WASHINGTON (CNS) — The inaugural Symposium to Advance Catholic Health Care on Nov. 12 did not attempt to advance policy proposals, but it had one message: Keep fighting.
Catholic health professionals who see the principles of their faith challenged by pressure for abortion, gender reassignment surgery and euthanasia as well as threats to the protection of conscience rights have a new advocate in the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance founded in January.
The one-day symposium, held at the Catholic University of America’s Columbus School of Law in Washington and attended by about 50 people, is aimed at “scientific research on the future of health care Catholics,” said Dr. Steven White. , pulmonologist, president of the alliance.
“Catholic health care should be a beacon of the gospel of Christ and his healing,” said law school dean Stephen Payne.
In a video presentation, Joshua McCaig, a commercial litigator in Gladstone, Missouri, whose specialty is health law, said Catholic health professionals are “in a perpetual state of uncertainty from year to year as to whether they will be supported or prosecuted” for their beliefs.
He also criticized media hostility to the faith “in a way that distorts Catholic teaching…reducing the Church to a single political issue,” namely abortion.
He added that the harshly divided political landscape has “fissuring the foundation of Catholic health care,” which needs “a unity of purpose and desire, guided by the Holy Spirit.”
Mark Rienzi, president of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, discussed Fulton v. City of Philadelphia.
In this case, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously in 2021 in favor of Catholic social services in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The city of Philadelphia had banned the Catholic agency from doing foster placements because it would not place children with same-sex couples.
The city’s initial response was, “No, we won’t do business with Catholics anymore,” Rienzi observed. “It was a very vindictive attack.”
But following the ruling, the city reached a $2 million settlement. “It only happened because Catholic Social Services didn’t quit. And because they didn’t give up, they got the win,” said Rienzi.
“We’re not used to stories where the enemies of religious liberty back down because they can’t win. The way to lose is to give up before you get there,” he added.
The lead plaintiff was Sharonell Fulton, a longtime foster parent with the Catholic agency. In 2018, when the archdiocese first sued the city, Fulton said she was shocked it came to this because the city “already knew (CSS) was a religious organization” before banning them from doing foster care placements.
“For us, it’s always been about children who are suffering,” Fulton told CatholicPhilly.com, the archdiocese’s news site.
Throughout the court proceedings, she was publicly approached by same-sex couples, who she said “were never left out of the foster care process.” She said she would tell them, “Look, this is not personal. I stand with the church, because that’s what I believe.
In his remarks at the symposium, Rienzi told attendees, “You will have enemies because of who you are and what you believe. It will always be tempting to hide, or close its doors. Their endgame is to fight you with public pressure. If Catholic health care is to survive, more must rise up.
When it comes to abortion, gender dysphoria and suicide pills, these haters “prefer the darker world without you. They want to tell the darkest story.
Plans for a new medical school, St. Padre Pio’s Institute for the Relief of Suffering, on the campus of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. The plans were first announced in September were also discussed at the symposium.
The founders hope to raise $120 million for the School of Osteopathic Medicine so it can open before the end of the decade. Its founders aim to make it considered “the most Catholic medical school in the world”, fully faithful to the magisterium. The school is built in partnership with Catholic Healthcare International.
Doctors of osteopathic medicine practice in all medical specialties, including primary care, pediatrics, OB-GYN, emergency medicine, psychiatry, and surgery.
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