John Allen has a great primer on the Catholic Health Care debate reminding us that both the sexual abuse crisis and the recent visitation of women religious will play a huge role in the upcoming conversation between the Bishop’s and the Catholic Health Association. It’s worth a read to understand the context of knowing that the bishop’s moral authority has been seriously damaged and there’s still a lot of fall out from that and secondly that women religious have been at the heart of the administration of the Catholic health care system for decades.
Fortunately, the key players in the tête à tête between the bishops and the CHA seem relatively unencumbered by this baggage. George has not been among those prelates complaining of “petty gossip” or comparing criticism on the sex abuse crisis to anti-Semitism, while for her part, Keehan told me, “I don’t have as many sensitivities about the visitation as maybe I should, or as others have.”
That said, it would nonetheless be futile to ignore the psychological subtext of the situation. With that in mind, one helpful thing bishops interested in healing the rift with the CHA could do is to express their broad appreciation and solidarity with women religious, notwithstanding the concerns that led to the visitation. Likewise, leaders in Catholic health care can find ways to signal that they’re not joining the “bash the bishops” brigades, despite the undeniable gravity of the sexual abuse crisis.
Responsible figures on both sides of the relationship have already been taking these steps. It would make the present climate infinitely less toxic, and not just on the health care debate, to see them scaled up.
Read the rest. Good stuff from John Allen, as always.