Boston “Catholic” Hospital Flying Rainbow Flag

BCI has been on vacation for the past two weeks. We came back to find an inbox full of issues to be addressed.  These include Steward Health Care’s flagrant disregard for their commitment to maintain the Catholic identity at the Caritas Christi hospitals they acquired in 2010. The poster child for this problem is Carney Hospital in Dorchester, which has been flying the rainbow flag that symbolizes “gay pride” and so-called  lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements.  A Catholic Action League press release tells us they flew the rainbow flag from the flagpole in front of the hospital for two weeks following the June 26th U. S. Supreme Court decision on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8.  According to a report from a concerned Catholic who called the Carney, a hospital representative said it was being flown to “celebrate” the court ruling.

Photos can be found below and more information is here.

Even though the hospitals are owned and operated by Steward Health Care, they are legally bound to maintain a Catholic identity. The person on Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s leadership team responsible for overseeing their maintenance of Catholic identity is Fr. Bryan Hehir, Secretary for Social Services and Health Care.  Are both the Cardinal and Fr. Hehir aware of this?  What have they done?

In addition, as reported at The Tenth Crusade, Carney Hospital just gave financial support to some kind of sex-themed carnival in June sponsored by a local homosexual political activism organization, DotOUT, that featured “strong men and fortune tellers”:

Carney Hospital, which is supposed to be maintaining a Catholic identity, was a Corporate/Platinum sponsor of the carnival.  We are not making this up.

To help Cardinal O’Malley, Fr. Hehir, and Vicar General Bishop Deeley remember the terms of the sale agreement, we excerpt from a few BCI posts and The Pilot:

In Removing Christ from Caritas Christi (2011), we wrote:

The goal of the stewardship agreement that set out conditions of the sale was said at the time to preserve the Catholic identity of the hospitals forever.

Christopher Murphy, a spokesman for the network, said the stewardship agreement would be designed to permanently maintain the hospital’s Catholic identity….“The main point is that it’s designed to last forever,” he said. “That’s the prevailing hope of everyone involved, that . . . the Catholic tradition of Caritas Christi stays in place forever.”  (Boston Globe, April 28, 2010)

“We announced yesterday that an agreement has been reached with Cerberus that ensures the Catholic identity of the Caritas Christi hospitals… this stewardship agreement was a key component for us because it will preserve the Catholic identity of Caritas.” (Cardinal Seans blog, May 7, 2010)

In “Caritas Christi: Is Catholic Healthcare in Boston Being Sold-off for a Few Silver Coins?” (2010) we wrote:

9. Does the Archdiocese acknowledge or deny that the Catholic identity for Caritas will likely disappear after 3 years?

A blog at the Wall Street Journal said, “In Hospital deal, How Much is a Catholic Identity Worth: Just 3%.”  Despite comments by Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson and Fr. Bryan Hehir saying the stewardship agreement “memorializes” the commitment to maintain the Catholic identity of Caritas Christi and represents a strong commitment to operate the hospitals according to Church religious and moral directives, the exit clause that allows Cerberus to pay $25 million to drop the Catholic identity negates what both officials have said.  So, let us be realistic that the proposed guarantees for maintaining the system’s Catholic identity beyond 3 years are lacking in substance and credibility. It feels like the tale of “The Emperor Has No Clothes.”  Everyone says the emperor looks handsome in his new clothes.  Perhaps it would be better to stop pretending this arrangement is something which it clearly is not.

The Catholic Action League message on this one from 2010 seems to merit repeating, just as a reality check:

This impending transfer of ownership means that the future of 150 years of Catholic health care in Boston will be within the discretionary authority of a non-Catholic, for profit, out of state, capitalist corporation.  It is now clear that Caritas Christi will be rapidly secularized, that such iconic Catholic institutions as Carney Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center will no longer defend the culture of life, and Catholic and other pro-life doctors, nurses, and administrators will lose their conscience protections.”

This comes just five years after Catholic Charities withdrew from adoption services in Greater Boston.   Beautiful and historic churches are being closed, the parish based Catholic school system is being effectively downsized into ‘consolidated’, lay-governed regional academies, and now the Catholic hospital system, which dates back to 1863, is about to be abandoned.  A two hundred year legacy of Catholicism in Boston, as reflected in an institutional infrastructure, is being systematically dismantled and improvidently discarded.

Then there is this, the pièce de résistance from The Pilot, “Agreement will assure Catholic identity of Caritas hospitals” (May 2010):

BRAINTREE — After a lengthy process, the Archdiocese of Boston says it has reached an agreement with a venture capitalist firm that will keep hospitals of the Caritas Christi Health Care afloat as well as maintain their Catholic identities.

“The Stewardship Agreement memorializes Steward’s commitment to maintain the Catholic identity of the Caritas Christi Healthcare system and its fidelity to the mission of the Church’s healthcare ministry,” Father Richard Erikson, the archdiocese’s vicar general and moderator of the Curia, said in a May 6 statement announcing the agreement.

Father J. Bryan Hehir, the archdiocese’s health and social services secretary, said that the ethical and religious directives provide the framework by which Catholic health care operates in the United States. They include sacramental and pastoral care for all patients regardless of religious denomination as well as contain key social justice components and bioethical provisions aimed at preserving the sanctity and dignity of human life.

The recently-signed agreement between the archdiocese and Steward provides that the Archbishop of Boston will oversee that the Caritas hospitals run in accordance with the bishops’ directives. The agreement allows the archbishop to have final authority in disputes involving the directives.

“This is a substantive and structural commitment by the archdiocese and Steward to operate this hospital system by the religious and moral directives of the Catholic Church,” said Father J. Bryan Hehir.

The agreement may be terminated by the archdiocese if it finds the hospitals are not being run according to Catholic practices. However, the archdiocese must provide 90 days notice for Steward to correct the problem.

Conversely, Steward would also be allowed to opt out of the contract if complying with the bishops’ directives is found to be “mutually burdensome.” Murphy said that clause was inserted into the deal in case future medical advances hampered efforts to comply with Catholic directives.

Today, the Catholic Action League said:

Under Section 1 of the Agreement, “all hospitals will be operated in accordance with the moral, ethical and social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as expressed in the Directives (Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and as interpreted solely and exclusively by RCAB.” These directives mandate adherence to the “Catholic moral tradition.”

Under Section 2.3 of the agreement, the hospitals are required to “maintain appropriate signage and other symbols of Catholic identity.”

Public display of the Rainbow/Pride flag at Carney Hospital clearly violated the Stewardship Agreement, contravened the Ethical and Religious Directives and compromised what remained of Carney’s Catholic identity. It was also a brazen act of defiance to Catholic moral teaching and an insult to faithful Catholics, living and dead, who supported the Carney for the last one hundred and fifty years.

Is there any question that by flying the rainbow flag and supporting organizations who advance positions contrary to Catholic teachings the hospitals are NOT operating by the religious and moral directives of the Catholic Church?  Assuming we all agree on this point, then the Boston Archdiocese can terminate the agreement and is supposed to tell Steward they have 90 days to correct the problem.

Have Cardinal O’Malley or Fr. Hehir put Steward on notice?  Not likely, but we will ask.  What do you think about this situation?

22 Responses to Boston “Catholic” Hospital Flying Rainbow Flag

  1. Susan says:

    I was just talking to someone in Wi about Fr Bryan and there his name. What was it, oh yea John, Luke and Marx.

  2. Jimmy says:

    Reading BCI’s account of the utter destruction of what once was a thriving Boston Catholic culture under the disastrous leadership of the Archdiocese of Boston, the truth of Jesus’ teaching is apparent:
    Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.

    • Mr. D says:

      100% correct regarding false prophets, Jimmy. Indeed, “you will know them by their fruits.” I wouldn’t expect Cardinal Sean to do anything about this unless the story hits the Globe and makes him look bad. It’s all about PR (and money and left-wing activism) with the RCAB. All that stuff about Catholic identity is just words on a piece of paper. Nothing more.

      That said, it occurs to me that many of the so-called faithful aren’t that faithful, either, what with practicing contraception, and being willing to tolerate abortion and perversion. We get the pastors we deserve.

  3. Gail says:

    The situation is abominable. As we predicted. But it’s not a surprise. I love the Church that Jesus founded, but I have lost faith in its Boston representatives, not counting the good, faithful parish priests who are still struggling here against all odds. Thank God that they are still there to bring us the Body and Blood of Christ in daily Communion. It is our salvation.

  4. David S. says:

    I contacted the Vicar General’s office today. And when I expressed my concern regarding this scandal I was immediately put through to the recorded “comments” line in the Media and Public Relations office. I guess the RCAB views the flying of a homosexual flag and the promotion of a homosexual sex-themed carnival by a “Catholic” hospital as a PR issue as opposed to a matter of faith and morals.

    I am absolutely disgusted.

  5. Gianna says:

    I would like to give the Cardinal the benefit of the doubt so I will assume that he is unaware of this problem.

    It would be very helpful if everyone reading this blog would call the offices of both Cardinal O’Malley and Bishop Robert Deeley who is the Moderator of the Curia of Boston.

    The Cardinal’s secretary can be reached at 617-782-2544

    Bishop Deeley’s secretary can be reached at 617-254-0100

    Remember that these men are successors of the apostles. I cannot believe that they would not do the right thing if this problem was brought to their attention.

    Let’s get the archdiocesan phones ringing off the hook this week and insist that they put an end to this abomination.

  6. Ginny Kearney Allen says:

    Does Carney Hospital still have a beautiful chapel? Is Mass still available on Sunday to patients and employees? Worked there half a century ago and loved it.

  7. Ann in Boston MA says:

    As one who was born at St. Elizabeth’s on JULY 18th many years ago today, I am absolutely appalled by this news from BCI regarding the state of the (formerly?!?) Catholic hospital system here.

    Yes, let’s all CALL the numbers Gianna so kindly posted above…TODAY!

  8. Alice Slattery says:

    Because many Catholics who don’t know what the Catholic teaching is about same-sex sex acts and same-sex marriage , the fact that the flag that is the symbol of the movement to promote same-sex sex acts and same-sex sex marriage is flying in front of the Catholic hospital(Carney Hospital) makes it imperative that Cardinal O’Malley insist that pastors of parishes in the Boston Archdiocese invite speakers, such as Fr. Derek Borek and Mr. and Mrs. Stephen and Karl Colella, to come to their parishes and allow the parishioners to learn exactly what the Church teaches and how to implement these teachings. Fr. Borek is the chaplain for Courage and Stephen and Karl represent the Archdiocese of Boston’s Marriage Ministries. They spoke to the parishioners, both young and old, at St. Agnes Church in Reading this past December
    and were very well received. But many pastors have been afraid to have them speak to their parishioners because they are afraid of the attacks they many will incur from supporters of same-sex sex acts and same-sex marriage who will label the teachings of the Catholic Church as “hate speech” by manipulating the language to suit their own purposes. They will certainly exploit the fact that Carney hospital, a Catholic hospital, was flying the rainbow flag, the symbol of the same-sex sex and same-sex marriage cause. They will use that fact as a method to claim that even Cardinal O’Malley favors their cause. A way to counteract this impression is to direct the pastors to invite speakers to come to their parishes and let the parishioners know what the teaching of the Catholic Church really is and how this teaching is implemented through the Courage/EnCourage organization. As Jesus said to the Apostles :”Do not be afraid! I will be with you at all times!”

  9. Time for a change says:

    Take the money and run. Catholic identity gone with the sale. Put half in the clergy pension fund and half in the lay pension fund.

    At least The Cardinal could help maintain some of those things he promised us!

  10. Chris Whittle says:

    There are no more Boston Catholic hospitals. Cardinal Sean sold them all.

  11. Stephen says:

    Oh my goodness!
    How could this have happened?

    Flags are important and symbolic.
    They know exactly what they are doing.

    See; parallel heretical church.

  12. Nicholas J Spring says:

    Is there a difference between Cardinal Sean and Barack H Obama? NO NO Both have succeeded in dismantling their prime obligation.
    The nation will correct the Obama purge and destruction of its basic oath to protect and preserve the Constitution by using the power of the ballot box.
    However Boston Catholics do not have the access and luxury of a vote or ballot box. The only r ecourse is the collection box and all pledges made to the Archdiocese of Boston. Without blindly helping
    to support all Archdiocese functions unless and until they no longer have funds to ignore basic teachings.
    When will the “rainbow banner” start flying over the beautiful building donated by a Catholic supper? How soon will the cross be replaced by the sex crazed usurpers whose only loyalty is the “rainbow flag”

    The infiltrators and the Archdiocesan administration have driven many former faithful but this “flag” has driven me out, others will certainly follow and cut off attendance and the purse string.

    What a travesty and tragic result Cardinal Sean has allowed to happen.
    Nicholas J Spring

    • Time for a change says:

      No money works for me until change happens but not meeting our obligation to attend Mass is worse than want the Cardinal is allowing to happen.

  13. says:

    Hi Jim: This latest news is positively reprehensible.  But, knowing the Archdiocese and their behavior, I’m not surprised.  I think Vicar General Ericks

  14. Objective Observer says:

    This is troubling on a lot of levels. The hospital has the right and duty to treat people, no matter their beliefs, sexual activity, etc. I get that, and am all for it. That’s fine.

    This boils down to the management of the hospital being a little confused about the role of a community hospital, in particular one with a religious affiliation. This is not the local bar or taco shop hoisting the flag and donating money for a sports franchise, political cause or local road race. This is a hospital, with a charter that states its public affiliation and its role in the community. There are limits on the permitted “speech” of hospitals, and certainly there are self-ascribed limits on Catholic hospital activities and speech. For instance, a Catholic hospital would be on shaky ground posting material opposing same sex marriage. Allowing the posting of material indicating opposition to physician-assisted suicide would, arguably, be the rare exception, provided the hospital did not pay for the material.

    Just as a hospital would be wrong to plaster its lawn with any political sign, or would be wrong to comment on any judicial or legislative initiative, this hospital is wrong to use its resources to support (financially or otherwise) any matter not specific to a particular aspect of health care, e.g., Remember Your Flu Shot, or Never Shake a Child. Add to that the charter that states this is a Catholic hospital, and must operate guided by the teachings of the Church, and you have a case where the management of this facility has violated its own charter, and demonstrated incredibly poor judgment.

    Wouldn’t make any sense for Bryan Hehir to be “unavailable for comment” on this one. It’s a no-brainer, if indeed his area of responsibility includes oversight of the charter of Cerberus-owned Boston Catholic hospitals.

  15. tryingtofigurethisout says:

    The Catholic church needs to get out of the business of operating businesses… even non profits….. and need to get back to the business of saving souls….The Church should always be concerned about providing for the poor and needs to continue to do fiercely so on a local level ( subsidiarity ) but it is just so obvious that in today’s society, it is virtually impossible to now maintain the principles and dogmas of the church and at the same time run these large scale institutional operations that have to interact with secular gov’t that serve the ” general public “. I am convinced this also applies to the schools.. it’;s time to get out of this corrupt, compromised and utterly watered down system that has been created in the last 100 years under the idea of evangelizing and bringing in others to the fold… is just inevitable that once the expansion of the evangelization reaches a certain scope and size, the human nature of compromising is going to slowly but treacherously increase…. can anyone seriously say that that is not what has happened with the centralized diocesan model we now have here in the US and even around the world…..Third orders like the carmelites, and the benedictines in still river , ma and the FSSP are the future of the true church, there is no doubt in my mind….it ‘s just too bad that somehow this idea of localized but totally in communion with the utmost fidelity to the magisterium seems to have such a hard time being instituted with a novus ordo parish… i don’t think it is impossible… but it sure is going to be a challenge with people like father Bryan H and the like exerting influence… I have hope… Francis wants a poorer church.. Could this be what he means??????/

  16. tryingtofigurethisout says:

    as i ref: above… this is the future of the one true church…

  17. Justyn Tyme says:

    It is my understanding that in the Last Will and Testament of ANDREW CARNEY he stated that if the Catholic Church should decide in the future to sell Carney Hospital it was to be given gratus to the City of Boston. If this is true why did it not happen? Also why were the Alleghney Franciscan Sisters ousted from St. Elizabeth’s in Brighton in the 1960’s by Cardinal Cushing. Also, as Caritas Christi at St. E’s: why was the name Cardinal Medeiros removed from the outside of the building/Pavillion on Cambridge St several years ago and never returned. HUM!!!!!!!!!!

    • Michael says:

      if that is true, the transfer to steward is null and void. problem is, who has “standing” to object to the illegal transfer? Not Andrew. Ignoring the intent of the one who “willed” the property is not very “Christian” and certainly not very honest. But honesty is so 1950’s-ish.

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