Sunday, January 21, 2007

Catholic Hospital defies Cardinal to lease space for abortion referrals

Current status: please send notes of support to the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, Cormac Murphy O'Connor.

From CFNews: Doctors who are obliged under their NHS contract to prescribe the morning-after pill and refer patients for abortion will be allowed to work on the premises of a Catholic hospital, it was claimed this week. St John and St Elizabeth hospital in St John's Wood, North London, last month signed the lease for an NHS GP practice to operate on its Brampton House site. The move jeopardises the efforts of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor to bring the hospital back in line with Church teachings on human life and sexual morality.

Last March the Cardinal called on the hospital, founded in 1856 and originally run by the Sisters of Mercy, to tighten up its Catholic ethos and revise its code of ethics after receiving a report from Catholic peer Lord Brennan into practices there. But a new code of ethics has failed to materialise. The hospital's ethics committee was disbanded last summer and a new committee - whose members include Auxiliary Bishop George Stack of Westminster, Canon Michael Brockie and Fr John Wilson - was set up in its place. None of its decisions has been made public. St John's Wood Medical Practice, the NHS centre planning to move into Brampton House - an £11 million redevelopment - will be bound under the terms of the lease to follow the hospital's code. But under its contract with the Primary Care Trust the practice will also be forced to refer patients for abortion and provide the morning-after pill. If the practice is found not to comply with the hospital's code of ethics it will be given one year's notice to close. Nicolas Bellord, secretary of the Restituta Group, which is campaigning for the hospital to keep its Catholic identity, said the decision to allow an NHS practice to work at Brampton House was made in 'direct defiance' of the Cardinal's letter. 'Unless action is taken now we will be in the position, by the summer of 2007, where the leading Catholic hospital in Britain will be providing a full abortion referral and family planning service,' he said. Mr Bellord added that he feared that the hospital would abandon its Catholic constitution under the Charities Act 2006, which allows charities to change their ethos according to current 'social and economic circumstances'. [Catholic Herald]

Story from the Universe, from an earlier stage in developments, here.

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Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen