the new person,
shining on the face of Christ,
cause everyone to acknowledge
the inalienable value of human life;
may it encourage effective responses
to the increasingly felt demand
for justice and equal opportunity
in all areas of society;
may it impel individuals and States
to full respect for the essential and authentic rights
rooted in the very nature of the human person.

-Lectionary Reflection by Fr. John Bucki, S.J.

As people who espouse the nonviolence of Jesus, we should be looking for ways to enter this fray and to restore civility—which is completely lacking—so that genuine dialogue can take place. Perhaps, we should take the lead from the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue and begin with our own personal contemplative practice. For an excellent article on how we can do this, please see

For principles to guide the dialogue, see Bishop Murphy sent Congress a letter on the principles that should guide health care reform

The bottom line is that every person, as a child of God, has the right to adequate health care. Through contemplation and dialogue we have to find out the best way to provide health care for the 47 million Americans—our brothers and sisters—who do not have access to adequate health care. It is complex and there are a variety of viable approaches. Let us be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

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