Sunday, October 12, 2014

"The more that Catholic universities or hospitals mute their religious identity, the more that Catholic social ministries weaken their religious character, the less 'Catholic' they are, and the less useful to the Gospel they become"

Your Excellencies:


"Typically, obstetrician-gynecologists practicing in Catholic hospitals and physician office buildings owned by Catholic hospitals provide prescriptions for contraceptives to their patients" (Professor Leonard Nelson, Diagnosis Critical: The Urgent Threats Confronting Catholic Healthcare, 2009).  In our own Philadelphia Archdiocese, isn't such a "wink and nod" practice having a direct impact on Catholics trying to faithfully practice health care in secular settings?
"According to her suit, Victor Igbokidi, the medical director of pediatric and adolescent services for the city's Department of Public Health, told her directly that she would need to begin prescribing contraceptives. Fernandes responded with a letter. 'This letter is to let you know that I cannot participate,' she wrote. 'For participation is strictly forbidden by my religious beliefs and against my conscience.'  After that, the city fired her" (Catholic Pediatrician Says City Fired Her for Refusing to Prescribe Contraceptives, 10/10/14).


If Catholic hospitals are already cooperating in morally forbidden practices through legal loopholes, how can Catholics trying to faithfully practice health care in secular settings expect to see their conscience rights respected?  Archbishop Chaput told a Colorado Catholic social work gathering that if their
"work isn’t deeply, confidently and explicitly Catholic in its identity, then we should stop using the word 'Catholic'....The more that Catholic universities or hospitals mute their religious identity, the more that Catholic social ministries weaken their religious character, the less 'Catholic' they are, and the less useful to the Gospel they become....Catholic ministries have the duty to faithfully embody Catholic beliefs on marriage, the family, social justice, sexuality, abortion and other important issues....cooperation can easily turn Catholic organizations into sub-contractors of large donors — donors with a very different anthropology and thus very different notions of authentic human development" (Address to the Catholic Social Workers Association, 6/21/11).  
In 2014, "Catholic" hospitals in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are fostering scandal, through their cavalier and continued cooperation with providers of morally excluded services.

1) Holy Redeemer

While Holy Redeemer's physician directory includes one OB/GYN who can be found on an NFP-only list, 20 others cannot be found.  It lists six "Reproductive Endocrinologists" (i.e., Drs. Arthur Castelbaum, Martin Freedman, Benjamin Gocial, and Jacqueline Gutmann of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia (RMA); Dr Larry Barmat and Stephen G. Somkuti of Abington Reproductive Medicine (ARM)) - as well as Dr Jennifer Nichols of ARMHoly Redeemer's directory includes contact information for these physicians at RMA and ARM, where people can choose from a smorgasbord of morally excluded services.  In addition, Holy Redeemer's 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.
Incredibly, one of your own archdiocesan priests is the face of "ethics" at Holy Redeemer!  Especially after the scandals of recent years, how can the archdiocese allow even the appearance of callous disregard for the moral well being of the faithful? 

2) St. Mary Medical Center (Catholic Health East)

While St Mary's directory includes one OB/GYN who can be found on an NFP-only list, 27 others cannot be found on that listWhile Drs. Richard Latta, Marc Rosenn, and Stephen Smith are on the list, each is from Abington Perinatal Associates - a practice 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 (Catholic Health East/Mercy Health Systems of SE Pennsylvania)

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.
To protect the moral well being of people in the archdiocese, please remove permission from Holy Redeemer, St. Mary Medical Center, and the Mercy Health System of Southeast Pennsylvania to identify themselves as "Catholic":

"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. Scandal can sometimes be avoided by an appropriate explanation of what is in fact being done at the health care facility under Catholic auspices. 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" (Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, 2009).

Sincerely,

The Beatitudes from "Jesus of Nazareth"

 

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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!
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