By Bill Federer
“Medieval Hospital” by Robert Alan Thom
“It is not just about sterilization, abortifacients, and chemical contraception. … It’s about religious freedom, the sacred right, protected by our constitution. …” – Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, Oct. 29, 2012, responding to the president’s HHS healthcare mandates.
Cardinal Dolan, as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), 2010-2013, continued: “The president announced … the choking mandates from HHS would remain – a shock to me, since he had personally assured me that he would do nothing to impede the good work of the Church … that he considered the protection of conscience a sacred duty. … There was still no resolution about the handcuffs placed upon … Catholic charitable agencies … just because they will not refer victims of human trafficking, immigrants and refugees, and the hungry of the world, for abortions, sterilization, or contraception.”
The Catholic Church is the oldest institution in the Western World and the originator of “hospitals.” Though some ancient cultures had superstitious medical practices, they were primarily for the royalty and wealthy. Healthcare for the poor traces its roots to Christianity.
Just as the Syrian Church pioneered medical care in the East, so do did the Catholic Church in the West, putting into practice the words of Jesus:
- “I was sick and you visited me”
- “Whatever you have done to the least of my brethren, you have done unto me”
- Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan pouring wine and oil on the wounds of the injured traveler and taking him to an inn
In the fourth century, under the ministry of St. Jerome, a wealthy Christian widow named St. Fabiola gave money to build a hospital for the poor in Rome and cared for the sick herself. Around the same time, St. Basil distributed food to the poor of Caesarea, Click to see the original article