CNS: CHA Pres. Sr. Keehan affirms bishop’s role in interpreting health directives

I saw this on CNS.  My emphases and comments.

First, you might review this: the Magisterium of Nuns (and this).

CHA president affirms bishop’s role in interpreting health directives [Uh huh.]

By Nancy Frazier O’Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In an exchange of letters with the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the head of the Catholic Health Association has affirmed that the local bishop is the “authoritative interpreter” of the ethical and religious directives that guide Catholic health care.

Sister Carol Keehan, a Daughter of Charity who is CHA president and CEO, said her organization “has a sincere desire to work with the church and individual bishops to understand as clearly as possible clinical issues and bring the majesty of the church’s teaching to that.”

In response to the letter, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, USCCB president, said the church must “speak with one voice” against the “increasing political and social pressures that are trying to force the church to compromise her principles,” including “the problem of illegitimate government intrusion in our health care ministries.”

[...]

CHA and the USCCB took opposing stands on whether the health reform bill passed last March would adequately protect against the possibility of federal funding of abortion and guard the conscience rights of health care providers and institutions.

Sister Carol also sided with Catholic Healthcare West, the health system that sponsors St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, in the hospital’s dispute with Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix over whether an abortion that occurred at the hospital in late 2009 violated the “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” often referred to as the ERDs.

[...]

Archbishop Dolan said in his Jan. 26 letter to Sister Carol that “any medical case, and especially one with unique complications, certainly requires appropriate consultation with medical professionals and ethical experts with specialization in the teaching of the church.”"Still, as you have reasserted, it is the diocesan bishop’s authentic interpretation of the ERDs that must then govern their implementation,” he said. “Where conflicts arise, it is again the bishop who provides the authoritative resolution based on his teaching office. Once such a resolution of a doubt has been given, it is no longer a question of competing moral theories or the offering of various ethical interpretations or opinions of the medical data that can still be legitimately espoused and followed. The matter has now reached the level of an authoritative resolution.”

Sister Carol said in her letter, dated Jan. 18, that CHA has always told sponsors, board members and clinicians that “a bishop has a right to interpret the ERDs and also to develop his own ethical and religious directives if he chooses.”

“We are absolutely convinced that the teaching of the church, in combination with a clear understanding of the clinical situation, serves the people of God very well,” she added. [Which is why she and the CHA defied the bishops when she gave cover to pro-abortion Catholic politicians to vote for Obamacare and why she supported Catholic Health West against Bp. Olmsted.]

Archbishop Dolan welcomed the CHA support, expressed in a Jan. 24 letter from Sister Carol to Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., for the congressman’s Protect Life Act, which would amend the health reform law to ensure there is no funding for abortion or abortion coverage.

Noting that “our staffs have recently met and are working together on this and other policy matters,” Archbishop Dolan said, “We look forward to CHA’s collaboration with the bishops and the USCCB staff as we advocate for the bill’s passage and implementation.”

But the archbishop said the USCCB also has “significant and immediate concerns” about threats to conscience rights in the health reform law passed last year.

We bishops have some specific ideas on how to address this problem, and we would welcome your suggested solutions as well,” he said. “For the sake of the common good and to assure the moral and doctrinal integrity of the exercise of the apostolate, we should work together to confront this and similar threats to conscience.”

In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter newspaper published online Jan. 31, Archbishop Dolan said Sister Carol “feels very strongly that the decision (to revoke the Catholic status of St. Joseph’s Hospital) was terrible, but she knows that the bishop of the diocese is the authentic interpreter and implementer” of the directives. [But is this a case of her saying one thing and doing another?  They came out against the bishops more than once on issues the bishops have a right to teach about.]

“She wholeheartedly believes that, and CHA believes that,” he said.  [Okayyy....]

The archbishop also said that “defending the integrity” of health care might mean that other Catholic facilities will have to cut their ties with the church. [Which is why WDTPRS dubbed Bp. Olmsted "The ghost of Christmas yet to come" during his conflict with the hospital in Phoenix.]

“The worry is that our Catholic hospitals are now where our universities were back in the 1980s, slowly drifting out of the Catholic orbit,” he said.  [Not so slowly.]

The young Papist has a suggestion to Sr. Keehan:

Return to Pres. Obama the pen he sued to sign the Obamacare legislation.

“Sr. Keehan! Give back that pen!

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20 Responses to CNS: CHA Pres. Sr. Keehan affirms bishop’s role in interpreting health directives

  1. iudicame says:

    Sister Carol said in her letter, dated Jan. 18, that CHA has always told sponsors, board members and clinicians that “a bishop has a right to interpret the ERDs and also to develop his own ethical and religious directives if he chooses.”

    HAH! This gal thinks like my teenagers – Sure pop, you have the right to set the rules, I fully acknowledge that…But, I have the right to follow my (sophomoric) conscience…etc. PUH-LEASE

    Semantics. And in canon law I doubt this exchange of views means anything. Once again a JPII moment – all talk and very little actually settled. Swept under the rug. We had our teaching moment – go, go, go – run along now…

  2. r.j.sciurus says:

    She might as well return the pen. After today’s ruling declaring Obamacare unconstitutional, it’s not worth much anyway ;-)

  3. moon1234 says:

    The ink from the pen might as well be the blood of all of the innocent unborn.

  4. becket1 says:

    This woman is no Sister in my eyes. According to the Vortex, she get’s paid pretty well, over a hundred grand a year. A heck of allot more than I’m making a year. Aren’t Sisters suppose to live poorley. Also where is her habit??. [It may be that she turns her salary over to her religious institute, since most religious take a vow of poverty. We don't know how she lives. She may live simply. Her other actions are of real interest... and harm.]

  5. cduginski says:

    I think she is trying to make a little space for herself here…

    ” sincere desire to work with the church and individual bishops to understand as clearly as possible clinical issues”

    “the teaching of the church, in combination with a clear understanding of the clinical situation ”

    … if only the bishops had a clearer understanding, surely they would agree with her. She’s still right, they’re just ignorant? Not exactly submitting to their authority.

  6. EXCHIEF says:

    r,j, sciurus has it right. After today’s court ruling all of the pens need to come back. BO’s continual disregard for the Constitution and for morality may well catch up with him. Maybe “sister” senses a change in direction and self preservation is driving her words rather than how she really feels. Kind of like the guy who used that pen to sign the bill don’ you think?

  7. webpoppy8 says:

    Sister Keehan is exploiting, squandering and polluting the good will that faithful women religious earned over decades of service to Jesus in the Church in our country.

  8. BenedictXVIFan says:

    The sister is most in need of our charity. Christian charity. Where is it? Seriously. Maybe sister is coming to her senses. The sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists cheifly in not giving the third person of the Holy Trinity enough credit to convert the most lost of God’s sheep. Angels fear to tread here. Why not more of us?

  9. Random Friar says:

    She might live simply, yes. I would not be surprised. But I am concerned about CHA as a body. Their 990 Form for 2010 lists $11,216,498 for salaries (76 employees), and only $8,115,622 for other expenses. I’m not an accountant, and perhaps someone could look over their numbers, but that’s $147,585.50 *average* salary.

  10. SonofMonica says:

    You know… what I didn’t see was an acknowledgment by Sr. that she made an attempt to usurp the bishops’ role. What I didn’t see was an apology to the Archbishop and the bishops of the USCCB. What I didn’t see was a public retraction of support for Obamacare.

    Come to think of it, I didn’t see much of anything that comes close to relevance…. I saw an orchestrated song and dance in order to convince us stupid laity that all is well. I have been a fan of Archbishop Dolan, but I have half a mind to write him a letter about this charade. I can think of no reason to publish these empty words, except to wag the dog.

  11. Sixupman says:

    PARAGRAPH 8:
    “WE ARE ABSOLUTELY CONVINCED …………….. WITH A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF THE CLINICAL SITUATION, ….. .”

    The above is a prime example of Vatican II doublespeak, Sr. Keehan’s roots are quite clear and she is trying to mislead the bishop. The latter part is a clear qualification of the former part of her statement.

  12. Charivari Rob says:

    My, my, my… so carefully phrased! One would get the impression that somebody at CHA doesn’t want to let any acknowledgment of bishops’ authority stand by itself without the reminder of the need for someone who can understand the subtle clinical issues.

  13. DisturbedMary says:

    Is Sister genuinely contrite? I don’t believe so. If contrite, she would say so in public, in plain English, in words of contrition Catholics recognize as sorrowful and repentant. Otherwise she is just a wolf with a pen.

  14. DisturbedMary says:

    Whatever happened to “Admonish the sinner”?

  15. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    I would like to see an apology from others in the Catholic Church who followed the lead of Sister as she pursed her agenda of supporting Obamacare with its abortion provisions.

    As a Boston Catholic, I’m thinking of Fr. J. Bryan Hehir, Cardinal O’Malley’s chief assistant. On June 15, 2010, Fr. Hehir spoke at the Catholic Healthcare Association meeting in Denver. In his talk, Hehir praised Sister Carol Keehan’s “intelligent and courageous leadership of this organization.” He said there were “multiple voices” in the healthcare debate, the CHA, the U.S. bishops, and others. Among those multiple voices, he said “there was foundation for the different judgments made on the bill in the Catholic moral tradition.”

  16. “The worry is that our Catholic hospitals are now where our universities were back in the 1980s, slowly drifting out of the Catholic orbit,” he said. [Not so slowly.]

    Now we need our Bishops to revoke “Catholic” from University names. Might as well start with Notre Dame and Georgetown.

  17. irishgirl says:

    I still say that St. Vincent de Paul should lean down from heaven and give this ‘daughter’ of his a sharp clip on the ear! Or maybe even a good French slap!

  18. Athelstan says:

    “Now we need our Bishops to revoke “Catholic” from University names. Might as well start with Notre Dame and Georgetown.”

    The debacle over Obama’s invite notwithstanding, I think it is hasty to write off Notre Dame. There are good things happening there. There are very serious problems – not nearly enough intentionally Catholic faculty – but it is salvageable.

    Georgetown, on the other hand…

    Yes, I fear the hospitals are not in much better shape than the universities.

  19. benedetta says:

    She did get the pen, and was commended by the pro-aborts and the elitists who guard their own soul zealously (the “privately opposed” crowd) yet lead littlest among us to murder of their young for furthering the cause of health care over the solid and reasonable objections of a pro-life majority who merely wished to contain the drumbeat for steady abortion increase (remember the rhetoric, “rare”?). Yet if it were healthcare itself, simply and plainly wouldn’t the cause have been better served if the Church had stood united, all the leaders, to ask that the proposal be amended, rather than have caved to ultimately garner accolades and flattery from those who generally are openly anti-Catholic? Because the divide had the effect of sparking legal challenges, from many different angles. Couldn’t the party then in control have rallied around the “rare” rhetoric as pronounced by leaders? Yet the ones who privately oppose stood for its expansion. Not only did they not concur with what moderates and centrists proposed but took it a step further to expand and did so with the help and aid of our supposed Church leadership such as Sr. Keenan. So, yes, give back the pen. It was a failure for healthcare and a failure for human dignity. Sell outs.

  20. Centristian says:

    A fan of The Eraserheads, no doubt.