Matthew Hoffman


Vatican turns critical eye to abortions at Catholic hospitals

Matthew Hoffman

VATICAN CITY, November 16, 2012, ( - Following numerous revelations of abortions performed or promoted in hospitals affiliated with the Catholic Church in Spain’s Catalonia region, the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers is addressing the issue in its annual International Conference, which began on November 15 and ends on Saturday.

The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Tarcicio Bertone, is chairing the event, indicating the deep concern of Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican’s top leadership regarding the issue.

Although he avoided specific reference, Fr. Augusto Chendi, the Council’s undersecretary, noted that there are “lamentable situations” in which the Catholic identity of hospitals is being compromised in favor of anti-life policies.

“We are told about [abortions] and in accordance with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, we try to find an appropriate solution,” said Chendi at the opening of the conference, according to the Spanish pro-life news service HazteOir.

The conference is addressing the issue following a recent hidden-camera video showing that, despite denials by ecclesiastical authorities, the Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona continues to promote and perform abortion.

Controversy over the Sant Pau Hospital and other hospitals in Spain’s Catalonia region that perform abortions and sterilizations and promote contraceptive use has stirred outrage from pro-lifers and has led to monthly protests in front of the Sant Pau Hospital. However, after two years of activism, the killing of the unborn continues at the institutions, which are partially governed by Catholic clerics.

The Holy see is seeking to bring an end to “abhorrent solutions devoid of indispensable ethical principles,” commented Council secretary Jean-Marie Mupendawatu, according to La Stampa. “Health workers who are motivated by faith and Christian morality must become promoters and pioneers of an ethical training that should accompany their professional preparation.”

“The problems are numerous and affect human life from conception until its natural end,” Mupendawatu was quoted as saying by HazteOir. “An ethical orientation is needed. They receive aberrant advice,” he said, adding “it is the hospital that is sick.”

Fr. Custodio Ballester, who has helped to lead the protests against the Sant Pau hospital, told, “In this conference the Church’s credibility is at stake.”

“We will see if they stick to principles, which are sufficiently clear, or if they apply them, above all here in Barcelona,” he added.

Ballester noted that Vatican officials up to now have said almost nothing about the situation in Spain’s Catalonia region. “The only thing we have so far is that ‘opinion’ of an expert offered to the Bishop of Tarrasa, which seeks to avoid involving itself in anything.”

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Responding to the comments of Fr. Chendi, Ballester stated that “It’s not a matter of seeking an ‘adequate solution’ to abortion.  It’s about completely impeding it, if the hospital is Catholic or is sponsored, co-administered, participated or co-directed by the Church.  If they can’t impede them, if they can’t impede abortions, they should denounce it and withdraw.”

Ballester noted that abortions in Catalonian hospitals are not the only problem.

“It’s not just that. It’s the genetic experimentation, the selection of embryos for eugenic purposes, the abortion bills that some ecclesiastics think are not.  The situation has been degenerating for years and now it seems that they are going to speak,” he said.

“In Rome, there is an abundance of guidance but a lack of concrete decisions over what the bishops of Barcelona, Tarassa, and San Feliu should do,” said Ballester.

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