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Archive for November, 2012

ABC News Blogs

By | ABC News Blogs5 hours ago

(Photo Courtesy: Amy Blansit)In the past year, Drew Lewis has proposed to his now-wife, celebrated his wedding day and received a life-changing diagnosis of stage 4 colon cancer.

He’s also realized the power of social media, the power of friends lending a helping hand and, in this holiday season, the power of giving thanks.

Lewis is scheduled to undergo surgery today just days after their healthcare provider dismissed their appeals to pay for the life saving procedure as well as an earlier surgery. His medical bills, he estimates, will be about $400,000.

But Lewis and his wife, Amy Blansit, 33, of Springfield, Mo., have been buoyed by an outpouring of financial and emotional support from family, friends and strangers who have sent the couple nearly $20,000 in the past week through a Facebook page and         the charity website GiveFoward.com.

“It really is unbelievable what people are doing,” Blansit told         ABCNews.com.

(Photo Courtesy: Amy Blansit)Lewis, a 45-year-old real estate agent, was diagnosed with colon cancer in January after a colonoscopy revealed tumors throughout his body and cancer that had spread to his lymph nodes.

Through nine months of chemotherapy and two surgeries to remove the tumors, Lewis and his wife relied on each other and turned down the often-overwhelming offers of help from friends and family.

“We’ve had friends from the beginning who wanted to help – bring food, cut the lawn – anything that they can do to help,” Blansit said. “We kept turning them away.”

The couple, who are raising Lewis’ two teenage children from a previous relationship, turned their friends away even as they received the devastating news that Lewis’ insurance carrier would not pay for the surgeries to remove his tumors, treatments that doctors told him would stretch his life expectancy from one to two years to at least seven.

Lewis and Blansit got that news just hours before Lewis’ second surgery in October but decided to forge ahead with that procedure, as well as a third and final operation – scheduled for today – at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

“We thought this is our only chance and if we have to downsize and change our lifestyle to make it happen then we will,” Blansit said. “You can’t really put a price tag on what you would do in this situation and what life means. There’s really not a number for it.”

The couple appealed the insurance decision but found out last week that their appeal had been denied. Lewis’ insurance carrier, HealthLink, declined to cover the operations because they were classified as “experimental” and “exploratory,” according to Blansit.

HealthLink said the decision not to pay for Lewis’ surgeries was made by United Security Life and Health, which it said is Lewis’ primary health provider. United Security Life and Health did not return requests for comment from ABCNews.com.

That same week, Lewis and Blansit’s friends and family, without knowing the couple’s insurance woes, stepped in to help.

“We kept turning them away and then at Thanksgiving they just ignored us,” Blansit said.

The couple’s friends and family decided to use the social media tools that Lewis had been using to keep them updated on his progress as a way to raise money for the couple, both of whom have been unable to work due to Lewis’ treatment.

Lewis’ co-workers began a fundraising drive at the couple’s bank and shared the information on         Lewis’ Facebook page.

As Lewis’ coworkers helped in Springfield, Blansit’s sister and brother-in-law, thousands of miles away in Las Vegas,         established the “Drew Lewis Colon Cancer Fund” on GiveForward.com.

In just one week, nearly $10,000 has been raised by Lewis’ colleagues and another $9,000 has been collected on GivingForward.com.

“It’s one of those things where we’re so far away from everyone who is doing it. It’s such a neat way to be connected,” a grateful Blansit said.

It wasn’t until the hospital bills began to arrive this week and their appeal was denied that they let their family and friends know that they were tackling Lewis’ treatment without the aid of insurance.

“It’s a hard thing to get to and to discuss because it also means that Drew is not able to provide for his family,” said Blansit. “It comes to the point that Drew has to say he’s sick and can’t do it on his own. That was the point we got to. It’s a hard place to be in life.”

Even more than the financial aid, Blansit says the helping hands have been a beacon of hope for Lewis, with the messages left on Facebook and GivingForward.com motivating his recovery.

“Drew… For the past few years I’ve been making a $500 donation to a charity instead of having professionals come and put lights on my house for Christmas. This year, I am sharing this gift with you…” wrote one donor.

Blansit says she and Lewis have a mini-command center in his hospital room with a laptop, iPad and two iPhones set up to monitor the overwhelming response.

“We’re kind of addicted to social media right now,” she said. “We just had so many people who are drawn to Drew and who absolutely think the world of him that we couldn’t keep up with our phones.”

“It really changes his day to have that connectedness and see that he’s changing lives through his process,” Blansit said. “He says that’s his therapy. That’s his means to sometimes manage a day.”

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From:  Caelum Et Terra

November 26, 2012 by Daniel Nichols

Thanks to Owen White for passing this on. The “Democratic Party” mentioned in the translation above is Partito Democratico or PD.  Read about them here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Party_(Italy) The translation is by Samn! of the Notes on Arab Orthodoxy blog.

The Anthropological Emergency: For a New Alliance

by Pietro Barcellona, Paolo Sorbi, Mario Tronti, and Giuseppe Vaca

The manipulation of life, originating in technological development and the violence inherent in globalization in the absence of a new international order, puts us before an unprecedented emergency. This appears to us to be the most serious manifestation and at the same time the deepest root of the crisis of democracy. It sprouts challenges that require a new alliance between men and women, believers and nonbelievers, religions and politics. Therefore we believe that the changes that have occured in our country in the civic and religious fields are worthy of attention and call for hope.

It seems to us that in recent years– a historic period beginning with the financial crisis of 2007 and in Italy with the twilight of the “second republic”– as the Italian church increasingly dedicated itself to resrutcturing its national role, an interlocutor like the Democratic Party came to define its original appearance as “a party of believers and nonbelievers.” These are significant changes which widen the range of forces which, if they cooperate responsibly, can contribute to putting forward effective solutions to the current crisis.

The common ground is the definition of the new laity, which in the words of the secretary of the Democratic Party is motivated by the recognition of the public relevance of religious beliefs and, on the part of Church authority, by a positive vision of modernity, founded upon the alliance of faith and reason. In his interview-book, “With Good Reason,” Pier Luigi Bersani affirms that the “engagement with the Church’s social teaching” is a distinctive characteristic of the reformist inspiration for the Democratic Party and that the presence within Italy of “the highest Catholic spiritual authority” can help overcome the ethical bipolarism that has negatively affected democratic politics at crucial stages in the life of the country. Finally, stressing the “autonomous responsibility of politics,” Bersani expression a strong preference for his vision thaat “not wanting to renounce deep and challenging ethical and religious convictions entrusts to the responsibility of the laity the practical choice of policy decisions.”

As regards the Catholic Church, there are two points from the report of Cardinal Bagnasco to the meeting of the Permanent Council of Bishops on September 26-29 that merit particular attention.

The first concerns criticism of “radical culture”: it targets those positions that “motivated by an individualistic understanding,” imprison “the person in sad isolation from his own absolute freedom disconnected from the truth of the good and from any social relationship.”

The second is to propose new means for a shared commitment by Catholics to combat what he had defined on a previous occasion as “the anthropological crisis”: “the possiblity of a social and cultural entity for dialogue with politics.” No less significant is his historic reasoning: “What gives Catholics awareness today is not primarily belonging to the outside, but rather the values of humanization [that] are increasingly also drawing the attention of those who do not explicitly feel themselves to be Catholic.” In other words, the “possiblity” of this new entity that originates in the laity’s social and cultural commitment in which Catholics are “more united than one might believe” thanks to the compass that guides them: the construction of a shared humanism.

The definition of the new laity and the assumption of a more strongly felt responsibility on the part of the Church for the fate of Italy require the development of political and cultural initiative, aimed not only at dialogue with the Catholic world, but also at searching for new forms of cooperation with the Church, in the national interest. In this regard, two fundamental themes from the teaching of Benedict XVI which in the prevailing interpretation have caused confusion and distortion that are still prevalent in public discourse seem to be resolved: the refutation of “moral relativism” and the concept of “non-negotiable values.”

For those who have given due attention to the thought of Benedict XVI, there should in principle be no ambiguity. The condemnation of “moral relativism” does not do away with cultural pluralism, but only looks at nihilist visions of modernity which, even if they are practiced by significant intellectual minorities, are not found at the basis of democratic action in any type of community: local, national, and supra-national. “Moral relativism,” however, profoundly permeates processes of secularization insofar as they are dominated by commercialization. There is no one who does not see how the struggle against this tendency of modernity constitutes the fundamental worry of democratic politics, in whatever way the principles are broken down, by believers or non-believers.

On the other hand, there should not be any doubts, even about the concept of “non-negotiable values” if they are examined in their exact formulation. A concept that does not distinguish believers and non-believers, and which points out the responsiblity for consistency between behaviors and the principles that inspire them. A concept that relates precisely to values– to the criteria that should inspire personal and collective action, but does not deny the autonomy of political mediation. Thus it cannot be traced back to that concept of responsibility for decisions in which, because of the failures of lay mediation or for ignoble reasons of opportunism, the freedom and dignity of the human person from the moment of conception are offended.

However, if misunderstandings and mistakes of this type have occurred in the approach to bioethics ,not only in the opportunistic choices of the center-right but also in the biological determinism of the center-left, the reaffirmation of the value of lay mediation seems to inspire “the possibility of a social and cultural entity for dialogue with politics” clears the field of confrontation between believers and non-believers. Thus whether this “possibility” takes on a more or less progressive stamp in the Italian story will depend on cultural and political initiative of the forces in the field.

To this end, we hold that the Democratic Party should promote a public engagement with the Catholic Church as well as with the other religious confessions active in Italy, regarding those issues that are considered “ethically sensitive” as well as to those that relate more closely to the current threats to the Italian nation: maintaining its unity, the “ethical nature” of the democratic regime.

As much as for one as for the other, the story of united Italy demonstrates that the presence or absence of political Catholicism has been determinative and will remain so in the future.

See:  http://catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=48639

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http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/divorced-should-be-embraced-with-kindness-priest-underscores/

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http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1204805.htm

The above is an article on a teaching moment in Rome by Benedict XVI.   These little messages are relevant to all of us today.

We need these small moments from the Holy Father to understand the nature and welfare of our faith.  This faith that needs strength from his words–a chance to find love in that faith through Jesus Christ.

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http://cnsblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/will-either-of-these-new-vatican-releases-be-on-your-christmas-list/

The above are two interesting art forms–one from the literary form and the other from the musical art form.

I’ve read the first volume of the series but Ive never heard from the musical end of the Vatican.

This should be of interest to some of the people who subscribe here.

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http://www.sspx.org/sspx_and_rome/bishop_fellay_econe_sermon_11-9-2012.htm

I in no way go against the church but I respect the teaching of Bishop Fellay.

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Were not obligated to believe in private prophesy but we can study and be watchful in these times.   I show this for informational purposes only.   This can be construed as theory and speculation.  The above guy in the video says, “Test the Spirits” (Prophesies/revelations.).  Its definitely interesting speculation from the above author of the videos.  God Bless and enjoy this blog courtesy of our Lord.

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