The controversy and compromise with the St Vincent's health system as reported by IONA reminds me of the situation several years ago in Geraldton city where the St John of God hospital made it an official policy to cover any ward crucifixes if the patient was Muslim. How often was the patient Muslim? Apparently it had never happened;it was a hypothetical situation when the policy was made.What I thought was more disturbing at the time was a counter-statement from the St John hospitals in Perth that they need not bring out a similar policy as the(obviously older)Geraldton building because no crucifixes exist in the hospitals anyway. In Australia Catholic hospital systems may tender for the building of either private or public hospitals. I think St John of God has only one public hospital in Perth, Midland area. In that situation the government will tender a separate group to build an adjacent clinic offering whatever the hospital won't allow. Of course, like all big business that the church gets involved with today, the whole thing seems quite secular but it hasn't got to the point here where ivf, abortion or sterilization take place at a Catholic campus. It's hard to imagine, however, referrals never taking place to the other side of the car park.A newspaper cartoonist at the time Midland hospital was being rebuilt did a good one-angels/clouds on one side of the grounds and the devil and fire on the other.
I really have no idea how Catholic supposedly Catholic hospitals are. It's hard to get a clear picture. The few Irish hospitals I've been in have chapels and chaplains. My father looked to be in serious danger of his life not so long ago, and I was anxious to get a priest to speak to him. I was told by the night receptionist that a priest only came after death! I meant to complain, but never did. When the chaplain did visit him (while still happily alive) on his rounds he was very good.
Here there's really little difference between a Catholic Hospital chaplaincy and a government hospital chaplaincy or if there is a difference it's either with the priests and team themselves or an unofficial, very unofficial, dislike of religion with some admin. Or in some cases the hospital may be too small, particularly a non-religious affiliated private one, to appoint anyone full time.The main general hospital is quite chaplaincy friendly and there is some government funding for pastoral care also. The second largest hospital did , some years ago,try to do away with regular chaplains and employ their own coordinator, the first was a going to be a Rev. Diana-somebody, but the opposition was too great.Of course there are realistically no St John of God sisters left but, as an indication of how far it's come from that(they actually had a sort of retirement house on the main hospital site) my aunt from Melbourne was meant to drop into one that she knew and when she asked at some reception desk 'where the nuns were' not only did they not know but she was nearly admitted to the mental ward.Lesbian couples are known to use the maternity ward also, but the ivf would be done elsewhere.
my wife used to buy a particular prayer book from Mother Aikenhead's sisters of st Vincent Many years ago at the chapel and shop at the temple Street St Vincent's which contained the litany of Irish saints which she prays periodically. Perhaps that's a good indication and it's a good time to take that practise up
A fine suggestion! We need more litanies.
Another bit of trivia: Mary Aikenhead's Irish Sisters of Charity were the first female religious to exist in Australia, arriving in Sydney in 1838. Today St Vincent's hospital is perhaps Sydney's most prestigious; Australia Post issued a prepaid envelope in it's honour a few years ago on some anniversary, the stamp area was the congregation's coat-of-arms with it's Marian symbolism. Melbourne's St Vincent's is obviously prestigious also- Kylie Minogue had her beast cancer removed there, whatever that says got the spiritual side of it. (and just how all this compares to the holy foundress' vision we can only speculate)