An account of how a large Catholic medical center has lost its way. Go to to see recent updates.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bishop Jenky's Threat

As explained in another post, I met with Monsignor Rohlfs and Patricia Gibson on February 19, 2003, two weeks after Haitian Hearts meeting with Bishop Jenky. Both Rohlfs and Gibson said that they would go to the media and come out against Haitian Hearts if I filed a petition for a tribunal court against OSF. I couldn't understand why they were protecting bad behavior at OSF.

I told them I was going to petition for a tribunal court, left their office (Bishop Sheen Center) incredibly dismayed with the leadership of the Peoria Catholic Diocese, and walked down the street to the Chancery to make an appointment to speak with Bishop Jenky. I had been attempting to speak with the Bishop unsuccessfully for a year. His secretary, Fr. Jason Gray, had been denying me this opportunity. However, on February 19, Father Gray told me that I could have an appointment with bishop Jenky the next day when I told him the topic--a tribunal court.

I showed up for my appointment with Bishop Jenky the next day at the Chancery. I could tell immediately that Bishop Jenky was not all that happy to see me. Patricia Gibson sat next to him. He told me that the day before was the first time he had heard that I wanted to file a petition for a tribunal court against OSF, even though I had been talking to Gibson and Rohlfs about this for 8 months. In fact, Gibson and Rohlfs even dictated a letter of petition that my brother transcribed in Rohlfs office in December, 2002. Why was Bishop Jenky just now hearing about this?

Bishop Jenky was aware of OSF's lack of respect for Haiti's children's lives as evidenced by Paul Kramer's call to the American Consulate in Haiti in December, 2002. In my opinion, this action was in opposition to what Catholic social teaching and OSF is all about. Bishop was also aware of OSF cutting all funding for Haitian Hearts children in July, 2002.

At the meeting I told Bishop Jenky about my concerns with activities at OSF, including their corrupt handling of pre-hospital care, Keith Steffen's comments to me in his office at OSF, the seeds of doubt that Steffen had spread in the Peoria area, and what the Apostolic Christian nurses comments about me were. I asked Bishop Jenky what he would think if the same things were said about him. His eyes were very big and angry looking as he replied, "I would be mad as hell".

However, amazingly, Bishop Jenky said there would be no tribunal court against OSF and that he would not judge against OSF. He stated that OSF is a 1.6 billion dollar industry. It was very clear to me the power of OSF in the eyes of Bishop Jenky. He told me that he wore the red miter. He really wouldn't even listen to me regarding more specifics what the tribunal court would be about. He just assured me that there would be no tribunal court against OSF.

I concluded again that Bishop Jenky was very much afraid of OSF's power and their relationship with the business community in the Peoria area. Was OSF donating to the Diocese? It was at the start of the Diocesan Capital Campaign and he didn't want to imperil it any way. Bishop Jenky even told me that if I followed through with the petition for a tribunal court and Haitian Hearts fell apart, that I needed to return to him in one year and go to confession for the killing of 18 Haitian children. (I asked him to repeat this as I wrote down his comment.) I think he knew then that he would be the one withdrawing support for the Haitian kids, but needed someone to blame. He said several times, "This is not going to work..." (meaning his involvement in Haitian Hearts.)

I left the chancery fairly dejected, but it was another good learning experience for me regarding the corporate Catholic Church in the United States. I already knew the Diocese of Peoria had helped and sanctioned OSF's oral contraceptive policy, OSF-HealthPlans oral contraceptive and sterilization policies with OSF Corporate Ethicist Joe Piccione a decade before, policies which permit OSF to cooperate in the provision of artificial birth control, an action that clearly contradicts church teachings. Why? Because of money. OSF is afraid they would lose patients and important preferred provider agreements if they don't help provide artificial birth control.

Bishop Jenky was definitely not interested in hearing about the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Bishops of the United States regarding health care and social justice.

(A tribunal is a “search for the truth. I was seeking Bishop Jenky's intervention for a moral and honest discussion with those involved. The truth would be discovered and justice would be served. I did not think that certain OSF physicians and OSF administrators had much of a chance in a court like this that would seek the truth. If a tribunal would become unavoidable even with the intercession of the Bishop, then an honest effort would have been made to follow Catholic Canon Law. Unfortunately, Bishop Jenky refused the possibility of a tribunal court against OSF.)

In April, 2006 a Peorian submitted a letter to the PJS. He must have thought that OSF was totally restricting oral contraceptives. I wrote the following letter to the forum. His letter is printed below mine. OSF really has the public confused about important issues.

Peoria Journal Star Forum Submission--April 17, 2006

I was surprised to read John Leber´s Forum article on April 15 entitled "No
Religious Dictates". He is concerned about OSF´s recent announcement of their
new 234 million dollar medical center expansion and whether OSF will
unequivocally promise to remove religious mandates regarding birth control.

Mr. Leber must not be aware that OSF and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria
worked on this sensitive issue over a decade ago. Through dubious loopholes,
protocols were established which allow OSF employed physicians, in OSF
offices, to prescribe oral contraceptives. Also, OSF HealthPlans website
lists an entire array of contraceptives available in their drug formulary.

I believe Mr. Leber can take solace knowing that OSF has gone on record
regarding oral contraceptives. They have sacrificed Catholic "precepts,
beliefs, and dictates" to ensure that OSF would remain very competitive and
aggressive in Peoria´s medical marketplace.

John Carroll, M.D.

The Journal Star did not publish this forum submission. Below is the forum article by Mr. Leber.
Saturday, April 15, 2006

No religious dictates

I read with interest the Journal Star endorsement of the proposed expansion
of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center. Economies of scale, location and core
ability would seem to support the idea.

However, one question needs to be unequivocally answered by St. Francis:
Will St. Francis practice medical best-practices, or medical best-practices
as modified by the precepts, beliefs and dictates of Catholicism?

Will St. Francis go on record, for perpetuity, with a promise to remove
religious dictates from issues such as birth control? If St. Francis will
not, it has my respect for honoring deeply held beliefs. But if it will not,
St. Francis is a very poor choice as a cornerstone for what Peoria hopes
will become a Midwest medical center on par with Mayo Clinic.

John B. Leber


My comment: I don't think Mr. Leber needs to respect OSF for "honoring deeply held beliefs". OSF made a financial/business decsion regarding staying competitive so they could expand their downtown campus for 234 million dollars. Oral contraceptives helped them achieve this goal. Joe Piccione and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria ("moralists", as Mr. Piccione describes them), devised ways through dubious loopholes regarding oral contraceptives and OSF. This was well documented in the Peoria Journal Star in the mid-1990's. At a recent meeting, Dr. Gerry McShane, who is Director of the Ethics Committee at OSF Corporate, stated that use of oral contraceptives would indeed be "sinful". Joe Piccione, who was sitting next to Dr. McShane, shook his head "yes". Does Mr. Piccione, OSF, and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria think that providing avenues for people to "sin" is acceptable? Also, public scandal is high on the list of things not to do in the Catholic Church. I believe that OSF's machinations regarding oral contraceptives is highly scandalous and if OSF will allow this to happen, then rejection of dying Haitian kids that need heart surgery, and the monoploy of Emergency Medical Services in Peoria is just part of the continuum of OSF's embarassing recent legacy in Peoria.
June 17, 2006

When I left the chancery in 2002 as I described above, I felt really let down. It seemed Bishop Jenky wouldn't listen like he should have. I know his responsibilities are huge and that the Catholic Church was never meant to be a democracy, but I expected him to consider what I was saying regarding a church tribunal against OSF, especially since Monsignor Rohlfs and Patricia Gibson had been very open to the idea for many months prior to my meeting with Bishhop Jenky. Bishop Jenky told me that he would not rule against OSF. It was over. He said there would be no tribunal court against OSF by me. I don't think OSF would have done well in this court, and I don't think Bishop Jenky thought so either. Therefore, he didn't allow it.

Below is a Forum article in the Peoria Journal Star from a very frustrated lady in the area.

Jenky failing to find reconciliation with abuse victims

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Journal Star recently ran an article in which the Peoria Diocese reported it was in full compliance in 2005 with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Charter of the Protection of Children and Young People. Bishop Daniel Jenky said he would continue to strive for full compliance. This is simply not true.
Article 1 of that document states, "The first obligation of the Church with regard to the victims is for healing and reconciliation. Each diocese/eparchy is to continue its outreach to every person who has been the victim of sexual abuse as a minor by anyone in church service, whether the abuse was recent or occurred many years in the past."

The dictionary defines reconciliation as "adjust or settle." Bishop Jenky refused to settle with nine alleged victims last year.

In the preamble of this charter it states, "We continue to have a special care for and a commitment to reaching out to the victims of sexual abuse and their families."

Bishop Jenky's way of reaching out to the victims is to let a counselor deal with it.

Many have lost their faith. Bishop Jenky has a sacred duty to foster their faith. Not only is he not complying with the charter, it appears as if he's attempting to defy it.

Jorita A. Hill


October 21, 2006: Please go to Preintroduction on this website. Go to October 21, 2006 to see a National Catholic Reporter article written about Peoria's Rape Protocol. Very interesting.


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