Saturday, March 07, 2009

Cardinal O'Malley to consult National Catholic Bioethics Center on Caritas Christi/Commonwealth Care arrangement

The background (chronologically, as best as I can make it):

Caritas Christi Health Care Network is a Catholic organization, operating six hospitals, affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston. It's reported to be in substantial financial difficulty.

Commonwealth Care is a state-run program offering low or no-cost health care to Massachusetts residents who qualify.

Caritas Christi teamed with a company in Saint Louis called Centrene Corp. to propose a venture (called "Commonwealth Family Health Plan") allowing it to become a part of the the program.

The problem:

A board member of the authority overseeing the program objected to the proposal on the grounds that Caritas does not perform abortions.

One response:

A joint statement by Caritas and Centrene saying that the new venture "will contract with providers, both in and out of the Caritas network, to ensure to all services required by the authority, including confidential family planning services."

Other responses include:

@!(*$^!)*##_!(#U — or words to that effect — from area Catholics.

From C.J. Doyle, Catholic League of Massachusetts: "This appears to be an appalling betrayal of Catholic principles and a grave scandal."

From Anne Fox, president, Massachusetts Citizens for life: "It looks to me as though . . . an entity has to give up certain of its basic principles, and that just doesn't hang right."

From Caritas spokeslady Teresa Prego: "Applying for participation in the [state program] is a complex public policy process," it said. "We will carefully investigate all aspects of this proposed relationship in order to insure that Caritas Christi's participation will be in accord with Catholic teaching."

From Terrence Donilon, Archdiocese spokesguy: "Caritas is the appropriate agency to respond," (declining further comment).

From Cardinal O'Malley (in part): "I want to confirm for the Catholic community and the wider interested public that Caritas Christi Health Care has assured me that it will not be engaged in any procedures nor draw any benefits from any relationship which violate the Church's moral teaching."

Today, on his blog, Cardinal O'Malley addresses the issue further:

"Recognizing the complexity of the proposed arrangement, I will ask the National Catholic Bioethics Center to review the arrangement and to provide me their opinion."

A point (and maybe you, too) might ponder:

Does my insurance provider cover abortions and other "health" services contrary to Church teaching...and if so, am I cooperating with evil?