Healthcare Paper on Systemic Analysis of the Catholic Identity of Healthcare

Systemic Analysis of the Catholic Identity of Healthcare

            The Roman Catholic Church remains the largest private provider of healthcare in the United States. However, the administrative structure of today’s Catholic healthcare organizations is dissimilar to that of the past. In 1968, 770 of 796 the HCOs in the US were run and administrated over by nuns or priests. However, as of 2011, only 8 of 636 HCOs hospitals were run by Catholic staff members (Sack). The drastic change in management highlighted poor managerial traits. Currently, the ‘catholic’ institutes, particularly healthcare facilities, are known to have fewer nuns working as nurses and doctors than yesteryears,’ a factor that indicates feminism. Additionally, the change has seen the HCOs views on issues such as care at the beginning of life or for the dying become less weighty than before, in Congress. As a result of these occurrences, one can deduce that the religious identity of HCOs comes into question. As indicated by Laloux, from the late 1960s to the late 1980s the US Congress considered the view of the church before amending healthcare-related legislation (24). The Catholic Church remains the principle religious faction that is significantly active in presenting the ‘Christian’ view; nevertheless, of concern is the authenticity of its opinions regarding ethical issues. Currently, some healthcare issues remain controversial considering that conflict between the Catholic and the Modern Christianity perspective exist.




When discussing issues in the healthcare industry, such as contraception and abortion, it is essential to consider the opinion of the church considering that it is one of the essential ethical bodies. Typically, the Roman Catholic Church’s view is presented as the ‘Church’s view.’ Indeed, over the last decade, the phenomenon of ‘Modern Christianity’ has made the Christian view regarding ethical issueless weighty than it was before. According to Lawler, Modern Christianity suggests that ethics and not necessarily Christian views should be used in healthcare legislation (56).For example; some HCOs are inclined to support the use of contraception as they consider their various advantages. Due to such circumstances, it is arguable that HCOs are struggling with the issues of identity. While some HCOs argue that it is religiously unethical to conduct an abortion, others are for saving expectant mothers’ lives through conducting abortions. According to Banerjeem, the Catholic identity of an HCO has remained a topic of discussion considering that different views warrant a medical institution to be identified as ‘Catholic’ (13). Some factions identify institutes as Catholic when they administrated by Catholic Church and adhere to its rules and regulations. For example, they must adhere to prayers and employ Catholic Church faithful only (15). Other aspects that identify an HCO include its organizational culture, Religious Symbols, and architecture among others.

Christianity has been operating as an ethics source set to prompt individuals to take care of the ill, financial underprivileged and other society members that required help. Numerous healthcare organizations are managed using the philosophy mentioned above. According to Lee, James, and Lauraan, HCOs is an institute whose Christian (Catholic or Protestant) identity is driven by the empathetic morals of Christianity (56). However, as indicated by Banerjeem, in the modern-day western culture HCOs have problems interpreting their religious identity (45). The confusion of identity stems from the continued pluralism and secularization of the institution’s background. The Catholic identity in this context covers two dissimilar meanings. One is formal, which means that a healthcare institutes Catholic healthcare organizations on the basis its statue. The other reason that some hospital institutes identify themselves as ‘Catholic’ stems from their Catholic traditions, including the classical ethical teachings as a working guide that is used to guide its practice, which is called the normative identity (Laloux 56-57). In case a health facility identifies itself as Catholic, HCO it is expected to grant due consideration to Catholic health views. For instance, it has to be vocal about contraception and abortion. Indeed, as noted, the numbers of healthcare institutions that are run by the Catholic Church keep reducing. Moreover, of the HCOs consider themselves ‘Catholics,’ yet they are devoid of any Roman Catholic link. Therefore, it is right reason that the Christian view is not from the Catholic foundation or other institutes

Issues such as abortion continue to generate considerable backlash from the Christian view. The reason for this is that at the moment, the wishes of the church are not known to be endorsed by the church or other interested parties outrightly. It is significantly hard to present a motion using the Catholic Church identity yet the Catholic health organizations are not ‘Catholic.’ Throughout this research, it has been apparent that the management of HCOs has become significantly unoriginal and hence sparked a considerable debate on an identity crisis of some sort. A 2011 New York Times article Nuns, a Dying Breed, ‟ Fade from Leadership Roles at Catholic Hospitals” highlights this reality. The reduction of nuns and sisters from the Catholic Healthcare Centers stems from the decline of religious culture that saw the society appreciates the efforts of women through the church. Lawler dictates that the Vatican has stringent regulations that support women’s revolution, ethnic assimilation, and women leaders (67). Moreover, it is unprecedented to have less Catholic administrators, yet the nation’s Catholic population has increased by approximately 60% in the last century (Topping 47). In this case, it is evident that what was once a strong Catholic representation in the healthcare industry has changed. HCOs head of departments has employed individuals with little understanding the Catholic ways or understanding. Subsequently, the once formalized institutes are currently adopters of secular mannerisms that encourage notions such as the acceptance of contraception and abortion.

From the information provided, it is evident that the formal Catholic identity has been largely eroded over the years because of the mushrooming of less conservative ways of analyzing ethical issues than before. Nevertheless, some reforms need to be applied for HCOs not to lose their identity. The first reform that is recommended is the return of Catholic fathers and nuns into departmental head positions, which would see a restoration of the Catholic culture in the health care system. Lee, James, and Laura state that the articulation of identity of any institute is held within the mission, vision, and values of the described institution. From this perspective, it can be argued that the introduction of individuals such as priests and nuns will return the Catholic Church Norms to the “Catholic modernity’ paradigm. Another recondition that would aid in restoring the Catholic identity in HCOs is the setup and execution of pastoral and spiritual responsibility programs. As indicated, the number of Catholic congregants in the US has surged by 60% over the last century. Therefore, for HCOs to attain their identity, it is mandatory for the health institutions to set up mission strategies that will increase public confidence. By the administration articulating on the religious context of Catholic care, clarity and inspiration are provided for the stakeholders.

In conclusion, the Catholic Church is known for its hard line stance concerning ethical issues. It relies on the bible to interpret what is morally acceptable or not. The Catholic Church has been involved in the care of the sick and underprivileged for centuries. It is because of this factor that HCOs remain the largest providers of private healthcare. Nevertheless, due to ‘Modern Christianity,’ some schools of thought argue that these organizations have lost their Catholic identity, a factor that has seen a decrease in managerial skills. There are two kinds Catholic health organizations. The first includes those that are devout to the Catholic faith and refute issues like abortion, while the second is only affiliated with the Catholic faith from a normative perspective, and it finds it ethical to allow abortion. The lack of identity has caused considerable issues when arguing from the ‘Christian’ view. The reason indicated to have brought the lack of identity is that the current management of Catholic healthcare organizations lacks the Catholic heads that were present during earlier times. The HCOs are required to reintroduce Catholic fathers and nuns to the institutes’ management to regain its confidence. With the two back to the organization, they will work towards restoring their original values. Finally, there is a need for Pastoral and mission campaigns that would restore public confidence in the private healthcare sector.


Works Cited

Banerjee, Santo. Chaos and Complexity Theory for Management: Nonlinear Dynamics. Information Science Reference, 2013.

Laloux, Frederic. Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness. Nelson Parker, 2014.

Lawler, Philip F. The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture. Encounter Books, 2010.

Lee, Thomas H., James J. Mongan, and Laura Cushing-Kidney. Chaos and Organization in Health Care. MIT Press, 2012.

Sack, Kevin. “Nuns, a ‘Dying Breed,’ Fade From Leadership Roles at Catholic Hospitals.” The New York Times, 20 Aug. 2011, Accessed 29 Oct. 2017.

Topping, Ryan N. S. Rebuilding Catholic Culture: How the Catechism Can Shape Our Common Life. Sophia Institute Press, 2012.