Washington D.C., Feb 2, 2011 / 03:43 am
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of New York and Sr. Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association (CHA), have exchanged letters affirming that the local bishop is the authoritative interpreter of religious and ethical guidelines in Catholic health facilities.
The exchange also looked ahead to further cooperation on pro-life and religious freedom issues.
Sr. Keehan’s Jan. 18 letter to Archbishop Dolan, the president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, noted previous discussions with the New York archbishop and Bishop Robert Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida concerning the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) which govern Catholic hospitals in the U.S.
“I was happy to have the opportunity to assure you that publicly and privately, CHA has always said to sponsors, governing board members, manager and clinicians that an individual bishop in his diocese is the authoritative interpreter of the ERDs,” her letter continued. “We explain that a Bishop has a right to interpret the ERDs and also to develop his own ethical and religious directives if he chooses.”