Catholic Mom has acquired this interesting piece from Sherry Antonetti
Currently, practicing Catholicism is under assault by the law. In 2004, the California Supreme Court ruled Catholic Charities was not entitled to an exception the law grants to churches or “religious employers.”
Because Catholic Charities assists people of all faiths, it is not a “religious employer,” the court said. The group is therefore distinct from a church that is formed to promote religion, the court ruled. Catholic hospitals had to allow their employees to acquire birth control. The court in Massachusetts mandated that Catholic Charities facilitate adoptions to gay and lesbian couples, causing the charity to pull out of providing adoptions in the state.
In the past few years, in over fifteen states, legislatures have crafted laws demanding that Catholic hospitals administer RU-486 as a post trauma means of birth control to victims of sexual assault, claiming that such medications have no abortive effects but are merely a safety precaution against unwanted pregnancy.
The fact that the Church believes it to be a means of abortion is deemed irrelevant by these states. In other words, the Church can say whatever it wants, but in practice, it must abide what the state will tolerate with respect to how its surrogates live out that faith in active mission work. These same states have also declared the moral objections of the Church and those working to manifest the mission of the Church, to be irrelevant to the health needs of the individual being treated.
Now here is something that I think the Bishops, and we, as laity, who are also hospital consumers, can have a huge voice in which we state our moral opinions. The issue will be raised that when it comes to health care, time is of the essence--so will patients who are brought to the closest hospital which happens to be Catholic after a sexual assault be upset that we won't issue an abortive pill in those instances as a precaution? States seem to already be demanding that Catholic hospitals need to comply--so a huge moral question is that if that's so does the Catholic hospital call the state's bluff and shut down and then if they do--does a more secular group simply take up ownership and the hospital continues to maintain business as usual, albeit without Catholic principles at the helm? Or does the state allow the hospitals to be run as the church wishes and upholds their right to run the hospital the way they wish.
I do a lot of traveling and I see a lot of other religious traditions beginning to open hospitals all around this great land of ours--including those who agree with us on these issues. I wonder if they address these issues as well? Anybody know?
It seems that we also have a divide of unusual proportions here. Republicans would say that the state has no right to tell the Catholic hospitials what they can and cannot do and would not wish that the state interferes. It's a private hospital would be their stance.
But with the trend seeming towards universal health care--something that perhaps many Catholics would see as providing a very necessary and much-needed service for the poor, would that exempt Catholic hospitals from participating in a government-run health care initiative and thus become hosptials only for the elite who could afford them? Or if they do serve the needs of the poor is that going to put them in a financial predicament that may force them to close up shop?
Seems to me that cooler heads need to prevail on the state's side here. They should indeed grant exemptions for the hospital to have to participate in any medical procedure that would go against the teachings of the church.
But that's me talking--what do others think?