Ever since I was old enough to have childhood memories, I have cherished the times I attended Eucharistic Adoration with my mother and grandmother. These are poignant memories for me, and indicative of a much different time—a time that seems like a century ago when I think about how wrong so much of what is termed “Catholic” has recently become.
The Catholic Health Association (CHA) is one such flawed entity within the Church—an organization that does not deserve the word “Catholic” in its title.
Most recently, for example, the CHA “endorsed” the Obama mandate based on the alleged compromises that were offered. However, many people, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan, found those compromises unacceptable. According to the National Catholic Register:
CHA expressed satisfaction with the outcome of its negotiations with the White House.
“HHS has now established an accommodation that will allow our ministries to continue offering health insurance plans for their employees as they have always done,” read the opening statement accompanying the trade group’s “memorandum,” which explains how the final rules would work.
“We are pleased that our members now have an accommodation that will not require them to contract, provide, pay, or refer for contraceptive coverage.”
But, the facts are quite different from what CHA has portrayed. According to the official United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ statement authored by Cardinal Dolan, there continue to be concerns regarding the regulation. The cardinal expressed dismay saying, “Our study has not discovered any new change that eliminates the need to continue defending our rights in Congress and the courts.”
So why the disparity between the USCCB and CHA? It’s all about the politics, pure and simple.
The Catholic Health Association’s relationship with the Obama administration has been lengthy, cozy and, as a result, not extremely helpful to advancing Catholic medical ethics in healthcare. Sister Carol Keehan, CHA president, has endeared herself to Obama because of her accommodations, both past and present. At the same time it is clear that the USCCB appears to be impotent when it comes to chastising CHA and Sister Carol Keehan.
National Catholic Register’s Pat Archbold put it this way:
The White House’s continual citing of the CHA reveals the strategy. They intend, in defense of the matter, to contend that the CHA is the competent authority to interpret Church teaching on the mandate. The CHA endorsement, which encompasses the large majority of Catholic health institutions, clearly shows that the Catholic Church is supportive of the mandate. Any remaining objection does not really represent the Church, they will argue.
The bishops have tried to work with the CHA for a long time, to bring them in line, and to have them be more respectful and diligent in protecting Church teaching in health matters. They have failed. The CHA, in this crucial moment for religious freedom in this country, is on the other side. The Catholic Health Association is the enemy.
The bishops must use all their power to push the enemy back. The bishops must kill the CHA. First, the competent ecclesial authorities must remove permission for the CHA to use the word Catholic in their name. This must be done immediately. The CHA is not Catholic and they must not be allowed to use the name when they are in open opposition to the bishops and Church teaching. This is most especially true with all the pending litigation against the mandate by Catholic institutions. The bishops cannot allow the Church to seem divided on this question.
Further, each and every bishop should urge . . . Catholic Health institutions within their dioceses that continued association with the CHA calls into question their commitment to Catholic principles and their affiliation with the Church.
This may seem drastic, but it is necessary. If we are to save truly Catholic healthcare in this country, we must amputate the rotting limbs immediately or risk losing the patient.
Archbold’s words inspired those who put together a petition asking USCCB president, Cardinal Dolan, “and the entire United States Conference of Catholic Bishops [to] immediately remove the designation of ‘Catholic’ from the group heretofore known as the Catholic Health Association of the USA.”
The message to Catholics is clear: Let’s restore CATHOLIC to Catholic healthcare and begin again adoring Christ in the Eucharist instead of Obama in the White House.
Please sign the petition today!