Monday, January 7, 2008

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

In the last 15 years the Catholic Diocese of Peoria has been faced with circumstances that have been truly difficult for them.

OSF-SFMC pushed the Diocese hard to allow oral contraceptives to be written by OSF physicians under the guise of "limited private practice". This was presented by OSF Corporate Ethicist Joseph Piccione and others from OSF. Monsignor Steven Rohlfs and Bishop John Myers were involved in making the decison.

What does "limited private practice" mean? Under this plan agreed upon by the Diocese and OSF, an OSF physician can write oral contraceptives when he/she suddenly is no longer an employee of OSF while he writes the prescription on his own prescription pad. This supposedly puts a "firewall" between the oral contraceptive and OSF. This plan is hard to believe by most people that hear about it for the first time, but functions in OSF facilites throughout the Midwest. Keeping OSF financially sound drove the plan in the 1990's when Mr. Piccione was hired by OSF.

When the Diocese and OSF go to such extremes regarding an issue so sacred and important to the Catholic Church (oral contraceptives), I do not believe it is difficult for OSF or the Diocese to ignore dying Haitian children.

The Ethical and Religious Directives intent is not to find ways around Humane Vitae or the teachings of the bible regarding the poor.

The Collection of Selected Readings referenced below states the following:

"If a Catholic health care facility were to fail to adhere to the Directives, it might lose its identification as Catholic. That is, if the Directives are not observed, affiliation with the Catholic Church in a particular diocese could be withdrawn by the diocesan bishop. Because some Catholic health care facilities are actually owned by a diocese or a religious congregation, the loss of Catholic identification could also result in the closing of the facility. In other cases, when the facility is owned by a board of trustees, the trustees might decide to continue to manage the facility even though it would no longer be affiliated with the Catholic Church."

(From Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services: Seeking Understanding--A Collection of Selected Readings. The Catholic Health Association.)

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