On Tuesday Mar 7, Speaker Paul Ryan defended the American Health Care Act 2017 by calling the healthcare bill an “act of mercy”. The next day Representative Joe Kennedy III gave a grandstanding rebuttal, twisting the truth on mercy and accused Speaker Paul Ryan of malice. Rep. Kennedy’s definition of mercy is misleading at best. Instruct the ignorant is a spiritual work of mercy that each Christian is obligated to do. That is what I’m attempting to do here, correct the false information in order that Rep. Kennedy’s words do not lead a stray the faithful. Lucky for me, both Ryan and Kennedy are Catholic and the Catholic Church has a very clear explanation of mercy, and of malice. Normally a Christian would correct the person in private, however, since Rep. Kennedy’s rebuttal was public and a meme was created that is going viral, I am making my correction public to try to reach the faithful that may be led astray by his words.
Mercy According to Speaker Paul Ryan
Ok, so what did Speaker Ryan actually say? At the press conference Ryan stated,
“This bill, the American Healthcare Act, it keeps our promise to appeal and replace Obamacare. It delivers relief to Americans fed up with skyrocketing premiums and fewer choices. It moves us away from the broken status quo, toward a better patient centered system. What I want to tell my fellow citizens, as the nightmare of Obamacare is about to end, that we are doing what we said we would do in this campaign which is repeal and replace this awful law that is crashing. Let me say one more thing, lets not forget, Obamacare is collapsing. Obamacare isn’t staying, the law would collapse and leave everybody without affordable healthcare. We are doing an act of mercy.”
We know Obamacare is collapsing. If this is the first time you have heard this, you can read about it here, here, here, here or here. There are plenty more articles about the collapse, but I think you get my point. I can state from personal experience that Obamacare in not affordable and is so expensive that I will not go to the doctor unless I absolutely have to. I’m not the only one that has this burden. Millions of Americans share this burden with me. Allowing Obamacare to collapse with nothing in its place would leave millions of Americans without healthcare and this is also a burden.
Ok, but is repealing and replacing Obamacare an act of mercy? Here is a snippet of what Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia has to say about mercy.
“Human mercy is an expression of divine mercy. Mercy sees the distress of others, identifies with it, and seeks to overcome it as one seeks to have one’s own suffering, guilt and burdens overcome with the aid and assistance of others. Human mercy manifests divine mercy because of Christ’s identification with our plight through His Passion, death and resurrection.”
Mercy. Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia, 1991, 638.
Yes, Speaker Ryan’s use of mercy was correct. It was used not in the secular sense as Rep. Kennedy claimed but is mercy in a Christian sense. It seems Rep. Kennedy was confusing “acts” of “mercy” with “works of mercy,” in particular, “corporal works of mercy.”
What are “Works of Mercy”?
There are two types of works of mercy, spiritual and corporal.
|– Feeding the hungry||-Counseling the doubtful|
|-Giving drink to the thirty||-Instructing the ignorant|
|-Clothing the naked||-Admonishing sinner|
|-Sheltering the homeless||-Comforting the afflicted|
|-Visiting the sick||-Forgiving offenses|
|-Burying the dead||-Bearing wrongs patiently|
|– Feeding the hungry||-Praying for the living and the dead|
“The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities.241 Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead.242 Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:243
He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise.244 But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you.245 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 246”
Two key words I would like to point out here and they are “charitable actions.” Government mandate is not charity. Jesus was instructing individuals not governments. I’m not sure if Rep. Kennedy is a charitable guy, I looked to see if his charitable giving was posted on the internet but could not find anything (not that I tried very hard). We as Christians need to do our part, as individuals within a society to help the poor. Extremely wealthy politicians should not be forcing people who are struggling financially to pay for insurance they can’t afford and are unable to use. And remember, politicians have their own insurance that is way better than Obamacare.
Rep. Joe Kennedy on Mercy and Malice
The day after Speaker Ryan spoke on the American Healthcare Act, Representative Joe Kennedy made a grandstanding, virtue signaling speech that made my hair curl. Below is his speech with my comments throughout.
“Chairman, I was struck last night by a comment that I heard made by Speaker Ryan, where he called this repeal bill “an act of mercy”. With all due respect to our Speaker, he and I must have read different scripture. The one that I read calls on us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and comfort the sick.”
The corporal work of mercy is “visit” the sick, not “comfort” the sick. Although, a visit would comfort the sick. Jesus says in Matthew 25:36 “naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.” So I guess he interprets “ill and you cared for me” as healthcare. Ok that is fair, I look at it like feeding someone who can’t feed themselves, making chicken soup for someone when they have a cold, stuff like that. I believe the Catholic Church interpret “ill and you cared for me” more like I do. That is why the corporal work of mercy is called “visit” the sick. Otherwise, wouldn’t it be “ill and you healed me”?
Kennedy goes on to say,
“It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful but how we care for the least among us.”
It is extremely rich that he lectures about the least among us. Who is the least among us? Who is the most vulnerable, weak, least among us? That would be the unborn. The unborn are the most vulnerable, weak, least among us. Representative Joe Kennedy supports abortion. He supports Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood supports him. So, here are just a few examples what Joe Kennedy believes to be healthcare for the least among us (the unborn):
-Dismember a live unborn baby in the womb with a vacuum hose that has an extremely sharp end attached to it.
-The abortionist reaches in the mother’s womb, grabs the feet of the baby and with forceps, pulls the baby out of the mother’s body. The abortionist stops before the head is out of the womb. The abortionist then takes scissors and jams it into the baby’s skull and sucks out the brains with a hose.
-RU-486 is a chemical abortion. It has two drugs. The first blocks a hormone that develops the lining of the uterus during pregnancy. The lining is a source of nutrition and protection for the baby. The baby starves to death and then a second drug is giving to cause contractions to deliver the dead baby.
There are other ways the abortionist uses to kill the least among us, but I think you get it. Rep. Joe Kennedy is a hypocrite!
Rep. Joe Kennedy continues,
“Mercy … [huffs and then shakes his head] Defined in purely secular terms is compassionate treatment for those in distress. It is kindness, and it is grace”
This is not “purely secular” as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, at least not according to the Our Sunday Visitor’s Catholic Encyclopedia. Of course this doesn’t fit with Rep. Kennedy’s virtue signaling false narrative.
“There is no mercy in a system that makes health care a luxury. There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection. The elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering. There is no mercy in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill. “
Medicare and Medicaid aren’t going away so I’m not sure what he is trying to say except to make it look like they are going away and to scare the elderly, the poor, the sick and the suffering. And, no one is kicking the mentally ill off of their insurance. When Obamacare collapses and there is nothing to replace it, the mentally ill would be kicked off their insurance. So if Rep. Kennedy cared about the mentally ill, wouldn’t he want a replacement in place before Obamacare collapses? Obamacare mandated everyone have insurance.
I do agree with Rep. Kennedy when he says, “There is no mercy in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection.” Who are the persons most unable to protect themselves and are in need of our protection? The unborn. Pro-abortion Rep. Kennedy shows no mercy towards the unborn person. Who are the poorest of the poor? The unborn. Pro-abortion Rep. Kennedy shows no mercy towards the unborn person.
“There is no mercy in a policy that takes for granted the sweat, the tears, and the sacrifice of working Americans that they shed every day so that they might care for their families’ basic needs: food, shelter, health, and hope for tomorrow. There is no mercy that 2.6 million people will lose their job if Obamacare is repealed. “
Obamacare is unaffordable insurance. It doesn’t promise basic needs like “food, shelter, health, and hope for tomorrow.” Just because you have healthcare (insurance) doesn’t mean you have health. Is he trying to tell the American people that the American Healthcare Act is going to get rid of food stamps, welfare, homeless shelters and food pantries? None of these things have anything to do with the American Healthcare Act. Again it seems more like misleading the American public. I’m not sure how many people will lose their jobs. However, I can say that if we let Obamacare collapse, those people would definitely lose their jobs and people on Obamacare would lose their insurance.
“This is not an act of mercy, it is an act of malice.”
I have already explain that it is indeed an act mercy. And, if it is mercy then it cannot be malice. Is there such a thing as mercy in a secular term as Rep. Kennedy suggests? I don’t think so. All mercy, having concern or compassion for others is Christian. What about the Golden Rule?
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”
Perhaps Rep. Kennedy doesn’t know that the Golden Rule is from scripture? If he did know and choose to twist the definition (according to Catholic teachings), to smear Speaker Ryan for his political gain, that would be malice.
In 2012, the party he belongs to, the Democrat party, ran on a no God, pro-abortion platform. Rep. Kennedy is a pro-abortion politician. Abortion is an intrinsic evil. No one that knows the Catholic faith, who knows the Gospel of Life would be for abortion. It is a non-negotiable. The Church is very clear about the subject and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, abortion is listed under the fifth commandment, “You shall not kill”.
One would think that nobody would listen to a pro-abortion politician regarding scripture. However a meme of Rep. Kennedy’s above speech went viral. His error of speech have spread virtually over 5 million times. If Rep. Kennedy is a practicing Catholic, perhaps he needs a lot more practice before accusing others of malice. Instead of promoting abortion, if he practiced the Catholic faith, he would promote the dignity of life for conception to natural death. Instead of promoting a collapsing insurance mandate that is a burden on the American people, perhaps he should listen to his Great Uncle, President Jack Kennedy when he said,
“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.
Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.”