The Catholic hospital foundation that has named its new $25-million trauma center after former New York mayor, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said it was honoring a man whose leadership was heroic after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. But that honor, bestowed on a pro-abortion Catholic Republican, has got pro-life groups riled.
The honor smacks in the face of the U.S. bishops’ June document, which states that Catholic politicians who support abortion legislation should be denied honors from a Catholic institution.
"If you would name a center after somebody, certainly that would qualify as an honor," said Fr. Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life, calling the naming "troublesome."
The priest and EWTN personality lives in Staten Island.
Pro-life New York activist Christopher Slattery told the New York Times that the naming of the trauma center was "outrageous."
"I think it's a scandal that a Roman Catholic institution is prominently honoring a man who has a serious, at least one serious moral flaw, if not many," he was quoted as saying.
A spokesman for the bishops conference, David Early, declined to comment on whether the naming of the center violated the bishops' June policy, but he said the bishops were aiming mainly at Catholic universities and the number of chairmanships and honorary degrees conferred.
The hospital is a branch of St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, which includes eight hospitals, four nursing homes and a large home-health care agency. The Diocese of Brooklyn and the Sisters of Charity oversee it; however, ultimate authority over the organization is in the hands of Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Sr. Dorothy Metz, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity.
According to the New York Times report, Bishop DiMarzio was not aware that the trauma center was being named for Giuliani until he read about it in the newspaper last week. His spokesman, Frank DeRosa, said the decision was made a year before the bishop even arrived in the diocese in October 2003.
"While he recognized what Rudy Giuliani did for the trauma unit," DeRosa was quoted as saying in the paper, "he clearly disagrees with and is disappointed with Giuliani's pro-choice position."
Giuliani is honorary executive chairman of the hospital foundation's $100-million capital campaign, which has raised about $30 million to date, including $8.5 million for the trauma center. His wife, Judith, is executive director of the campaign.
Ground for the center was broken last week.