Tuesday, August 03, 2010

"They hear the term 'material cooperation' but do not understand its philosophical underpinnings..."

Pursuing God's will and avoiding all wrongdoing are at the very heart of any authentic Catholic apostolate. This includes Catholic hospitals and health care systems. Often this is forgotten when those responsible for operating such hospitals and health care systems come to view such actions as sterilization and abortion merely as forbidden procedures and wrongful cooperation with them as mere rule breaking. It often happens that when Catholic hospitals embark on joint ventures, mergers or affiliations, monetary considerations distract from the Church's authentic moral teaching.

In the words of Patricia Cahill, "The majority of joint ventures, networks, mergers and affiliations which have occurred and which are on the drawing board are, from my observation, driven from a business or economic perspective. The leaders responsible for consummating these arrangements understand the business world well. They also understand and support fully the fact that no proscribed services may be offered by their own Catholic institution. However, when the transaction under consideration is between the Catholic provider and a non-Catholic provider and its consummation promises improved fiscal well-being for the Catholic partner, attention sometimes shifts from strict adherence to the Ethical and Religious Directives to a tone of compromise which recognizes the ethical perspective of the non-Catholic provider and softens the principle to achieve the desired outcome. These are not people who intend to do wrong but they are people who have not necessarily had the theological and philosophical preparation to address appropriately the material cooperation questions before them. They hear the term 'material cooperation' but do not understand its philosophical underpinnings and rationale and thus, in my opinion, are ill equipped to apply the principle to the matter at hand." ("The Principles of Cooperation and Their Application to the Present State of Health Care Evolution").

It is only through fidelity to its proper mission that a Catholic hospital or health care system maintains its identity. Let us heed the U.S. Bishops:

"On the one hand, new partnerships can be viewed as opportunities for Catholic health care institutions and services to witness to their religious and ethical commitments and so influence the healing profession. For example, new partnerships can help to implement the Church's social teaching. New partnerships can be opportunities to realign the local delivery system in order to provide a continuum of health care to the community; they can witness to a responsible stewardship of limited health care resources; and they can be opportunities to provide to poor and vulnerable persons a more equitable access to basic care.

On the other hand, new partnerships can pose serious challenges to the viability of the identity of Catholic health care institutions and services, and their ability to implement these Directives in a consistent way, especially when partnerships are formed with those who do not share Catholic moral principles. The risk of scandal cannot be underestimated when partnerships are not built upon common values and moral principles. Partnership opportunities for some Catholic health care providers may even threaten the continued existence of other Catholic institutions and services, particularly when partnerships are driven by financial considerations alone. Because of the potential dangers involved in the new partnerships that are emerging, an increased collaboration among Catholic-sponsored health care institutions is essential and should be sought before other forms of partnerships." (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services).

Related reading here.


BostonCatholic2011 said...

What's happening with Caritas, like many other aspects of the Boston Archdiocese, is a tragedy. Pray for the Church in Boston, mired in scandal, weighed-down by dissent and homosexual propaganda, she is in dire straits.

Jonathan said...

We are witnessing institutionalized apostasy in Boston and across the Northeast. Catholic identity is being sacrificed to the gods of pluralism and financial well-being. This is not the Faith of our Fathers. This is earthly worship. We are now building the City of Man having deserted the City of God.

Anonymous said...

The "institutionalized apostasy" of Catholic hospitals and health systems is not limited to Boston or the Northeast. Similar to that among Catholic colleges and universities, it is nationwide and is encouraged and rationalized by their respective national organizations: the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and the Catholic Health Association.

The "morning after" pill is justified as "emergency contraception" rather than its primary aborifacient purpose to prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum in the womb.

Tubal ligation or removal for the direct purpose of contraceptive sterilization is justified under the principle of "totality."

A Catholic hospital in Oregon was doing such and sought approval from the local bishop. He refused and instead revoked the hospital's Catholic identity. A source at another Catholic hospital said that such a procedure was common at many Catholic hospitals but that they don't tell or ask the local bishop. The "whistle was blown" on several Catholic hospitals by in Texas doing the same by the anonymous publication on Wikileaks of documents confirming such practice.

A Catholic hospital in Arizona directly aborted an unborn baby as the supposed only way to save the mother's life. The resident nun "ethicist" justified it as permissible under the American Catholic bishops' Ethical and Religious Directives, which explicitly prohibits direct abortion. The local bishop declared the nun excommunicated, and she was reassigned elswhere in the hospital.

That hospital is part of a chain of Catholic hospitals in the western United States. Some other Arizona Catholic hospitals in that chain which along with the other hospital were part of a Catholic health system or chain or hospitals in Arizona were also having "problems" with the bishops' directives. A spokesman for the chain said that it was up to the local bishop not the hospital or chain's administrators to enforce the bishops' directives.

Jonathan said...

Of course you are right anonymous. The wreckovation is everywhere. But here in the Northeast, the Church is disintegrating at an alarming pace. At Holy Cross College in Worcester, an ex-priest who is "married" to another man serves as a professor. The crisis is now exploding. People are leaving the Church in droves.

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