Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Wednesday, February 23, 2005  

But then there's this stingy-minded, Judas-like complaint from Rome

Okay, we just got through witnessing God's power to heal, but Rome doesn't put much stock in that. What follows has a gram of truth in it, but also ten grams of nonsense:

"While millions of people in the world struggle to survive hunger and disease, lacking even minimal health care, in rich countries the concept of health as well-being figures in creating unrealistic expectations about the possibility of medicine to respond to all needs and desires," said Rev. Maurizio Faggioni, a theologian and morality expert on the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life.

"The medicine of desires, egged on by the health-care market, increases the request for pharmaceutical and medical-surgical services, soaks up public resources beyond all reasonableness," Faggioni said at a news conference.

Don't you love that royal "we" as implied by the notion that people's earnings or wealth are "public resources". He is saying that our resources are being misused, but they aren't "our's". They are that of others'.

Nor can the reverend reason that people are suffering hunger and disease not because it is being withheld from them by stingy first world people, but that their own cultural conditions and governments cause them to suffer.

The free market which creates those great resources could do it for all those who are lacking, and not by redistributing money to kleptocracies.

On the other hand, I wished he'd separted the sensible part of his abservation that many have made a religion of health.

But try to figure this out:

Vatican officials on Thursday decried what they called a "religion of health" in affluent societies and held out Roman Catholic Pope John Paul's stoic suffering as an antidote to the mentality that modern medicine must cure all.

This seems to be saying that people should suffer rather than hope or work for a cure to their illness. Why shouldn't modern medicine cure all if it can? That is surely the goal of medical science.

I know the redemptive power of suffering, the crucible in which much is learned; but I also know that it isn't helpful to many. Nor do I think it would be to me now.

At any time the drugs that keep my skin relatively free of a crippling and horrendous skin disease could fail; and agonies would occur in which the desire for death would become omnipresent. I doubt if I can adequately describe the misery when 100% of your body is covered in a think rind of scales, the build up of rapidly reproducing skin cells piled on top of each other in a hard crust - all of it causing unrelenting and maddening itching.

I really don't think that such a condition would serve to redeem me or advance my spiritual condition anymore.

Oh, yes, my condition is currently incurable. It has been treatable, but not cured. Treatment can fail. It often has in the past, and frankly, I no longer have the strength of youth and will to bear it. In this, age has not made me stronger, but weaker with a lower capacity for this kind of suffering.

There is a Judas-like triage attitude that this priest expresses. One, that the expensive ointment ought not to be used but sold for the poor' (and then who would ever use it or make it since it would be a sort of sin or buy or use it?); and two, that because someone in America get cosmetic surgery, someone in Africa has been deprived of medicine to fight malaria.

This kind of thinking is simply incompetent. It reinforces the belief that the Vatican is a confederacy of dunces.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 9:51 AM |