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Sale of Boston Catholic hospitals includes option to go secular

May 07, 2010

The controversial sale of Boston's Catholic health-care system includes a provision that would alow the secular buyer to opt out of a requirement to maintain the system's Catholic identity, by paying $25 million to a charity instead.

The proposed sale of the Caritas Christi hospitals to Cerberus Capital Management stipulates that the new owners will run the institutions in accordance with Catholic moral principles. But if that requirement becomes "materially burdensome," the new management could choose to contribute $25 million to a charity chosen by the archdiocese, and remove all signs of Catholic identity from the hospitals. That $25 million would be roughly 3% of the sale price for the hospital system.

The Caritas Christi system, which includes 7 hospitals, has been plagued by financial problems in recent years, and has made several previous efforts to arrange a sale. Last year the Catholic health-care system came under heavy fire for plans to administer a government-run health system that would have required coverage for abortion and contraception. Caritas Christi pulled out of that arrangement just before it was due to take effect, with Boston's Cardinal Sean O'Malley citing irreconcilable conflicts with Church moral teachings.


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  • Posted by: frjpharrington3912 - May. 08, 2010 3:37 PM ET USA

    From the beginning caring for the physically infirm has always been integral to the Church's mission for evangelizing the world. "And whatever town you enter,...cure the sick who are there, and say to them, 'The kingdom of God is at hand to you.'" Catholic health care is faith in action. It manifests the human dimension of the Church as a visible society as well as its supernatural dimension as a spiritual community devoted to works which express its Gospel faith. It is sad to see it go.

  • Posted by: Miss Cathy - May. 07, 2010 4:06 PM ET USA

    These hospitals came to be through the direct funding of the Catholic faithful. I'd rather see them burnt to the ground than to potentially offer culture of death services. I consider the "choice" option a disgrace and offensive to Our Lord and to the memory of the faithful who contributed to their building through funding and service.

  • Posted by: adamah - May. 07, 2010 2:45 PM ET USA

    I wonder why we didn't demand that kind of money from the Jesuits before they went secular?