Catholic hospitals (and politicians?) being put “on notice”…


With the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) having been called to task by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), it may not be long before organizations sponsoring the nation’s Catholic hospitals will be called to task by the Pontifical Council for Health Care (PCHC).


According to one member of the PCHC, Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, it’s to preserve the identity of Catholic hospitals.  In many nations across the globe, this identity is being threatened as decisions at the local level are being made—using the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity—that undermine Church teaching.

St. Joseph’s Hospital
operating in the Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona


The first step will be taken when PCHC releases its updated Charter for Health Care Workers on June 16, 2013, the “Dignity of Life Day” during the Year of Faith, following CDF review and approval.  It’s that review and approval that should be neither overlooked nor underestimated.

The current Charter’s directives are divided into three categories: procreation, life, and death.  The revised Charter is said to discuss Church teaching as it concerns bioethics, healthcare coverage, and “orphan drugs” (providing affordable pharmaceutical treatments even though the market for the drugs is too small to make research, production, and distribution economically viable or profitable).

More importantly, the updated Charter will include a fourth section, “the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.”

It’s this fourth category—the second step—that organizations sponsoring the nation’s Catholic hospitals and some professionals working in them will find challenging.  While the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity advocate that decisions be made and action taken at the lowest possible level, a Catholic News Agency article is reporting that some employees at Catholic hospitals have taken that definition to mean that providing abortafacients, sterilizations, and abortions is permissible as is genetic experimentation and embryo selection for eugenics.

But, don’t miss what’s also in the document by focusing solely upon how some employees of Catholic hospitals across the globe are undermining their institution’s identity.


The updated Charter is said also to include CDF notes and instructions regarding the participation of Catholics in political life, published in 2003.  This document states that while Catholics are free to choose among political parties and strategies for promoting the common good, they cannot claim that freedom allows them to support abortion, euthanasia, or other attacks on human life.

Could it possibly be that CDF is going to use PCHC to fire a first salvo at  certain Catholic politicians?

If so, the inclusion of those  CDF notes and instructions is putting those Catholic politicians on notice that they no longer will be able to promote their support of  anti-life policies by claiming that the Church’s principles of solidarity and subsidiarity support their policy positions.




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  1. None too soon. Many Catholic hospitals are attempting to head the way of Catholic Universities. Unfortunately the one I work for has a Catholic Bioethicist that has found a way to justify just about anything though in the most original manner I have ever encountered. He says do what you want to and go to Confession after. Seriously, that is what he’s said.

  2. Phillip – I feel your pain, I worked at a “Catholic” institution and still cannot believe the BS I heard. I am also baffled how any institution pays someone to be a “Bioethicist ” that lacks any ethics! My kid at 17 was a exceptional at spinning logic (sometimes convincingly) to create any outcome he desired — how is an ethicist without any ethical foundation any different? Better to pay 17 year-olds!

  3. Mia, so true. If one shops around in the decadent theology departments of
    our American Catholic universities one can find a theologian or an ‘ethicist’
    willing to spin for just about anything you could wish.

    The Catholic hospital in my city has an interesting run-around going: the
    city ‘owns’ one floor of the building, so it is deemed to be a separate facility.
    Want your tubes tied? Just hop on the elevator and voila! when you
    step out you’re still under the same roof but no longer in the “Catholic” part
    of the building.

  4. Moral theologians of that stripe are nothing new.

    Perhaps, the most notorious (and voluminous) was the Jesuit theologian, Escobar. Not only were his opinions excoriated by Pascal in the Provincial Letters, but he was lampooned by the best poets of the age, Molière, Boileau and La Fontaine, A century later, his “cases of conscience” were still provoking the derision of Diderot and Voltaire.

    He was only the best-known of his school, which included Sanchez, Filliucci and Diana. Most were Jesuits and have given the word, “Jesuitical” to the language. Some of their choicest opinions may be found in the 65 propositions condemned by Pope Innocent XI in 1679 in propositiones laxorum moralistarum.

    Alas! We have the casuists, but where are the satirists?

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