Pope Francis and Catholic Health Care in the USA

Pope Francis has set the tone for his papacy and for the whole Church in the years ahead with three concise points in his homily on March 14, 2013: “Journeying, building, professing.”[1] I would suggest there is a clear takeaway for institutions whose mission and identity are bound up with Catholic Christian charity: Do not let worldly concerns transform you into mere social assistance programs or utility-driven “service providers.” It is an echo of Benedict XVI’s affirmation in Deus Caritas Est, no. 31, which he repeated and emphasized in the introduction to his motu proprio On the Service of Charity: “The Church’s charitable activity at all levels must avoid the risk of becoming just another form of organized social assistance.” As one of the most predominant forms of the Church’s charitable works in the United States, Catholic health care surely has ears to hear this message.

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