Catholic Hypocrisy (again)
Some of you may be familiar with the string of lawsuits against the billion dollar hospital empire Catholic Health Initiatives that has been occurring in the Denver, CO area. It made the news again yesterday. For those of you not familiar with the story, I will provide a brief summary. For the full story click here. Here is what happened. A woman who was seven months pregnant with twins went to a Catholic Health Initiatives run hospital. She was short of breath and vomiting. In the end, she died of a heart attack, so too did both of the fetuses. Her husband has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the hospital. His reason for doing so is that her obstetrician was on call, but did not answer his page. There has been testimony that, had he done so, he could/should have ordered/performed an emergency C-section, which likely would have saved the twins. The wrongful death lawsuit is being brought on behalf of the twins, as they could have been saved.
I do not want to discuss medical malpractice lawsuits or who is at fault here. In fact, and this may surprise you, that seems to be irrelevant to this case. The Catholic Health Initiatives lawyers did not argue the doctor was not at fault or anything along those lines. Their argument was that “unborn fetuses” are not people and under Colorado do not have the same rights as people, therefore, a lawsuit cannot be brought forward on their behalf. Read that again. Great. Now put aside your own opinion on the matter and read it a third time. Super.
Catholic Health Initiatives has just flipped the entire position of the Catholic Church on its head regarding fetuses, when human life starts, and the rights of said fetus. If you read the article above you will learn that Catholic Health Initiatives designs its policies after the teachings of the Catholic Church and the orders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. They do not perform abortions or prescribe birth control for example. Let me also remind you that they run numerous hospitals and have reported assets of over $15 billion. This group is not some small regional health care company, they run over 170 health care facilities in 17 States.
This story infuriates me. My anger has nothing to do with the outcome of the court case (so far the Catholic Health Initiatives has won twice, it is now going up to Colorado Supreme Court). No, my anger has to do with the blatant hypocrisy of the Catholic Church. It would seem that when a pregnancy inconveniences a woman then the fetus is suddenly a person whose life started at conception and is entitled to the full smorgashboard of human rights. However, when a fetus (or in this case two of them)could potentially cost a (very wealthy) Catholic organization millions of dollars—suddenly a fetus is NOT a person and has NO legal standing or rights.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I hold a special place of contempt for the Catholic Church. They will also further note that the hypocrisy that comes from that corner rarely shocks me. I must admit that this one surprised me. For forty years the Catholic Church has led the fight against abortion. No group has been more vocal on a) when life starts b) that fetuses are full human beings and c) fetuses are entitled to legal rights. Heck, they refer to doctors who perform abortions as murderers. Yet, when money is on the line they completely abandon that fight? That surprised me.
Here is what will not surprise me. This story will not get a great deal of attention. I could not find it mentioned on any of the Catholic news sites. I did not see in/on the major networks of the mainstream media other than Huffington Post. If I were the U.S. government I would be quite excited to see this. There is little doubt that this will hurt all of those anti-HHS mandate lawsuits. One cannot argue that contraception violates the Catholic conscience while at the same time arguing that fetuses are not people and have no rights. Yet that is exactly what will happen. The hypocrisy will not end with this story…it will continue as if nothing has ever happened in Denver.
The behavior that I will witness from many Catholics will bother me. I shared my views on the moderately religious the other day, so don’t want to spend too much time on that today. There is only one thing that would allow the Catholic Church to save face at this point. Disown Catholic Health Initiatives. The only way to save this is a proclamation from Rome denouncing the lawsuit defense that Catholic Health Initiatives is making. However, let’s be honest, that is unlikely to happen, largely because this case is up for its third appeal and it hasn’t happened yet.
I must point out that the moderately devout Catholics who will still attend Church in light of this blatant hypocrisy should be embarrassed. They have certainly lost my respect as “free and clear thinking people”. Oh sure, they might be great people and neighbors, but their brain is turned off. Sure, they might be otherwise intelligent people, but on this point, they might as well be “pet rocks”. The only way to reconcile this gross hypocrisy is to live in cognitive dissonance. However, this time, if one is aware of this story, that dissonance is a choice. This story is like a punch to face level of hypocrisy. You can’t fail to notice it. If you fail to modify your behavior, that is a choice—and one not worthy of respect.
I also would like to point out that it matters not what side of the issue you take on the rights of fetus. From either side of the issue, the Catholic Health Initiatives is hypocritical. Please bear in mind, their policies are those of the Catholic Church—except for the defense of this lawsuit. Catholics who are aware of this story who still support a Church that does not denounce this lawsuit defense are enabling this hypocrisy to continue. There is no other way to look at it. They can’t even argue that they are “working to change the church from within”—the Catholic Church is a monarchy, not a democracy. Rome doesn’t care at all what you think. However, it appears as though large Catholic organizations very much care about their money—even at the expense of their dogma/doctrine, so think carefully when you place your money in the collection basket. The only way you are going to “reach” your organization is with empty pews.
To my atheist and other non-Catholic readers, please spread the word of this story as far and as wide as you can. People need to see the hypocrisy that is the Catholic Church. People need to know what kind of loathsome organization is seeking to affect legislation in this country. People need to see Rome and its tentacles for what is really is: a bloated and hypocritical disease on this planet.
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