Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas, stood apart yesterday from the other Texas bishops in what appears to be a courageous stand for Life. Bishop Strickland withheld his signature from a statement published Friday by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB), which urged Governor Greg Abbott to grant absolute immunity to the medical industry if they ration health care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bishop Strickland’s absence from, if not opposition to, this overreach by the TCCB is in line with national health officials and the White House. World-renowned global health official Dr. Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House, clarified on Thursday that hospitals and medical professionals in the United States do not need to suggest to the public that any rationing of ventilators or care is currently necessary:
We are reassured in meeting with our colleagues in New York that there are still ICU beds remaining, and there are still over 1,000 to 2,000 ventilators that have not yet been utilized. Please, for the reassurance of people around the world… There is no situation in the United States right now that warrants that kind of discussion.
The TCCB is the administrative and lobbying arm of the Texas bishops and holds no canonical authority as an entity. The TCCB’s recent suggestions would effectively suspend all patient protections currently in law, violating the constitutional rights of vulnerable patients. Regrettably, this action is consistent for the TCCB, which holds interests in hospitals and has opposed patient protections and needed reforms to medical ethics laws for each of the last 12 sessions of the Texas Legislature.
Ironically, the letter from TCCB asks Governor Abbott, a Pro-Life Catholic, to release a new executive order that contradicts not only the very legislation that Governor Abbott worked to enact on behalf of vulnerable patients, but also to ignore White House recommendations.
The TCCB letter states that medical professionals will face “difficult decisions regarding the allocation of health care resources” and that health care facilities should develop guidelines accordingly. Waiving all laws and standards of care does not further protect patients, but rather fosters quality of life value judgments about who should live and who should die, spreads anxiety and fear, and jeopardizes the lives of those needing care at hospitals.
Bishop Strickland likely recognized that during a global pandemic, when pro-death forces are advocating for anti-Life solutions, the leadership of our state, our medical field, and our churches must remain resolute to protect all vulnerable patients.
Please join the entire Texas Right to Life team in praying for Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler; he is likely under immense pressure. Ask God to shower him with favor, protection, and wisdom.
An orthodox Catholic Bishop – hard to find these days. The other Bishops of the TCCB should ponder the following quotes:
‘I do not speak rashly, but as I feel and think. I do not think that many bishops are saved, but that those who perish are far more numerous.’ – St. John Chrysostom, Doctor and Father of the Church
‘Look higher still, and see the prelates of the Holy Church, pastors who have the charge of souls. Is the number of those who are saved among them greater than the number of those who are damned? Listen to Cantimpre; he will relate an event to you, and you may draw the conclusions. There was a synod being held in Paris, and a great number of prelates and pastors who had the charge of souls were in attendance; the king and princes also came to add luster to that assembly by their presence. A famous preacher was invited to preach. While he was preparing his sermon, a horrible demon appeared to him and said, “Lay your books aside. If you want to give a sermon that will be useful to these princes and prelates, content yourself with telling them on our part, ‘We, the princes of darkness, thank you, princes, prelates, and pastors of souls, that due to your negligence, the greater number of the faithful are damned; also, we are saving a reward for you for this favor, when you shall be with us in Hell.”‘
St. Leonard of Port Maurice