Catholic Institutions Under Pressure

She cited a report chaired by former Greens' assembly member Kerrie Tucker, who recommended that the hospital be taken out of Catholic hands or sold to the government because it won't do abortions, elective sterilizations or the "full range of reproductive services."

Health workers

The United States, of course, has been through these debates earlier this year when the Obama administration rescinded rules protecting health workers who do not wish to take part in abortions.

In February the Department of Health and Human Services gave notice that it was undoing the rules, reported the New York Times, Feb. 28.

In a statement dated March 23 the Office of the General Council of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared that: "Protection of the basic right of conscience takes on even greater urgency when members of the healing professions are subjected to pressure, or risk being pressured, to participate in the taking of innocent human life, conduct which is directly inimical to the role and function of medicine."

The statement also pointed out the fundamental contradiction between the position of the federal administration in committing itself to a policy of "choice" as regards abortion, while at the same time removing the possibility of choice for nurses, doctors, and hospitals not to provide or facilitate abortions.

Archbishop Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature, addressed the theme of the culture of life in the current political context in a dinner held Sept.18.

"While true religion teaches the natural moral law, the observance of the moral law is not a confessional practice," he observed. "It is rather a response to what is inscribed in the depths of every human heart," he said.

"If Christians fail to articulate and uphold the natural moral law, then they fail in the fundamental duty of patriotism, of loving their country by serving the common good," he affirmed. Thus, violating the rights of conscience not only is an affront to believers, but also a denial of the fundamental principles that should guide a secular society.


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