On August 31st, the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts broke the story in the Catholic media that Caritas Christi Health Care --- the network of six Catholic hospitals affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston --- would operate the Rhode Island hospital it is acquiring, Landmark Medical Center of Woonsocket, as a secular facility which would continue performing sterilizations and distributing contraceptives.
Within twenty four hours, the Archdiocese began to reverse the decision by Caritas to keep Landmark secular, and now asserts that Landmark will become a Catholic hospital compliant with Catholic medical ethics. This is a direct disavowal of the statement by Caritas Director of Media Relations Chris Murphy, who told The Providence Journal "Our intent is to preserve Landmark in its current form, which includes no religious affiliation."
The Catholic Action League called the reversal "a victory, though probably a temporary one, in the campaign to keep Caritas Catholic."
Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle made the following comment: "First, Landmark was to become a Catholic hospital. Then it wasn't. Now, it is to become Catholic again. 'Who's in charge?' might be a interesting question to explore."
"It is unimaginable that Caritas spokesman Chris Murphy would have publicly announced that Landmark was to remain a secular institution without the explicit approval of Caritas President Ralph de la Torre. It is equally unlikely, that after fifteen months of negotiations between Landmark and Caritas, Doctor de la Torre would not have apprised his Board of Governors of this decision, which includes an Archdiocesan Cabinet Secretary and close advisor to Cardinal O'Malley."
"Whether the Archdiocese of Boston is trying to affirm Catholic moral teaching or simply trying to dig itself out of another embarrassing scandal of its own making, remains to be seen. Given the buy-out clause which will allow the new owners of Caritas to terminate the Catholic identity of the system for the payment of an eight figure fee, it is likely that it won't take long for us to find out."