Raymond Arroyo: Sr. Carol Keehan Returns to the Fold
When Catholic legislators were inclined to follow the moral teachings of the Church and vote against the Health Care Reform legislation last summer, a Catholic sister stepped into the fray and changed everything. Sister Carol Keehan, the head of the Catholic Health Association (a lobbying group for Catholic hospitals), dismissed the moral objections to the bill, openly defied the bishops, and gave legislators moral cover to support the flawed health reform act.
Putting aside the funding inconsistencies in the law and the health insurance mandate that was recently ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge, the bishops objected to the funding of abortion, the absence of conscience clause protections, and the lack of coverage for immigrant populations. For Catholics the support of abortion in the bill alone made it unacceptable. Unlike other prudential judgements, this one is always a moral deal breaker. Still, Sister Carol supported to the bill and insured its narrow passage.
Then when Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Pheonix, determined that a Catholic hospital in his diocese had violated Catholic teaching by allowing an abortion on its premises, Sr. Carol spoke up again. She and the Catholic Health Association cried foul when Bishop Olmsted revoked the Catholic status of the hospital in question. Sr. Carol and the CHA were openly defying the authority of a bishop to interpret the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services in his own diocese–and fermenting wider dissent.
As a result of ongoing “dialogue” between the CHA and the Bishops’ Conference, Sister Keehan has apparently seen the light. Continue reading
Let’s continue to pray for her!