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Texas bishop dissents from colleagues’ statement on health-care resources

March 30, 2020

In a rare public disagreement, Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas has dissented from a statement signed by all other Catholic bishops in Texas, supporting Governor Greg Abbott’s plan for setting health-care priorities during the CO19 epidemic.

In their joint statement, issued through the Texas Catholic Conference, the bishops applauded the governor’s efforts to cope with the crisis. They cautioned that new guidelines “should reject rationing of healthcare resources based solely on age, disability, or future ‘quality of life’ decisions.’”

However, in the passage that drew Bishop Strickland’s dissent, the other Texas bishops backed the governor’s bid to protect health-care workers from criminal and civil liability. The bishops approved of “waiving regulations and statutes which could result in fines, civil liability, and even criminal charges for decisions related to the allocation of resources during this declared disaster.”

Bishop Strickland argued that this policy could negate “the excellent laws [Abbott] has helped put in place to protect the vulnerable.” While most health-care workers would carry out their duties conscientiously, Bishop Strickland said, some might allow their own prejudices to guide their medical decisions, “rather than to be guided by respect for the equality of all.”

Bishop Strickland argued: “The fact is that waiving law can do more to benefit lawbreakers and the unscrupulous than good people.”


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  • Posted by: [email protected] - Apr. 02, 2020 9:39 PM ET USA

    Strongly agree with Bishop Strickland. The others want to make it easier for their pockets since many hospitals are in their control. It is sad when Catholic hospitals are pushing for change to ration resources because of age and discriminate due to seriousness of illness. All about money, not taking care of the sick. What a shame. St. Michael defend us.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Mar. 31, 2020 11:18 PM ET USA

    It is not about the best way to respond to covid19. It is about keeping life & death decisions in the hands of the patients.

  • Posted by: wenner1687 - Mar. 31, 2020 6:58 PM ET USA

    Bishop Strickland is a role-model for other bishops to resist synodal peer-pressure for "Group-think" uniformity. I'm glad he's young-- Deo Volunte, he can function as a true leader & trustworthy teacher and defender of the faith for a good few decades.

  • Posted by: Mill├ín Yuso - Mar. 30, 2020 12:15 PM ET USA

    Bishop Strickland is the best example for their eminences to emulate. A shepherd to follow.