In blog post, O’Malley backs Caritas sale

(Christine Hochkeppel for The Boston Globe/File)
By Lisa Wangsness
Globe Staff / March 27, 2010

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Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley, whose approval is needed for the acquisition of Caritas Christi Health Care by a private equity firm, offered an unambiguously positive assessment of the proposed deal last night, writing in his blog that the sale is a way to preserve the cash-strapped hospital network and guarantee its employees’ retirement benefits.

In his blog post, the cardinal suggested he expects the parties to agree that the hospitals will remain Catholic and continue following the church’s ethical rules for patient care, which include a prohibition on abortion and sterilization as well as detailed standards for removing life support systems at the end of life.

“I look forward to reviewing that agreement before giving approval for the transaction and requesting the Holy See’s approval, which is also needed,’’ O’Malley wrote.

O’Malley said the sale is a last resort — Caritas’s earlier attempts to partner with a national Catholic hospital system fell through. The cardinal said he is deeply concerned about preserving the Caritas employees’ pension fund, which he said had suffered “significant losses’’ in the decline of the stock market, as well as making sure that Caritas could make the improvements necessary to provide high quality care for its patients.

“By way of an agreement with Cerberus, we will accomplish these goals and maintain the Catholic identity of our hospitals, fulfilling the mission of serving the poor and those in need while respecting Catholic medical ethics and the Gospel of Life,’’ he wrote.