.- After weeks of ethics discussions, the Archdiocese of Boston announced on Friday that the Church-sponsored Caritas Christi Healthcare has withdrawn from its partnership with CeltiCare Health Plan. The archdiocese said it was not possible to find agreement between the archdiocese-affiliated medical organization and the Missouri-based health insurer, which provides abortion and contraception.
The joint venture was scheduled to start providing care on July 1st, but in a statement issued on Friday by Richard Lynch, chief executive of CeltiCare Health Plan of Massachusetts, said: "effective today, Caritas has withdrawn their ownership position in CeltiCare Health Plan of Massachusetts. Celtic Group Inc. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Centene Corporation) now owns 100% of the company. Caritas Christi will continue to participate as a key part of the CeltiCare provider network. The arrangement in no way affects the operations of CeltiCare Health, and we look forward to delivering quality health care services to our members starting on July 1st."
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley said in a statement, "I am pleased that Caritas Christi was able to achieve this outcome. Throughout this process, our singular goal has been to provide for the needs of the poor and underserved in a manner that is fully and completely in accord with Catholic moral teaching. By withdrawing from the joint venture and serving the poor as a provider in the Connector, upholding Catholic moral teaching at all times, they are able to carry forward the critical mission of Catholic health care."
The protection of human life and dignity demands that Catholic institutions never contribute to procedures which are inconsistent with Catholic moral teaching, such as abortion and sterilization. These procedures and others are prohibited by the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The decision to withdraw from the joint venture follows an extensive analysis by the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) which was undertaken at the request of the Cardinal.
Cardinal O'Malley explained that the goal of the review was to ensure that Caritas Christi could "serve the poor through a plan for participation in the Connector that is in complete accordance with Catholic moral teaching."
The Commonwealth Connector Authority required the partnership to provide "confidential family planning services."
The cardinal extended his "sincere gratitude to Dr. John Haas and the staff at the National Catholic Bioethics Center for their diligent and comprehensive review of the proposal. I am pleased that they were able to provide a recommendation whereby Caritas can go forward in fulfilling its mission of Catholic healthcare."
American Life League president Judie Brown praised the decision, saying:
"We profoundly thank Cardinal O'Malley for his courage, leadership and pastoral concern for the health and well-being of those youngest members of his archdiocese. He has set a beautiful example of dedication and charity for those poorest of the poor -- the preborn."
"What happened in Boston will ring out far beyond the potential scandal that could have involved Caritas Christi and thereby the Archdiocese. Cardinal O'Malley's reaffirmation of the Faith, when it would have been all too easy to compromise, is a sign of the vitality of United States Catholics' commitment to human life and personhood," Brown added.
"American Life League and our supporters are humbled to stand alongside Cardinal O'Malley as a sign of contradiction to the culture of death."