Monday, July 7, 2014

Bp. Callahan on abortion counselling at Franciscan Skemp "it is a scandal"

Last week, the Arvidson’s met with Bishop William Callahan, Bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse. He provided them with copies of the following statement, which he has already given to the administrators of Mayo Clinic-Franciscan Healthcare and the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.
Portion of Bp. Callahan statement:
Catholics, and even non-Catholics, who come to a Catholic healthcare institution should be able to expect from the institution and from healthcare providers conformity to the Catholic identity of the institution. Catholic women, in particular, who come to our Catholic healthcare institutions, should be able to have the reasonable expectation that they will be treated in accord with the Catholic mission of these institutions, namely, that they will receive care that is consonant with Catholic teaching and within the scope of the ERD. In coming to any of our Catholic healthcare facilities, they should be free from any pressure, counseling, or referrals towards immoral practices such as direct sterilization (cf. ERD 53), artificial contraceptives or contraceptive practices (cf. ERD 52), the killing of a pre-born child through abortion (cf. ERD 45), or genetic counseling not in accord with Catholic moral teaching (cf. ERD 54). When such care is denied or disallowed, there exists a breach of promise, an alienation of trust, and a serious inconsistency with the Catholic identity of the institution.

Thus, it is a scandal, as defined by the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2284-2287, when any Catholic healthcare institution associates itself with individuals who perform or counsel at the institution practices incompatible with the Gospel of Life and Catholic moral teaching. This is so particularly when the cooperation is formal but, as ERD 71 stipulates, the “cooperation which in all other respects is morally licit, may need to be refused because of the scandal that might be caused.”

It must be said that the recent concerns regarding the association of Mayo Clinic Health System—Franciscan Healthcare with possible abortion counseling or referral is scandalous. It must be noted, however, that abortions have not been performed in the past, nor will they be tolerated in the future at Mayo Clinic Health System—Franciscan Healthcare. Counseling for abortion, referring for abortions, or offering abortion as an option for treatment, is in direct contradiction with Catholic moral teaching and the Gospel of Life. Mayo Clinic Health System—Franciscan Healthcare presents itself and publically identifies itself as a Catholic institution. Doctors and healthcare professionals in Catholic healthcare facilities are expected to uphold the teachings and mandates presented by the sponsoring religious institute and those established by the competent Church authority.
Portion of statement of the Arvidson family(who originally uncovered the abortion counseling)
We are grateful that Bishop Callahan conveyed this message to the administrators of Mayo Clinic-Franciscan Healthcare and the FSPA Sisters. We were informed that the administrators were receptive to this message and stated that they intend to comply with the ERDs.

However, we were then informed that the abortion providers are continuing to work with pregnant women at Franciscan Healthcare. It is our firm belief that, in order to comply with the ERDs, the hospital must sever ties with all of the physicians who perform abortions. Physicians who take the lives of innocent babies should not be allowed to work with pregnant women in a Catholic hospital. The association of the hospital with abortion providers is the cause of grave scandal, and the scandal will remain until they are removed.
full details at

The ball is in the court of the FSPA and the board of Franciscan Healthcare.  From where I sit, they have been needlessly obstinate protecting their abortion counselling practice.  Do they really think that Gundersen Lutheran is getting all the abortion business in town because people won't drive to Rochester (less than an hour drive from La Crosse)?  Maybe Mayo is just cramming this one down their throats as it already lost its Catholic status and apparently it hasn't affected the profit margins.  It could be Mayo would prefer Franciscan to lose its Catholic status; after all, Pope Francis doesn't have voting stock.

1 comment:

  1. It wouldn't surprise me. The system that produced Harry Blackmun, other than Earl Warren the worst Justice ever to serve on the Supreme Court.


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