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Irish religious order cedes control of hospitals, reacting to fear of religious influence

May 29, 2017

A Catholic religious order in Ireland has agreed to withdraw from the administration of three hospitals, because of concerns that Catholic moral principles would influence health-care decisions.

The Sisters of Charity announced that they cede control of the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group, which the hospitals, handing over ownership to a secular corporation—which will also be called “St. Vincent’s”—established for that purpose.

Irish health minister welcomed the move, saying: “It directly addresses concerns regarding the question of religious influence in the new National Maternity Hospital and further illustrates the constructive role of the sisters to facilitate this landmark project.”

A plan to locate the National Maternity Hospital at St. Vincent’s had encountered opposition because of concerns that a Catholic institution would not allow for abortions and sterilizations. In fact, however, the Irish Independent reported that some abortions have already been performed at St. Vincent’s, under the terms of new Irish legislation allowing for legal abortion if the mother’s health is in danger.


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  • Posted by: Lucius49 - May. 31, 2017 1:10 PM ET USA


  • Posted by: - May. 31, 2017 11:14 AM ET USA

    A Catholic hospital is required to apply moral principals in the care of its patients. this includes not having abortions, euthanasia/assisted suicide, or other morally wrong procedures. The dear sisters should not give up control of the hospitals. A Catholic hospital here in AZ was stripped of its right to have mass offered in its chapel because they had allowed an abortion to be performed.

  • Posted by: rangefar6681 - May. 30, 2017 4:55 PM ET USA

    The Sisters of Charity have forsaken their responsibility to uphold moral principles in the practice of healthcare. Catholic moral principles are dictates of sound reason, and the appropriate concern would be that they would NOT influence healthcare decisions. That the controlling secular corporation will retain the name "St. Vincent's" is appalling and a cause of grief.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - May. 30, 2017 11:39 AM ET USA

    The Irish are following the U.S.'s lead for once: using the law to close down Catholic hospitals. Obama in his suzerainty started it under the Catholic Sebelius. Catholic hospitals were bastions of Catholic charity for all who needed succor, regardless of creed, skin color, or ability to pay. They were clean and kind. In a shrinking Church, don't look for them to make a comeback soon. The "me generation" just isn't that into service to the dispossessed, the shunned, the devout, and the powerless