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Commentary: Caritas Christi’s Deal with the Devil – Part II

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LifeSiteNews.com

Commentary by Judie Brown

See Part I of this two part series.

May 27, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The events in the Archdiocese of Boston that brought about the unbelievably bad news regarding the “joint venture” between Caritas Christi Health Care System and the Centene Corporation of St. Louis, Missouri, continue to unfold at a fast and furious pace.

In view of the public reports that Massachusetts regulators had approved a joint venture between the two entities in early March 2009, public expressions of alarm grew. Concerned Catholics could not help but see that this union would result in Caritas Christi being complicit in some way with providing for, or referring for surgical abortion, medical abortion, contraceptives or sterilization procedures – each of which are considered unacceptable according to Catholic teaching and Catholic health-care ethics.

In early March 2009, headlines and subsequent expressions of serious concern finally led to Cardinal Seán O’Malley’s first statement on the announced business partnership. In response to the questions being asked, Cardinal O’Malley issued this statement:

While I appreciate the opportunity given to Caritas Christi to serve the poor through this agreement, I wish to reaffirm that this agreement can only be realized if the moral obligations for Catholic hospitals as articulated in the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are fulfilled at all times and in all cases. In order to assure me that this agreement will provide for the integrity of the Catholic identity and practices of Caritas Christi Health Care System, I have asked theNational Catholic Bioethics Centerto review the agreement and to assure me that it is faithful to Catholic principles.

The cardinal’s words might have set aside concerns for most Catholics if the fear had not persisted that an acceptable compromise was being forged in the shadows without all of the facts being presented by the cardinal’s office and/or the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC).

One observer astutely told me:

The legalistic fig leafs floated by the [a]rchdiocese so far cannot, and do not, conceal the glaring fact that, by entering into a partnership with Centene, and by agreeing to the immoral requirements of the Massachusetts universal health-care insurance program, Caritas will necessarily be doing and profiting from immoral services that are directly contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church.

Another concerned Catholic wrote in a letter addressed to officials at the NCBC:

You should know that in March of 2008, Attorney General Martha Coakley in her role of overseeing public charities, released a public report with the assertions that the Catholic Church was mismanaging the Caritas Christi Health Care System, and pressured the [a]rchdiocese to cede control of the operation of Caritas Christi Health Care System so that an independent board with expertise in healthcare management can run it.

This indicates the presence of serious financial problems, which might have led, at least in part, to the inauspicious announcement of the venture and back room negotiations that were obviously ongoing.

It is apparent from what we have been able to discern that since the initial announcement of the joint venture between Caritas Christi and the Centene Corporation, details have been either vague or simply do not exist. We have further learned that as of this writing the NCBC has not issued any type of definitive statement involving the acceptance or rejection of the agreement.

Catholic Action League said it best on May 19,

In the continuing controversy over the decision of Caritas Christi Health Care – a network of six Catholic hospitals affiliated with the Boston Archdiocese – to seek a state contract, which will require abortion referrals, there have been several new developments.

 

- On May 4, 2009, CeltiCare Health Plan of Massachusetts announced that Richard D. Lynch had been appointed Plan President and Chief Executive Officer. Based in their new corporate office in Brighton, CeltiCare is a managed care organization that will provide health insurance to Massachusetts residents enrolled in the Commonwealth Care program. CeltiCare’s participation in the Commonwealth Care contract comes as a result of the partnership between Caritas Christi and the Centene Corporation, whose wholly owned subsidiary, the Celtic Insurance Company, is the parent organization of CeltiCare.

 

- In response to an inquiry from the Catholic Action League, Brian Delaney, Director of Communications for CeltiCare, stated on May 11 that, “CeltiCare’s program has been approved by the Massachusetts Connector Authority. Under the contract, CeltiCare will be operational July 1, 2009, and will meet all the [s]tate’s requirements under the Commonwealth Care program, including providing family planning services as appropriate.” Assertions to the contrary by Cardinal O’Malley notwithstanding, this is the third time since February 26 that a representative of the Caritas/Centene partnership has affirmed that the Commonwealth Care contract will include abortion and contraception.

 

- It has now been more than two months since Cardinal O'Malley requested an advisory opinion on the contract from the National Catholic Bioethics Center. On May 14, Fr. Tadeuscz Pacholczyk, [d]irector of [e]ducation for NCBC, stated that, “The NCBC is not able to comment regarding on-going, confidential consultations. Your best source of information would probably be the Archdiocese or perhaps Caritas Christi.” Later, when asked if the opinion had been given to the Archdiocese, another NCBC official told the League “I’m not at liberty to say.”

 

- On May 3, at the annual convention of the Massachusetts Knights of Columbus, the State Council repudiated a resolution by former District Deputy Joseph B. Craven Jr. opposing the Caritas contract with Commonwealth Care. The State Council ruled the measure “rejected” and “out of order,” an impossibility under parliamentary procedure. State Officers claimed that an unnamed Archdiocesan official (reportedly one of the Cardinal’s two secretaries), stated that the resolution contained unspecified factual errors. Deacon John Baniukiewicz then told assembled delegates that “We can’t be more Catholic than the Church,” and “We can’t tell the Cardinal what to do.” The measure was defeated.

 

Catholic Action League Executive Director C.J. Doyle made the following comment: “It is clear that the Caritas/Centene partnership is proceeding with all deliberate speed towards the July 1 start-up date of the Commonwealth Care contract, while the Archdiocese continues its efforts to suppress Catholic opposition to the arrangement. Given the prolonged uncertainty about the nature, or even the public availability of the NCBC advisory opinion, one might reasonably surmise that the Cardinal’s request for their involvement was a public relations tactic intended to buy time and diffuse pro-life opposition. Catholics need to keep the pressure up on the Archdiocese to cancel the contract, and they need to keep Rome informed.”

According to the Boston Rescuer, Bill Cotter, head of Boston’s Operation Rescue and one of the heroic pro-life leaders of the state of Massachusetts “believes the archdiocese was taken off guard by the Caritas move. ‘But,’ he said, ‘there’s been a terrible loss of credibility for the archdiocese. It must forgo the potential financial gain and refuse this pact with the devil.’”

As we mentioned yesterday, American Life League is well aware of the health-care plans being orchestrated by the Obama administration. We are equally aware of President Barack Obama’s track record of using Catholics to his advantage and their willingness, for whatever reason, to be used. Obama’s relatively short history of appointments of totally pro-abortion Catholics, the Notre Dame scandal and other such events lead us to suspect that if the Archdiocese of Boston remains silent and does not demand immediate dissolution of the “joint venture” agreement, the death knell for genuine Catholic health care will have been sounded.

The evil that has gone unaddressed by Cardinal O’Malley, and persists in the context of unanswered questions and absent policies based on Catholic doctrine is scripted by the devil himself. Of that, there is no doubt.

American Life League cannot be silent while such a dastardly plan moves forward with nary a whimper.

It should be obvious that the Archdiocese of Boston could, either knowingly or unknowingly, become the first Catholic casualty as it falls beneath the Obama nationalized health-care bulldozer. Clearly if the Archdiocese of Boston succumbs to dollars over dogma, the end result could devastate Catholic health care nationwide.

As the wise director of Catholic Action League, C.J. Doyle, told Kathleen Gilbert of LifeSiteNews.com:

If Caritas actually intended to accept tax dollars while evading state demands for abortion coverage, every voice on the political left would be raised against it – in the media, in the [l]egislature, and among the advocacy groups. Instead, we have heard nothing but silence from the usual adversaries of the Church.

The only solution is for Caritas to withdraw from the contract.

If there is a morally acceptable justification for all of this, the archdiocese has not disclosed it, notwithstanding three months of raging public scandal. Not only that, but regardless of public opinion that there is little the archdiocese could do in this situation, our perspective is that there is plenty they could do, starting with revocation of the contract itself.

Want to voice your concern? Please do so, writing respectfully but firmly to Seán Cardinal O’Malley. Remember: time is of the essence.

Cardinal Seán O'Malley
66 Brooks Drive
Braintree, MA 02184
Telephone: 617-254-0100
e-mail form:
http://www.bostoncatholic.org/ContactUs.aspx

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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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