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An excellent analysis of Sr. Keehan’s dissent – UPDATED! January 14, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, Dallas Diocese, foolishness, General Catholic, religious, scandals, sickness, Society.

Sr. Carol Keehan, the head of the ‘catholic’ hospital trade group “Catholic Health Association,” was instrumental in getting Obamacare passed, in spite of it’s numerous abortion funding mechanisms.  A priest from the Diocese of Fall River, Massachussetts, examines her behavior both then, and during Bishop Olmstead’s battle to keep the Catholic identity of hospitals in his Diocese intact (Phoenix) – a battle he ultimately lost, when the hospital refused to adhere to Catholic doctrine and can no longer call itself Catholic:

The first is the response of the CEO and President of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), Sr. Carol Keehan, to the hospital’s actions and Bishop Olmsted’s episcopal reaction. After Bishop Olmsted’s decree, Sr. Keehan released an email statement praising St. Joseph’s and stating that the hospital made the right call in carrying out the abortion. The hospital, she asserted, “carefully evaluated the patient’s situation and correctly applied the ‘Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services’ to it, saving the only life that was possible to save.” In other words, she suggested, not only was Bishop Olmsted dead wrong in his conclusion that St. Joseph’s had violated the ERDs, but also the U.S. Bishops’ Conference’s Committee on Doctrine, which on June 23 published a doctrinal note underlining that the Phoenix procedure was a direct abortion that was “intrinsically wrong” and “never permissible because a good end cannot justify an evil means.” Her intellectually unsustainable position was that she — not Bishop Olmsted and not even the Bishops’ Doctrine Committee — was a better interpreter of the ERDs than the bishops who themselves wrote them. She also failed to mention that the saving of the mother’s life occurred through the direct killing of her child’s.

Sr. Keehan’s actions in the Phoenix case show a similar pattern to her interventions during the national health care debate last year. Sr. Keehan did not say what is legitimately inferred from her emailed statement, that she, in contrast to clear Church teaching, supports a direct abortion in the case of a pregnant woman whose life is at stake.  Instead, she pretended as if she agreed with the bishops’ directives, but only quibbled with their application to the facts of the Phoenix woman and child. During the health care debate, when the bishops came out in opposition to the final version of the bill because it had several surreptitious mechanisms for public funding of abortions. Sr. Keehan’s response was that the bishops were again wrong, not on the principled conclusion that the evil of funding abortions would outweigh the good of vastly extending health care benefits, but on the “facts,” insisting that the bill did not fund abortions despite multiple reputable studies and articles demonstrating how the mammoth bill did. In both cases, she sophistically pretended that the bishops were not wrong on matters of faith and morals but only in their basic ability to read and interpret. In his final speech as President of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference in November, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago called out this attempt to pretend that “only the bishops are too dense to understand complicated pieces of legislation,” retracing the clear evidence of both legislative text and intent and describing how, after passage, a federal agency tried to start funding abortions through three of the mechanisms in the bill.

With regard to the abortion at St. Joseph’s Hospital and to the health care debate, some might say that it shouldn’t be surprising that the head of a trade union representing Catholic Healthcare West and many of the Catholic hospital chains across the country would seek to defend the institutions that fund her organization. But for a Catholic, especially for a religious, such defense shouldn’t be at the expense of the truth and fidelity. Sr. Keehan’s behavior during the health care debates constituted a true scandal and confused many as to whether Catholic legislators and constituents in good conscience could support a bill that funded abortions. Her behavior in the Phoenix situation, rather than calling St. Joseph’s administrators to reconsider their decisions, more likely will lead to their continued defiance of the ERDs and direct other Catholic hospitals down the same immoral course. Jesus spoke in the Gospels about false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing, who arise and lead many astray. While her vesture is different, Sr. Keehan, by her actions, is distinguishing herself as one of the most notable of their contemporary number.


One of the most salient characteristics that distinguish Catholics from Protestant Christians and others is our belief in the authority of the Pope and bishops to teach definitively on faith and morals. That legitimate authority — confided by Christ himself when he said, “He who hears you hears me and he who rejects you rejects me” (Lk 10:16) — simply needs to be recognized and accepted by those Catholics and Catholic institutions who seek to remain faithful. Today, as Anne Hendershott pointed out in a Dec 31 article, we’re facing the reality of Catholic hospitals that “shop for theologians to support practices that conflict with church teachings,” much like guilty defendants shop for clever lawyers and soft judges. Theologians, however, do not constitute a “parallel magisterium” with equal authority to the bishops.

The reason I keep harping on Sr. Keehan, and Dr. Rick Gaillardetz, is this “parallel magisterium” issue.  Dr. Gaillardetz not only argues that theologians constitute part of the Magisterium, he feels they ARE the magisterium, a claim unique in Church history until very recently, when many other progressive ‘catholics’ decided to jump on board his train of ‘logic.’  This is incredibly dangerous – when Gaillardetz spoke to the wayward LCWR female religious in Dallas earlier this year, he hinted darkly at a time when the poor, persecuted, misunderstood heretics of that group would have to form their own church, outside the heinous restrictions of TEH PATRIARCHY!  This has the potential to further wound already weak Church unity, and to lead countless souls astray.  Combined with the misbegotten concepts of “the primacy of the individual conscience” and the constant desire to have total freedom of the groin, there is a growing desire among “dissenting catholics” to set up alternate sources of authority who will give them just what they want – the cult of man, man as god, with no hassling morals to get in the way of their sexual freedom.

These people have no authority.  They are leading people further and further into sin.  That is the root problem.  They are separating large numbers from the Body of Christ.  That is the great tragedy of all this.

UPDATE: From Fr. Alban Butler’s great Lives of the Saints, a reflection on the life of today’s Saint – Doctor of the Church St. Hilary of Poitiers:

“Like St. Hilary, we, too, are called to a lifelong contest with heretics; we shall succeed in proportion as we combine hatred of heresy with compassion for its victims.”

I admit it – I hate the “parallel magisterium.”

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