Question about HHS Mandate and Catholic Organizations
(10-23-2012, 04:38 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: For the purposes of this discussion, please refer the text below, which describes the religious exemptions allowed by the HHS mandate (see for full text):

Quote:The amended interim final regulations specified that, for purposes of this exemption, a religious employer is one that: (1) Has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose; (2) primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets; (3) primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets; and (4) is a non-profit organization described in section 6033(a)(1) and section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Code. Section 6033(a)(3)(A)(i) and (iii) of the Code refers to churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches, as well as to the exclusively religious activities of any religious order. In the HRSA Guidelines, HRSA exercised its discretion under the amended interim final regulations such that group health plans established and maintained by these religious employers (and any group health insurance coverage provided in connection with such plans) are not required to cover contraceptive services.

My question: if a "Catholic" organization cannot meet all four of the conditions provided above, does it really have any business calling itself "Catholic," anyway? For example, most Catholic hospitals do not hire primarily Catholic employees. Their employees are not required to make a profession of Faith. So what is particularly Catholic about these hospitals, aside from being named after saints and having a couple of plain clothes sisters sitting on the board of directors? Are these institutions doing anything to promote the Catholic Faith?

Obviously, if Catholic hospitals were run by religious (as they once were) and employed only Catholics (i.e. only those willing to make a profession of Faith), it would be a different story. They would be exempt from the HHS mandate (as religious orders, houses of worship, and seminaries are).

Perhaps the Church in America should see this as an opportunity to purify its identity. Perhaps it makes sense for it to renounce the Catholic affiliation of hospitals/organizations that are not exclusively run by Catholics and according to Catholic values.


The key is this: ' (3) primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets;'. Unless the Church were to turn her back on non-Catholics, and refuse to practise true Charity, it would make no difference, ' (I)f Catholic hospitals were run by religious (as they once were) and employed only Catholics (i.e. only those willing to make a profession of Faith)....'
(10-23-2012, 05:29 PM)rbjmartin Wrote:
(10-23-2012, 04:47 PM)Pilgrim Wrote:
(10-23-2012, 04:42 PM)rbjmartin Wrote: OK, I understand that. But in the interests of the Church, why should these institutions be called Catholic or affiliated with the Church if it employees non-Catholics and no profession of Faith is required? What benefit does this do for the Church and for the Faith?

It shows that we are active in the world as Christ asked us to be.

But these institutions are doing so in a natural mode, i.e. for employment. They aren't doing anything differently than secular institutions, as far as I can tell. When it was religious who were running these places, it was in a purely supernatural mode, i.e. not for pay, but for charity.

To distill my inquiry, I ask, "How do these institutions build up the kingdom of God and promote the salvation of souls?"

Some differences that come to mind, though I realize it is not exactly like the “good old days”  …

Catholic hospitals today, in my experience, all have a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament reserved.  Most have a full time priest chaplain, often in residence.  Mass is offered daily or several times a week.  Daily Communion calls are made for all who request (granted that in this day and age this may be by a lay minister).  While they often now may have a lay rather than religious CEO, in the situations I know these have always been Catholic.  There will be a crucifix in the room and other numerous visual reminders around the facility that the hospital is Catholic.  The last two times I’ve had surgery, both in a Catholic hospital, I was specifically asked if I wished to be anointed beforehand, if I wanted to see a priest, if I would like a daily Communion call.  I doubt this happens in a secular hospital.

Here is another difference:

In what is called the Tri-Cities area of southeastern WA State (close to a 200,000 regional population) each of the three cities has its own hospital.  Pasco has the oldest: Our Lady of Lourdes.  Kennewick has a municipal public hospital.  Richland has a “community owned non-profit” (originally started by the Methodists I believe) which today is either managed under contract or leased out to a national for profit health care corporation, I’m not sure of the exact arrangement.

A friend of mine was the attorney (a Catholic) for the Catholic hospital, and his brother (also a practicing Catholic) was on the board.  These two did have a special connection to the institution as their mother was the first baby born in the new OLL building in the 1920’s.  The hospital had previously been housed in a former hotel.  Anyways in WA hospitals are regulated by a state health care authority, and one of the features of that is that certain information becomes part of the public record, so the people can see what’s going on.  My attorney friend shared some interesting information from that record and though the data I’m about to share is a little over a decade old I doubt it has changed.

The city hospital had a profit margin of 10%, which is average for public hospitals I’m told.  The for profit administered hospital had a profit margin of over 20%.  The Catholic hospital had a margin of 3%.  To this day Catholic hospitals are still “stuck” with most of the charity work.
(10-26-2012, 12:56 AM)Poche Wrote:
(10-24-2012, 01:57 AM)rbjmartin Wrote:
(10-24-2012, 01:51 AM)Poche Wrote: Its an attempt to coerce Catholic institutions to subsidize artificial contraception. If this continues, the insurance companies will require their aprticipants to use an "approved" method of contraception.  What could happen is that if the contraception mandate goes through - then all of the Catholic institutions will either close completely or lose their "Catholic" affiliation.
:'(( :'(( :'((

I understand all that. I'm trying to come to an understanding of what makes many of these institutions "Catholic." What is "Catholic" about their mission? Are they doing something that makes them essentially different from Protestant or secular hospitals and which benefits the Church and the salvation of souls?
They are supposed to be works of charity done in the name of the Cahtolic churchh.

But are they works of charity? Are the hospitals caring for patients free of charge? My understanding is that they bill patients just like any other hospital.

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