Journal of the San Juan Islands


Bishops make the call if partnership prevails | Letters

February 22, 2013 · 5:34 PM

After reading Jim Barnhart's letter and Lori Stokes' letter, I feel compelled to clarify an important subject for islanders.

This is all about who will control health care policies on the island for a facility that taxpayers are supporting over the next 50 years.

Despite any assurances about local control, in documents submitted to the state, PeaceHealth and CHI have made clear that Peace Island will soon report to a board under CHI/PeaceHealth control. CHI is an integral part of the Catholic Church itself, reporting directly through its board to the Holy See (the governing body of the Vatican) with oversight from the Catholic bishops.

Nancy Steiger has been careful to say that all policies are subject to change, which makes sense given that CHI requires all employees to follow all of the bishops ethical and religious directives as a condition of employment — which would mean, for example, that a woman presenting with an ectopic pregnancy (which is life threatening) would be in the hands of a doctor whose employment contract requires that he/she follow the directive that says abortions are forbidden under any circumstances. There is even a directive that forbids abortion in the case of an extrauterine pregnancy.

For anyone who wants to read more about how church officials refer to the CHI relationship with the Vatican in the Catholic press, here's an excerpt from a recent interview:

"Catholic Health Initiatives is a public juridic person. It is a certain kind of canonical institution, which, in this case, is overseen by the Office of Consecrated Life at the Holy See. Public juridic persons speak and act in the name of the Church. Canonically, when Catholic Health Initiatives speaks, it is appropriate for us to say that the Church is speaking. But the relationship between CHI and the diocese is a complex one. CHI’s internal governance and policy are determined by its statutes and by its board of directors and is overseen by the Holy See. But its apostolates, its apostolic work and, in this case, its healing work — those things are reviewed by the local bishops, are overseen by the local bishops to assure that the work that CHI is doing is done in accord with the teachings of the Church."

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/denver-archdiocesan-official-catholic-health-group-affirms-the-unborn/#ixzz2L66Exmwz

Monica Harrington/San Juan Island


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