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Bishop’s Letter to CHW Leaked: Hospital to Lose Catholic Status

Our Man in the Mitre is a vigilant shepherd, but he always works quietly and personally with tough cases, as a good pastor should.

This morning the Arizona Republic has published a story about a confidential November 22  letter that Bishop Olmsted has sent to the managers of Phoenix’s St Joseph’s hospital, San Francisco-based Catholic (In Name Only) Healthcare West, also known as C(INO)HW.

The copy of the letter that the paper has is the stamped as “received” by C(INO)HW President Lloyd H. Dean, and it is no surprise that it is his office that has leaked the letter in an attempt to take their fight with the bishop into the Court of Media Opinion, where stories like “Mean Bishop Yells at Plucky Nun” or “Courageous Hospital Staff Defies Murderous Celibate with Funny Hat” are golden.

It is also no surprise that it is C(INO)HW who has decided to fight this one out in the media, and not the Bishop. Phoenix Catholics already know that our shepherd is not in the business of publicly correcting the dissent, disobedience, and scandal that are as much a part of the Church in Phoenix as they were of the Church of Corinth in St Paul’s day. Our Man in the Mitre is a vigilant shepherd, but he always works quietly and personally with tough cases, as a good pastor should; when nasty stuff in Olmsted’s diocese goes public, it’s always the wayward sheep that are doing the bleating. (Sidebar: when I went looking for a link to the sad 2009 case of excommunicate ex-priest and gay activist Chris Carpenter, I came across this unintentionally hilarious take on the old story from the East Valley Tribune’s notorious anti-Catholic bigot-columnist Lawn Griffiths. The headline? “Father Chris Carpenter Breaks with Catholic Diocese.” Right. Bishop Olmsted and all ye in communion with him: I hereby excommunicate you from the One, Holy, and Apostolic Church of Chris.)

Catholic Phoenix readers should really read the Bishop’s letter in its entirety. The circumstances that have necessitated its writing are lamentable—namely, the hospital’s performance of an induced abortion as a “life-saving” measure back in late 2009, a hospital nun’s approval of the procedure and her automatic excommunication, and the hospital’s continued public insistence that life-saving abortions are consistent with Catholic doctrine. But the bishop’s letter is a powerful and heartening portrait of a shepherd preparing to use his crosier not to try to pull the wayward in, but to push dissimulating wolves out of the fold.

In the letter, Bishop Olmsted takes on C(INO)HW’s claim in a previous letter that “many knowledgeable moral theologians have investigated this case…(it) is a very complex matter on which the best minds disagree.”  (Note to dissident Catholics: this kind of thing makes you look really silly. “On the one hand, we have the Catechism and the Magisterium; on the other, we have someone with a degree from Georgetown whom we are paying, and she says something else. What’s a Catholic supposed to believe?”)

The Bishop’s reply:

In effect, you would have me believe that we will merely have to agree to disagree. But this resolution is unacceptable because it disregards my authority and responsibility to interpret the moral law and to teach the Catholic faith as a Successor of the Apostles…Thus far, you have insisted that you are not doing anything wrong, but that your interpretation (of the USCCB’s directives on Catholic health care) simply differs from my own. According to Catholic teaching, though, there cannot be a “tie” so to speak in this debate.

Until this time, you have not acknowledged my authority to settle this question, but have only provided the opinions of ethicists that agree with your opinion and disagree with mine.

If actions speak louder than words, your actions communicate to me that you do not respect my authority to authentically teach and interpret the moral law in this diocese. Moreover, your actions imply that you have no intention to acknowledge that what happened at St Joseph’s hospital was morally wrong…

What comes next is the Bishop’s announcement of what will probably be painful medicine to many—but perhaps not to his “patient”, who may be under heavy moral anesthesia:  Olmsted asks one last time for compliance on a series of issues, while stating bluntly that he is not hopeful for any motion at all from C(INOH)W or St Joe’s, and then drops the deadline that explains why the letter was leaked this week:

I intend to publicly revoke my endorsement of St Joseph’s as a “Catholic” hospital unless I hear from you by Friday, December 17.

Sadly, we can be sure that there is no constructive response forthcoming from C(INO)HW this Friday. They released the letter so that they and their spokesmen and their army of media allies can control this story for a couple of days before the Bishop has to do what he says he is going to do on Friday.

Sadly, this will mean no licit Mass or chapel at St Joe’s. St Joseph’s Catholic Hospital will soon be “a hospital in the Catholic tradition” thanks to the mixture of ignorance, arrogance, and outright evil of all those complicit in last year’s tragic abortion.

Merry Christmas to you, too, CHW and St Joe’s.

30 comments | Add one of your own.

  1. The Tisroc

    “…and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”
    But they sure get close.

    What a tragedy for the diocese. I know this decision must have been very difficult for our bishop. I spent roughly a month is St. Joseph’s chapel praying for a cousin of mine. It was so beautiful to see a proper Christian space within a hospital.

    Beyond the scandal that CHW is causing, I did have a moral debate in my head when reading the article. Should I read the bishop’s letter. It was not addressed to me. In fact, it was meant to be thoroughly private. Was it a temptation to read the letter? Was it furthering the scandal? Yet, the article repeatedly referenced it in a way I was sure could not have been faithful to the original intent. If I were to be confronted by others about the topic, would be it be ignorant to not know the contents of the letter?

    I am sorry to admit I read it. Yes it was offensive that the AR article referenced the removal of the Blessed Sacrament from St. Joseph’s tabernacle as, “removal of some religious items.” Reading the letter, however, didn’t provide me with the Golden Gun argument that would cause any detractors on the subject to engage in quiet reflection. Even if it did it wouldn’t matter. I know who I would have the debate with, but I would have better luck with a brick wall. It would be the same as when I tried to explain why the University of Notre Dame has lost its value. I know that taking the high road and not reading the letter would have led to ridicule and something about sticking my head in the sand. I would, however, at least have had virtue, however ignorant.

    Good thing there is a penance service tonight at 7 at the Newman Center.

    Reply

  2. FestivAle

    “to agree to disagree” – the universal conclusion of our times, as if objective reality was a figment of my archaic imagination…

    In reading the responses to the article at azcentral.com, I can sum them up as this: the bishop is old (age is a bad thing), out of touch with new world reality (he upholds outdated Catholic teaching), and not a medical doctor (because they are the authority of all things medical… right?)

    This brings me back to the phrase “agree to disagree.” In a world where authority is given to an individual when he obtain a man-made degree (medicine, law, economics, history, etc.), he becomes the measure of reality, but only in his specific field. The doctor trumps the bishop in any question of medicine, and in most people’s minds, medical ethics. Subjective reality permits one set of rules for the physician and one set of rules for the bishop. While I agree that the physician can operate qua physician, he should always operate as a human being. In a so-called Catholic hospital, this means operating as a Catholic, who is subject to the authority of the Church. No matter what he deems necessary as physician, he answers to a higher authority, fundamentally as a person and not strictly as a physician (today’s M.D.’s or D.O.’s is more of a machinist than a scientist, but I digress.)

    As a undergraduate, I studied the great books at a Catholic college and got a degree in the liberal arts. I went on to study medicine at a “progressive” private school and am now in full-time private practice. Do I live some sort of double life, where I am a subjective physician by day and an objective Catholic by night? Do I agree to disagree within myself? I do everyday as a fallen man and as a sinner, but by principle – no. The Catholic is called to be consistent. The truth is truth. Truth flows into practical ethics which flows into medical ethics which flows into ethics regarding abortion. A reasonable person can hold the reasoned fact that abortion is always wrong, and he does not need to be a pregnant woman or an OB/GYN.

    Another point. People follow laws everyday. New Oxford Review just had a story regarding legalism within society and within the Church. I just read an article of sportwriters and the proposed changes of rules they would like to see in various sports in the new year. Rules underlie everything from what constitutes alcoholic v. non-alcoholic beer to tax laws. Why, by public perception, is it that the Church isn’t allowed to have law? Following the spirit of the law is always better than following the law to the letter, but the law exists as a starting point so that greater virtue might be obtained. The fact that the general secular public has such disdain for Christ’s Church as lawgiver represents a general disdain for their own human nature, which is subject to laws whether they like it or not. A person is only free when he embraces truth Itself and in all of its manifestations.

    For the record, I usually conclude discussions with most people that we agree THAT we disagree.

    Reply

    1. Denys

      Fest: nice to see you back in the open at CP. Can you refer us to the issue/author/title of the New Oxford Review article you mentioned in your comment? Thanks.

      Reply

  3. DLO

    Nice article. I find it dispicable that CHW would leak that letter to the Arizona Republic. I can’t believe that CHW will not just admit that they made a mistake in performing that abortion. It is never ok to kill an innocent life in order to save another life. When a pregnant wome enters the hospital there are two patients, not one. The doctors should have done what was best for both patients. You can’t tell me that murdering one of the patients was the best option for both patients. God bless Bishop Olmstead. We are fortunate that he is willing to take on these battles. Thank you for standing firm Bishop Olmstead.

    Reply

  4. marcy

    Tisroc,

    I don’t think that reading the letter after it was leaked is bad….but I would hesitate to pass that letter around, that would just further the mire the CHW wanted to create. Everyone should be aware that the media will try to pull us into voicing our opinions, encouraging us to put this story up on our facebooks. DON”T FALL FOR IT. Let’s not give the media even more mud to sling.

    Reply

    1. Denys

      Marcy, I agree that CHW and the AZRep are pushing a “story”, and we certainly don’t want to cooperate in that.

      But I think that faithful Catholics everywhere can take real encouragement from the Bishop’s letter, and I want the readers of Catholic Phoenix to click the link and read it.

      The clarity of his reasoning in that letter is really a wonderful case study, a companion piece to the simple and clear columns he writes in the Catholic Sun, an inspiring example of how his pastoral actions are absolutely consistent with his preaching and teaching.

      When Christians centuries from now are looking back at our times, they will find strength in the words of Thomas of Phoenix…

      Reply

      1. marcy

        I agree completely. His letter of the 15th should be encouraged. Oh Yes.The courage to take this stand in our culture is proof that Bishop Olmsted is led by God and for the Glory of God.

        And my prayer is that our Bishop gets the CHW to cooperate with his Authority.

        I just do not want to cooperate in any way with the “leaked” letter (November 22) addressed to CHW. That letter could cause specific public arguments that would/could hurt Bishop Olmsted and the peace of our church.

        Thank you.

        Reply

        1. marcy

          Praying that Tuesday CHW will publicly submit to the authority of our local diocese!

          This is the victory!

          Although Bishop Olmsted’s courage was tremendously refreshing. It would send a cultural shock wave through the country to have CHW actually want the presence of Jesus Christ on the premises of their hospitals.

          So instead of a stand off with our prayers this could become a beautiful testimony to Christ.
          The good news.

          Reply

  5. Susan

    I am grateful Bishop Olmstead has not dropped the ball on this.

    Can someone tell me how losing it’s Catholic identity affects the hospital? I know they would lose their priests and Mass. I understand that they would be cutting ties to the Diocese. But what do they lose that matters to THEM?

    St. Joseph, pray for us.

    Reply

    1. Denys

      Susan, as I read the Bishop’s letter, this loss does not involve any money or licensing or anything that would “matter” to CHW.

      (What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his soul…)

      Reply

    2. TOM Wilson

      Susan—the loss of Catholic Identity does involve money—the hospital enjoys a blanket exemption from Federal taxation and it’s contributors deduct their contributions (up to certain limits) on their income tax returns so long as they are Catholic in the eyes of the Church. If they lose that identity–the benefits are lost until they otherwise qualify. The Bishop is pressing an economic lever. TOM WILSON

      Reply

        1. Charles Smith

          Currently, the Diocese of Phoenix provides no direct funding to St Joseph’s hospital. However, there may be consequences when the faithful make decisions regarding where they make charitable contributions.

          Another very important point here- at no point has Bishop Olmsted issued an order to the faithful in the Diocese that they cannot receive services at St. Josephs. What he has said is that he cannot guarantee that Catholic teaching is upheld there, so one needs to be mindful when receiving services there, just as one should be when receiving services at any other secular or non-Catholic facility.

          The indirect financial consequence may be that Catholics that would ordinarily have not hesitated to go to St Josephs may now choose to go elsewhere.

          Reply

  6. festivAle

    CHW incorporated Chandler Regional as a non-Catholic member (ha!) back in 1999. Very ecumenical of them. Definitely shows what character CHW is ultimately about… $!

    Reply

  7. Reginaldus

    P-J: While the news of opposition to the Gospel always brings grief to my heart, I must say that your article was most enjoyable to read (as always).

    Particularly, I loved the many references to Bishop Olmsted: “our man in the mitre”, the “murderous celibate with the funny hat” (as caricatured by the lib media), the “vigilant shepherd” who uses his crosier “to push dissimulating wolves out of the fold.”

    God be with the holy Bishop, and may He inspire more priests to follow after His own Heart!

    Reply

  8. Anne Rice

    Sadly, if this hospital gives in, it may mean the end of Catholic hospitals in America. This bishop is demanding this hospital agree to break the law, and deny safe, legal and medically approved procedures to dying women in reproductive crises. No American hospital can agree to do such a thing. This is illegal. Women have rights in America. — The Catholic Church cannot apply its laws here, any more than Muslims can apply Sharia. I am sad for the good Sisters of Mercy and for Sr. McBride. They did what was right in this situation. Let’s hope and pray the hospital stands up to this misguided bishop.
    Catholics paid a high price to be accepted as Americans.
    There was a time when they were hated and feared.
    Does this bishop want a return to that time, by seeking to impose his
    church law on a public hospital?

    Reply

    1. Dmitry Kafeaza

      “This bishop is demanding this hospital agree to break the law, and deny safe, legal and medically approved procedures to dying women in reproductive crises.”

      Name it. State or federal? Let NARAL and PP come forth — I’m sure their lawyers would relish the brawl.

      Reply

  9. April

    Ms. Rice,
    Welcome to CatholicPhoenix.com! Though I am not the author of this article, I am a regular contributor. Your name has led to the question of whether you are indeed the esteemed author, or if you are using the pseudonym to lead us into this mysterious wonderment.

    I have commented on past blogs which have handled this sensitive subject of the Sr. McBride controversy. Particularly, I researched the young mother’s condition, and found that her life was indeed, not in high danger. Below, please read excerpts of my comments to a June 4 article by Ed Montini of the Arizona Republic, which includes accurate statistics of her imposing chance of death. But in the meantime, the Catholic Church is still as misunderstood today as it was years ago. This makes sense as Jesus, too, was misunderstood from the moment of his poverty-stricken birth. The Church is not imposing its law, nor is Bishop Olmsted upon St. Joseph’s Hospital. The Church is declaring Truth, the truth of Jesus Christ who began The Catholic Church and continues to guide it through the Holy Spirit. The Church is not condeming this woman or taking her rights away. It is clearly protecting the rights of the child, also a human being created by God. The Church is proclaiming and protecting the Truth and doing exactly what Jesus Christ commissioned manking to do over 2000 years ago.

    Please continue your readership of Catholic Phoenix. We welcome all comments!!!

    Posted June 4, 2010:
    “As a devout Catholic, I have read the complete statements of our Bishop, and of the Director of Medical Ethics, Fr. John Ehrich. With regard to Mr. Montini’s writings, and some of the harsh statements directed at the Church and its “hierarchy,” Mr. Montini has made a grave error in his representation of facts here, as most writers today do (I refrain from using the title journalist, as when I was growing up, this was defined as an objective reporter). Nevertheless, this is a blog, which gives way to opinion.

    This was/is a highly sensitive issue. Any member of the public who has taken the time to read everything written by the Bishop, who is a highly educated man (contrary to popular commentary) will see that his action was a painful decision, as was Sister McBride’s.

    Everyone seems to be forgetting that the 11-week-old baby’s life was purposefully taken.
    A baby was killed. If a mother of five is strolling her 3-day-old newborn across the street, and a car swerves in the path of the stroller, would she just allow it to be hit/smashed before her in favor of saving herself for the other 5 children? I think not. Rather, she would likely sacrifice her life while pushing the stroller to safety. Yet this mother chose to kill her child still within her, at the mere risk of her death. Nothing and no one can prove she would’ve died had she seen this pregnancy through. In fact, in this patient’s case, her condition of pulmonary hypertension has a maternal mortality rate of 30-56%. Please do the research.
    What this means is that the patient had a 44-70% chance of surviving.

    The Church is clear that treatment of the pregnant mother is first and foremost, and if the death of the baby occurs as a result of treatment, this is a painful loss. However, to aggressively decide to end the life of the child, in factual reality killing it, is what the Church reminds us is gravely wrong.

    But the killing of a human life – we already all know this is wrong. And remember, no doctor or courageous religious sister could guarantee that this patient would’ve been “killed” by the hospital’s lack of performing an abortion.”

    Reply

  10. TOM Wilson

    I believe it is a sad day in the Phoenix Dioceses for Catholic hospitals and a clear lesson to all who practice their medical skills and seek treatment in such hospitals. The Bishop claims a right to second guess medical diagnosis and patient medical care decisions even months after the fact to assert his views which, for divine reasons ,are supposedly absolutely correct and binding. It would be wise for physicians and patients to avoid Catholic hospitals because of such uncertainty. You might get excommunicated by surprise months after the fact. The Joint Commission should consider the threat of ecclesiastical contamination of medical diagnosis and decisions when evaluating Catholic hospitals–certainly a quality of care matter. And lastly one should notice the anguish apparently felt by the Bishop’s office over the disclosure of a self declared “confidental”letter–reminds me of the anguish over the secret pedophilia disclosures. SAD SAD.

    Reply

    1. JoAnna

      Tom, did you read the article to which you are replying? Let’s clear up a few of the misconceptions in your comment:

      1. “The Bishop claims a right to second guess medical diagnosis and patient medical care decisions even months after the fact to assert his views which, for divine reasons ,are supposedly absolutely correct and binding.”

      False. The Bishop claims a right to oversee what organizations can and cannot call themselves “Catholic” in his diocese. A “Catholic” hospital made the decision to rubber-stamp the murder of a healthy, innocent, unborn child. When the Bishop discovered this, he added it to the long list of actions against Catholic teaching of which St. Joe’s/CHW had committed, and revoked their ability to call themselves “Catholic” since they refuse to adhere to Catholic teachings. The Bishop is the shepherd of morality in his diocese, and any who choose not to acknowledge that authority are free to do so as long as they don’t also claim to be Catholic. You can’t spurn the authority of the Bishop of your diocese and still call yourself Catholic.

      2. “It would be wise for physicians and patients to avoid Catholic hospitals because of such uncertainty.”

      Indeed, it would be wise for people who wish to kill innocent unborn children to avoid Catholic hospitals.

      3. “You might get excommunicated by surprise months after the fact.”

      If Sister McBride knew her faith as she ought to have, being a professed nun, then her excommunication was not a surprise. The excommunication automatically occurred the minute that baby was killed; the Bishop just informed her that it had occurred after the fact.

      4. “The Joint Commission should consider the threat of ecclesiastical contamination of medical diagnosis and decisions when evaluating Catholic hospitals–certainly a quality of care matter.”

      If a Catholic hospital wishes to call themselves Catholic, then yes, they are subject to acting within the standards of Catholic morality with all medical decisions. This means, among other things, not killing innocent unborn children, especially when there are other morally acceptable treatments for a patient’s condition.

      5. “And lastly one should notice the anguish apparently felt by the Bishop’s office over the disclosure of a self declared “confidental”letter–reminds me of the anguish over the secret pedophilia disclosures. SAD SAD.”

      Notice that all disclosures of a confidential nature came from CHW in order to twist the media and public perception to their favor. As to your last comment, I invoke the corollary to Anderson’s Law. You lose.

      Reply

      1. TOM Wilson

        Joanne–I don’t think you fully understood my letter. And yes–I read the Bishop’s letter. The Bishop totally ignores the medical facts and demands the hospital and doctors act contrary to good medical ethics and practices. In short the Bishop passes up a good opportunity to teach us how one should deal with a difficult medical situation that predicted certain death for mother and fetus–there being no other medical approach possible. The Bishop is wrong. Having an arbitrary dictator running the show in Catholic hospitals in his diocese is a good reason not to use Catholic hospitals and for medical professionals not to practice in them–no matter what medical issue is at stake. TOM WILSON

        Reply

  11. JoAnna

    Tom,

    Oh, I understood your letter.

    “The Bishop totally ignores the medical facts and demands the hospital and doctors act contrary to good medical ethics and practices.”

    Wrong. Abortion is not health care. As Catholics, we may NEVER do evil so that good may result in any aspect of our lives, including in the field of medicine. Bishop Olmsted did not make his decision in a vacuum; he relied on the counsel and testimony of doctors and medical personnel who did have a knowledge of the medical complexities involved. The bottom line is that there were morally acceptable treatments available for this woman’s condition that would not directly kill the baby, but the hospital chose not to use them because abortion was allegedly the easiest solution.

    “In short the Bishop passes up a good opportunity to teach us how one should deal with a difficult medical situation that predicted certain death for mother and fetus–there being no other medical approach possible.”

    This is incorrect. There were other morally acceptable alternatives available. At the time of the abortion, the mother wasn’t even in the ICU; she was still in the L&D ward. Her situation was grave but not immediately life-threatening, and there were other treatments available that were not tried. We don’t know if they were even offered as an alternative.

    “Having an arbitrary dictator running the show in Catholic hospitals in his diocese is a good reason not to use Catholic hospitals and for medical professionals not to practice in them–no matter what medical issue is at stake.”

    The Bishop is not an “arbitrary dictator.” Making sure that Catholic organizations live up to Catholic moral standards is one of his responsibilities as Bishop. St. Joe’s/CHW can kill as many babies as they want and hand out contraceptives like candy, but once they choose to do so they can no longer call themselves Catholic. That’s the Bishop’s call.

    Reply

  12. TOM Wilson

    JoAnne–you still miss my points and I think you make some fatal fact changing assumptions in the process. First of all, the pregnancy was the cause of the mother’s problem. Mom was facing certain impending death. It wasn’t just nasty old hypertension. There were no other treatments available–the good Bishop does not recite them.( He shouldn’t anyway–he’s not a doctor). No doctor with first hand knowledge claims them and the hospital admits of none. No Ethics Committee in a hospital (and I’ve served for years on Ethics Committees) would sanction an abortion if there were real medical alternatives. No doctor would recommend an abortion if there was another way. There wasn’t—and that is where the good but zealous Bishop goes astray. He should not revise history or second guess a medical diagnosis—but the Bishop implicitly does so because I think he is an anti abortionist of the first order.(And thus the end justifies his means and any change in the facts.) In so doing he tramples upon the poor mother and medical personnel who suffer ex-communication long after the fact in the Bishop’s view. Shame. The Bishop does have a point with elective procedures that the Hospital or it’s parent perform which violate Church rules. But that’s not on my table. The abortion in this case was not elective nor the objective of mom’s hospitalization–it was a necessary procedure to save the life of the Mother—and the Bishop ignores that fact. In so doing he does harm to the Church by illustrating the continuing closed minded mentality of some of its management. That is a shame in the wake of the sex abuse scandal which spoke volumes on Bishops’ honesty and competency. I wish the Bishop would take the bull by the horns and address the moral principals of this case without changing the facts to suit his objective. He should address the inherent conflict between the Church’s insistence that life begins at conception and at the moment of conception there exists a human being—and the true facts of this case which forces one to sacrifice fetus and mother together in the interests of moral purity or select the one who can be saved at the expense of the other. I think the Bishop has a moral duty to teach us on this subject and not simply repeat the “no abortion” mantra. In the end I think the Bishop is knee deep in a power struggle that will hurt the Church if he doesn’t descend from his loft peak of authority and address the concerns of the faithful (few?)to teach us how to morally handle the dilemma which faced Mom, her four children, her physicians and the hospital. I won’t address anything else. Satis. TOM WILSON

    Reply

  13. JoAnna

    “First of all, the pregnancy was the cause of the mother’s problem. ”

    The pregnancy. Not the baby itself. The fetus did not cause the hypertension; that is caused by the placenta.

    “Mom was facing certain impending death.”

    How do you know this?

    “It wasn’t just nasty old hypertension. There were no other treatments available–the good Bishop does not recite them.”

    There were other treatments. For example, if the danger to the mother was imminent, the doctor could have induced labor or performed a C-section and delivered the baby, thus expelling the placenta and curing the hypertension. The baby would probably not survive, but his/her death would have been a tragic side effect of the treatment. This is morally permissible in Catholic moral teaching under the principle of double effect, and under USCCB ERD #47 (but only if the danger of death is immediate).

    However, the danger to the mother was not imminent (although grave). Dr. Gerard Nadal says,

    “While the assessment on the part of physicians was dire, no treatment of the disease was even attempted. There are several medications that can be employed to attempt a reduction in the severity of the disease, none of which appear to have been dispensed in this case. From that point on, the actions of the hospital and Sister McBride pointed toward more than an isolated and extreme case where the decision to abort could have been simply dismissed as one bad judgment call.

    There are several hospitals within a three-mile radius of Saint Joseph’s, some mere blocks away, where this woman’s husband could have taken her for the recommended abortion. They were no more than ten minutes from any number of facilities that would have performed the abortion, if that was what the couple wanted. All reports of the incident indicate that at no point was the couple told that Saint Joseph’s does not target babies for death as a means of treating a disease. Again, no evidence has surfaced that the physicians attempted to treat her medically.”

    You said: “No doctor would recommend an abortion if there was another way.”

    Please tell me you’re not this naive. A doctor who is not pro-life and sees the baby as mere tissue will recommend an abortion if it’s the most expedient and cost-effective solution to the problem.

    “The abortion in this case was not elective nor the objective of mom’s hospitalization–it was a necessary procedure to save the life of the Mother—and the Bishop ignores that fact. ”

    No, you ignore the fact that there were ethical alternatives and that the mother was not in immediate danger of death. It wasn’t a situation where the abortion had to be performed in the next five minutes or the mother would die. Regardless, Catholic moral teaching states that we may NEVER do evil — and abortion, the killing of an innocent human baby, is always an intrinsic evil — so that good may result. NEVER. It’s a hard teaching, but it’s the truth. I can tell you, as the mother of five (three on earth, two in heaven) I would give my life for my children, either born or unborn.

    If a hospital wants to do evil with good intentions, they cannot call themselves Catholic. Period.

    “I think the Bishop has a moral duty to teach us on this subject and not simply repeat the “no abortion” mantra… In the end I think the Bishop is knee deep in a power struggle that will hurt the Church if he doesn’t descend from his loft peak of authority and address the concerns of the faithful (few?)to teach us how to morally handle the dilemma which faced Mom, her four children, her physicians and the hospital.”

    He HAS! Have you not read his myriad statements in which he has done exactly this? Did you listen the radio program in which he spent an entire hour doing that very thing?

    Given that you can’t even get my name right, I’m not surprised you’re oblivious to the extent that Bp. Olmsted has striven to teach faithful Catholics (and there are many of us!) about the truth of the Church’s moral teachings.

    Reply

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