Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, recently denounced the Catholic Health Association (CHA) for causing “scandal” with its endorsement of the health care bill and asked that a local diocesan Catholic hospital be removed from its membership list.
In a March 29 letter to Sr. Carol Keehan, director of CHA, Bishop Tobin wrote that he was “very disappointed that the Catholic Health Association, under your leadership, publicly endorsed the recent health care legislation that was passed and signed into law.”
“This action was taken,” the bishop lamented, “despite the fact that the legislation will very possibly provide additional public funding for abortion and threaten the freedom of conscience of Catholic individuals and institutions.”
“Your enthusiastic support of the legislation, in contradiction to the position of the Bishops of the United States, provided an excuse for members of Congress, misled the public and cause serious scandal for many members of the Church,” Bishop Tobin charged.
“Accordingly,” he added, “I am writing to request that St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island, sponsored by the Diocese of Providence, be removed from the membership list and mailing list of the Catholic Health Association.”
Bishop Tobin further stated that “even the association with CHA is now embarrassing, and for that reason I request that our name be removed.”
The Rhode Island bishop concluded his letter telling Sr. Keehan he hopes “that the future of the Catholic Health Association will review its mission and will find new opportunities to renew its commitment to human life, including that of unborn children. I also hope that the Association will clearly support the teaching mission of the Church as expressed by the Bishops, whose obligation it is to preach the Gospel of Christ and apply the teachings of the Church to the important moral issues of our time.”