Catholic World News

Catholic Healthcare West drops ties with Church

January 23, 2012

One of the nation’s largest health-care systems has severed its formal ties with the Catholic Church.

Catholic Healthcare West, a corporation that oversees 40 hospitals in California, Arizona, and Nevada, announced on January 23 that it will now be known as Dignity Health. Officials said that the change would enable to corporation to flourish at a time when many Catholic hospitals are merging with secular health-care systems.

“Our mission, our vision, our values are not changing nor will they change,” claimed Sister Judy Carle, a member of the board of Dignity Health. Future affiliates will be required to subscribe to a “Statement of Common Values” that prohibits abortion, sterilization, and in-vitro fertilization.

In the past, the commitment of Catholic Healthcare West to adhere to Church teachings has been a matter of dispute. In December 2010, after a controversy over an abortion performed at a hospital in Phoenix, Bishop Thomas Olmsted announced that neither the hospital (St. Joseph’s in Phoenix) nor its parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, could rightly be identified as a Catholic institution. Bishop Olmsted reported that in his investigation of the abortion incident, “communications with leadership at St. Joseph’s Hospital and CHW have only eroded my confidence about their commitment to the Church’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Healthcare.”

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 24, 2012 3:47 PM ET USA

    To GymK: Lose.

  • Posted by: Jim.K - Jan. 24, 2012 2:26 PM ET USA

    Will "Catholic nuns" still work in these hospitals? Will Catholic Orders, Dioceses and retirement systems still invest in and/or own these hospitals? I once entered an Anglican Cathedral and was shocked at how "Catholic" it appeared (except for no tabernacle; it was "almost Catholic!") I suspect these hospitals will be similar except that now they can dispense birth control, perform serializations, abortions, etc. without any Catholic oversight or criticism. Did the Bishops/Church win or lose?

  • Posted by: unum - Jan. 24, 2012 9:26 AM ET USA

    “Our mission, our vision, our values are not changing nor will they change,” claimed Sister Judy Carle, a member of the board. If nothing will change, then either they have been lying or there is no reason to make a change. It seems that the American bishops are reaping what they have sowed with their "corporate church". Did Christ really intend that institutions be a visible sign of His love to the world, or did He intend that laypersons living the gospel show carry His message?

  • Posted by: claire5327 - Jan. 23, 2012 8:42 PM ET USA

    "Be thou hot or cold, if thou art luke warm I will vomit thee out from mouth!" Good for our Church to stand firm with the teaching of Christ that we will serve God alone!

  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Jan. 23, 2012 7:11 PM ET USA

    It's about time. At least they can be congratulated for their honesty.