August 29, 2018
By Valerie Tarico
As Pennsylvania investigators worked to confirm up to 1000 cases of sexual abusecommitted by Catholic priests, a panel of Catholic ethicist-theologians appointed by the bishops was also hard at work.
Like the Pennsylvania team, the panel serving the bishops sought to ensure that Church-affiliated institutions weren’t ignoring sexual evils. Good on them! you might think. They’re finally taking responsibility for the mess created by their obsession with priestly abstinence.
You’d be wrong.
Bad, Bad Birth Control
The goal of the panel wasn’t to investigate, punish, heal or prevent child sex abuse. It was to ensure that Catholic-controlled healthcare systems don’t look the other way while doctors and other care providers offer contraception, vasectomies, tubal ligations, or abortions (or sexual transition care or death with dignity).
The panel concluded that the bishops must prevent these evils in any institution where they have a say, including secular hospitals that have been acquired by or affiliated with Catholic healthcare corporations. In the past, mergers between Catholic-owned and secular hospitals have sometimes carved out separate legal entities to allow continued provision of reproductive and end-of-life services that are prohibited by the religious directivesgoverning Catholic healthcare “ministries.”
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