Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 15, 1955
NUMBER 19, PAGE 8-9a

Catholic Hospitals

Arthur W. Atkinson, Jr., Dayton, Ohio

I have felt a need to see something in print on this subject for some time. I am persuaded that not enough members of the church are well informed concerning the workings of Catholic Hospitals. It is our endeavor to bring forth in this article some of the laws which govern these institutions.

Catholic Hospitals are not run according to the laws of the civil government but according to the laws of the Catholic hierarchy. Below is a quotation taken from a speech delivered by Emmett McLoughlin, an ex-priest and an administrator of a Catholic Hospital for many years. Notice what he says concerning Catholic Hospitals. "There is a field that is vital to all of us and that has to a great extent come under the domination of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. It is the hospital system of America — a system of institutions upon which our very lives depend. Catholic hospitals treat almost half of the nation's private patients. Their nursing schools train almost one-third of the nation's nurses. Yet Catholic hospitals operate, not according to the laws of our states or according to the laws of the United States, but according to the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church. Their doctors, whatever their personal religion, are governed, not by the Code of Ethics of the American Medical Association, but by the Code of Ethics of Catholic Moral Theology. AND YOU, IF YOU ARE A PATIENT IN A CATHOLIC HOSPITAL, MUST ABIDE BY THAT FOREIGN CODE EVEN IF IT MEANS YOUR DEATH." (Caps mine, A. W. A., Jr.) Let us see if this is true.

First, let us notice the field of obstetrics,. Most women today are delivered of their children in hospitals because of the greater degree of safety in so doing. But in entering a Catholic Hospital a certain measure of this safety is lost. There are certain complications which can arise necessitating an operation that cannot be performed in accord with Catholic canon law and the patient may die. The Catholic Hospital Code forbids certain operations that might save the life of a mother. Mr. McLoughlin quotes from a moral theology textbook entitled MORAL THEOLOGY by "Rev." Heribert Jone in which he shows the operations that are forbidden. "Rev." Jone states in this book that it is a mortal sin to procure an abortion even though both mother and child will otherwise die. After having shown the many chances that are taken when a woman goes to a Catholic Hospital, Mr. McLoughlin then says this: "If you women are willing to take a chance on these regulations you shouldn't waste your time or money going to a hospital at all. And if you, the husbands, have no greater regard for the life of your wife than to send her to a Catholic hospital, then you don't deserve to have her live". These are strong words. Yet, remember, they do not come from someone that is not familiar with Catholic Hospitals but from an ex-priest, a man who for many years was an administrator in a Catholic Hospital that he helped start in Phoenix, Arizona. This man knows Catholicism. His words should bear much weight. Mr. McLoughlin carries the following signed statement in his wallet: "In the event of injury or illness which renders me unconscious or unable to give directions DO NOT TAKE ME TO A CATHOLIC HOSPITAL."

But let us look further at the laws which govern a Catholic Hospital. Paul Blanshard sets forth in his book AMERICAN FREEDOM AND CATHOLIC POWER that there is discrimination against non-Catholic clergymen. Here are his words: "Catholic nurses are directed to discriminate against Protestant and Jewish clergymen even when the hospital is a non-Catholic institution and the patient is a Protestant or Jew." Mr. Blanshard goes on to quote from the works of a Catholic, in which it is set forth that a Catholic nurse may not, summon the official of any other religion to minister to members of his church. Mr. Blanshard quotes directly from McFadden, a Roman Catholic, who suggests that when someone requests that a Catholic nurse call his minister then she should tactfully request that the patient have a member of the family do this.

Is this actually done? Yes, it is: I have already had this experience. This last year a member of the church in Dayton was in one of the Catholic Hospitals in this city and had just given birth to a baby. The baby was very frail and not expected to live. The mother was not getting along too well either and she requested that the nurse call me to come and have prayer. The nurse said that she would. However, all she did was to call the parents of the woman and ask them to come over. When they came their daughter repeated her request to them to call me and they did. This fact is significant: THE NURSE DID NOT CALL ME. Why not? She has been forbidden to call a minister of any other faith. However, she can call a priest to come in at any time and may do so even if it means holding up an operation.

Mr. Blanshard also brings out forcefully in his book that the nurses are instructed to baptize dying and dead children of Protestants and Jews even if the parents are unwilling. Let us read some more from Mr. Blanshard. "Since, as McFadden says, 'the unbaptized child can never enter the kingdom of heaven,' Catholic nurses have a duty to save the soul of a dying Protestant or Jewish child by Catholic baptism even if the parents are unwilling." Mr. Blanshard goes on to show in a quotation from McFadden that if it cannot be done with the consent of the parents then it should be done by stealth. Also, if a priest is not present to perform this ceremony then the nurse is responsible for the act. We quote again from Mr. Blanshard: "The directives of McFadden and Bowdern suggest the importance that the hierarchy attaches to every detail of the ritual of baptism. The Catholic nurse is held responsible for the ritual and, when a priest is not present, she is instructed in great detail how to substitute for him. The nurse is told that the soul of the infant is tainted with original sin, and that that sin can be washed away by full and regular baptism. If the baptism is a failure, the infant will never reach heaven. If the baptism is performed according to Catholic rules, the future is guaranteed..." Again Mr. Blanshard says: "Baptism is urged upon the Catholic nurse even after apparent death, since it may be effective at any time before bodily corruption has set in."

Again some brethren may think that such things just are not so. It is because you are not familiar with Roman Catholicism. Again, I could relate a personal experience which proves the very things that Mr. Blanshard has stated. However, the experience is of such a nature that it would not be to advantage to repeat it. I can attest though, to the truthfulness of Mr. Blanshard's statements and that the rule set forth in the last quotation above was actually followed in a Catholic Hospital in this city. (Dayton, Ohio) It happened once this last year to my certain knowledge and how many other times it happened one has no way of knowing.

According to Catholic doctrine a child baptized by a Catholic according to Catholic rules, should be brought up in the Catholic religion and his marriage should be regulated by the Catholic Church. Whether or not the Catholic Church counts such children in the total number she publishes as members of the Church I do not know. However, I am persuaded that her count of total members is "off quite a bit" regardless of whom she counts or how she counts.

There are many other things that could be brought out concerning Catholic Hospitals but this should suffice. Does it not seem from the above facts that a Christian belongs in a hospital other than one run by the Catholic Church?

There are good hospitals which are not Catholic, in most every city, and I believe they give as good or better service than is provided by Catholic Hospitals. We should not allow some doctor to talk us into going to a Catholic Hospital when we can get the same service at one which is not Catholic.

Also, why should we pay our good money to help further the cause of Roman Catholicism when we can obtain the same services from some other organization which is not in competition with the Lord's church? No, it is not a sin to go to a Catholic Hospital. One is only paying for services rendered in such an institution. There might be some occasions when one could not receive elsewhere particular treatment needed. However, such occasions are rare and I believe that we should make sure that this treatment could not be obtained elsewhere before entering such an institution. Many women jeopardize their lives unnecessarily by entering Catholic Hospitals to have their children. One never knows when a certain operation that is forbidden might be needed. After Emmett McLoughlin states the facts concerning Catholic Hospitals he says this, which is well worth repeating: "Now you know why I said that a Catholic sisters' hospital is all right for a Catholic but it is certainly no place for an American."

I hope the readers of this article will weigh these facts well. I believe these things to be important and I am certain that not enough thought has been given to them by members of the church. I would like to close this article with these words, quoted by McLoughlin from a judge of a superior court. He said: "When an old man sitting in Rome can tell my friend's son in Arizona that he can't marry the girl he loves, or can condemn another friend to death by stopping an operation that would save her life, then why should we worry about the tyranny of Communism — America has already surrendered to the tyranny of Rome."

Note: The quotations from Mr. Blanshard were taken from his book AMERICAN FREEDOM AND CATHOLIC POWER, pages 119 and 120, published by Beacon Press and were used with his permission. The quotations from Emmett McLoughlin were taken from a speech he delivered at Constitution Hall on the occasion of POAU's Sixth National Conference on Church and State. Mr. McLoughlin has a book out entitled PEOPLES' PADRE in which he tells of his life and how he left the Catholic Church. Both of these publications may be ordered through the Gospel Guardian Company.