Arizona hospital no longer ‘Catholic’ after abortion to save mother’s life

By Elizabeth Tenety When an 11-weeks pregnant woman suffering serious health complications entered St. Joseph’s Hospital, a Catholic medical center … Continued

By Elizabeth Tenety

When an 11-weeks pregnant woman suffering serious health complications entered St. Joseph’s Hospital, a Catholic medical center in Phoenix, Arizona last year, her care turned into a complicated tangle of moral wrangling that ended yesterday with the Bishop of Phoenix declaring that the hospital was no longer “Catholic.”

Ed Pilkington at the Guardian details the situation that the family, the hospital and its ethics committee faced:

“Tests showed that in the early stages of pregnancy her condition deteriorated rapidly and that before long her pulmonary hypertension – which can impair the working of the heart and lungs – had begun to seriously threaten her life. Doctors informed her that the risk of death was close to 100% if she continued with the pregnancy.”

Believing that the woman’s life was in imminent danger, Sr. Margaret Mary McBride, a Catholic nun who oversaw the hospital’s ethics committee, reasoned that an abortion to save the life of the mother was in line with Directive 47 of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s guidelines for Catholic healthcare services. That statement reads:

“Operations, treatments, and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child.”

So, even though the Catholic church fiercely defends a fetus’s right to life, the ethics committee believed that this teaching permitted their ‘direct purpose’ to save the woman’s life, “even if [it] will result in the death of the unborn child.” As they saw it, the medical staff acted to directly save the life of the pregnant woman. They did not see the abortion, they say, as an act to intentionally kill the child, but rather “to save the life we can save,” the hospital has since said, an act of self-defense.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted saw it differently. From his statement:

“The exceptional cases, mentioned in ERD #47, were not met, that is, that there was not a cancerous uterus or other grave malady that might justify an indirect and unintended termination of the life of the baby to treat the grave illness. In this case, the baby was healthy and there were no problems with the pregnancy; rather, the mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St. Joseph’s medical staff and ethics committee decided that the healthy, 11-week-old baby should be directly killed. This is contrary to the teaching of the Church (Cf. Evangelium Vitae, #62).”

After learning about the procedure, Olmsted informed McBride that by her sanction of the abortion, she had excommunicated herself from the Catholic Church.

Olmsted held discussions with the hospital and on Tuesday announced that due to the hospital’s actions in this and other cases involving human sexuality, St. Joseph’s may no longer consider itself “Catholic.” (The other cases involve the hospital “cooperating” with health care clinics that provide contraception, and in some cases, abortion for women who have been raped.)

In response, the Catholic Health Association, which represents more than 600 Catholic hospitals and 1,400 long-term care facilities and says its mission is to provide health care “guided by the Gospel and the moral teachings of the Catholic Church,” expressed support for St. Joseph’s. Characterizing the situation as “heartbreaking,” CHA President Sr. Carol Keehan said the hospital “carefully evaluated the patient’s situation and correctly applied the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services to it, saving the only life that was possible to save.”

Mar Muñoz-Visoso, assistant director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Wednesday that “the specific case of the Phoenix hospital is a local issue within the realm of the authority of the local bishop.”

Since the hospital is funded largely through payment for medical procedures and does not receive direct funding from the diocese, the financial effect of the stripping of Catholic status is minimal.

Perhaps the most significant change is Olmsted’s announcement that Mass will no longer be celebrated at the chapel and that the Eucharist will be removed “to avoid the impression that the hospital is authentically Catholic.”

Did the hospital misinterpret the teaching? In this context, what does “authentically Catholic” mean?

More On Faith and abortion:

US Bishops’ response to questions Bishop Olmsted and the abortion controversy

About

Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • FarnazMansouri2

    Let the “Bishop” go straight to hell where he belongs. Let these beastly “hospitals” get funded by Vatican Nation.

  • gershwin2009

    I want to be excommunicated! Is there a formal procedure somewhere.

  • RBCrook

    I know all of you want to be the person in charge of what the Catholic Church believes, but you simply AREN’T. You are free to disagree, but the Catholic Church is not like your protestant churches where the congregation gets to make dogma. You don’t like Catholic teachings, don’t be a Catholic. They aren’t trying to force you to be a Catholic or this hospital to remain Catholic. They have the conviction of their beliefs and don’t really care what you think. Nothing wrong with that.

  • JoeT1

    I know all of you want to be the person in charge of what the Catholic Church believes, but you simply AREN’T. You are free to disagree, but the Catholic Church is not like your protestant churches where the congregation gets to make dogma. You don’t like Catholic teachings, don’t be a Catholic. They aren’t trying to force you to be a Catholic or this hospital to remain Catholic. They have the conviction of their beliefs and don’t really care what you think. Nothing wrong with that

  • garoth

    Bishop Olmsted is obviously an idiot who can’t read or understand his own church’s teachings. The larger question is the church’s reluctance to tell him so, and to tell him to reinstate the kindly and, obviously, more intellegent Sr Margaret Mary, along with the hospital. As has unfortunately been the case of late, the RC heirarchy has wimped out on these important questions, as if it has no moral responsibility here. Maybe they should put the “three monkeys” on the altar, “see no evil,” “hear no evil” – oops, missing “do no evil!”

  • areyousaying

    stay on focus, people.Posted by: DreamOutLoud

  • bobdog3

    This immoral priest – he is a man, NOT God or even His representative – decided completely on his own that this woman should die. And because the hospital didn’t let her die a painful death, it must be punished. So, to all you religious fantacists our there, where is the “Christ” in this brand of Roman Catholic Christianity? I am not a believer, but I do know that if there was a Jesus Christ, he would not have insisted that this woman die as the Roman Catholic Church has. A Bishop – a man, appointed by a man, not by God – feels he has the power to decide life or death? And you people believe the teachings of this church? Appalling and very, very frightening. Your Church is evil and here’s the proof.

  • gladerunner

    gdmurray1861:And even less clear from your statement, that it wasn’t.

  • red2million

    The view of this bishop doesn’t surprise me in any way. What he’s saying is they should have saved the baby and to hades with the mother. I guess that’s what Jesus would have said. why would the hospital want to be “catholic?” religion has no place in law, government or in health care. I was raised catholic, but since the teachings of the all powerful church are CONTRARY TO THE GOSPEL I don’t consider it a legitimate christian religion. It’s all about the church, and their doctrines directly contradict the Bible, so my own opinion is that it’s no different than Jehovas Witnesses, or church of latter day saints or any of that. No church should be catholic. It’s a joke. I mean, if the bible is true, why does the church need a hospital? Why can’t they just lay their hands on the sick and heal them that way?

  • bpai_99

    Sr. Margaret Mary McBride and shame on the dinosaurs of the Catholic Church leadership. They remind of the aging bluebloods in the movie Chariots of Fire who were told “Your time is over, and only you don’t know it.”

  • fish4

    The Cristian thing to do would have been to allow the mother and the fetus to die. It’s always better two allow two deaths than save one and lose one. Was this the Catholic Hospital that was funded by the Taliban?

  • thebump

    The ignorance evident in most of these comments is sad but entirely unsurprising.Olmsted worked quietly for years to bring the hospital into a state where it could continue to call itself Catholic. No single incident led to his unavoidable conclusion that it was to no avail.

  • frodot

    Good. Time for equivocation is past. Hospital probably could have groveled and abased itself asking for forgiveness, but did not. Choosing between providing good, ethical health care and adhering to religious dogma — give up the church affiliation. It’s only an embarrassment, anyway. Who knows what history this bishop is hiding?

  • Dan4

    Screw the Catholic church. It’s just as bad as Sharia law…

  • historyStudent1

    FairlingtonBlade: The condition linked is peripartum cardiomyopathy. It is heartbreaking, but I don’t see where it connects to the discussion. According to what I’ve pulled from the internet, peripartum cardiomyopathy is typically diagnosed during the last month of pregnancy, the Phoenix patient was still in the first trimester (at 11 weeks).

  • eraskauskas

    Pray to the Holy Spirit to reform both the Bishop’s Conference and the Vatican.

  • sameolddoc

    My. oh my. The guardians of the faith are now busy excommunicating hospitals. What next? Are they going to start taking God away from anyone who doesn’t toe their medieval line. I lost a newborn in a Catholic hospital many years ago. They baptized him and nobody was sanctioned. Maybe the Bishop should be excommunicated instead. What would Jesus do?

  • homer4

    The only thing Bishop Olmstead cares about is one of those juicy Cardinal positions so he can wear that fancy red dress and pal around with the other closet case homosexuals that run the Catholic Mafia. Really, it boggles my mind that the American public contributes so much money to these criminals.

  • mumthere

    HistoryStudent1, you listed the incorrect condition. The patient in Arizona has pulmonary hypertension. There is no cure for it and the survival rate is very low. Pregnancy puts a strain on the heart anyway and people with this condition cannot afford any other stresses. It is clear that the bishop is in the wrong. He did not interpret the rule correctly and I doubt that he understood the medical dilemma here. But to be blunt, a fetus is not viable at 11 weeks. The hospital made the correct decision. The bishop deserves to be bashed for such an ignorant decision and he should do the just thing and reinstitute the hospital and Sister Mary Margaret.

  • msimpso99

    Sr. Margaret Mary McBride is a heroine, who displayed Christian ethical principles at their best in a very difficult situation. No earthly power can separate her from the love of God and God’s church.

  • gdmurray1861

    mhoust: The Bishop did not “cast her out.” She cast herself out by her freely chosen actions, which automatically separated her from the Church and its sacraments, with no other action necessary by the bishop or hierarchy. The same applies to someone freely choosing an abortion. The bishop made an announcement to make clear what had happened for the education of the faithful.

  • gdmurray1861

    digiphase: “I was raised Catholic and learned that for one to commit a ‘mortal’ sin, one must fully consent to the sinful aspect of the act, knowing it’s a sin. If the sister didn’t believe her actions to be sinful, she has nothing to worry about.”While the exact degree of anyone’s intentionality and knowledge is between her or him and God, it simply is not the case that something is not a sin if you don’t “believe” it is. The freedom of the conscience is not to be confused with Prof. Harold Hill’s “think system” from the Music Man, nor with George Costanza’s advice to Jerry that “it’s not a lie… if you believe it.” What kind of Catholic education did you say you got?

  • stevie7

    @GDMurray1861: “She cast herself out by her freely chosen actions, which automatically separated her from the Church and its sacraments, with no other action necessary by the bishop or hierarchy”And you know this … how? Did God speak to you to let you know? Or are you an expert on Directive 47? You would prefer that two lives be lost instead of one? How very Christ-like of you.

  • stevie7

    @GDMurray1861 you may want to check your own education here. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:1857 For a sin to be mortal, three conditions must together be met: “Mortal sin is sin whose object is grave matter and which is also committed with full knowledge and deliberate consent.”How’s that judge-not-lest-ye-be-judged thing working out for you.-Proudly ex-Catholic

  • slowe111

    St. Joseph’s may no longer consider itself “Catholic.” …. This is cause for Celebration – Liberated from myth based ethics and . They should rename the Hospital and proceed to serve the public as a secular Humanist hospital. Glory Be !!!

  • areyousaying

    Funny how when a priest rapes a little boy, he doesn’t excommunicate himself as well.

  • asoders22

    From what I can see, the Catholic church hates women. They condemn women to death every day by denying them even the knowledge of contraception, and they have no qualms about it. I remember the funberal of the last pope – row after row of men, men, men – like in Iran. And all proud of not loving or knowing women! Mary of course had to be a virgin, and they defamed Mary Magdalene because she had a position among the disciples. At one point, they decided women have no souls. The Catholic church is scared stiff of women and the power they can have when they are not held down by obedience to men and the constant risk of becoming pregnant always present. The church has nothing to do with Jesus, everything to do with insane need for control, especially over women.

  • judithclaire1939

    Sounds as if the old boys’network is going strong. How about if the children and the husband and mother had been allowed to vote? If they all wanted the mother “out of the house/church…then let them all vote. Hopefully there are some children who are girls?

  • DanielintheLionsDen

    The pro-choice position has nothing to do with wanting to kill babies. Rather, the pro-choice position is a rational and pragmatic acknowledgement that the pro-life agenda leads to government and religious bureaucrats presuming to know more about the practice of medicine than doctors.All of this insincere Catholic legalism is tiresome. There is no way in the world that anyone with even an ounce of common sense could condemn what was done to save the patient’s life.

  • asoders22

    Has anyone even considered how difficult this decision must have been to the sick pregnant women? The is a person, bishop – not a container.

  • DreamOutLoud

    anyone suggesting that the bishop wanted the mother dead or wanted both to die is literally ignoring salient facts in the article. He may be wrong. he may be giving (or given) incorrect medical advice. but he’s suggesting that there were less drastic measures the mother could have taken instead of killing the baby. That’s all. and that’s all that this story hinges on. Everything else is pablum.And to the poster who mentioned the left-wing shibboleth….excellent word. excellent.

  • jhpurdy

    This is, of course, the same diocese that had to, throughout this decade, settle numerous lawsuits regarding sexual abuse by priests, with some of the cases going back to the late 1970s. When a woman’s life is in danger and her fetus is not viable if she dies (at 11 weeks, viability is impossible), then an abortion is an abomination before God. But when priests routinely sexually assault young boys well, it best be not talked about you know, for the sake of the Church.To call Catholicism medieval would be to insult all the peasants of the Middle Ages who died under the yoke of the Church.

  • areyousaying

    “After learning about the procedure, Olmsted informed McBride that by her sanction of the abortion, she had excommunicated herself from the Catholic Church”How many priests, by buggering little boys, excommunicated themselves from the Catholic Church? How many were even defrocked? How many were turned over to civil prosecution?It’s a man’s world in this Church albeit a girly one.

  • S8thRd

    What all this (the article, and responses) demonstrates more than anything is that hatred of orthodox Catholics is the one socially acceptable hate today. Note the source of this story: The Guardian, a leftist, anti-religious, anti-Catholic, BRITISH tabloid! I’m sure they’re the best experts on what is going on in Arizona! Or on medical matters! The fact that the Post would allow its bloggers to simply pick up a story from the Guardian and print it as true, with no checking, tells you a lot about the Post. And, the fact that the Post’s readers simply accept a dubiously-sourced story as accurate tells you a whole lot about typical Post readers today. Doesn’t anybody employ critical thinking anymore? Doesn’t anybody stop and think, “Why is this domestic story coming from a flaky foreign source, when respected domestic ones must surely be available? Or does such thought get in the way of your hate? The fact is that any bishop would be extremely reluctant to strip “Catholic” status from a hospital (or any other institution) in his diocese, for a host of reasons. This is something that would not be done casually or suddenly, and it would require extreme circumstances and a clear pattern of offenses. I have no doubt that we’re getting only half the story here. I used to be one of the Post’s biggest fans, but I am increasingly finding it an insufferable and offensive rag. They need to rein in their bloggers and require them to maintain sound journalistic standards, or they are going to drag the whole paper down.

  • sjcsando

    Screw the Catholic church. It’s just as bad as Sharia law where women have no rights, especially over their bodies. The Catholic church is still living in the Dark Ages. This is the 21st century and this is America, and in this country, women have rights, which include the right to have an abortion if they choose, or if a doctor deems it necessary to save her life from a dangerous pregnancy. The hospital administration should tell the good Bishop to kiss it’s a** where the sun don’t shine.

  • gerrybeech

    The article presents this as a medical decision arrived at after careful review by trained and licensed medical personnel. For the life of me, I fail to understand how a Catholic bishop can have the temerity to second-guess the professionals. In light of legitimate concerns expressed about the clergy of other denominations promoting life-denying attitudes rising sometimes to the level of terrorism, I’m prompted to ask why the excommunication of Sr. Margaret Mary McBride shouldn’t be seen in a similar light, as a terrorist act directed specifically against her. Sr. McBride performed her duty and assisted in the making of a medical decision, as she was required to do. For this act of duty, she is now branded as being in a state of mortal sin – if she dies today (Heaven forbid), the Roman Catholic Church states with utter conviction that she is condemned to everlasting hell and damnation. Simply to state this publicly must cause her tremendous spiritual and emotional pain.Isn’t it time for the creation of an American Catholic Church unbeholden to the bizarre and confused outlook of those very sad old celibate men “running” Vatican City?

  • papafritz571

    These stupid men who run the Catholic Corporation have no idea what life is like outside the confines of their safe male haven. All of the money we invested in catholic causes, all the sweat and tears, and still these fools treat women like dogs. To them it is okay for a mother who’s life can be saved to instead by allowed to die, thus leaving her other children motherless and lives of sorrow and longer for their mother.

  • Stevis16

    Better than not performing the abortion, killing the mother too and being stripped of the title “hospital.”

  • washpost18

    These days, taking moral direction from the Catholic Church is analogous to taking auto buying tips from the guy that just carjacked you.

  • dontaskme

    “Isn’t it time for the creation of an American Catholic Church unbeholden to the bizarre and confused outlook of those very sad old celibate men “running” Vatican City?”Not to be a smarta$$, but wasn’t this done in the Reformation already? Try the Episcopalian/Anglican church. Essentially the same service as Catholic Mass and “unbeholden” to Rome.

  • MarineDolphin

    The story speaks for itself.

  • areyousaying

    St. Joseph’s is a wonderful hospital. They saved my brother’s life after he had a massive stoke. He didn’t mind when the priest came in to offer him last rites but replied, “I’m not ready to go yet”I’m sure they made the best decision in this woman’s case only to be shunned by an old closeted man in a dress and pointy hat as their reward.

  • fairness3

    As a practicing Catholic (who liberally interprets the doctrine), I continue to be disgusted by the out dated, biased decisons/rants/opinions of Catholic leaders…get real it is 2011 (almost).

  • Catken1

    “I know all of you want to be the person in charge of what the Catholic Church believes, but you simply AREN’T. You are free to disagree, but the Catholic Church is not like your protestant churches where the congregation gets to make dogma”Fair enough, but I fail to see where we give up the right to criticize Catholic doctrine where it is appallingly immoral. If a church started saying that adult males, if sexually active, were no longer really human, that their only worth lay in breeding children, and that their organs and body parts could be borrowed or harvested at will if those children needed them, regardless of any risks to their health or life, perhaps you might find that opinion worthy of ridicule, criticism, or even revolted horror. Some of us believe that adult women are important, too, and that treating them with less consideration or respect than a farmer has for a brood mare is immoral, too.

  • DreamOutLoud

    Yay! another excuse to bash the catholic church. and right before Christmas. a freebie.let’s skip the abortion rhetoric. let’s skip the religious rhetoric. It all comes down to whether her disease was treatable without having an abortion. If it was, then the bishop (and his medical advisors) are correct. If it wasn’t, then he’s wrong.again, this isn’t about whether she had the right to have an abortion. it’s about whether the hospital can continue to work under the banner of the Catholic Church if it does something that is arguably in direct conflict with the teachings of the Church.The hospital isn’t going out of business. the woman still got the medical treatment she wanted. the baby is still dead. none of this changes with a name change. stay on focus, people.

  • RoundlyMocked

    As a Catholic, I am disappointed that the division among Catholics that has become increasingly public since the debates concerning federal funding of abortion in Obama’s health care legislation. This case in Arizona reveals a growing complexity of issues and a true divergence of understanding between this Bishop and the CHA (headed by Sister Keehan). As an inquiring Catholic, there is more information that I would like to have. First of all, in the Bishop’s complete statement, available on the Diocese of Phoenix website, he mentions concerns over the past 7 years at St. Joseph’s hospital. The fact that we, the general public, have not known about these on-going concerns makes the Bishop’s decision seem hasty & obstinate. However, I hardly believe this to be the case. I know several bishops personally & they each take these sorts of serious matters under prayerful consideration. I feel confident that he did not make this decision lightly. But having more information about his concerns would make the situation more clear.Second, I would like to know a little more about the specific case at hand. It stands to reason that the doctors would have to be more than reasonably sure that the pregnancy itself was the cause of the deterioration of the woman’s health. If there were some other condition that was contributing to the woman’s precarious health, then it would be more in line with Catholic teaching to treat those underlying causes first – before considering abortion. I would also like to know what the woman thinks. Was she consulted about all her options? Did she consent & feel confident that abortion was truly the only option for saving her life – and that there was absolutely no other possibility that both lives could be saved? Those best served by this coverage of the Phoenix case are the Catholic residents of Phoenix. If you are Catholic and staunchly pro-life, wouldn’t you want to know that a hospital – despite it’s Catholic name – doesn’t adhere to the most basic foundation of the faith – the sanctity of human life.It takes courage to stand up for what is absolutely true, what is moral and good…I applaud Bishop Olmsted for taking that risk and pray for him and all those in Phoenix that this conflict will eventually lead to greater understanding and healing in the Catholic community. These difficult cases enable us as Catholics to learn, to grow and to discover the Truth.

  • GSeeker

    Wow! This article and a good part of the comments is a clear example of “Catholics against the same Church they supposedly belong to” or “Catholics abandoning their faith, while still calling themselves Catholics” or “Enemies of the Church posing as Catholics” If you have a shred of honesty, you need to come back to elementary catechism classes.

  • doughty

    Who are these Arizona “Christians” who oppose the saving of a woman’s life? Can they cite Christ’s position on this matter? How HE supports the massive killing of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam and back through slavery and the extermination of the American Indians et. al., in HIS name and that of the sanctity of human life (let us all barf) or are these priests simply unregistered agents of a foreign power who should be immediately arrested and held in incognito detention in Gitmo until the war again Papal terror’s violation of the US Constitution comes to an end?

  • Religulosity

    Perhaps the most significant change is . . . that the Eucharist will be removed “to confirm that the hospital does not condone cannibalistic rituals of savage torture cults like Christianity.”

  • gdmurray1861

    If you hate the Catholic Church and its teachings, you should have no problem with seeing a hospital divested of the title “Catholic.” The next step is to have the “Catholic” Health Association stripped of that word in its title, to avoid misleading the faithful who might mistakenly think its pronouncements somehow represent the Church. In reality it is nothing more than a trade association of wealthy hospital owners, whose decisions are demonstrably based on nothing more than the same mercenary considerations that drive any other wealthy owners. They are certainly not motivated by Catholic teaching, especially when it might conflict with their bottom line.Losing the name “Catholic” would not impair their ability to remain in existence and do business with whomever cares to associate with them. It would only make them honest. Why would Catholic-bashers have a problem with that?

  • gdmurray1861

    It is far from clear, even from the nun’s statement, that the killing of the fetus was necessary to treat the woman.

  • DreamOutLoud

    You do have to wonder how the Bishop was able to make an informed decision, regardless of how many medical types he had help him with this. Did the patient give him access to her medical records? did he violate her privacy rights? I really hope he had full access to all the medical info and that he had actual medical advisors review the issue. but, as GDMurray1861 pointed out, much is far from clear in the story.but, hey…bashing on the church is fun. yay!

  • mhoust

    Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted is a thug in a cassock. I, and the majority of Catholics, know and practice more Christianity on a daily basis than he will ever do in his entire life. He has amply demonstrated everything that is wrong with the hierarchy of the entire Catholic Church.I’m sorry that Sr. Margaret Mary McBride has been cast out by this jerk. Nobody deserves that kind of treatment. On the other hand, she’s now free to worship and honor God as she feels is right and proper.

  • stevie7

    Yet another reason why I’m happy to no longer call myself Catholic. I’m not sure why the bishop would have preferred that two lives would have been terminated instead of one – that doesn’t seem very Christ-like to me. And to those attempting to defend the church and saying ‘you need more information’, did you read the article? Take off the blinders – her chance of death if she didn’t have the abortion was near 100%.

  • jprfrog

    If the mother dies and the fetus is not viable, then doesn’t the “baby” die too?

  • tbrucia

    Though I’m a non-believer I was at one time a Roman Catholic. I’ve asked more than once why war (and serving in the military)is justifiable though it involves the direct and intentional act of killing humans for a good end — BUT killing fetuses is not justifiable. I can understand a pacifist refusing to have an abortion, but the idea that one flies a fighter-bomber in the morning dropping tons of bombs on a city is ‘OK’ but that condoning one’s wife having an abortion to save her life is damnable. It has never made sense, though I’ve had several people try to explain the difference. I guess I’m too ‘dim’ to ‘get it’, but I’m still inclined to see an inconsistency.

  • pennydantonio

    Many people fail to realize that not all saints are Catholic. The well-qualified hospital can keep its name and be grateful that there is no stigmatization associated with saving a mother’s life.

  • sarahabc

    Pitiful.

  • Chagasman

    This is why I no longer consider myself a Catholic. Organized religion is a crime against God and man.

  • lepidopteryx

    So a clergyman with no medical training knows more about the pregnancy conditions of a woman he has never met than her obstetrician does?

  • csintala79

    Such an unreasonable position only leads to further support for prohibiting abortions that are in lieu of the use of birth control. For that matter, the church’s position on the use of birth control sadly leads to abortion (I don’t want to hear any guff about it is due to individuals succumbing to “human nature,” which is, by the way, if God is omnipotent is implanted in us). The Devil? Who created him? There are many who support forbidding abortions to terminate pregnancies of healthy women which, otherwise, would terminate in the birth of healthy children; however, taking the position that saving the fetus is paramount, regardless of the risk the mother is subjected to is absurd. Yes, in the best of all possible worlds no pregnancy would present difficulties, but that isn’t reality. Regardless of the pretense of priests, there are pregnancies which result in a decision having to be made as to whose life is to be preserved, and medical science has not developed to the point where there is a palliative for all situations of this kind. Such a decision obviously leads to terminating life. In spite of the agony of having to choose, preserving the life of the adult mother is the most rational decision, and that is the crux of the matter, i.e., priests are purveyors of superstition and myth, not logic. The fact is that there is having to choose one life over another is a no win situation, but not a sin. I think that if the sister and her colleagues reflect on the matter they will come to the conclusion that having “Catholic” removed from the name of the hospital is a blessing. The witch doctors will never give up their incantations and spells; remove yourselves from their presence, gladly.

  • bucinka8

    Pulmonary hypertension has no cure. It is often treated with a lung transplant. Not exactly a procedure one undertakes on a whim! In addition, mortality rates are very high in pregnant women. As an outside observer, based on this incident I wonder just how “pro-life” the church really is. There was a left-wing shibboleth going around some years ago accusing the pro-life movement of caring for the individual…right up until the moment of birth. Normally I’d roll my eyes at zingers like that, but in this case it applies.

  • JoeT1

    the bishop is simply an idiot who can’t read directive #47 correctly. It isn’t limited to problems directly related to the pregnancy, it permits any treatment necessitated by a serious illness to avoid a serious consequence if the abortion is incidental and unavoidable in the process. the hospital, the CHA, and everyone else, for that matter, are interpreting it correctly. even other religious authorities are throwing the bishop under the bus, declining to defend his interpretation. it’s pretty simple, he’s an idiot who blew the call. they should issue a statement that they believe they are right and that they refuse to acknowledge the authority of the bishop to misapply a clear directive of the U.S. bishops (assuming there’s no actual way to “appeal” over the bishop’s head).

  • democratus

    TRhere is a special place in hell for people like the bishop. What a moron.

  • digiphase

    gerrybeech wrote, “For this act of duty, she is now branded as being in a state of mortal sin – if she dies today (Heaven forbid), the Roman Catholic Church states with utter conviction that she is condemned to everlasting hell and damnation”. Maybe not. I was raised Catholic and learned that for one to commit a “mortal” sin, one must fully consent to the sinful aspect of the act, knowing it’s a sin. If the sister didn’t believe her actions to be sinful, she has nothing to worry about…other than a mentally stunted hierarchy. “The first shall be last…”

  • digiphase

    “but, hey…bashing on the church is fun. yay!” It may or may not be fun but it sure is cathartic, especially since “Holy Mother Church” pretty much wrote the book on bashing.

  • Catken1

    “If you are Catholic and staunchly pro-life, wouldn’t you want to know that a hospital – despite it’s Catholic name – doesn’t adhere to the most basic foundation of the faith – the sanctity of human life.”They did. They saved the life that could be saved – the mother’s.Oh, wait. I forgot that it’s also a tenet of the Catholic faith that an adult woman isn’t a human being. She’s either a subservient lifelong virgin, obedient to male command, or else a baby-making machine, with no right to say no to pregnancy after pregnancy even to preserve her own life or health Even if there’s only a minimal chance to save the baby if no abortion happens, and a near-100% chance to save the woman with an abortion, a Catholic must take the very minimal chance save the baby at the near-certain cost of its mother’s life, because the baby’s life is worthwhile and the mother’s life is worth no more than the functionality of an incubating machine. Yech. What an anti-life philosophy that is, when you get right down to it – treating half of humanity as if the only thing about them that matters is their ability to produce more humans, and that their life is meaningless and worthless if it isn’t devoted to constant, mindless, animalistic breeding.

  • carlaclaws

    stevis16 wrote: Better than not performing the abortion, killing the mother too and being stripped of the title “hospital.”

  • usapdx

    What would this bishop say as a bishop and as a parent in reguard of the case in Brazil of 2009 of the nine year old girl of 80 pounds with twin foetuses of four months by the rape of her step father? Canon law 1398 and 1323 have no age limits or ” Acts of the Apostolic See “vol.80 (1988), 1818. Note what Brazilian President said of the archbishop of Olinda. Not all abortions are a means of birth control. Most U.S.A. catholics do not fully agree ( 100% ) with the RCC teachings that they know. What would you do as a parent if your daughter was raped?

  • jnik

    Pregnant women with a serious medical condition know not to go to a Catholic hospital because it will let her die in order to save the fetus.

  • samscram

    The Bishop’s notification that by administratively participating in the abortion Ms. McBride had excommunicated herself from the church reminds one of the church’s thousand year reign of terror during which it regularly tortured people into admitting their heresies, pronounced them guilty and turned them over to the civil authorities to be strangled and then burnt at the stake. Ms. McBride and the others who participated in the life saving procedure can rest easy in the knowledge that the cultists of death can no longer impose that “final solution” upon doctrinal heretics.

  • samscram

    The Bishop’s notification that by administratively participating in the abortion Ms. McBride excommunicated herself reminds us of the church’s thousand year reign of terror during which it regularly tortured people into admitting heresies, then pronounced them guilty and turned them over to the civil authorities to be strangled to death and then burnt at the stake.

  • samscram

    Sorry for the double post. It was inadvertent.

  • wayfarer74

    This highlights the problem of having nothing but unmarried men in decision making roles about complex family medical decisions. They don’t have a clue. The head of the hospital is female (OMG – no – it can’t be!) and perhaps that is why the right decision was made.

  • beautiful-mind

    █▀█░██░█▀█░█▀░██

  • nursewriter

    In this situation I feel that the church is violating HIPPA laws and should be censured and punished by law.

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