Saturday, January 21, 2012

Choice, Free Will, & The Line Drawn in the Sand

No one is forced to work for a Catholic hospital, or for any company or institution for that matter.  When you sign on to work at a Catholic hospital, you understand that you won't be asked to participate in abortion, so-called sex change surgeries or sterilization.  You accept that your benefits will  (or should) reflect Catholic values.   You accept that if you choose to be a patient at a Catholic hospital, you cannot seek these so-called "services" because they are in direct opposition to what the Catholic church believes when it comes to the sanctity of life and the preservation of morality.  It is made abundantly clear at orientation that health benefits do not cover immoral procedures and they are not extended to "same sex" couples.

There has been much on other blogs about the edict issued by the Obama Administration that the Church and other institutions have one year to figure out how to offer coverage for birth control and sterilization under their health insurance plans.   I honestly don't know if other religious denominations own and run hospitals. I do know that the Catholic hospital I work for not only provides health care to the indigent and marginalized but goes beyond that by helping with food, housing and other necessities of daily life.  If our hospital was forced to close, the impact on the surrounding community would be enormous and not just from the perspective of providing in-hospital charity care.

When I signed on to work where I do, I knew what it meant.  No one put a gun to my head and said "You'd better work here or else!"   It's a choice I made of my own free will.

What about other Catholic institutions?  They're not holding a gun to anyone's head either and saying "Work here or else!"  Those of us who choose to work for Catholic institutions know exactly what we're getting.  For me, the ability to work in an environment that provides health care in a manner consistent with  Catholic teaching was what persuaded me to drive 60 miles a day, take a significant pay cut and take on a whole new set of problems and people.

For years I worked for the same hospital.  I ran the operating room for a large orthopedic practice that was extremely busy.  I didn't pay much attention to what else went on around me because I was so engrossed in our own schedule.  But then I was told I was going to have to take on another service because our jobs were being restructured and this opened my eyes to the reality of what else was going on in this hospital.

One day, I went in to one of the surgical suites to talk to a staff member when I took note of the patient on the table.  What looked like a woman from the length, style and color of the hair was indisputably proven to be male by the genitalia that lay exposed, waiting to be draped.  When I looked at the schedule to see what procedure was about to take place, I saw that the patient was going to be voluntarily castrated, among other things, as part of the steps in their "sex-change".  It was enough to make me want to throw up.

As if this wasn't bad enough, the hospital had also made the decision to allow a late-term abortionist to begin practicing in our OR.  Even though I wasn't going to participate, I knew I  couldn't work there anymore.

I earned a lot of money at my job, was within walking distance of my house, and had excellent benefits.  I could take time off whenever I wanted,  got excellent performance evaluations and was well-liked and respected.   What I didn't have was peace of mind, fearing that I could be complicit in some way with the rampant immorality taking place under the pretense of "health care."

No one held a gun to my head and made me work there.  Three months after my job was restructured, I got out.  I don't make enough money now not to have to worry about the bills, and I don't enjoy driving on a dangerous highway every day to get to and from my job, but I felt I had to make a decision, not just one what would impact my present life but more importantly, one that could determine where I spent eternity.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops should remember one simple fact in their fight against the Obama Administration's agenda:  no one is forced to work for a Catholic institution.  It is an at-will arrangement.  Some of the benefits are intangible. We know what we're getting when we sign on.  It's what attracts many of us in the first place.

What right does this president or any other have to deprive me of those benefits by trying to force an immoral agenda on Catholic hospitals and schools, etc.?

And people wonder why the so-called religious right is "hijacking" politics?

Maybe it's because the government has hijacked religion and seems intent on trampling on our ability to exercise our freedom of conscience.


  1. Great, great blog Joyce. Perhaps your best. We have to fight this Obama decision to the last inch of our strength. If you know of any way (donation, protest, write letters) let your readers know. This is an outrage.

    1. Manny I think Father Z is right on this issue - he knows he doesn't stand a chance of surviving an appeal but he has to appease the wing of his party who wanted him to make abortion a national treasure. But yes, we can't let up our guard. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Joyce, this is the first I've heard of your story regarding your job change. You are heroic girl!

    You left the wide road for the narrow one which leads to Life. Or, unlike the rich young man who couldn't leave his wealth to follow Jesus, you left much of value for the Pearl of great price.

    God bless you, Joyce. What an inspiration you are!

    A big hug,

  3. Patricia, I wish I could say I did it on my own, but it was Jesus Who lead the way. He kept nudging me to do the right thing.
    A great big hug back!


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