08 June 2007

Christianized medicine

Donna Smith, who appears in Michael Moore's new film Sicko and who is very much a Christian, sent along these quotes from the end of a story in the Detroit News.
"This film comes from a spiritual place," Moore says, "so I wanted to go to the headquarters of the sisters who taught me in my early years. They had a profound impact on me."

The idea that it's about "the we, not the me," came from the nuns. "Instead of calling it 'socialized medicine,' it should be called 'Christianized medicine.'"

"This was one of the ground rules that was laid down by Jesus. He said, 'I'm going to ask you a bunch of questions when you get to the pearly gates. When I was hungry did you feed me? When I was homeless, did you give me shelter? When I was sick, did you take care of me? And if you didn't do these things, and you didn't do these for the least of my people, then I'm going to have to say that you can't come in the big house.'"
Michael, according to Maryknoll Father Charlie Dittmeier, is probably a Matthew 25 Christian — a verrry different species than a Matthew 28 Christian.

Here's the difference:

In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus told his disciples that those who fed the hungry and gave water to the thirsty, those who clothed the naked and visited the sick or in prison will go to heaven. “I tell you the truth, whatever you did to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did to me,” said Jesus.

Those who don't will go to hell: “Depart from me, you who are cursed,” he begins. “… I was a stranger, and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes, and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”

Now Matthew 28: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

I wrote last year in the Catholic Sentinel about what a difference that makes in real life:
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The middle-aged woman waiting for a connecting flight is an Evangelical Christian, proud of what her church is doing in Cambodia. There is an orphanage for 30 children and a school for more than 200. But most important, they were building churches so fast that she couldn’t keep track of them: A dozen just this year.

The Catholic Church, she said, doesn’t have much of a presence in Cambodia.

How about Catholic Relief Services, Caritas, the Jesuits, the Maryknollers, the PIME fathers and all the other Catholic NGOs and orders?

She shook her head. “All they do is help people,” she said. “They’re not really spreading the Good News.”
Bless that woman for giving me such a great lead.

That great photo, by the way, is from Rick D'Elia, who has recently emailed from Rwanda.

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