A Rhode Island health care system has become the latest casuality following a bitter split between U.S. Catholic bishops and Catholic organizations over abortion clauses in health care legislation last month.
Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence, R.I., has demanded that the Catholic Health Association remove St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island from its membership rolls, calling its affiliation with the association “embarrassing” according to Religion News Service, which first reported the story.
In a March 29 letter to CHA President and Chief Executive Officer Sister Carol Keehan, Tobin said the association had "misled the public and caused serious scandal for many members of the church."
St. Joseph Health Services is sponsored by the diocese and is its only Catholic hospital, said a diocesan spokesman.
Catholic Hospital Association spokesman Fred Caesar told Religion News Service Tobin's request was granted and that one other hospital said it may not renew its membership in the association, but no others have left. Caesar declined to name the hospital, or where it is located.