Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dear Dr. Haas,

As you know, I am indeed concerned about situations in Catholic hospitals in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which is also home to your National Catholic Bioethics Center (While I have never been to the Center, I have attended events at your International Institute for Culture.). Also in our archdiocese is Catholic Health East: "Based in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, the System provides the means to ensure the continuation of the Catholic identity and operational strength of the sponsors’ health ministries, which are located in 11 eastern states from Maine to Florida." So, what happens in Philadelphia certainly does NOT stay in Philadelphia!

As I am not an attorney, I will not comment on Catholic hospitals' ability to withhold or withdraw privileges from those who practice (albeit off site) in a manner which is clearly inconsistent with the Ethical and Religious Directives. However, it is standard practice for Catholic hospitals of our archdiocese to "advertise" the availability of such physicians. For example, please see the below listing for an IVF specialist with privileges at Holy Redeemer:

If you simply google "Northern Fertility and Reproductive Associates," you learn that to be the old name for RMA Associates of Philadelphia. All four of the associates in this IVF practice (i.e., Drs. Castelbaum, Freedman, Gocial, & Gutmann) have privileges at Holy Redeemer! When you say that you "feel quite strongly that if physicians are doing immoral procedures off-site one should not be able to learn of it by visiting a Catholic hospital's website," I assume that you would agree that it is egregiously wrong for Holy Redeemer to provide this sort of advertising. I believe that the same goes for Catholic hospital's providing this advertising for dispensers of contraception and providers of direct sterilization. I beleive that the hospitals should be immediately instructed to remove such listings, at risk of losing their "Catholic" identification.

In Catholic pro life circles, I know faithful healthcare professionals who are scandalized by what's happening in our Catholic hospitals. I hope that more of them will bring their concerns to the archdiocese. And as a "think tank," the NCBC is certainly not prevented from shouting the truth from the rooftops.

Finally, in emails to Bishop McIntyre and to yourself, I thought that I had been clear that I was waiting for Bishop McIntyre's confirmation of tomorrow's appointment. It was not a matter of my not seeing fit to accept your invitation or being unwilling to keep our appointment. I look forward to meeting with both Bishop McIntyre and yourself.


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