Friday, January 4, 2008

Should Saint Francis Medical Center Remain Catholic?--Part II

The Order of Saint Francis (OSF) advertises their Mission statements in the secular press and repeats these statements at many retreats and orientations given their thousands of employees.

Jesus is the one sent by God who came to reestablish God’s reign among all peoples. In Luke’s account of the Gospel, Jesus outlined what being God’s Mission in the world required of him by applying the words of the prophet Isaiah to himself: “The spirit of the Lord has anointed me and has sent me to proclaim good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, liberty to the oppressed, to announce the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Lk 4:18-19).

Everything that Jesus did, that is, his ministry, was done as a means of making the substance of this declaration reality. Although his actions focused often on the physical needs of person, the effect of his activities in response to these needs had an impact and importance beyond mere intervention in the physical realm.

When Jesus cured the woman suffering from hemorrhage, for example, he did more than restore an individual to physical health. Through his interaction with the woman and the manner in which he healed her, Jesus declared to the community that had cast her out because of her affliction that the reign of God is inclusive of all persons without distinction.

Haitian patients are very similar to this biblical woman. Haitians have been marginalized by the world and suffer in every way possible. If Saint Francis Medical Center (SFMC) in Peoria were helping them, rather than ignoring them, SFMC would reveal that their mission was the same as Jesus. Those that have been excluded would be included. The ministry of Catholic health care facilities is charged to treat the marginalized and those that are bleeding.

The Ethical and Religious Directives seek to proclaim in contemporary terms those attitudes and behaviors that are most consistent with furthering God’s reign of love and justice (e.g., regard for the dignity of the person and the inviolability of innocent human life…)

Should Saint Francis Medical Center remain Catholic?

(From Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services: Seeking Understanding— A Collection of Selected Readings— The Catholic Health Association of the United States)

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