Kirsten Andersen

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Detroit Catholic hospital gives abortionists admitting privileges, dispenses abortifacient drugs

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen
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DETROIT, April 29, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A pro-life Catholic in Detroit says she is fed up after three years of pressing a Catholic-affiliated hospital to sever ties with four abortionists and stop offering sterilizations and abortion-causing drugs, to no avail. Now, she’s calling on Archbishop Allen Vigneron to use his moral authority to force Providence Park Hospital to adhere to Catholic standards when it comes to the dignity of human life – or else strip them of their Catholic affiliation.

Providence Park Hospital, which is part of the St. John Providence Catholic health care system, allows four abortionists to maintain admitting privileges at their campus. They are:

  • Moon Paik and Leon Hochman of Physicians Abortion Services, a facility estimated to rake in about $1 million a year;

  • Michael Roth, an independent abortionist with a lengthy track record of botched abortions and malpractice suits who once told the New York Times he has “no ethical problems” with gendercide because he believes “abortion should be available on demand,” and almost lost his medical license because he was performing abortions in women’s homes; and

  • Glenn Taylor, who works part time with Planned Parenthood and part time with the hospital – where he performs sterilizations, in violation of the USCCB's Ethical and Religious Directives (ERD) governing Catholic-affiliated hospitals, and also in violation of public health codes, since he lacks the proper licensure to perform surgical procedures at that location.

Additionally, Taylor's Providence office has reportedly referred callers seeking abortions to his Planned Parenthood office – another violation of the ERD, if true.

There are also reports that outpatient sectors of the hospital prescribe or dispense abortifacient drugs.

Catholic activist Lynn Mills told LifeSiteNews she first learned of the violations three years ago, and immediately contacted the hospital to urge them to sever all ties with the abortion industry.

“I wanted to have a meeting with them,” Mills told LifeSiteNews. “They wrote me back and said they’d need to do an investigation.” Mills says she offered to help them with the investigation, since she had already collected reams of information on all four abortionists. She forwarded them information she had on health code violations, malpractice suits and other potential scandals, but the hospital was not responsive.

“The letter I got back basically said that ‘Until the law changes in Michigan, we kind of have to put up with these guys,” Mills said. She provided LifeSiteNews with a copy of the letter signed by Andrew Santos, a former priest who is now tasked with “mission integration” at the hospital – in other words, he’s the executive in charge of keeping the hospital Catholic.

In his letter, Santos references Michigan statue 333.20184, a law which reads in part: “A hospital, clinic, institution, teaching institution, or other health facility which refuses to allow abortions to be performed on its premises shall not deny staff privileges or employment to an individual for the sole reason that the individual previously participated in, or expressed a willingness to participate in, a termination of pregnancy.”

Santos said that as long as no abortions were being performed on hospital property, there was no way for the hospital to fire abortionists just because of what they do off hospital grounds.

But Mills pointed out that the law says nothing about the firing of employees who fail to maintain proper licensure, or who perform vasectomies in direct defiance of stated hospital policy – two violations of which she claims Taylor is guilty.

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She provided Santos with a copy of a previous warning issued by the hospital to another abortionist who failed to maintain adequate malpractice insurance, threatening immediate termination if he did not comply. Santos, however, declined to respond, telling Mills that the hospital cannot comment on specific personnel matters.

Mills has continued to reach out to hospital executives, including CEO Jean Meyer, to whom she sent a letter last month outlining every scrap of dirt she could find on the four abortionists, along with backup documentation.

“Shocking and horrific on so many levels is the only way to describe these state reports,” she said of the state health board’s complaints against abortionist Michael Roth. “Let us hope it will not reflect poorly on [St. John Providence] by association.”

But Mills isn’t holding her breath waiting for St. John Providence officials to do something. At this point, she’s hoping for intervention from a higher authority – Abp. Vigneron. She’s also been working with Monsignor G. Michael Bugarin of St. Joan of Arc Parish – who also serves as the archdiocesan point man for accusations of clergy misconduct – to at the very least make sure no additional abortionists are allowed to form relationships with St. John Providence.

But that’s not good enough for Mills, who says she won’t rest until all of the existing abortionists are purged from the system, too.

“They’re afraid of getting sued by the abortionists,” Mills said. “So what? Get sued for doing something right.”

“The Catholic Church gets sued for doing bad things all the time,” Mills told LifeSiteNews, referring to the priestly abuse scandals. “How about getting sued for doing the right thing?”

LifeSiteNews reached out to Abp. Vigneron’s office to ask whether the archdiocese planned to take action regarding the complaints against St. John Providence.

“The Archdiocese of Detroit does not own or operate St. John Providence or any other hospitals,” archdiocesan spokesman Joe Kohn told LifeSiteNews. “You would have to contact the hospital about matters regarding its operations. It can be said in general, however, that the Catholic hospitals within the archdiocese demonstrate devotion to their Catholic identity and adherence to the ethical and religious directives.”

St. John Providence Health System did not respond to our requests for comment by press time.

There is a rally and prayer vigil planned for Friday, May 2 at noon near the grounds of Providence Park Hospital.  

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Lisa Bourne

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

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By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

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By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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