Tom McFeely is the National Catholic Register’s News Editor. He lives in British Columbia.
At the direction of Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, Caritas Christi Health Care has withdrawn from a proposed joint venture through which it could have been involved in abortion services.
Caritas Christi is the network of six Catholic hospitals that are affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston. On July 1, it was scheduled to acquire 49% ownership share in Celticare Health Plan of Massachusetts in a joint venture agreement with Celtic Group, a subsidiary of Missouri-based Centene Corp.
But after it was disclosed earlier this month that Celticare’s website indicated abortion services would be provided by the health plan, Cardinal O’Malley stated June 11 that Caritas Christi would not be involved in any activities that violate Catholic teachings.
According to a June 26 statement posted at the website of the Archdiocese of Boston, Caritas Christi will not be involved in the joint venture. Instead, it will continue to serve as a provider of health care to individuals enrolled in the state’s Connector Program in order to ensure Caritas Christi is not involved with the provision of abortion services or other services that violate Church teachings.
“The decision to withdraw from the joint venture follows several weeks of discussions between Caritas and Centene and an extensive analysis by the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) which was undertaken at the request of the cardinal,” the statement said. “Over that time, subsequent discussions involving Caritas Christi, the NCBC and the archdiocese were held, and the cardinal made his final determination. The cardinal’s role in reviewing and seeking additional guidance on this proposal is rooted in his responsibility to ensure the Catholic identity and moral character of institutions affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston, including Caritas Christi.”