Ought we rejoice in Lent? Well, Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon, has given us the absolute best reason to rejoice in a penitential season: he yanked the title "Catholic" from a hospital in his diocese that refuses actually to be Catholic. What a refreshing development in episcopal leadership! In fact, Lent is probably the perfect time for such an act to take place because it is an exercise of discipline and courage, which we love to see in our prelates. Bishops who are true shepherds, and not politicians, strengthen us and enliven our faith - thank you, Bishop Vasa!
The point of contention that the good bishop had with the St. Charles Hospital in Bend, OR was the hospital's practice of surgical sterilization. Apparently the Board of Directors thought that the Church's clear prohibition of this practice was, uh, optional. So after a fair and timely investigation, the bishop could not convince the hospital administration to change practices and simply yanked the Catholic name and insignia from the building with the exception of the cross on top to remind them of their failure to live up to the challenge of the Cross.
Can't you hear the bishop wince when the president of the healthcare chain, James Diegel, said that the hospital had "an obligation to provide comprehensive health care services to our patients while remaining true to our values of compassion and caring for all"? This sounds like slimy Planned Parenthood language if you ask me. Outside of the fact that sterilization is the direct mutilation of an organ of the body and is not true health - care, the Church condemns the act in no uncertain terms as immoral. Well, the bishop was right not to tolerate that kind of nonsense - and the Church is stronger for it!
One hates to think how many other nominally Catholic hospitals are getting away with the same thing due to lack of honest Church investigations into their practices….
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International