Tuesday, June 6, 2023
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HHS Threatens to Cancel Longtime Catholic Hospital over Candle

'Curiously, during the inspection, the surveyor expressly asked to go to the chapel to see if there was a living flame... '

(Ezekiel Loseke, Headline USA) Joe Biden’s Health and Human Services, headed by Xavier Becerra, is trying to revoke the capacity of a Catholic hospital system in Tulsa, Okla., to treat federally funded patients because it requires a ceremonial candle to be lit in its chapels.

The Saint Francis Healthcare System runs five hospitals in Eastern Okla., and is the twelfth-largest hospital system in the nation, according to RedState.

The hospital system, over the last five years, has served around 400,000 patients, employed more than 11,000 people and given away over $650 million in medical care to the needy.

Saint Francis’s Healthcare System has operated in a consistent manner since the first hospital opened in 1960. The system, being authentically Catholic, has a chapel in each of its hospitals, available 24/7 to patients and staff.

An essential part of a Catholic worship place is the presence of the Eucharist, and the Tabernacle Lamp, as explained by Dr. Taylor Marshal.

The Tabernacle Lamp is a small red flame informing the worshiper of the presence of the Eucharist.

Because the Saint Francis System is Catholic, it has included the Eucharist and the Tabernacle Lamp in its chapels for the entirety of its more than 60-year history (except on Good Friday when the Eucharist is removed from the Church).

Despite the long and storied history of The Saint Francis System, an inspector for the Health and Human Services of Xavier Becarra cited Saint Francis for a violation of a fire-code over the Tabernacle Lamp. Saint Francis appealed the decision and was rejected.

Biden’s HHS explained its reasoning to Saint Francis.

“Specifically, … [policy] addresses the use of lighted candles and states that such candles must be ‘placed in a substantial candle holder and supervised at all times they are lighted,'” the response to the appeal read. “According to the information gathered by TJV [The Joint Commission, which is a contractor with HHS in charge of certifying hospitals for Federally funded healthcare programs like Medicare and Medicaid] and the survey finding, ‘there was a lit candle with open flame burning unattended 24/7.'”

A legal firm representing Saint Francis, Beckett Law, wrote a letter to HHS asking them to drop the issue before they lose in court.

They said that the HHS-contracted inspector came looking for the candle.

“Curiously, during the inspection, the surveyor expressly asked to go to the chapel to see if there was a living flame,” the attorneys explained, pointing to a singling out of the Catholic organization. “Of course, he found it: the same sanctuary flame that Saint Francis has kept alight since the chapel was blessed by the local Ordinary,” they reported, pointing to the long-standing operation of the chapel.

The attorneys then explained the litany of safety precautions taken by Saint Francis.

“Despite many sprinkler heads surrounding the candle, good exhaust, the flame’s double glass encasing, the bronze top enclosing the flame, despite its mounting to a wall over six feet high, and despite the surveyor’s knowledge of the fire marshal’s long-standing approval of the eternal flame, the sanctuary lamp did not meet with the surveyor’s favor,” the law firm stated.

The attorneys expressed confidence that they will win in court against the HHS, and asked the HHS to back down.

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