Cardinal's Amendment Discussed in the House
By a Staff Reporter
"Where a hospital, transferred under the Bill, has any particular denominational background or associations which links it with some particular religious organisation, it is my right hon. Friend's intention to preserve the character of that institution."
This assurance was given in Parliament last week by the Lord Privy Seal, replying for Mr. Bevan to the debate on the National Health Service Bill, Mr. R. R. Stokes, in the course of the debate, had sought clarification on the amendments whirsh have been tugs gested in the statement recently issued by Cardinal Griffin and the joint statement of the Hierarchy, published on Wednesday, namely, the future of Catholic hospitals and the safeguarding of the doctor's conscience.
Declaring that he welcomed the Bill, more particularly because it would improve She condition of the poore.si people, among whom Catholics found their greatest number, he asked thot " the moral principles for which we stand should be safeguarded." He pointed out thc close connection between Catholic hospitals and religion, and asked for assurances that " the atmosphere and character of our hospitals shall remain the same, and that, in order to achieve this, steps will be taken to provide in the Bill or in the Regulations that the mareagement oommelees shall be of the same censtitueon and shall be given the charge of the administration of the hospital."
" CATHOLIC ATMOSPHERE" Explaining what he meant by atmosphere, he mentioned birth control and abortion, and added: " In particular. we have hospitals serviced by nursing sisters, nuns, and we feel it highly desirable that the administration COMmittees of these hospitals shaIl remain in the main of the same character as they are at the present time."
The Lord Privy Seal also stated that it was really part of his right hon. Friend's intention that the peculiar character and personality of hospitals should, so far as possible. be respected and preserved, and he was sure that Mr. Stokes would be satisfied with that statement,
Catholic M.P.s voted in the Division according to Party.
Speaking at Leicester last Friday, Cardinal Griffin reiterated the points made in his statement to the Press pub
lished on Wednesday, April 22. He said: .
" The danger in taking over the voluntary hospitals is, first of all, that it will do away with something which is inviolable in our character and tradition—voluntary service and helps A FURTHER DANGER " A"ftirther danger, in not allowing the voluntary hospitals to keep their present form of management, is that for is there is a question of a principle at.stake. Our voluntary hospitals were founded so that Catholics and others who wished to follow certain principles in the treatment of sickness should be allowed to carry them out. Thousands of pounds have been left by benefactors for this specific purpose."