In my job, ‘Drive Time’ can be exhaustive.  Usually, traveling from one area of the country to another can take as many as ten to twelve hours. Today’s drive was no stranger to that. Up at 4:30 AM, performed morning prayers and out the door by 6:00 AM for the morning flight. Spent ninety minutes connecting at O’Hare International Airport and finally flew into Baltimore at 2:25 PM.  From Baltimore, grabbed a rental car, headed south, crossed over Chesapeake Bay on highway 50 and some three hours later got to the ‘Middle of Nowhere, MD.’Traveling such distances allows one to see a lot. As I recently said to one LCWR sister, I believe there is a significant variance between Catholic tradition and the current world. I love tradition. I honor and respect tradition! Yet I recognize the world today is wholly different from that of Christ’s.  The faith of our past will not address the needs of the many today.The real threat to America is our policies. The issues that most threaten this country – underperforming schools, unavailable, inadequate and expensive healthcare, urban environmental challenges, high unemployment among our youth and a struggling economy- are endemic in these communities. For example, according to 2011 Census statistics, 43.6 million U.S. citizens live in poverty. Another sobering statistic: 17 million children nationwide living without proper food and one in four children have no healthcare.  A quarter of farmers live below the poverty level.

From a business perspective, if Senator Paul Ryan’s budget is implemented, current Medicare and Medicaid funding standards will be significantly overhauled. Truthfully, many rural hospitals will cease to operate.  Since the existence of the hospital supports other medically related businesses activities, such as physician services, pharmacies, home health services, and independent allied health professionals, the closure negatively impacts the community, associated businesses and services. In such a scenario, a significant jobs loss will result and the community suffers from reduced care options.

As I said previously, I honor the precept to do no harm.  But if one is for life, then one has to be for quality of life as well. As Christopher Nardi of the National Post wrote:

I pray the perseverance displayed by the nuns in contesting the bishops’ report gives hope that significant changes are to come within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.