In a recent article published at Inside Catholic, Edward Short brings the evangelical witness of the Hawthorne Dominicans to bear on the current debates surrounding health care reform. Entitled “Rose Hawthorne and a More Human Vision of Health Care,” Short’s brief essay sets the congregation’s care for the dying poor in sharp contrast to certain provisions contained in the reform bills advancing through Congress. After distinguishing these two visions of health care, Short concludes that the Dominican sisters’ century-long practice of charitable medicine serves to remind lawmakers that compassionate sacrifice should trump pragmatic calculation in all efforts to reform health care. He writes:
For their compassionate vision of health care, the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne can cite the authority of Pope Benedict XVI, who wrote in his first encyclical:
“Love — caritas — will always prove necessary, even in the most just society. There is no ordering of the State so just that it can eliminate the need for a service of love. Whoever wants to eliminate love is preparing to eliminate man as such. There will always be suffering which cries out for consolation and help. There will always be loneliness. There will always be situations of material need where help in the form of concrete love of neighbour is indispensable. The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person — every person — needs: namely, loving personal concern.”
These insights, which describe so accurately the “service of love” for which the Dominican Sisters of Hawthorne were founded, should also guide those who wish to bring about truly humane health-care reform.
Click here to read the article’s full text.