Charity’s call ingrained at Catholic hospitals

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Shortly after the Civil War, Andrew Carney, an Irish-born tailor who had made a small fortune selling uniforms to the US Navy, bequeathed $56,000 to a fledgling hospital in South Boston. He wanted it to serve the working class, “without distinction of creed, color, or nation.’’

Even in those early days, Boston’s Catholic hospital had financial problems. The Daughters of Charity who ran it “begged daily in the streets of Boston for the money and food to keep the hospital open and the indigent patients fed,’’ historian Thomas H. O’Connor wrote in his book, “Boston Catholics.’’ When word got back to the archbishop of the hospital’s plight, he organized a grand bazaar to raise money. It took in $25,000 and put the hospital on firm financial ground.

Nearly 150 years later, a private equity firm has stepped in with needed cash for the Carney and the other five hospitals in the Caritas Christi Health Care network, which have struggled in recent years to meet their mission to provide care to the poor, while making the improvements necessary to survive in a cutthroat and increasingly complex industry.

The firm, Cerberus Capital Management, has promised the hospitals will continue to be run as Catholic institutions, in accordance with Catholic teachings that prohibit procedures the church considers to be immoral, such as abortion and sterilization. Hospital leaders have cast the deal as a way to preserve Catholic health care in Boston.

Read it all from the Boston Globe.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePovertyReligion & Culture* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic

Posted March 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. LumenChristie wrote:

Fascinating name, Cerberus ==

The mythological giant three-headed dog who guards the gates of hell.

So many hospitals which were founded as charities have been turned into big business.

March 29, 9:27 am | [comment link]
2. Chris wrote:

Cerberus - that’s the group that owned Chrysler (and ran it into the ground) right?

March 29, 4:49 pm | [comment link]
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