CARITAS CHRISTI REVERSES DECISION
ON RELIGIOUS CHARACTER OF LANDMARK HOSPITAL
On August 27th, Landmark Medical Center of Woonsocket submitted a signed asset purchase agreement to the Rhode Island Superior Court providing for its acquisition by Caritas Christi Health Care, the network of six Catholic hospitals affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston. The Boston Globe previously reported that the merger would result in Landmark becoming a Catholic hospital. Now,
The Providence Journal reports that Landmark will remain a secular facility.
According to Landmark spokesman Bill Fischer, "The goal is to remain secular, and that's what we're aiming for," while Caritas Director of Media Relations Chris Murphy stated " Our intent is to preserve Landmark in its current form, which includes no religious affiliation."
This means that Caritas will own and operate a facility where sterilizations are performed and abortifacient contraceptive services are provided.
Approval of the sale must be granted by Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, Superior Court Judge Michael A. Silverstein, and the Rhode Island Department of Health. Meanwhile, approval is still pending from the Holy See, the Supreme Judicial Court of the Commonwealth, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for the acquisition of Caritas Christi by the Steward Healthcare System, the for profit subsidiary of Cerberus Capital Management.
The Catholic Action League called the decision to keep Landmark secular "further evidence that the Archdiocese of Boston has not been straightforward about the future Catholic identity of Caritas Christi Health Care."
Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle stated: "It is morally impermissible for a Catholic health care entity to participate in contraception and sterilizations. That is gravely contrary to Catholic moral teaching and is a direct violation of the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops."
"More troubling however, is the lack of candor. During the 2009 controversy over a proposed joint venture between Caritas Christi and the Centene Corporation, Cardinal Sean O'Malley gave repeated assurances that Caritas would do nothing contrary to Catholic moral principles, going so far as to assert that those who suggested otherwise were 'doing a grave disservice to the Church.' Caritas was later forced to withdraw from the venture when it became apparent that it would entail abortion referrals."
"In the public discourse about the impending transfer of Caritas Christi to Cerberus, the Cardinal, the Archdiocese, and Caritas have all claimed that the hospital network's continuing Catholic identity is assured. In testimony at a public hearing on July 1st however, James Karam, Chairman of the Board of Governors of Caritas Christi stated ' I told the Cardinal that we cannot guarantee the future Catholic identity of Caritas.'"
"The retention of Landmark's secular identity is a disturbing harbinger of the likely future secularization of Caritas itself. It is now clear that what remains of the Catholic identity of Caritas Christi is being progressively abandoned, that the Archdiocese of Boston has consented to this abandonment, and that neither the Archdiocese nor Caritas is being forthright with the public and with the Catholic community about the consequences of this policy."