Friday, February 15, 2008

Defense or Healthcare?

Defense or Healthcare?: In the United States today, there is an overgrown elephant in people's living rooms that nobody is discussing. This elephant is draining the economic resources of the country at an increasingly rapid pace. But who is this elephant and when did he arrive in Americans' living rooms? Well, his name is the War on Terror and he showed up shortly following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Back then, the U.S. economy was thrown into a recession, and some economists would argue that the increase in defense spending after 2001 helped the economy to recover by early 2003. Nevertheless, as this national security crisis lingers over the U.S., there looms another major dilemma and it is called healthcare. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals, doctors, and drug companies are dropping on an annual basis. Millions of Americans cannot afford adequate health insurance. So, how should the U.S. arrange its priorities in the not-so-distant future? Should it choose a strong national defense or a strong healthcare system? Is national security the best way to ensure freedom or is good health the greatest form of wealth?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Catholicism and Monarchy

Catholicism and Monarchy: Any Catholic ought to understand the innately monarchical structure under which the Church operates. And as the period of Lent approaches, it becomes important for Catholics to reflect on the nature of the Church. Why is it inherently exclusive? Why is it so slow to change its Catechism? Why is the Pope the "Supreme Pontiff"? These questions beg American Catholics to ponder their ultimate allegiance. As a Catholic in the U.S., with whom should I side? The President or the Pope? Democracy or Monarchy? Is there truly a middle ground? Wars have been waged over these kinds of questions. Take King Henry VIII in England for example. He did not see eye-to-eye with the Pope, especially when it came to the sacrament of matrimony. As a result, he broke away from the Catholic Church and formed the Anglican Church, or what is known as the Episcopalian Church in the United States. The English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution of the seventeenth century essentially occurred in reaction to Henry VIII's controversial maneuver. Even so, where does the Pope derive his monarchical authority? In effect, every Pope, who is ironically "ELECTED" by the College of Cardinals, assumes the throne given to Simon Peter by Christ. Therefore, Simon Peter (Saint Peter), one of Christ's Twelve Apostles, was ordained the first Pope by Christ himself to spread the "Good News" of the Gospels. And Peter was subsequently crucified (upside down at his request) for the role he played in promulgating Christianity.