Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

a ringing-- well, maybe jingling -- defense of conscience

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 28, 2010

 At an April panel discussion at Boston College on "conscience clause" exemptions for health-care workers, Father J. Bryan Hehir spoke first. The priest who frames public policy for the Boston archdiocese delivered this message, as reported in Boston College Magazine:

If we don't achieve a "fair adjudication" to thorny questions such as whether a gynecologist who refuses to perform abortions must refer a patient to an abortion provider or whether a pharmacist can be required to supply a morning-after contraceptive, we put at risk the health-care profession, the patient requesting the services, and the role of non-profits in the social welfare system, Hehir said.

To be fair, the phrasing of that message (apart from the 2-word quote) was done by the magazine reporter, not Father Hehir. We can blame the reporter for using telltale terms like "abortion provider" rather than "abortionist," and "morning-after contraceptive" rather than "abortifacient pill." Still, assuming that the reporter came within shouting distance of Father Hehir's intent, let's take a closer look:

...we put at risk the health-care profession, the patient requesting the services, and the role of non-profits in the social welfare system,...

 What's missing from that list of endangered values? The individual conscience: which was, you may recall, the subject of the evening's panel discussion. Father Hehir's concern about health-care institutions and non-profit agencies was expressed clearly enough to make an impression on the Boston College Magazine reporter. His concern for individual Catholics who might be compelled by law to perform immoral actions wasn't so memorable. 

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: jjen009 - May. 28, 2010 6:06 PM ET USA

    We put the patient at risk?? Aren't 'we', by not helping with abortion, protecting the patient?? Perhaps I am confused - or perhaps someone is :-)

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Insights on the enigma that is Pope Francis March 27
Our Most Characteristic Vice? March 27
Recognizing the Noonday Devil March 27
Patricia Jannuzzi on gay activists: And the real problem is? March 27
Surrogate parenthood = exploitation of desperate women March 27

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope announces Jubilee: a Year of Mercy CWN - March 13