By John-Henry Westen

WASHINGTON, DC, June 4, 2010 ( – Sister Carol Keehan, President of the US Catholic Health Association, has been pressured off the prestigious Holy Family Hospital Foundation board over her support for the federal health care bill. Sr. Keehan, in opposition to the United States bishops, was a key supporter of the abortion-expanding bill – so much so that she was given one of the 21 ceremonial pens President Obama used to sign the measure into law.

The hospital is a work of a Catholic Order known as the Knights of Malta.

One of the members who holds the position of Hospitaller, a leading office in the ancient Order, wrote a letter of concern to the presidents of all the Order of Malta associations in the United States noting that Sister Keehan remained on the board of the Holy Family Hospital Foundation even though she supported the health care bill, which opens taxpayer funding of abortion, and even though she acted in contradiction to U.S. bishops.

In response to the complaint, Sister Keehan resigned from the board with a letter of her own in which she expressed great displeasure with the criticism directed at her, characterizing it as “abusive.”

However, the “abusive” criticisms in the letter of complaint were mostly a compilation of quotes from the Vatican’s Archbishop Raymond Burke who, like other bishops in the US such as Kansas City Archbishop Joseph Naumann, expressed shock at Sister Keehan’s defiance of their pro-life opposition to Obamacare.

“Who could imagine that consecrated religious would openly, and in defiance of the bishops as successors of the apostles, publicly endorse legislation containing provisions which violated the natural moral law in its most fundamental tenets – the safeguarding and promoting of innocent and defenseless life, and fail to safeguard the demands of the free exercise of conscience for health care workers?,” wrote Burke.

“The spiritual harm done to the individual religious who are disobedient and also the grave scandal caused to the faithful and people in general are of incalculable dimensions.”

Although LifeSiteNews viewed Keehan’s letter of resignation decrying “abusive” treatment, Fred Caesar, Special Assistant to the CHA President, Keehan denied the situation. “Sr. Carol Keehan was not ‘pressured off the Holy Family Hospital Foundation Board’ in any way,” Ceasar responded to LifeSiteNews. “You can verify that fact with the Chairman,” he added, refusing further comment.

In fact, Chairman James Murray’s letter to the Hospitaller, also seen by LSN, said specifically that “Sister Carol has tendered her resignation from the Board as a result of your letter.”

The Chairman expressed displeasure with the situation saying that the Hospitaller had, by causing Keehan to resign, harmed the work of the foundation and the hospital as well as the women who use it.

In the end, suggested a Knight who wished to remain unnamed, “Carol Keehan was basically forced out under pressure by Knights and Dames of Malta.” It was, he said “part of an ongoing effort to keep the Order of Malta true to its pro-life foundations.”