Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The term, "animal rights"

Personally, I particularly love the way that the Catechism addresses how we should treat animals and all of God's creation:
    "2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation."
In contrast to the Church's clear teaching that humans come first, the term "animal rights" has always struck me as odd.  I am certain that some people use it very innocently, but to what does it refer?  The right to remain silent?  The right to a writ of habeas corpus?  Unfortunately, it is a term most closely associated with Princeton University's Peter Singer....
    "[Singer] is currently the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and a Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne. He specialises in applied ethics and approaches ethical issues from a secular, preference utilitarian perspective. He is known in particular for his book, Animal Liberation (1975), a canonical text in animal rights[emphasis added]/liberation theory....

    "The central argument of the book is an expansion of the utilitarian idea that 'the greatest good of the greatest number' is the only measure of good or ethical behaviour. Singer argues that there is no reason not to apply this to other animals. He popularized the term 'speciesism', ...to describe the practice of privileging humans over other animals.[15]....

    "Similar to his argument for abortion, Singer argues that newborns lack the essential characteristics of personhood—'rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness'[23]—and therefore 'killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living.'[24]....
    "Religious critics have argued that Singer's ethic ignores and undermines the traditional notion of the sanctity of life. Singer agrees and believes the notion of the sanctity of life ought to be discarded as outdated, unscientific and irrelevant to understanding problems in contemporary bioethics.[25] [emphasis added]....

    "Singer argues that sexual activities between humans and animals that result in harm to the animal should remain illegal, but that 'sex with animals does not always involve cruelty' and that 'mutually satisfying activities'....
    "Singer's positions have been criticised by groups, such as advocates for disabled people and right-to-life supporters, concerned with what they see as his attacks upon human dignity" (Wikepedia).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fred, Wilma, Holy Redeemer Hospital, and "Donations"

Fred and Wilma hail from Abington, Pennsylvania.  Friends lovingly describe them as an "old fashioned" couple, as a "page right out of history."  Over their ten years of marriage, Fred's packed on a few pounds, while Wilma maintains her girlish figure.  Their closest friends acknowledge that Fred can be borish at times, but Wilma never hesitates to lovingly put Fred in his place.  Though they have one daughter, Fred and Wilma have been hoping and praying for a second child.  It just has not happened. 

Trying to be faithful Catholics, Fred and Wilma take great comfort that their local Catholic hospital posts this on their web site: "As a Catholic healthcare provider, Holy Redeemer expects that all health care practitioners adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services at health system locations. We are committed to maintaining the highest professional standards while promoting our commitment to human dignity and the common good."  As Fred puts it, "Holy Redeemer is a brand you can trust!"

Fred and Wilma learn that Holy Redeemer's Dr. Larry Barmat has a special interest in infertility and is certified in Reproductive Endocrinology.  Checking further, Wilma learns that another Holy Redeemer physician,  Dr. Jennifer Nichols, is also a reproductive endocrinologist and an associate of Barmat at Abington Reproductive Medicine (address and phone # provided!).  With a little bit of "googling," they learn more about Abington Reproductive Medicine:
  • "Our IVF specialists -- Dr. Jay Schinfeld, Dr. Stephen Somkuti, Dr. Larry Barmat, Dr. Michael Sobel, and Dr. Jennifer Nichols -- will determine the infertility treatment options and reproductive services right for your diagnosis. These can include fertility medication therapy, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), autologous endometrial coculture, egg donation and/or surrogacy."
"Fred," Wilma says to the love of her life, "I always thought that Catholic hospitals would object to things like IVF, PGD, egg donation, and surrogacy.  If they still objected in 2012, why would they make it so easy to find out about their physician's private practices?  These specialists have privileges at Holy Redeemer!The Church must have changed its teaching, because Holy Redeemer makes it so easy!   

"Wilma, this is a wonderful blessing," replies Fred.  "And there's more!  Look at Holy Redeemer's entry for Dr. Maria Pia Platia.  She's also certified in Reproductive Endocrinology, and we can reach her at Fertility and Gynecology Associates.  Holy Redeemer provides addresses and phone numbers for both their Center City and Willow Grove locations!  When I googled them, I learned that they also do IVF, and that they have egg and sperm donor programs."

"Fred, the Church must have changed its teaching.  I've certainly NEVER heard that the Archdiocese has ANY objections to ANY doctors with privileges at Holy Redeemer!"

"Wilma, what are we waiting for?  We always joke that George and Jane are like a couple from the future.  Let's ask George and Jane right away, about donating some sperm and eggs!


Slow Down, Fred and Wilma!

"Freddy boy, you've gotta be kidding me," says a startled Barney, Fred's best buddy since childhood. 

Wilma and Barney's wife, Betty, have become so close that they actually share the same delightful giggle.  "Fred and Wilma, Barney and I love you and know your pain.  We waited so long for Bam Bam," says Betty with tears in her eyes.  "Guys, we did our homework and are confident that the Church has ABSOLUTELY NOT CHANGED ITS TEACHING about human life at its origins. 

"Just take a look at the Vatican's December 2008  'Dignitas Personae,'" continued Barney.  That document clearly reiterated the Church's teaching about human dignity, from the very first moment of fertilization until natural death. It also declared unapologetically that each and every baby has the right to originate in the loving embrace of a mom and dad, who are wife and husband.  Fred, it says it right here: 'the ethical value of biomedical science is gauged in reference to both the unconditional respect owed to every human being at every moment of his or her existence, and the defense of the specific character of the personal act which transmits life' (# 10)."

Yes, But....

"Barney old boy, that's all well and good, but it makes no sense.  Just Look at this web site, " Fred continues.  "In addition to Dr. Barmat, Dr. Nichols, and Dr. Platia, I've found four more Holy Redeemer physicians, who specialize in IVF and 'Third Party Reproduction.'  Holy Redeemer itself says that Dr. Arthur Castelbaum, Dr. Martin Freedman, Dr. Benjamin Gocial, and Dr. Janet Gutmann are all certified in reproductive endocrinology and can be contacted at RMA of Philadelphia (aka, Northern Fertility and Reproductive Associates).  This is NOT a secret!  If Holy Redeemer and the Archdiocese had a problem with this, wouldn't they be saying so?  They're practically giving them a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval!"

The Church Cares

"Fred, I certainly can't speak for Holy Redeemer and the Archdiocese about listings in that web site.  I do know, however, that the Church certainly cares about its married children who struggle with infertility.  In fact, when employed by a husband and wife, Dignitas Personae says assistance to AID the 'marital act' toward procreation can be moral. Even when used by a husband and wife, Dignitas Personae is unequivocal in declaring that methods REPLACING the marital act (eg., IVF) are immoral.  Fred, I want to share some snippets from a recent article that I read: 

    "The United Kingdom’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) monitors the fertility industry there. At a request from Lord Alton on the numbers of embryos created with IVF in the UK, the HFEA reported that for every one live birth as many as 30 embryos are created....
    "it is likely that America’s tabulated deaths from such practices would be far higher. The truth of the matter is that, at a very fundamental level, we Americans do not like to think about IVF and its progeny as being unethical, evil, or otherwise unacceptable. We like being in charge and doing things our way. But perhaps it is time to do a reality check on this perspective....

    "there is nothing sound or good about in vitro fertilization....The facts scream at us if only we pay attention.

    "One of those sad facts is that couples do confront infertility on a daily basis and this is a tragedy. These are the couples who yearn for children of their own and discover they cannot have them in the natural way. The bright light is that there are moral and ethical ways available to such couples. Such practices do not require submitting one’s eggs and sperm to a techno-lab where the result is perhaps a baby now and then, but dead babies in abundance.

    "As Doctor Thomas Hilgers
    said in an interview, 'Methods are now available that are very effective, medically authentic, and completely consistent with the teachings of the Church....

    "Hilgers’ method called
    NaProTechnology—and his perspective as a holistic physician who truly cares about infertility—make eminent sense...."What is the most logical way to deal with the human pain caused by infertility—inflicting death on millions of embryonic children or visiting a center where the actual root cause of infertility is studied and treated so that the couple can bear children according to nature’s way?" (Rejecting In Vitro Fertilization for All the Right Reasons, American Life League, 7/27/12)

Couldn't This Be Called Immediate Material Cooperation? 

"Barney and Betty, Wilma and I are absolutely blessed to have friends who love us enough to stop us from hurting ourselves!  I wish that we could say the same about Holy Redeemer!  Even if they had no choice as to who gets privileges at their hospital, why are they advertising the practices of those bozos?  And if they are falling down in that matter, why isn't the Archdiocese saying something?"

"Fred, I can't answer that.  However, I hope that they will give some additional thought to what the Pontifical Academy for life has said about 'cooperation.'"

Click for the challening YouTube video: "Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Another's Sin."

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A recent letter to the editor mixed apples and oranges, to come up with bananas.

While taking exception to those who oppose the Affordable Health Care Act (Not the Time to Argue Ideology, 7/24/12), Ken Vegotsky maintained that "The National Council of Catholic Bishops has condemned the Paul Ryan, R-Wis., budget for its cuts to the poor and schools." 

I assume that Mr. Vegotsky is referring to letters to the House of Representatives from Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, Chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  As per a May 8th letter, Bishop Blaire indeed stated that "deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility efforts must protect and not undermine the needs of poor and vulnerable people. The proposed cuts to programs in the budget reconciliation fail this basic moral test.

Would Mr. Vegotsky somehow have us believe that Bishop Blaire's criticism of the Ryan budget signals that the USCCB no longer has a problem with the assaults on human life and the lack of conscience protections in the Affordable Health Care Act?  That would be an absolutely absurd argument. 

It is clear that the USCCB is steadfastly opposed to the assaults on human life and the lack of conscience protections in the Affordable Health Care Act.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Catholic" - A Health Care "Brand" We Can Trust?

Yesterday's mailing from the Pennsylvania Pro Life Federation / Philly Pro Life was gushing in its support of a widely reported hospital merger in our area:
    "By now many of you have heard of the great news that Holy Redeemer and Abington Memorial hospital are merging and as such Abington will stop performing abortions, but what you may have not heard is that there is a strong force trying to stop this from happening. The pro-abortion community is against this merger and is doing everything in its power to stop it. Many community leaders have gotten together and started a petition in protest. So far they have collected over 1200 signatures and are on a mission to get more.
    "This is OUR TIME to do something! Click on the following link and LEAVE A COMMENT in support of Abington's decision to stop doing abortions!!! It only took me 1 minute to do! Do it now and spread the word. Put it on Facebook, Twitter, text it, email it. If you have a web-site post this link. If you prefer call Abington at 215-481-2000. Do whatever you have to do to increase our numbers. This is the reason you read this newsletter. This is the reason why you stand for life. You can literally save lives by clicking and leaving a comment." 
Unfortunately, the notion that Holy Redeemer is going to have a genuine "pro life" influence on Abington strikes me as wishful thinking (Tragically, the reverse may be true.).  Getting lost in this conversation is a Catholic understanding of "cooperation" and a realistic appraisal of Holy Redeemer's current embrace of pro life and Catholic medical ethics.

Ralph and Norton

Imagine that Norton wakes up on a Saturday morning to the sound of his phone ringing.  On the other end is his BFF Ralph, whom Norton knows to have recently lost his job with the bus company.  Ralph explains that he has found the "answer" to his money problems, in that he's going to rob the "Fifty-Second National Bank."  He's asking Norton to drive the getaway car.  What are Norton's possible reactions?
  • "Ralphie Boy, that's inexcusable, and I care too much to let you do something so wrong."  Now, not getting too technical, that sure strikes me as an example of "Love."
  • "Hey Ralphie, times are tough, and so are you.  You've made a difficult decision for yourself and Alice.  Trixie and I are with you, Big Guy.  Let me grab a coffee, and I'll start up the car."  That is an example of "Formal Cooperation."
  • "Ralphie Boy, times are tough, but that's a wrong and terrible idea.  On the other hand, I don't want to lose our friendship.  Let me grab a coffee, and I'll start up the car." That is an example of "Material Cooperation."  Norton says he's opposed to Ralph's wrongful act, but he's still providing assistance.  In fact, Norton's assistance is "immediate," as opposed to "mediate."  Ralph is relying on Norton's immediate material cooperation, to commit his wrongful act. 

Lucy and Ethel

That very same Saturday morning, Lucy asks Ethel to drive her to Ricky's club, where she stores and maufactures veta vita vegamin.  On the way, Ethel learns for the first time that Lucy has undercut her competition by employing unsafe, dangerous, unethical practices in manufacturing veta vita vegamin.  While Ethel implores Lucy to do the right thing and correct her practices, she stops short of insisting that Lucy get out of the car.  In any case, Lucy does not need Ethel to drive a getaway car (i.e., The subway is just as handy as Ethel's car.).  While Ethel is providing some material cooperation to Lucy's unethical manufacture of veta vita vegamin (in that she's driving Lucy to the site of her wrongful acts), her material cooperation could probably be described as "mediate" rather than "immediate."

"Cooperation in Evil"

When is it OK - if ever - for Norton to drive Ralph or Ethel to drive Lucy?  When is it OK - if ever - for physicians - particularly in the areas of obstetrics and gynecology - to have "privileges" in a Catholic hospital, when those physicians are not NFP-only physicians?  When is it OK - if ever - for Catholic hospitals to actually list these same physicians in directories, without warning patients that these physicians are known to NOT embrace Catholic medical ethics?  When is it OK for bishops to seemingly ignore the concerns of their people on these matters? 

In a 2005 communication, the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life recalled "the principles assumed in classical moral doctrine with regard to the problem of cooperation in evil....
    "The first fundamental distinction to be made is that between formal and material cooperation. Formal cooperation is carried out when the moral agent cooperates with the immoral action of another person, sharing in the latter's evil intention. On the other hand, when a moral agent cooperates with the immoral action of another person, without sharing his/her evil intention, it is a case of material cooperation.
    "Material cooperation can be further divided into categories of immediate (direct) and mediate (indirect), depending on whether the cooperation is in the execution of the sinful action per se, or whether the agent acts by fulfilling the conditions - either by providing instruments or products - which make it possible to commit the immoral act. Furthermore, forms of proximate cooperation and remote cooperation can be distinguished, in relation to the 'distance' (be it in terms of temporal space or material connection) between the act of cooperation and the sinful act committed by someone else. Immediate material cooperation is always proximate, while mediate material cooperation can be either proximate or remote.
    "Formal cooperation is always morally illicit because it represents a form of direct and intentional participation in the sinful action of another person. Material cooperation can sometimes be illicit (depending on the conditions of the 'double effect' or 'indirect voluntary"'action), but when immediate material cooperation concerns grave attacks on human life, it is always to be considered illicit, given the precious nature of the value in question.
    "A further distinction made in classical morality is that between active (or positive) cooperation in evil and passive (or negative) cooperation in evil, the former referring to the performance of an act of cooperation in a sinful action that is carried out by another person, while the latter refers to the omission of an act of denunciation or impediment of a sinful action carried out by another person, insomuch as there was a moral duty to do that which was omitted. Passive cooperation can also be formal or material, immediate or mediate, proximate or remote. Obviously, every type of formal passive cooperation is to be considered illicit, but even passive material cooperation should generally be avoided"
On its "Find a Physician" page, Holy Redeemer states that
  • "As a Catholic healthcare provider, Holy Redeemer expects that all health care practitioners adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services at health system locations. We are committed to maintaining the highest professional standards while promoting our commitment to human dignity and the common good" (It then provides a link to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.).
Of Holy Redeemer physicians listed for
  • Gynecologic Oncology (Hanjani, Parviz M.D.),
  • Gynecology (Ranucci, Denise M.D; Gueson, Emerita T M.D.; Deeney, John J M.D.; Hagan, Eugene P M.D.; Thornton, R. Scott M.D; Matteo, Anthony J M.D.), and
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology (Borthwick-Scelzi, Laura M.D.; Ameri, Vahideh T M.D.; Hammond, Meggy D.O.; Ntoso, May-Ange M.D.; Dougherty, Regina D.O.; Torres, Anabis M.D.; Ruberu, Monique M.D.; Kessler, Stephen M.D.; Sock, Jennifer D. M.D.; Maniar, Gayatri M.D.; Dershaw, Stuart Z M.D.; Belder, Lev D.O.; Emami, Kavous M.D.; Klebanoff, David M.D.; Stack, John M Jr M.D.; Starikov, Albert D.O.; Becher, Patrick J D.O.; Kramer, Joel R D.O.; Rubin, S. Bruce M.D.; Binder, David M.D.),
I have found NONE of the above named in an NFP-only physician directory.  A little bit of googling, however, reveals that there are among these physicians practitioners of IVF  and third-party reproduction.  Doesn't it strain credibility to believe that physicians - whose philosophies are polar opposites to Catholic health care ethics - are simply able to embrace Catholic ethics, when they are at Holy Redeemer?  Our Lord told us to be "shrewd as serpents and simple as doves" (Matthew 10: 16).  He did not counsel us to be gullible.  At an absolute minimum, why aren't Catholic hospitals and the Archdiocese providing "product warnings" about these physicians in Catholic hospitals?  

Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs)

While distinctions regarding "cooperation" MIGHT be a LITTLE confusing for Norton, Ed, Lucy, and Ethel, they shouldn't present great difficulty for professionals in Catholic health care, especially if those professionals are receptive to the Church's moral guidance.  Yet, we must recognize that there has been a history of Catholic hospitals misinterpreting and misapplying "cooperation."  In 1995, the Catholic Bishops of the United States issued the third edition of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, which contained an appendix discussing "cooperation" (Note: The full text of the appendix can be found here.).  Subsequent to that third edition, the USCCB acknowledged that the appendix had indeed been insufficient in precluding misinterpretations and misapplications (Without offering distinctions in types of cooperation, the USCCB now indicates that "as a rule, Catholic partners should avoid entering into partnerships that would involve them in cooperation with the wrongdoing of other providers" (4th edition, 2001; 5th edition, 2009).). 

"Catholic" - A Health Care "Brand" We Can Trust?

As per Catholic journalist Ann Carey, "Nancy Valko, a registered nurse and president of Missouri Nurses for Life, and a spokeswoman for the National Association of Pro-Life Nurses, added that Catholic hospitals should seize the opportunity to 'brand themselves' as being places where patients can feel comfortable knowing that all treatments are ethical" (Many hospital ethics boards out of touch with Church, Our Sunday Visitor, 2/6/11).

Saturday, July 7, 2012

St. Thomas More in Morrisville, right before election day!

Could it really just be a coincidence that Bucks County is about to be blessed with performances of the wonderful play about the patron saint of attorneys, civil servants, politicians, and statesmen?  From 10/26 till 11/11, there will be performances of A Man for All Seasons in Morrisville's Heritage Center.

Saint Thomas More was a martyr for conscience against draconian and absolutely unjust mandates of a secular leader.  As per the Catholic Encyclopedia,
  • it was in 1530, that there "came the royal proclamation ordering the clergy to acknowledge Henry as 'Supreme Head' of the Church....[Sir Thomas More's] firm opposition to Henry's designs in regard to the divorce [from Catherine of Aragon], the papal supremacy, and the laws against heretics, speedily lost him the royal favour, and in May, 1532, he resigned his post of Lord Chancellor....
  • "For the next eighteen months More lived in seclusion....Anxious to avoid a public rupture with Henry he stayed away from Anne Boleyn's coronation....Neutrality, however, did not suit Henry....
  • "In March, 1534, the Act of Succession was passed which required all who should be called upon to take an oath acknowledging the issue of Henry and Anne as legitimate heirs to the throne, and to this was added a clause repudiating 'any foreign authority, prince or potentate'. On 14 April, More was summoned to Lambeth to take the oath and, on his refusal, was committed to the custody of the Abbot of Westminster. Four days later he was removed to the Tower....
  • "In June, [Richard] Rich, the solicitor-general, held a conversation with More and, in reporting it, declared that More had denied Parliament's power to confer ecclesiastical supremacy on Henry....On 1 July, More was indicted for high treason.... More denied the chief charges of the indictment...and denounced Rich, the solicitor-general and chief witness against him as a perjuror....certainly no martyr ever surpassed him in fortitude"
A Man for All Seasons was the winner of the 1966 Academcy Award for Best Picture. It is difficult to not have chills run up one's spine, upon first hearing More's immortal words: "I die his majesty's good servant, but God's first."

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"Real faith always bears fruit in public witness and public action. Otherwise it’s just empty words"

I hope that the Catholic press in your dioceses will speak loudly on the cowardice, which seems to be getting displayed by our supposedly pro-life, Catholic house majority leader, senate majority leader, and governor (and ourselves too, for that matter)....

  • "Real faith always bears fruit in public witness and public action. Otherwise it’s just empty words....
    "our religious freedom ultimately depends on the vividness of our own Christian faith–in other words, how deeply we believe it, and how honestly we live it....The worst enemies of religious freedom aren’t 'out there' among the legion of critics who hate Christ or the Gospel or the Church, or all three. The worst enemies are in here, with us–all of us, clergy, religious, and lay–when we live our faith with tepidness, routine, and hypocrisy....

    "we need to change the way we live–radically change, both as individual Catholics and as the Church....

    "The habits of Catholic culture run very deep in the Philadelphia region. Our Catholic health [Hmm?] and social services, and our Catholic school system, are among the largest and best in the United States....

    "Too many ordinary Catholics have been greedy, losing themselves in America’s culture of consumerism and success. Too many have been complicit in the dullness–the acedia–that has seeped into Church life, and the cynicism and resentment that naturally follow it....

    "We’re becoming a nation where, as Ross Douthat describes it, 'a growing number [of us] are inventing [our] own versions of what Christianity means, abandoning the nuances of traditional theology in favor of religions that stroke [our] egos and indulge, or even celebrate, [our] own worst impulses.' And it’s happening at a time when the Church is compromised by her own leaders and people from within, and pushed to the margins or attacked by critics without....

    "If we don’t press now and vigorously for our religious liberty in the public arena, we will lose it. Not overnight and not with a thunderclap, but step by step, inexorably....

    "From the cross at San Damiano, Jesus said to Francis: Repair my house, which is falling into ruin. Those same words fill this room tonight. How we respond is up to us" (Archbishop Chaput, 6/21/12)

How are we to believe that "Holy Redeemer's Catholic identity" will be preserved in its merger with Abington Health System?

William R. Sasso, Chair of Holy Redeemer Health System
Michael B. Laign, President and CEO of Holy Redeemer Health System
Sr Anne Marie Haas, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of the Holy Redeemer

Dear Mr. Sasso, Mr. Laign, and Sister,

How are we to believe Mr. Sasso's contention that "Holy Redeemer's Catholic identity" will be preserved in a merger with Abington Health System?  As you must be aware, the sixth part of the USCCB's Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services is entitled: "Forming New Partnerships with Health Care Organizations and Providers."
    "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....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....The following directives are offered to assist institutionally based Catholic health care services....as a rule, Catholic partners should avoid entering into partnerships that would involve them in cooperation with the wrongdoing of other providers....
    "68....The diocesan bishop’s approval is required for partnerships sponsored by institutions subject to his governing authority; for partnerships sponsored by religious institutes of pontifical right, his nihil obstat should be obtained....
    "71. The possibility of scandal must be considered when applying the principles governing cooperation. Cooperation, which in all other respects is morally licit, may need to be refused because of the scandal that might be caused....The diocesan bishop has final responsibility for assessing and addressing issues of scandal, considering not only the circumstances in his local diocese but also the regional and national implications of his decision."
When it comes to "Women's Health Care," it would be generous, in my opinion, to say that Holy Redeemer Health System is already doing an awful job of preserving Catholic identity.  Holy Redeemer works with 48 physicians in various areas of obstetrics and gynecology.  Of those 48, a simple cross checking shows that NOT A SINGLE ONE is also found in a directory of NFP-only physicians!  A little bit of googling reveals that there are, among Holy Redeemer physicians, multiple practitioners of such prohibited practices as IVF (as well as the IVF-associated practice of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis) and third-party reproduction (Please advise of any updates or inadvertent inaccuracies.).  Doesn't it strain credibility to believe that these physicians - whose philosophies are such polar opposites to genuine Catholic health care ethics - are able to embrace the USCCB's Ethical and Religious Directives, when they are at Holy Redeemer?  Our Lord told us to be "shrewd as serpents and simple as doves" (Matthew 10: 16).  He did not counsel us to be gullible.  As per the 6/27/12 posting on Holy Redeemer's web site, 
    "Abington Health and Holy Redeemer Health System today are announcing their intention to create a new regional health system. The announcement is being made after the boards of both organizations, led by Robert M. Infarinato, chair of Abington Health, and William R. Sasso, chair of Holy Redeemer Health System, authorized the signing of a letter of intent at their respective meetings of the boards of trustees....
    "Said Sasso, 'We believe both organizations have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that we are meeting the needs of the communities we serve in the most efficient and effective way possible. Accomplishing this will require health systems to actively reach beyond their own walls to keep pace with the evolving health care environment. By aligning these two reputable health systems, we will form a new parent company that will provide oversight and direction to enable both organizations to fulfill their mission and goals while respecting each other’s values and preserving Abington’s long-standing heritage and Holy Redeemer’s Catholic identity'....
    “This is the first of many steps toward creating a new parent organization that will bring opportunities for quality enhancements and greater efficiencies,' said Abington Health president and chief executive officer, Laurence M. Merlis....
    "Merlis will serve as the chief executive officer of the new organization" [Note: Abington's Merlis is to be the CEO of the new organization.]."
According to today's Bucks County Courier Times, "As part of the agreement, Abington Memorial will no longer be performing abortions."  Oh?  Frank J. Craparo is the Chief of Maternal Fetal Medicine and Director of the Fetal Diagnostic Center at Abington (Not that long ago, Dr. Craparo was listed among physicians in one or more Philadelphia Catholic hospitals.).  As per posters at FertileThoughts.com, Dr. Craparo is a practitioner of "reduction."  Most people would call that procedure, "abortion."
  • "For the women who are considering reduction and might read this, the dr. who will be doing my reduction, Dr. Craparo, questioned one of the commonly cited facts about selective reduction. I asked him about the often-heard statistic that the babies remaining after a reduction tend to be born early. He said that this comes only from a well-known doctor in England (so there was exactly one study) and that it is questionable because the clinic the doctor runs were basing their findings on reductions where the pregnant women then didn't stay with that particular clinic......so there was no control over what kind of care they were receiving (could go on to midwives, practices where they aren't familiar with high-risk pregnancies, etc.). Dr. Craparo said he was actually getting ready to study his own practice's results where the women stay with the practice for the duration of their pregnancy" (8/9/10).
  • "I was really hoping to have had my reduction by now, but Dr. Craparo apparently prefers to wait a bit. I was scheduled for it at 13 weeks (ugh), but managed to get it rescheduled to tomorrow (Friday, the 20th) when I'll be 11w3d. I have been steeling myself against this with the mantra of 'Get two babies safely here.' That is my focus. But of course I'm still saddened at the thought that we'll be arbitrarily getting rid of one (all three were doing great at my last appt.) and so far on when it's so developed. DH is coming with me. I'm going to do my best not to look at the ultrasound while they're doing it, but it's going to be hard not to" (8/19/10).
  • "For the women who are considering reduction and might read this, the dr. who will be doing my reduction, Dr. Craparo, questioned one of the commonly cited facts about selective reduction. I asked him about the often-heard statistic that the babies remaining after a reduction tend to be born early. He said that this comes only from a well-known doctor in England (so there was exactly one study) and that it is questionable because the clinic the doctor runs were basing their findings on reductions where the pregnant women then didn't stay with that particular clinic......so there was no control over what kind of care they were receiving (could go on to midwives, practices where they aren't familiar with high-risk pregnancies, etc.). Dr. Craparo said he was actually getting ready to study his own practice's results where the women stay with the practice for the duration of their pregnancy" (8/19/10).
  • "May I ask who is doing the CVS/Reduction? I'm from South NJ, have had 3 high risk pgs (my first triplet pg, my singleton son [spent 14 weeks on hospital bed bedrest] and my reduced pg). I interviewed just about every perinatologist from Cooper, U or PA, Abington, Virtua, etc" (9/30/10).
  • "I had my consult with Dr. Craparo in Abington, PA today (referred by my RE in Philly, but thank you, momto3angels, as your positive words about him helped so much). I have my CVS scheduled for 2 weeks from today (I will be 10w3days) and the SR scheduled for 2 weeks after that (12w3days). Is it common for it to be this late? I guess I was really hoping that the reduction could be done sooner (even a week sooner, if possible), but it does take 10 days for the CVS to come back, he said. Also, Dr. Craparo said that he would only CVS one fetus, and then if that one is healthy, reduce the other, or vice-versa. This makes me a little nervous -what if both are not healthy? Have any of you had experience with this, or can comment on the timing?" (3/10/11).
This brings me back to my original question.  How are we to believe Mr. Sasso's contention that "Holy Redeemer's Catholic identity" will be preserved in a merger with Abington Health System?  Speaking for myself, I do not.  I pray that Bishop McIntyre, Archbishop Chaput and/or Cardinal Levada will stop this merger and insist on a resurgence of orthodoxy at our Catholic hospitals.  


(Click these images to enlarge.)

 (Click the below image to enlarge. 
Note that none of these Holy Redeemer physicians is to be found in an NFP-only physician directory.)


The Beatitudes from "Jesus of Nazareth"


Use of Emergency So-Called Contraceptives in Catholic Hospitals for Those Reporting Rape

Book & Film Reviews, pt 1

Book & Film Reviews, pt 2

Blog Archive

And yup, that's me!

And yup, that's me!
(from page 1 of the NY Sun, 3/22/04)

Total Pageviews

12/12/08 Interview with Rev. Tad Pacholczyk, Ph.D. of the National Catholic Bioethics Center

March for Life 2010