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Rhode Island bishop raps CHA stand on health care, withdraws hospital membership

CWN - April 13, 2010

Bishop Tomas Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island, has asked that a local Catholic hospital be dropped from membership in the Catholic Health Association (CHA) because of the CHA's public endorsement of President Obama's health-care reform bill.

In a letter to Sister Carol Keehan, the president of CHA, Bishop Tobin asked that St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island be removed from the group's membership roster. The hospital was not paying membership dues because of financial difficulties. But the bishop said that even an non-paying membership "is now embarrassing" to the Providence diocese.

"Your enthusiastic support of the [health-care reform] legislation, in contradiction to the position of the Bishops of the United States, provided an excuse for members of Congress, misled the public and caused serious scandal for many members of the Church," the bishop wrote to Sister Keehan. He closed with the hope that the CHA "will review its mission" and in the future "will clearly support the teaching mission of the Church."

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