The Sisters of St. Joseph founded St. Charles hospital in Bend 92 years ago. Amelia Templeton reports the Catholic church is ending its long relationship with the hospital.
Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker announced that the church will no longer officially sponsor St. Charles of Bend. The hospital serves about a quarter of a million people in central Oregon. To be considered Catholic it had to adhere to a list of guidelines. Bishop Vasa says the hospital was openly breaking guideline number 53 by providing a form of sterilization called tubal ligation. Several hundred women underwent the procedure each year.
Vasa: "The issue of sterilization because it was so prominent and prevalent at the hospital was one that they deemed they could not alter and I deemed I could not accept."
A spokesperson for the hospital says St. Charles is the only hospital serving Bend and the surrounding rural community. So board members felt they needed to provide the procedure. St. Charles did not receive any funding through the Catholic church, but Catholic Mass will no longer take place at the hospital. The cross on top of the building will remain.