In an exchange of letters with the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the head of the Catholic Health Association has affirmed that the local bishop is the “authoritative interpreter” of the ethical and religious directives that guide Catholic health care. Carol Keehan [pictured], a member of the Daughters of Charity who is president and chief executive officer of the C.H.A., said her organization “has a sincere desire to work with the church and individual bishops to understand as clearly as possible clinical issues and bring the majesty of the church’s teaching to that.” In response, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York, U.S.C.C.B. president, said the church must “speak with one voice” against the “increasing political and social pressures that are trying to force the church to compromise her principles,” including “the problem of illegitimate government intrusion in our health care ministries.” Sister Keehan later said she was not aware that the U.S.C.C.B. intended to make the exchange of letters public. The C.H.A. and the U.S.C.C.B. took opposing stands on whether the health reform bill passed last March would adequately protect against the possibility of federal funding of abortion.
C.H.A. President Affirms Bishop's Role