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January 21, 2022

Leaders from Five Major Catholic Organizations, Bishop, Launch New Organization to Promote and Protect Catholic Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, leaders from five major Catholic organizations and the bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska are announcing the launch of the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance (CHCLA), a new non-profit organization and broad-based coalition of organizations who are committed to protecting and advancing Catholic Health Care. The mission of CHCLA as an alliance of faithful Catholic organizations is to support the rights of patients and professionals to receive and provide health care in accordance with the moral, ethical, and social teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church through ongoing evangelization, education, advocacy, and mutual support.

CHCLA is holding its press conference and inaugural event on January 20, 2022 entitled “CHCLA: A Vision for Catholic Health Care” from 2:30-3:30 P.M. ET at the Kirby Center at Hillsdale College, in Washington, D.C.

The CHCLA Board of Directors represent an alliance of organizations including the Catholic Medical Association, The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Catholic Benefits Association, Catholic Bar Association, and Christ Medicus Foundation. CHCLA also has an Episcopal Advisory Board made up of bishops who support its mission.  

Today, CHCLA is also announcing that Franciscan Health (Franciscan Alliance), a Catholic healthcare system that operates a 12-hospital health system in Indiana and Illinois, is joining CHCLA as its first Hospital System Member. Franciscan Alliance employs over 18,000 full- and part-time employees.

The following are statements released from the CHCLA Board of Directors, Episcopal Advisor, and Franciscan Alliance.

Steven White, M.D., President of CHCLA; Past President of the Catholic Medical Association (CMA); Chair of CMA’s Health Care Policy Committee., U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

“In order to uphold the truth of the Catholic faith in the practice of medicine there is an urgent need for a clear, strong, and united voice to promote and defend medical care practiced in harmony with the mind of Christ and the long-standing tradition of His Church.”

Joseph Meaney, Ph.D., K.M., President of The National Catholic Bioethics Center:

“The CHCLA comes at a providential time when ethical challenges in health care are growing, and it gives a voice to many organizations and individuals who strongly support Catholic values in health care, by having an alliance of national organizations to represent them.”

Douglas G. WilsonJr. CEO of the Catholic Benefits Association:

“This Alliance will empower individual health care professionals, small clinics, and hospital systems alike, to advance Catholic values in health care that protect human dignity, including a special care for the sick, the poor, and those who are most vulnerable.”

Joshua M. McCaig, J.D., M.S., Founding President of the Catholic Bar Association:

“It is our hope that this Alliance, and the expertise brought by its members in the areas of medicine, law, policy, advocacy, education, and bioethics, will serve as a unique resource to health care providers, patients, the Church, and our country. It is imperative that the dignity of those called to serve the sick is protected and defended so they may practice their profession in accordance with their conscience, their faith and their beliefs, as well as for patients who seek out providers who share the faith and expect treatment options consistent with their beliefs and values. This Alliance will work to ensure that the legacy of Catholic Health Care in the United States not only endures, but thrives, and continues its witness to the gospel through participating in the healing ministry of Christ.”

Louis Brown, J.D., Executive Director of Christ Medicus Foundation:

“God willing, the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance will ignite a renewal of health care in which Christ’s healing love naturally and supernaturally heals the body, mind, heart and soul of patients and families across the country. God has blessed the Christ Medicus Foundation to be one of the co-founders of the Catholic Health Care Leadership Alliance. The Church exists to share an encounter with Christ, who is love itself, in all we do. Catholic health care exists to bring patients health and through the love and care they receive to share with them the fullness of healing in Jesus Christ.
 
Our fellow citizens, regardless of their religion, are hungering not just for health but also healing. Through delivering Christ-centered care we believe the members of the CHCLA can help our brothers and sisters of every background reach the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing and wholeness they seek.
 
While chiefly advancing Christ-centered care, the Alliance will work to defend the civil rights of medical conscience and religious freedom in health care for medical professionals and patients. Ongoing efforts at the federal level seek to make Catholic and pro-life health care illegal. These federal efforts in Congress and at HHS would be devastating for the pro-life movement and would severely undermine the religious freedom right to love and care for the sick consistent with one’s moral and religious convictions. This battle over religious freedom and medical conscience in health care is the greatest political pro-life battle of our time. I believe the CHCLA and other voices in Catholic health care are needed now to defend the basic civil rights to life, religious freedom, and conscience which safeguard the life, health, and freedom of all Americans.”

The Most Reverend James D. Conley, D.D., S.T.L., Chair of the Episcopal Advisory Board of CHCLA; Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska:

“This Alliance brings together the best minds in medicine, law, business, and theology. I look forward to working with CHCLA and my brother Bishops to guide and support CHCLA in this important work that will not only bring faithful medicine to our people, but bring our people to a deeper relationship with God.”

Further, the Alliance, with their depth of expertise in the areas mentioned above, will serve as a reliable and trustworthy resource for bishops to turn for assistance, information, and support; so that bishops can properly and more effectively exercise their pastoral office in overseeing health care ministry in their diocese. They will be better equipped to help facilitate an atmosphere of mutual understanding, fruitful collaboration, and ecclesial communion with the health care leaders in their dioceses. In performing such a ministry, bishops are imitating Christ who, when he ‘saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them and he cured their sick (Matt 14:14).’”

Sr. Jane Marie KleinO.S.F., Chairwoman of the Board of Franciscan Alliance Hospital System 

“Our sacred obligation to attest to and uphold the moral teachings of the Church concerning the sanctity of life throughout its natural progression from conception until natural death is being challenged by those who wish to secularize all health care providers. CHCLA is being formed to be a beacon of light and truth, an organization that will defend the right of faith-based providers to deliver care in concert with their religious beliefs.  

A disproportionate number of people in our country, the poor and the elderly, the marginalized, and those without a voice struggle to receive adequate care. CHCLA wants to be their advocate. Franciscan Alliance is proud to be a part of an advocacy forum that defends both the dignity of all persons and religious freedom.”

The launch event will also be livestreamed at www.catholichealthalliance.organd on CHCLA’s Facebook page.

If you would like to set up an interview with any of the leaders, please contact [email protected]

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