Home   |  About Us   |  Contacts   |  Products    
 News Items
 Top Stories
 News Briefs
 Vatican
 Origins
 Africa
 Headlines
 Also Featuring
 Movie Reviews
 Sunday Scripture
 CNS Blog
 Links to Clients
 Major Events
 2008 papal visit
 World Youth Day
 John Paul II
 For Clients
 Client Login
 CNS Insider
 We're also on ...
 Facebook
 Twitter
 RSS Feeds
 Top Stories
 Vatican
 Movie Reviews
 CNS Blog
.
 For More Info

 If you would like
 more information
 about Catholic
 News Service,
 please contact
 CNS at one of
 the following:
 cns@
 catholicnews.com
 or
 (202) 541-3250

.
 Copyright

 This material
 may not
 be published,
 broadcast,
 rewritten or
 otherwise
 distributed,
 except by
 linking to
 a page on
 this site.

.
 CNS Story:

HOSPITAL-BAKER Feb-16-2010 (570 words) With photo. xxxn

Bishop says Oregon hospital can no longer be called Catholic

By Ed Langlois
Catholic News Service

PORTLAND, Ore. (CNS) -- The Diocese of Baker has ended the church's official sponsorship of central Oregon's largest medical center, citing the hospital's refusal to adhere to some Catholic teachings.

Baker Bishop Robert F. Vasa said St. Charles Medical Center in Bend "gradually moved away" from church ethical and religious standards and can no longer be called Catholic.

"As bishop, I am responsible for attesting to the full Catholicity of the hospitals in my diocese, a responsibility which I take very seriously, and I have reached the conclusion that I can no longer attest to the Catholicity of St. Charles," Bishop Vasa wrote in the Feb. 18 issue of the Catholic Sentinel, diocesan newspaper for Portland and Baker.

The main point of contention is tubal ligation, a form of permanent female reproductive sterilization.

"It would be misleading for me to allow St. Charles Bend to be acknowledged as Catholic in name while I am certain that some important tenets of the ethical and religious directives are no longer being observed," the bishop said in a statement issued jointly with hospital officials.

The statement said the decision was difficult for all involved.

Mass will no longer be celebrated in the hospital's chapel and all items considered Catholic will be removed from the hospital and returned to the church. The St. Charles name will remain the same and the cross will remain on top of the building.

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Tipton, Ind., founded St. Charles 92 years ago. In the 1970s, the hospital became a community nonprofit organization with the sisters remaining as sponsors.

In 1992, when the sisters decided they could no longer sponsor St. Charles because of the smaller number of sisters, an "association of the Christian faithful" took up the duty of making sure the hospital's Catholic identity was preserved. At the same time, control of policy and operations went to a board of directors.

Bishop Vasa said the association's structure did not give it sufficient authority to control the tenets of Catholic identity as expressed in the U.S. bishops' "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services." In 2007, the bishop asked St. Charles officials for an audit of compliance with the directives. He identified problems and began talks, which hit an impasse.

In the joint statement Feb. 15, hospital administrators and the bishop said they have "respectfully disagreed" on the meaning of some of the directives.

"We are saddened by this decision because of the 92 years of history the St. Charles Bend hospital has had with the Catholic Church," said James Diegel, president and CEO of Cascade Healthcare Community, the parent company of St. Charles. "But, we have an obligation to provide comprehensive health care services to our patients while remaining true to our values of compassion and caring for all."

Diegel said the Cascade Healthcare board of directors intends to continue using the ethical and religious directives as they have been interpreted by the hospital. Bishop Vasa has encouraged the hospital to stay as close to the directives as possible in the future.

"This is not a condemnation of St. Charles, it is a sadly acknowledged reality," Bishop Vasa wrote in the Sentinel.

The bishop said he is convinced that the St. Charles board genuinely thought the ethical and religious directives were voluntary and optional and board members now cannot see a way to move back into compliance.

END


Copyright (c) 2010 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed.
CNS · 3211 Fourth St NE · Washington DC 20017 · 202.541.3250