Tuesday 14 October 2008

Catholic hospital's ethical code, approved by Cardinal, fails to ban abortion referrals

Fr Finigan carries the disturbing news on his blog that Cardinal Murphy O'Connor has approved an ethics code (which you can find here) at St. John and St. Elizabeth's Hospital "which effectively accommodates referrals for abortion" – as Luke Gormally puts it, honorary fellow of the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics.

In last weekend's edition of "The Universe", Alexander Desforges, spokesman for the Cardinal, disputed such an interpretation of the code, citing a letter from Lord Guthrie, the hospital chairman, which refers to “fidelity to the Hospital’s Roman Catholic foundation and character”.

Lord Guthrie's letter was sent to the hospital staff and consultants on 30th September 2008 together with a copy of the ethics code - or "new statement of ethics", as Lord Guthrie describes it. "HE the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster who is our patron, has given his endorsement of this statement ..." Lord Guthrie says in his letter.

Having read the new (2008) statement of ethics and compared it with the ethics code approved by the Hospital Board at the end of 2007, which you can find here, I am astonished to read that the Cardinal has endorsed the new statement of ethics - which clearly fails to prohibit referrals for abortions and other procedures, which were so firmly prohibited by the 2007 Code.

I am also astonished by Alexander Desforges's misleading statement to The Universe. Read the two codes yourself and form your own judgement.

Luke Gormally comments on Fr Finigan's blog: "How can the Church in this country effectively defend the sanctity of life when its Chief Shepherd is prepared to approve a code which effectively accommodates referrals for abortion?"

I have blogged before about the the complicity of the Catholic authorities in England and Wales with government policy in providing access to abortion to schoolchildren in Catholic schools below the age of consent and without the knowledge or consent of parents.

Catholic Church leaders in England must stop the evil complicity with abortion provision. Pope John Paul II called on all people of good will to oppose abortion "with the strength and courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned and put to the sword" Evangelium Vitae, 73, and that's the spirit needed in any new episcopal appointments in order to meet the challenge presented by today's culture of death.