Laity making life difficult for Fr. Biondi

A reader sends along the following followup to his earlier correspondence

Dear Father Biondi:

Thank you for your prompt reply to my e-mail sent yesterday. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from you and read your statement of pro-life beliefs and support for the Catholic Church’s teaching on “the sanctity of human life from birth to death.” I spend a good bit of time in pro-life work, and therefore was pleased to see you say, “I believe in and advocate pro-life initiatives.” I must warn you that an article I wrote on our efforts to stop abortions at the local Tenet hospital went to the printers a few days ago and will appear in a pro-life newsletter. Based on my experience over the past 18 months, I had predicted that you would continue to ignore those protesting Tenet hospital abortions. I will be glad to issue an appropriate correction based on yesterday’s e-mail.

I am less than enthusiastic about your belief that your presence on the Tenet Board “is more valuable to advocate these Judeo-Christian values, than not being on the Board, for the sake of all patients and healthcare workers in the Tenet hospital and healthcare system.” Unfortunately, a baby living in his mother’s womb who is brought to a Tenet hospital to be butchered, would qualify as a category of patient who receives no benefit from your advocacy of Judeo-Christian values. I learned in a telephone call last month to Tenet’s shareholder relations representative, Priscilla Finch, why this matter may be outside of your control. She told me that the Tenet Board did not participate in deciding sensitive matters, such as whether to allow abortions, as it was felt best to leave such questions to local decision! As I understood it from Ms. Finch, Tenet does not even track which of its hospitals allows abortions and how many are done at each. I suspect that you had nothing to do with devising this policy, as it seems both cynical and disingenuous, and formulated with Machiavellian, rather than Judeo-Christian, values.

I was glad to hear that you are doing your best “to promote social justice, the sanctity of life, and ethical behavior among all Tenet employees…” Unfortunately, as far as I am aware, no evidence of your good work in these areas has come to public notice. What is seen, rather, is a high profile Jesuit priest enjoying a well-compensated and prestigious relationship with Tenet, a for-profit hospital chain. Because Tenet’s business includes killing innocent babies, your relationship with the organization becomes a source of scandal. An additional difficulty is that your presence on the Tenet Board provides cover for those Tenet employees who may wavering on whether or not to participate in abortions at Tenet hospitals.

Unless there is a real prospect that your work on the Tenet Board might lead to the reduction or elimination of abortions in the Tenet hospital chain, I repeat my recommendation that you withdraw your name from consideration for reelection to the Board at its July 23 meeting. Should you remain as a Board member, I would hope that you would find frequent occasion to remind us that your pro-life beliefs are applicable both inside and outside the Tenet organization.

This afternoon a small group of us assembled at the Tenet’s Framingham hospital where abortions routinely are performed. We said the rosary, as we do every Tuesday, to end abortions both in that hospital and throughout the Tenet organization. Be assured that, as an additional intention, we prayed that you will make right decisions regarding your relationship with Tenet.


Reader’s name

Copy to:

Very Rev. Frank Reale,S.J.

Rev. Timothy M. McMahon, S. J.

Deal Hudson, Crisis Magazine

Jim Rygelski, St. Louis Review

Molly Corcoran Kertz, St. Louis Archdiocese Pro-life Committee

Most Rev. Richard G. Lennon (via Father Robert Kickham)

Mark Shea, “Catholic and Enjoy It”

John Hearn