This essay attempts to describe contemporary Catholic sponsored health care in the United States and to describe the purpose and structure of these particular Christian charitable organizations within the broader society. As health care has become more complex, critics claim that there is not a need for Catholic sponsored health care any longer. The author attempts to evaluate critically whether Catholic health care has a place in contemporary society.
Identifying what the differences are or ought to be between Catholic health care organizations and their non-Catholic counterparts is the subject of great debate. The author responds to the essays in this volume by Dennis Brodeur, Clarke E. Cochran and Christopher J. Kauffman, each of which represents a different perspective in the discussion of what is unique about Catholic health care.
Catholic health care institutions in the United States and Canada face internal and external challenges to their continued existence. Confronted by these external and internal challenges, Catholic hospitals in the United States and Canada have been pressed to identify what is distinctive about the Catholic contribution to health care and to consider whether existing institutional structures and partnerships foster what is distinctive. The author looks at the essays in this volume by Dennis Brodeur, Clarke E. Cochran, and Christopher J.
Discussions of genetic enhancements often imply deep suspicions about human desires to manipulate or enhance the course of our future. These unspoken assumptions about the arrogance of the quest for perfection are at odds with the normally hopeful resonancy we find in contemporary theology. The author argues that these fears, suspicions and accusations are misplaced. The problem lies not with the question of whether we should pursue perfection, but rather what perfection we are pursuing.
The Roman Catholic Church is the single largest denomination in the United States and the one with the most extensive provider stake in health (and related social service) care. As a follow-up to an earlier analysis of the Catholic role in the thwarted health care reform effort of 1993-94, this article looks at the revival of interest in reform and at the rationale behind and strategy of the Catholic Church's current agenda-setting initiative.
The topic of organ transplantation is examined from the perspective of three authors: Robert Bellah, Jeremy Rifkin, and Margaret Jane Radin. Introduced by reflections on the development of the justification of organ transplantation within the Roman Catholic community and the various themes raised by the historical study in Richard Titmuss's The Gift Relationship, the paper examines how and in what ways the possible commodification of organs will affect our society and the impacts this may have on the supply of organs.
In addressing issues of access to health care and rationing, Jewish and Roman Catholic writers identify similar guiding values and specific concerns. Moral thinkers in each tradition tend to support the guarantee of universal access to at least a basic level of health care for all members of society, based on such values as human dignity, justice, and healing. Catholic writers are more likely to frame their arguments in terms of the common good and to be more accepting of rationing that denies beneficial and needed health care to some persons.
Catholic hospitals seek to offer health care in accord with the example of Christ. They have several models to assist in this effort. The first model is the values portrayed in the Gospels. The Catholic Church has sought to embody these Gospel values in specific teachings. These teachings have been further specified for hospitals in the United States by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in the Ethical and Religious Directives. Finally, the Gospels values are also expressed for individual Catholic health care systems in mission statements and statements of Catholic identity.
This article examines the current use of Jesus language in a convenience sample of twenty-five mission statements from Roman Catholic hospitals and health care systems in the United States. Only twelve statements specifically use the words "Jesus" or "Christ" in their mission statements. The author advocates the use of explicit Jesus language and modeling.