A leading theologian has said former Catholic institutions should not keep their names after the Church gives up governance, especially if they ‘violate Catholic teaching’.
Almost 1,000 people attended a march to preserve the name of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co. Louth, on Monday after it was discovered there was a proposal to change it.
Staff were asked to choose a new secular name, with the options being: Drogheda University Hospital, Drogheda Regional Hospital or Drogheda General Hospital.
“I’d be sad about the fact it’s no longer a Catholic hospital, I’m glad to see people supporting the name because it’s a sign of Faith supposedly,” said Dr John Murray, a theology and philosophy academic.
The march ended with the ‘Save the Name’ committee delivering a letter which was handed to hospital management. The group says their petition has been signed by over 8,000 people.
This comes as a small protest was held outside Our Lady of Lourdes after it was widely purported that the first abortion in the hospital was to take place on Monday.
“It’s misinforming people for the hospital to continue on having a Catholic name if it isn’t a Catholic hospital and in particular if it’s carrying out procedures that violate Catholic teaching,” Dr Murray said.
“There would be an added dimension of sacrilege all right if you had a hospital named after a saint… doing so.”
Although, he said, it’s good and interesting to see there are protests as it shows there’s “still an attachment to the Catholic Faith in Ireland amongst a large number of people that I hope the Government will take note of, and on the other hand the Church can take some encouragement from that”.
The RCSI Hospital Group failed to respond to queries regarding the name change of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital despite repeated attempts to contact, but it is thought that no final decision has been reached.