Letters to the Editor

Catholic beliefs misunderstood | Letter to the Editor

Islanders are justified in expressing their concern about the recent health care merger. They are entitled to their opinions about Catholicism, and the Franciscans ought to be able to give satisfactory answers about what “Catholic health care” means. Unfortunately, a majority of people misunderstand Catholic beliefs.

In order to understand the principles that guide Catholic moral theology and how they would affect health care services on the island, one must have ears to hear what Catholics actually believe. Judging by the focus of the questions fielded by Highline’s representatives, most people have heard that Catholics are against abortion, artificial birth control, sterilization and assisted suicide. Have they also heard that abortion is defined as the direct and intentional termination of a viable pregnancy?

The issue of how a Catholic physician might, in good conscience, treat an ectopic pregnancy can only be comprehended when the listener understands that the life of the mother and the child are held equally valuable in Catholic moral theology. Most ectopic pregnancies are not viable. By the time they are discovered, the child is usually already deceased. If the child is still alive, and the mother’s life is threatened by internal hemorrhaging, then the mother’s hemorrhage can be treated, and in the process of treating the hemorrhage, the life of the child would be sacrificed unintentionally and indirectly as an effect of treating the mother.

So, the recent analogy about a health care helicopter not picking up everyone who needs it shows a very shallow understanding of Catholic moral theology. The Catholic bishops have made it clear that hospital services should be extended to everyone, including those in the womb and the elderly. However, the baby and the old lady will not be thrown out of the helicopter so that someone less vulnerable can have a more comfortable ride.

Thanks for providing a community forum for sharing ideas and differing world views.

— Kelly Daly

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