In September, I had the privilege of attending the Catholic Medical Association's national convention in St. Paul, Minn. There were well over 600 physicians, other health care professionals, and medical students in attendance. The theme was 'Witness to Hope: Medicine and the New Evangelization," but many of the speakers discussed the assault on rights of Catholic physicians and institutions. Among them was George Weigel, author of the comprehensive biography of John Paul II "Witness to Hope," and Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus.
As I talked to the individual physicians, many spoke of how they often felt alone and isolated as they were forced to deal with institutions hostile to Catholic teaching and how beneficial it was for them to get together with a large group of peers who shared their conviction that Catholic ethical norms were not only binding on their consciences, they were also the best practices for their patients. Many shared how they had been discriminated against for their refusal to compromise and for their determination not to violate their religious convictions. One of the greatest frustrations expressed by the participants was the media's unwillingness to cover the well documented problems associated with abortion and contraception.
Given the nature of the threat to freedom of religion, not just for health care professionals or for Catholic schools and hospitals, but for every person of faith, now as never before we must pray and make our voices heard.
Dale O'Leary is an internationally recognized lecturer and author of "The Gender Agenda: Redefining Equality."
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