Bishop Vasa – Why St. Charles Hospital Lost Its Catholic Standing

Interview by Jim Graves, Catholic World Report

Why did the Diocese of Baker end its sponsorship of St. Charles Medical Center-Bend?

Bishop Vasa: Fifteen years or more ago, the city of Bend issued a civic bond to fund the hospital. This gave the impression that it was a community rather than Catholic hospital. The hospital was turned over to a lay board, and there were not suitable protections of the inherent Catholicity of the organization. The board operated without direct episcopal oversight; despite being bishop of the diocese, I did not have any legal authority to intervene in the actions of the hospital.

The lay board followed the religious and ethical directives of their choosing, not necessarily in accordance with Catholic teaching, and did not understand that this was a condition for maintaining their Catholic identity. I believed it was a condition. We went back and forth for years, until there was no possibility for the meeting of the minds. I also discovered that sterilizations were being performed at the hospital in opposition to Catholic teaching, and they had no intention of discontinuing this practice.

I thought, here is another issue regarding adherence to Catholic teaching which led me to adopt the Affirmation of Personal Faith. How can I continue official sponsorship of a hospital which is acting on a belief system that is contrary to the Catholic faith? I cannot.

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6 comments to Bishop Vasa – Why St. Charles Hospital Lost Its Catholic Standing

  • Kathryn Bemowski

    Thank you so much, Bishop Vasa, for your courage. It will be my privilege to pass the article on to everyone I know.
    May our Dear Lord continue to watch over you and give you strength.

  • David Traynor

    Bishop Vasa is one of the most orthodox bishops in Nth America. He was assigned to a backwater diocese called Baker, one of the geographically largest & most sparsely populated, Eastern Oregon. His next assignment to Santa Rosa was a promotion. I would love to see this bishop elevated to the rank of Cardinal. His no-nonsense stand on moral issues would throw a sad light on too many brother bishops.
    Bishop George, formerly Archbishop of Portland Oregon ,was fast tracked to Chicago when he was noticed by Vatican officials. Bishop George challenged the District Attorney regarding Cannon Law, and he won in the Oregon State Supreme Court.
    Bl JP II started to change this insidious conspiracy to only nominate liberal bishops, and slowly it is bearing fruit. Thanks to Couragepriest good bishops have a forum to teach and be noticed by Church officials. I pray Almighty GOD will continue to bless your work!

  • Luke1:28

    If a Bishop were to behave this way in all things all the time regarding the Catholic Faith, you would most definitely see the actions of the priesthood follow the lead according to the actions of the Bishop. Faithful priests would see this as an outward sign that the Bishop has their backs. While many Bishops tout that we should ‘Be Not Afraid’, their actions speak otherwise. Then the priests are afraid to stick their necks out and the laity follows suit. One fear is the fear of offending other social groups with solid Catholic teaching. Bishops fear this the most and try to wordsmith their teachings so as not to offend and that their teaching only applies to Catholics. The end result is a lack of clarity of what the Truth really is….and then the Truth becomes a relative truth…because they teach it from the standpoint that their teachings only apply to Catholics. This truth only relates to you if you are Catholic. This is not so. The teaching of the Church applies to everyone because it is Truth. So what occurs then, is that the teaching of the Church becomes an opinion ‘in the world’. If we believe the Church has the fullness of Truth, no other person should be more adamant to get this Truth out than a Bishop. Furthermore, it is not ‘Catholic’ Truth in the sense that it pertains to the members of a ‘denomination’ known as the Catholic Church. It is truly ‘Catholic’ in it’s universality. I think from what I have seen, there’s more of an inclination for Bishops to preach from the pulpit of a denomination rather than the pulpit of the universe….all out of fear.

    Many many many dioceses do not have this kind of leadership. God bless you Bishop Vasa.

  • These came from our email subscribers.

    This is so sad;we are facing so much school closings and lack of true Catholic influence in our society;does this mean there will be a growing trend for “Catholic” hospitals around the country who decide to do their own rules of faith???????Is St Charles just a rare instance??How can a patient protect themself against fraudulent hospitals or teaching institutions that call themselves Catholic ;but don’t really comply with Catholic Moral Teachings??? How can we truly know????

    Joe P.

    Amen to Bishop Vasa!!!!!! I keep praying that the priests and bishops have the courage to stand up for the truth!!!!! That gives us laity the courage to do the same!

    Christine T.

    Well Bishop Vasa I know this was not easy for you, but it sure is easier then trying to explain it all to God at that last judgement.
    Mrs. Barbara O
    Long Island New York

  • Thank you Bishop for being a true Shepherd and defending the faith. These days and times certainly present difficult decisions for those in authority but the People of God are in need of and looking for true leadership. Catholicism is becoming watered down and pretty soon it may look as if we can go into a cafeteria and “pick and choose” what we want and like. No, that is not what it is about. Thank you for taking a stand and not being concerned about being popular or your shiny cufflinks.

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lynnette Ann , Lisa Graas. Lisa Graas said: Courageous Priest: Bishop Vasa – Why St. Charles Hospital Lost Its Catholic Standing […]

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