Biden admin backs down on trying to force Catholic hospital to extinguish sanctuary candle – LifeSite

TULSA, Oklahoma (LifeSiteNews) — A Catholic hospital system has emerged victorious after the Biden administration attempted to force it to snuff out a sanctuary candle or forfeit federal funding. 

Earlier today, vice president and senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Lori Windham announced that “the government has seen the light and has abandoned its attempt to force an Oklahoma hospital to blow out a small candle or stop serving elderly, disabled, and low-income patients.” 

“The government knew it was playing with fire—today it announced its decision to allow the living flame so Saint Francis can continue to serve God and its community, as it always has.” 

As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ordered Saint Francis Health System to extinguish two sanctuary candles at two of the group’s hospitals in February, threatening to revoke accreditation and federal funding. In response to a letter sent to the CMS and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by the Becket law firm, the HHS informed the religious organization that it could continue its work without abandoning its religious practice, which also follows safety protocols. 

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The president of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV) has described assisted suicide as sometimes being the “greatest common good concretely possible” contrary to the Catholic Church’s strenuous condemnation of the practice.

This betrayal of the Catholic faith by Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia is not for the first time, with the PAV repeatedly causing scandal under his watch by:

  • recently appointing a notorious pro-abortion atheist to the organization
  • claiming contraception and artificial insemination are sometimes acceptable
  • insisting that priests could accompany people through assisted-suicide, and
  • that Italy’s pro-abortion law is a “pillar” of the country’s social life.

SIGN: Pope Francis must remove Abp. Paglia from the Pontifical Academy for Life

“Personally, I would not practice suicide assistance,” Archbishop Paglia told an Italian journalism conference last week, “but I understand that legal mediation may be the greatest common good concretely possible under the conditions we find ourselves in.”

Accepting an anti-life Italian court ruling that specified when assisted-suicide is permitted, the archbishop claimed “it is not to be ruled out that in our society a legal mediation is feasible that would allow assistance to suicide under the conditions specified by Constitutional Court Sentence 242/2019…”

From the outset of his presentation in Perugia, Paglia also undermined the authority of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals, stating: “First of all, I would like to clarify that the Catholic Church is not that it has a ready-made, prepackaged package of truths, as if it were a dispenser of truth pills.” 

SIGN: Abp. Paglia must be removed from the Pontifical Academy for Life

The PAV issued a statement on Monday trying to clarify the archbishop’s remarks, insisting that Paglia “reiterates his ‘no’ towards euthanasia and assisted suicide, in full adherence to the Magisterium”.

However, far from denouncing Paglia’s words, the PAV unsurprisingly supported its president. Referencing the Italian court ruling which partially decriminalized euthanasia by outlining exceptions to its illegality, the PAV stated it was in the context of this ruling that Paglia had made his comments.

In this precise and specific context, Msgr. Paglia explained that in his opinion a ‘legal mediation’ (certainly not a moral one) in the direction indicated by the Sentence is possible, maintaining the crime and the conditions under which it is decriminalized, as the same Constitutional Court has asked Parliament to legislate. 

The PAV’s fudging of the issue was met with consternation from several Catholic commentators, with liturgist Matthew Hazell, who had highlighted Paglia’s original comments, asking “How hard is it for the @PontAcadLife to just say ‘sorry’ for scandalising the faithful? Indeed, how hard is it to actually adhere to the teaching of the Church on life issues? Are you so incapable of reading the signs of the times & interpreting them in the light of the Gospel?”

SIGN: Abp. Paglia’s presidency of the Pontifical Academy for Life is untenable

It’s vital that the Church and PAV push back against the culture of death, rather than trying to accommodate it and accept a world that where the vulnerable are helped to kill themselves.

Be part of pushing back against the tide and making it clear that there is no room for confusion or betrayal when it comes to the sanctity of human life and the infallibilty of Catholic teaching on the matter. 

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Abp. Paglia defends assisted-suicide as ‘greatest common good possible’ for dying people – LifeSiteNews

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“At the heart of Saint Francis’ mission is love for God and man,” the system’s chief executive officer, Dr. Cliff Robertson, said in a statement. “The living flame of our chapel candle indicates to all who enter our hospitals that we will serve them with religious devotion as Christ commands us.” 

“We are grateful for the support of Becket and Yetter Coleman, of the Oklahoma Delegation, and of countless persons all throughout the nation, and we are grateful for The Joint Commission and HHS’s recognition of our religious liberties.” 

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