Clarification Print E-mail
Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Clarification to “Hospice Care Deals with Mind, Body, and Spirit” article in the Madison Catholic Herald, November 1, 2012, “Grief & Loss” section

I wish to clarify an important matter in the article titled “Hospice Care Deals with Mind, Body, and Spirit” in the November 1, 2012 issue of the Diocese of Madison Catholic Herald.

The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, 5th Edition (ERDs) are primarily concerned with the moral principles and ecclesial mission of health care ministry within institutionally-based Catholic health care services. As such, besides any hospice care that is integrally a component of a Catholic hospital or Catholic healthcare network, the only stand-alone hospice care institution in the Diocese of Madison, at the current time, that complies with the ERDs at the institutional level and is entitled to use the term “Catholic” is St. Jude Hospice.

St. Jude Hospice has made this attestation to follow the ERDs as an institution directly and formally with the Diocese of Madison and with other dioceses in the country. As such, all patients, both Catholic and non-Catholic, receiving services from St. Jude Hospice are assured that the natural moral law and Catholic moral teaching, including issues related to end-of-life care, will be fully complied with at St. Jude Hospice. The Diocese of Madison cannot provide similar institutional assurances regarding end-of-life care at other non-Catholic hospice care facilities, such as Agrace HospiceCare. Patients receiving services from such non-Catholic hospice care institutions should clearly, directly, and formally manifest to hospice staff that as a patient they wish to receive hospice care consistent with the natural moral law, as articulated in Catholic moral teaching, including end-of-life decisions related to medical care and the principle to provide food and water, including assisted nutrition and hydration, when one can’t receive them orally. For “A Catholic Guide to End-of-Life Decisions”, please go to

Msgr. James Bartylla,
Vicar General, Diocese of Madison