Catholic Hospitals: Are they being secularized?

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Recently, in my weekly Cursillo group meeting, several of the participants have been reading a book titled “A People Adrift”.

Originally I found the title to be offensive, as it was pertaining to the Roman Catholic Church. The majority of my group is either persently reading this book or has already read it, and they find that my objection to the title is misdirected.

Conceeding that I do maintain a novice capablilty of “laymen’s terms only” when I discuss such matters as that of my faith, I have been troubled by the particular focus that these folks place on the book where the author discusses the secularization of Catholic Hospitals as well as other institutions. Perhaps I am just sensitive to this issue because our local hospital, St. Mary’s is planning to replace the chapel there with its new cardiac wing, and the intention, or so I have been told, is to use a “broom closet” size room that will serve as the new chapel.

There is much discussion in our local paper’s editorials regarding this matter, and I was just curious…do YOU think that Catholic institutions are being secularized?
This sort of gets into Catholic Charities which was forced, in California, to pay for birth control for its employees. The judge essentially said that they are not a Catholic organization. They hire people who aren’t Catholic (the majority of employees are not Catholic, including its board of directors), the people they help aren’t Catholic (majority), and their activities are not limited to what only religious institutions do. So, they cannot claim to be exempt as a religious institution.

Many of the Catholic hospitals are along the same route. Many are partially owned by secular institutions or even in-whole but the religious congregation may still be figure-heads of the institution.

When a religious hospital is bought by a large company, they maintain the religious branding but it becomes a for-profit institution. Running a non-profit hospital today is almost impossible and those who run these hospitals run them with heroic effort.

Perhaps it’s time we need to define what a hospital is.
Or perhaps its necessary to define who the HEALER really is.

Dr. Hahn, in his most recent publication “Swear to God” illustrated the ancient connection beteween eternal salvation and physical healing. The two were in effect, interchangeable in terminology and meaning.

Many seem to care to split the two, all the while blurring the lines of ethics.

Lets continue to believe that Doctors aren’t healers, but only instruments of the HEALER.

Peace be with you
Hospitals aren’t evil enterprises, though. There are some Christians who take your statement and won’t go to the hospital because they only have one Healer in Heaven.
In Zambia I worked at a hospital that was initially Catholic but was entirely given up to the Government because of lack of staff. In Johannesburg South Africa, a well known catholic hospital was sold to a university for the same reasons. I think that Catholic Institutions are losing the grip on their presence in the world.
St. Mary’s is planning to replace the chapel there with its new cardiac wing, and the intention, or so I have been told, is to use a “broom closet” size room that will serve as the new chapel.
Most people, including Catholics, go to the hospital when they get chest pain. Most people, including Catholics, expect the standard of care. Most people do not include the size of the chapel as part of the standard of care. People sue hospitals because they did not have appropriate cardiac care. People do not sue hospitals because the chapel is too small.

If there are two hospitals in your region and you are having a heart attack. One hospital has a state of the art cardiac care unit but a small chapel and the other has an antiquated cardiac care unit but a large chapel. In times of distress which will you choose? Be honest! Or maybe you’ll ask the ambulance driver to take you to the closest Catholic Church?

When was the last time that you made a donation to a hospital so that they can build a bigger chapel? Hospitals are hurting for cash. Reimbursement is being cut. Overhead is increasing. Malpractice premiums are skyrocketing.

It would be great to have a big chapel in a Catholic hospital. I am sure the hospital administration would love it. Who is going to pay for it? I bet if the hospital had a fund raiser for a cardiac unit or cancer center they would be able to raise money from the community. The people in general are willing to pay for this. If they had a fund raiser for a new chapel, I bet they would have difficulty getting donations.

It is true that the doctor and the hospital are not the healers. It is not the doctor and the hospital who missunderstand this. It is the patient that expects (demands) too much from the doctor! That is why they sue. When was the last time that a law suit was filed against God?
Where in the world did you get that schpeel Shemp? DONATIONS!!?? To a hospital? ARE YOU KIDDING?!!

Have you EVER utilized the services of a hospital? Already they charge phenominal amounts for thier “services”, and you have the nerve to ask who would “donate” the money?

This is why I really need to discuss this in person, where I don’t have to tart out the truth. Talk radio is just another cencor laden mockery of the first amendment.

Shemp, that kind of talk is an abomination to any of us who are at the absolute mercy of those doctors…and by the way…its the INSURANCE companies that are need sued the most, because they are the root of more illness than not.

My the statement of my attitude on such matters is commonly closed with some reference to “letting God sort 'em out”.

Sorry for the abrasive tone, unfortunately at the present time, it is necessary.
Have you EVER utilized the services of a hospital? Already they charge phenominal amounts for thier “services”, and you have the nerve to ask who would “donate” the money?
Catholic hospitals are not-for-profit. Sorry you are very ill-informed on this issue.

Why not answer my questions? Which hospital do you choose? Maybe you go to the health food store for your medical care? You sound very angry. Have you had a bad experience with health care? Do you go to a chiropractor? Where do you go when you get sick? Does your area of the country have neurosurgeons? Does your area of the country have obstetritians?
I am sure your area of the country has lawyers!

Hospitals take a loss on most medicare patients! They take a loss on medicaid patients. Many Catholic hospitals are in major urban areas. These hospitals often have greater than 25% medicaid patients. You can’t run a business if you are lossing money on over a quarter of your patients. I am sure you are laughing, saying thats right, its a business. Even if a Catholic hospital is not-for-profit they can’t loss money every year.

I could go on but it sounds like you have a bone to pick with health care. You may be unhappy about what happened to a loved one. You may be unhappy about what happened to you. Its a tough profession when ultimately all of you clients (patients) die under your care. As a doctor you have to accept that you will be the punching bag for all of the bad things that happen to good people. Believe me, I know. There are many dedicated physicians out there doing their best. There are many hospitals out their doing their best.

Yes, you should consider donating to a Catholic hospital. It is a worthy cause!

I’ll pray for you’re health.

PS: A not-for-profit, secular hospital in my area just raised 3 million for a 13 million dollar Cancer Center. I’d like to see a Catholic hospital try to raise that money for a chapel!
I don’t think that the size of chapels is the main issue here. A much bigger problem with Catholic hospitals becoming secularized is the voluntary or forced participation in practices that are clearly against our faith (like performing sterilization or prescribing contraceptives). Just as there is a continued need for truly Catholic education in catholic schools and Universities, there is a real need for truly Catholic hospitals to remain faithful to the reason for their existence.

While the reasons for the secularization are many, none of us should stick our head in the sand and say that we are not contributing to the problem. I agree with Shemp that if we truly value Catholic hospitals and wish them to remain open, viable and true to the Catholic faith, we need to support them. Financial support is only one way. How about inquiring about the practices performed in the hospitals and bringing attention to immoral practices? Or how about volunteering to visit the sick? Or donating Catholic books or art to the hospitals?

It is not all doom and gloom. I was recently told a story of a eucharistic minister who was bringing communion to several patients in a Catholic hospital. While she was walking down the hall, she passed a team of doctors and nurses on rounds. One of the nurses happened to be a nun who got down on her knees as the Blessed Sacrament passed by her. How often does that happen in a secular hospital?!!

In order to keep Catholic hospitals open and Catholic, we need to appreciate their importance, value their contribution to society and support them in tangible ways.
I am confused.
Our local “Catholic” Hospital is part of a “group.” Only three old sisters are left from the founding Order, and are well outnumbered by the protestants in the Spiritual Care dept.
I asked the Administration about an ethical question once and was ignored. I took the matter to our diocese Vicar General and he was ignored. I know at least one Catholic family who was dismayed by the end-of life concerns the hospital apparently didn’t give a rip about (r-i-p, see what I did there?) Plus the Hospital blatantly supports Susan B Komen.
As a long time EMHC at the hospital I was denied absolution by the priest on staff when, before the start of my rounds I confessed to loosing my temper over Obama’s gloating on TV over the passage of Obamacare.
But I’ve also witnessed miracles at this hospital.
So I am confused.
I also quit being an EMHC there because of my confusion.
Back to the OP, yes they are. Once the purpose of a catholic hospital was to live out the evangelical witness of the Corporeal Works of Mercy. These days the purpose of a catholic hospital is little more than the bureacratic goal of perpetuating its own existence.

One member asked if I’d choose the hospital with the more qualified staff or that which had maintained its original sense of mission of loving Christ in the persons of the sick. For several generations, it would have been (and barely still is) rational to choose that with the greater standards of technology, training and budget. But this was so ONLY because we’ve enjoyed living in a culture profoundly shaped by the Judeo-Christian worldview and ethic. As that collapses, I expect that it will be less than a generation before I’d gladly take the catholic institution, since it will be the one ruled by morality, not political expedience and power. You think that when hospitals are ruled by politicians the day won’t come when patients will be treated as a field for harvest for the benefit of the powerful and connected? Why not? It is precisly this trajectory of human nature that demonstrates (over and over) our need for a Saviour.
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