Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dear Dr. Boyle,

I appreciated the courtesy of your response, but I am hard pressed to believe that you were - heretofore - unaware of the issues that I raised in my email.

While you promise "to ensure that...practices are aligned with the ERDs and Catholic moral teaching," disclaimers - such as what appears on the web site of Saint Mary Medical Center - do NOT "ensure that...practices are aligned with the ERDs and Catholic moral teaching."  They merely abdicate responsibility:
  • "Health Care practitioners at St. Mary Medical Center abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services while providing care at any of the St. Mary Medical Center campuses.  Many of these practitioners also provide services outside of St. Mary Medical Center where there is no institutional obligation to practice under the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.  Patients are encouraged to continue to engage in a dialogue with these practitioners to express their religious and ethical choices regarding their treatment outside of St. Mary Medical Center" (http://www.stmaryhealthcare.org/physicians).

Sincerely,

"Catholic" hospitals in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia


Rev. Mark G. Swope, Coordinator of Ethics Program and Ethicist 
Holy Redeemer Health System
1648 Huntingdon Pike
Meadowbrook, Pa 19046

mswope@holyredeemer.com 

Philip Boyle, Ph.D., VP of Mission and Ethics
Catholic Health East
3805 West Chester Pike, Suite 100
Newtown Square, Pa 19073
 
pboyle@che.org

Mr. Richard Brochu, Chair of Ethics Resource Team 
Ms. Terri Rivera, VP for Mission and Community Health
St. Mary Medical Center
Langhorne, Pa
rbrochu@stmaryhealthcare.org
TRivera@stmaryhealthcare.org


Nancy H. Oetinger, Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer 
Mercy Health Systems of SE Pennsylvania
One West Elm Street, Suite 100
Conshohocken, Pa 19428



Dear Father Swope, Dr. Boyle, Mr. Brochu, Ms. Rivera, and Ms. Oetinger,

With most of you, I have previously shared my concerns about the six Catholic hospitals in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia:

1) Holy Redeemer

Catholic Health East
2) St Mary Medical Center

Mercy Health Systems of SE Pennsylvania
3) Mercy Fitzgerald
4) Mercy Philadelphia
5) Mercy Suburban
6) Nazareth

I believe that those of us who live and/or work in the Archdiocese bear special responsibility to expose the heinous nature of "the Pill" (By the way, we just concluded the USCCB's annual NFP Awareness Week.).  Like all other areas of the country, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties are home to all sorts of pharmacies (including those in department stores and supermarkets) that sell this potential abortifacient.  We also happen to be home to 2 of the world's 15 "leading" manufacturers of the Pill (i.e., Teva of North Wales and Wyeth of St. Davids; See # 1 and # 2. ) Judging by their minimal presence on One More Soul's  NFP-only list, it appears that most Catholic hospital OBGYNs have little problem with prescribing the Pill.

1) Holy Redeemer


NO OBGYN can be found on One More Soul's list of NFP only OBGYNs.  However, it has been reported that Dr. Monique Ruberu may belong on that list.  Please clarify.  Is Dr. Ruberu an NFP-ONLY OBGYN?

The obstetrician directory lists five "Reproductive Endocrinologists and Obstetricians," each of whom turns out to be an IVF specialist.  Drs Arthur Castelbaum, Martin Freedman, Benjamin Gocial, and Jacqueline Gutmann are with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia. Dr. Jennifer Nichols is with Abington Reproductive Medicine.

It is also deeply disturbing that the Advance Directive form fails to clearly specify:
  • Catholic teaching with regard to nutrition and hydration, and
  • that health care services cannot honor non-specific directives to forego nutrition and hydration.
The article, Holy Redeemer Hospice hosts end-of-life discussions (CatholicPhilly.com, 4/28/14) comes with apparently un-vetted links to the National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) and the My Gift of Grace card game.  By contrasts, Judie Brown's Advance Directives Are a Bad Idea (5/2/14) includes a link to the "American Life League’s loving will, a truly pro-life alternative to the living will."
  

2) St Mary Medical Center


Kudos for having the one identifiable NFP-only OBGYN in our Catholic hospitals, for having a retail pharmacy which does not fill contraceptive prescriptions (one of a mere handful in the country, by the way!), and for being associated with the Creighton Model Fertility Care System.  Tragically, that is NOT the end of the story.  For one thing, St. Mary lists 27 other OBGYNs who cannot be found on the NFP-only list.  Of particular concern are Drs. Richard Latta, Marc Rosenn, and Stephen Smith, each of whom is from Abington Perinatal Associates. - a practice which has been reported to be involved with fetal "reduction" – a euphemism for abortion (See # 1, # 2, and # 3.).

In addition, Saint Mary's Advanced Directives and Living Wills fails to clearly specify:
  •  Catholic teaching with regard to nutrition and hydration, and
  • that health care services cannot honor non-specific directives to forego nutrition and hydration.

3) Mercy Fitzgerald, 4) Mercy Philadelphia, 5) Mercy Suburban, 6) Nazareth


There is No OBGYN in the Mercy Health System of Southeast Pennsylvania, who can be identified on One More Soul's list of NFP only OBGYNs.

Mercy Health System's Vendor Compliance Program fails to clearly specify:
  • Catholic teaching with regard to nutrition and hydration, and
  • that health care services cannot honor non-specific directives to forego nutrition and hydration.

 

If we "follow the money," the level of financial compensation to executives in our Catholic hospitals is astounding.  When entangled with such vast amounts of money, situations such as those described above are probably all the more difficult to correct.  Yet since the Archdiocese is home to the Catholic Medical Association, the Institute of Catholic Bioethics at St. Joseph's University, the John Cardinal Kroll Chair of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and the National Catholic Bioethics Center, I am still mystified as to how these situations continue.

The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops continue to ask us to advocate for passage of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940, S. 1204).  By ignoring practices absolutely inconsistent with Catholic medical ethics, you are making a mockery of such efforts.

Sincerely,

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

re: "Why they walked away from St. Joseph the Worker"

If you have not yet seen it, there is an incredible reflection in today's Courier Times on the closings of St. Joseph the Worker, St. Ann St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Our Lady of Fatima, and Immaculate Conception:
"Three reasons for Catholic decline predate the scandal: the sin of contraception, the assimilation of Catholics into American culture and the secularization or 'paganization' of baptized Catholics.....

[With regard to contraception;] "no kids means no Catholics and no need for Catholic parishes....

"Catholics were accepted into the mainstream because so many lived openly double lives: attending Mass while rejecting church moral teachings....

[Pre-Christian Rome] "was characterized by promiscuity, birth control, abortion, recreational drugs, and the normalization of infanticide, polygamy and slavery. Christians were martyred for calling out pagan cruelties and inhumanity.

"What is the future for loyal Catholics whose faith commands calling out cultural atavism? It ain’t pretty....

"St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us" (Why they walked away from St. Joseph the Worker, Courier Times, 7/1/14).

Wow!  "The Sin of Contraception"!  Not something you hear much about from the pulpit, is it? 


By the way, One More Soul and Pharmacists for Life International have only been able to identify handfuls of pharmacies - across the country - which do NOT sell contraceptives and abortifacients. (e.g., hormonal contraceptives).  Incredibly, a few pharmacies that sell these poisons have been long advertised in some local parish bulletins - receiving a quasi "imprimataur," if you will!  How could the laity not be confused by such mixed messages?

On the web page of Bucks County's Catholic hospital (http://www.stmaryhealthcare.org/physicians), we are told that 
  • "....St Mary Medical Center is a Catholic healthcare facility that strives for the highest ideals of quality care and institutional integrity. St. Mary Medical Center is firmly committed to maintaining fidelity to its Catholic identity by closely conforming to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.
    "Health Care practitioners at St. Mary Medical Center abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services while providing care at any of the St. Mary Medical Center campuses.  Many of these practitioners also provide services outside of St. Mary Medical Center where there is no institutional obligation to practice under the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services...."
That reasoning helps to explain why only one OBGYN can be found on a directory of NFP only physicians!

If you follow St. Mary's web page to "Find a Perinatology Specialist", you will be led to Doctors Stephen Smith, Richard Latta, and Marc Rosenn - all of Abington Perinatal Associates.  At Abington, their associate, Dr. Frank Craparo has been reported to be involved with fetal "reduction" – a euphemism for abortion (See http://www.fertilethoughts.com/forums/selective-reduction-termination-due-health-issues/692269-fyi-something-my-dr-said-others-might-find-interesting.html). 

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

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About Me

I am an enormously blessed husband and dad. In regard to my Catholic theological background, I have a certificate in social ministry & a master's degree (moral theology concentration), as well as a catechetical diploma from the Vatican's Sacred Congregation for the Clergy (Nope, I am not now - nor have I have ever been - a seminarian, deacon, or priest.). I feel particularly proud to have a mandatum. I also have a doctorate in Christian counseling psychology.

And yup, that's me!

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

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