VANCOUVER, December 3, 2003 ( – As part of province-wide funding cuts, the British Columbia government under Gordon Campbell has slated the closure of St. Mary’s Hospital in New Westminster. But not without a fight. Archbishop Adam Exner has begun a “vigorous campaign” to retain the 53-bed facility, one of only six Catholic-run health centres in the Province. Archbishop Exner was surprised to learn that the Sisters of Charity of Providence would not be joining a lawsuit launched against the Fraser Health Authority by a coalition of health-care professionals, politicians and union leaders to stop the closure of the hospital the Sisters have owned and operated for 117 years.

Archdiocesan spokesman Monsignor Bernard Rossi told Vancouver Sun reporters that the fundamental reason for keeping the Catholic hospital open is to have it remain a service that respects the right to life.  Msgr. Rossi said the hospital would prohibit procedures that contravene Catholic teaching such as abortion, euthanasia, sterilizations or counselling for contraception. “There is a certain way of delivering health care that comes from our Christian roots,” Rossi said. “It’s not just a business. We do it in the name of Christ.”  Archbishop Exner has long championed the Catholic healthcare system in B.C. In 1993 he held a news conference to announce that the B.C. Catholic-run hospitals would maintain the right to discipline staff members who contravene church teaching in their practice of medicine.  Read Vancouver Sun article at: