Vatican requires nuns to manage hospital assets in accordance with Canon Law

The Irish State is planning to give a €300 million National Maternity Hospital to the Sisters of Charity. The Minister for Health has said that “only doctors and other healthcare professionals would make decisions about women’s health in the planned new Hospital.”

However, the Sisters of Charity are a Catholic religious order whose primary loyalties and obligations are to the Holy See and Canon Law. This obliges them to manage their assets in a way that reflect the evangelical witness of their mission.

According to a Holy See document that we quote from below, the field of economics is a means of missionary activity for the church, the assets of church Institutes are “ecclesiastical assets”, and their employees should be aware that they work in an Institute which sees the purpose of its assets to be for the development of the mission.

So what will happen if the “doctors and other healthcare workers” referred to by the Minister want to do something that clashes with the evangelical mission of the Sisters of Charity?

Minister Harris said on Thursday that he was instructing the HSE to seek protections against “religious interference” during detailed contractual arrangements in advance of construction.

St Vincent’s Hospital (owned by the Sisters of Charity) viewed this intervention as an attempt by the Minister to “unpick” the existing agreement. This suggests that they consider religious interference to be protected within the existing agreement.

Holy See Guidelines

In 2014, the Holy See issued a set of Guidelines for the Administration of Assets in Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

This document includes the following quotes:

  • The field of economics is a means of missionary activity for the church.
  • The assets of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life are “ecclesiastical assets”.
  • (Canon Law 1257: all temporal goods which belong to the universal Church, the Apostolic See, or other public juridic persons in the Church are ecclesiastical goods.
  • Canon Law 116: Public juridical persons are aggregates of persons or of things which are established by the competent ecclesiastical authority so that, within the limits allotted to them in the name of the Church, and in accordance with the provisions of law, they might fulfil the specific task entrusted to them for the public good.)
  • The economic dimension is intimately connected to both the person and the mission. Through financial transactions vital choices are made which should reflect the evangelical witness, being always mindful of the needs of our brothers and sisters.
  • Fidelity to the founding charism and to the subsequent spiritual heritage of each Institute is, together with the demands of the Gospel, the first evaluative criteria for decisions and actions that take place at every level, because the nature of the charism directs their energies, sustains their fidelity and directs the apostolic work of all towards the one mission.
  • It is good to remember however, that the ultimate responsibility for administrative, economic, or financial decisions can never be handed over to members of the laity or to those of other Institutes.
  • Major superiors should be aware that not all management practices correspond to evangelical principles, nor might they be in accord with the social teachings of the church.
  • Members of the laity who collaborate with the Institute, either as consultants or as employees, should be aware that they work in an Institute which is marked by a distinctive charism and which sees the purpose of its assets, in the spirit of poverty, to be for the development of the mission.

You can read the full document here.

[pdf-embedder url=”” title=”Holy See Guidelines on Assets”]


Atheist Ireland

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    David lazer April 23, 2017

    Is it not globally illegal for one country or state to impose its laws on another country or state when the country being imposed upon already has a democratic system in place that ,for the most part, complies with the court of human rights? The Vatican is a foreign state with its own money, legal system, leaders and representatives/ambassadors and yet it has no embassy here? It claims to be a religion/charity but by demonstration it is not. It is a sovereign state. It chooses instead to set up representative houses across the globe in stead of embassy’s masquerading as a religion/charity, including in Ireland. It draws in vulnerable citizens with emotional blackmail and in turn imposing the laws of its own state upon them and expects them to act within those boundaries even if they are not citizens of the Vatican. It then further expands outside of its representative houses and tries to influence communities, industries and other state bodies. Because influenced individuals must act within the foreign states laws, these individuals/ now representatives have managed to get into government/state positions who are influencing/ imposing the foreign states laws onto our country. The basis of those laws are over a fundamental tenet that can neither be proven or disproven and therefor has no meaning or influence in our universally perceived reality. Our laws are (or should be) based on the causes and effects of our perceived reality not the unfounded ideas of another state! Is it not also true that the extreme side of Islam is currently trying to achieve the setting up of its own state in order to do the same? Has it not been noticed that the Vatican has already done this and been spreading its influence for centuries based on the same fundamental tenet? And why is it that the same amount of concern is not being raised? If the fundamental tenet, on which the Vatican state is based, has no meaning in reality then it’s influence and insistence on imposing and spreading its laws across other states is not only harmful but dangerous to the wellbeing of the entire population. Under any straight forward democratic situation between two states or countries, this kind of behaviour would result in the imposing country or state being subject to sanctioning or expulsion of its embassy and representatives if not a penal imposition or universal laws stopping it from behaving in this manner. Why are Irish politicians complying with the Vatican? Why are Irish politicians allowing representatives of the Vatican, ownership of a medical facility when that particular representative group (and many others as well) have not only been accused and proven to be dishonest, incompetent, neglectful and directly abusive to vulnerable people but have been found to be repeatedly… REPEATEDLY! Guilty of this deplorable type of behaviour? This is not speculation. It is a fact that they are a danger to our society. Why are they being put in charge of a facility that caters for people in a vulnerable position and that even the Holy See guidelines insist that the sisters charity must behave according to Vatican laws in regards to the running of this asset which in turn would put patient health and wellbeing at risk? To continue with the proposed plan ,in spite of the overwhelming evidence against it, is outrageous and demonstrates not only that the state is under foreign influence and being disrespectful to its own citizens but that the representatives of the Irish state involved in this are either being blackmailed or have no concept of the distinction between reality and fantasy and are not fit to hold a position within the management of the state.