Archdiocese of Boston Appoints First Healthcare Ethicist.

Over the months of hearings and discussions on the for-profit Steward Health Care System’s purchase of the Caritas Christi Health Care system once owned by the Archdiocese of Boston, maintaining the Catholic identity of the hospitals was frequently questioned. As part of the agreement, Steward agreed to maintain the Catholic identity of the hospitals and comply with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs).

In this week’s edition of The Pilot and on, the Archdiocese has announced the appointment of its first healthcare ethicist. Peter J. Cataldo, a renowned bioethicist, has been named to the position and will assume this role on Sept. 1.

Cataldo will report to Father Bryan Hehir, the secretary for health and social services, for the archdiocese. The two men will oversee Catholic identity in six regional Catholic hospitals formerly owned by Caritas Christi and recently sold to Steward Health Care System LLC in a deal finalized last November. In turn, Father Hehir and Cataldo will report to Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley.
Note Fr. Hehir’s description:

Father Hehir described “Catholic identity” as covering three main areas: the sacramental and spiritual (such as maintaining chapels and access to chaplains), Catholic social teaching in that providing healthcare is a basic human right, and upholding the ERDs with their standards of moral arguments and principles.
Dr. Cataldo comes with sterling credentials:

“His great value is that he’s not only got a philosophical background, but his field of bioethics is specified in many ways by its Catholic content,” he (Fr. Hehir) also said.
Cataldo is currently the director of the Office of Catholic Identity at the Catholic Medical Center, a full-service hospital in Manchester, N.H. Prior to that, he directed the Respect Life office for the diocese of Manchester and also served for 18 years with the National Catholics Bioethics Center, based in Philadelphia.

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