Thursday, June 11, 2009

Caritas Christi: simple--and Christian! -- alternatives to abortion referral

The president of Caritas Christi, Dr. Ralph de la Torre, issued a statement yesterday saying that individuals covered under the new venture will be told to talk to their insurance company if they seek abortions or other services prohibited by Catholic teaching.

"When a patient seeks such a procedure, Caritas healthcare professionals will be clear that (a) the hospital does not perform them and (b) the patient must turn to his or her insurer for further guidance," de la Torre said. "This, in fact, is the practice currently in place in the Caritas system as we work with other insurance companies under state laws that mandate access to procedures not provided within the Caritas system."

Source: The Boston Globe

The "current practice" is not a Catholic practice.

Why should this matter? Because after wading through all the talk of joint ventures, insurance requirements, state requirements, helping the poor, and what exactly the relationship is between Caritas Christi and the Archdiocese of Boston, one point is crystal clear:

The facilities in the Caritas Christi health care network are Catholic facilities.

Catholic facilities must not, be complicit in any way with the procurement of abortions and/or artificial contraception. Period.

"Yes, but how should a Catholic hospital respond to someone seeking, say, an abortion?"

Should this question even be asked? The answer is so simple!

A veritable army of people throughout this region stand ready and eager to help women in crisis pregnancies. These include, but are not limited to:

Pregnancy Help

Friends of the Unborn

A Woman's Concern

Birthright International


Pregnancy Care Center of the Northeast

Life Saver Ministries

These are just for openers. If you tell me that the good folk running Caritas Christi hospitals don't know about these and other resources I would be stunned and disbelieving.

Why are we even having this discussion?

The Globe article referenced about notes that:

The cardinal is eager to find a way to make the venture work, because it will serve the poor, which is a priority of the church, and because it will help the Caritas chain, which has had financial problems. But the archdiocese said that the cardinal cannot compromise on the church's ethical directives for Catholic hospitals and that if the final deal does not comply with his understanding of those directives, he will be obligated to block the venture.

What's to "understand?"

The Caritas Christi president has already told us that, even without the "final deal," the hospitals in the network are already compromising "the Church's ethical directives."

As a plethora of dedicated people, many—maybe most of them, volunteers—can tell you, the whole idea is to prevent abortion...not to shunt the responsibility off to other entities such as insurance companies, thereby keeping one's own hands clean.

"Serving the poor" is, indeed, a priority of the Church. Saving lives, born and unborn, is also a priority.

Saving souls is the ultimate priority, however, trumping all others.

If Catholic Boston cannot operate its hospital network without compromising this priority, then Catholic Boston ought to get out of the hospital business entirely.