(SNR) - The priestly ministry of Father Christopher Kubat involves the healing of souls. But before his ordination, Father Kubat worked as a physician, attuned to the physical healing that comes through good medical care.
Earlier this month, Bishop James Conley gave Father Kubat the opportunity to bring those experiences together: Father Kubat was appointed the vicar for healthcare in the Diocese of Lincoln. The task will be in addition to his role as director of Catholic Social Services.
Father Kubat said the appointment will allow him to use the "unique insight" of his medical training, which gives him an "understanding of the dynamics and challenges of healthcare in the last few years."
In particular, Father Kubat will serve as a resource for Catholic hospitals, medical groups, and healthcare providers who work to implement the Ethical and Religious Directives, a set of healthcare guidelines promulgated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Father Kubat said Catholics in healthcare face serious challenges today. Healthcare professionals face persecution, he said, for "fidelity to the truth, fidelity to the Gospel, and for following their consciences."
Father Kubat is particularly concerned about the federal HHS contraceptive mandate, which requires institutions to fund the use of contraception, and increased pressure on physicians to prescribed contraception.
"All brands of the pill," Father Kubat said, "share an abortifacient mechanism of action. They have the power to kill the unborn."
It is a challenge, he said, for institutions to remain faithful to the Gospel with regard to contraception, and with regard to care for the poor.
"The Catholic Church has been helping poor people for 2,000 years. We started the notion of schools and hospitals. But now we’re mixing poison into the recipe—trying to force people to do something evil and calling it the Gospel. Helping the poor can’t include requiring people to violate their conscience," he said.
Father Kubat believes Catholics can provide a solution to the challenges of healthcare. "People," he said, "can do better. They need to be informed. They need to accept the truth. And by the grace of God, they can live by truth, and by grace."
In Father Kubat’s office hangs a picture of Christ on the cross. He said he looks to the cross for a solution. "If people know the love of God," he said, "they’re going to want to do the right thing."
CSS’s Father Kubat named diocesan vicar for health care