Catholic health care ethics topic of seminar

BRIGHTON —The guiding principles and complexities of Catholic health care ethics and the inner workings of ethics debate were laid bare in the annual seminar on Catholic health care ethics, sponsored by The National Catholic Bioethics Center. Held Aug. 8–10 at Caritas St. Elizabeth Medical Center, the seminar, “Ethical Decision Making in Catholic Health Care: Guidance for the Perplexed,” attracted deacons, priests, sisters, seminarians, medical students and physicians, pharmacists, and others interested in health care from across the U.S. and around the world including Nigeria, Poland, Ireland, and Italy.

The seminar began on Friday, Aug. 8 with Mass. The first presentation was given by president of the NCBC, John Haas, Ph.D., S.T.L., titled “Ethical Decision Making: What Is the Role of the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services?” (ERDs). Haas spoke on the history of the ERDs, which can be traced back to 1913, and the prominence of Catholic health care. As an example, he stated that Catholic health care in Tulsa, Okla. (with a Catholic population of one to two percent), provides 80 percent of the acute medical care for the area. Haas also addressed the use of euphemisms in health care ethics today, such as calling abortion “termination of pregnancy.” One would not need euphemisms if one were doing something one felt right about, he said.

"This is a sign that the moral law is written in our hearts," he said, and it is a sign of hope. Quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, Haas said "God is offended by us only when we act against our own good."

Father Germain Kopaczynski, OFM Conv., Ph.D., S.T.D., the center’s director of education, followed with a talk on how to approach perplexing problems in health care ethics. The main principles of Catholic health care ethics, he said, are human dignity, the sanctity of life, “the principle of double effect,” “the principle of totality,” and “informed consent,” among others. In order to approach these problems, one must “fight for words” by seeking to clarify terms used to describe procedures. One example in the fight for words is that “somatic cell nuclear transfer” is really “cloning.”

Edward Furton, Ph.D., NCBC director of publications, spoke on the ethical issues surrounding vaccines, saying that it is important for parents to vaccinate their children.

On Friday afternoon, Lorna Cvetkovich, M.D., spoke on pre-natal complications from a medical perspective. She said that there are virtually no situations today in which an abortion must be performed in order to save the life of the mother. The true reasons for such abortions are fear, ignorance, and medical legal liability.

Peter Cataldo, Ph.D., director of research, followed up with the moral perspective on pre-natal complications. “The embryo is a person,” he said, “an intrinsically unified individual being.”

The seminar participants got a taste of the health care ethics debate that goes on among ethicists in the open forum at the end of the first day. Participants’ questions were answered and the more complex ones were debated by the day’s presenters. Where the magisterium has not made a definitive judgment, disagreement and debate do arise.

Haas opened the Saturday sessions speaking about contraception, sterilization and Natural Family Planning. Animals obey the laws of nature, he said, humans obey the natural law, which St. Thomas Aquinas defined as “the rational creature’s conscious participation in the eternal law.” Reasonable human behavior is to act on behalf of ends. In marriage, these ends, or purposes, are the unity of the couple and the procreation of children. Cvetkovich added that Natural Family Planning is marriage enhancing and adds to women’s self-respect.

Gerald Corcoran, M.D., spoke on “The Impact of HIPAA on the Professional-Patient Relationship: Sorting Out Fact from Fiction.” The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 places restrictions on what information the health care professionals or institutions may give out and to whom. Also, the patient should learn more about whom they are giving permission to and to whom they should give permission to see records.

Father Albert Moraczewski, OP, Ph.D., S.T.M., founding president of the NCBC, spoke on the legitimate reach of technology and the immorality of human cloning and human embryonic stem cell research in a talk entitled “Living by Your Principles: The Case of Genes, Cloning, and Stem Cells.”

In the afternoon, Father Kopaczynski discussed “Some End of Life Cases in the News” and Furton spoke on organ transplants and brain death. There are two different criteria by which death may be determined with moral certainty: neurological criteria (“brain death”) and the stopping of the heart, Furton said. Either one, by itself, is morally acceptable. As both Pope John Paul II and Pope Pius XII have said, the determination of death resides in the hands of the medical experts and does not fall under the expertise of the Church. Furton added that organ donation, while not required, is a heroic act.

Saturday concluded with another open forum and a Mass.

On the conference’s final day, Father Moraczewski, Cataldo, and Ovide Lamontagne, J.D., all spoke on the topic of cooperation. Speaking on institutional cooperation, Cataldo pointed out that there is “no value-neutral health care.” Health care is “always provided according to a particular vision of what is good for the patient as a human person.” When a Catholic institution is looking into cooperating with another institution, the vision of health care of each must be examined and potential conflicts identified. Those conflicts, such as abortion and sterilization, must not be promoted or facilitated by the Catholic party to the agreement. Lamontagne pointed out the areas in institutional cooperation in which such conflicts can arise, including the type of ownership the institution will have, such as the governance relationship and management styles, and the contracting relationships. All these areas must be examined in order to avoid conflicts of vision and to preserve Catholic values. The day concluded with another open forum.

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Catholic workers say U.S. aid cuts to Palestinians could be disastrous

JERUSALEM (CNS) -- The U.S. budgetary cuts to humanitarian aid institutions helping Palestinians could lead to long-term disastrous consequences, said ...