Monday, December 27, 2010

Bishop Olmsted on St. Joseph's Hospital

Bishop Olmsted (who happens to be my bishop too) has spoken out and has removed the "Catholic" status from St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. He did this because an abortion was performed there to "save the life of the mother."

Responding to someone else in the "blogosphere" he responds:

Now, let us examine what took place...

The case involes a woman with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) - (medical description linked here).  This disease is treatable, even among pregnant women (see medical article here) however it is risky.  The point of Bishop Olmsted is that it is never permitted in the Catholic Church to perform a direct abortion as a means of treating some other symptom or disease.  For example, treating a uterus diseased by cancer involving radiation therapy would also end up terminating a pregnancy - but it was the treatment of the diseased uterus which had the unintended consequence of aborting the baby.  In the case at St. Joseph's Hospital the ethics committee, which included a Catholic nun, Sister McBride, made the decision to abort the child - even though there's really no correlation between the child and PAH.  Yes, continuing the pregnancy complicates the treatment of PAH and would have been quite risky for the mother.  This, in turn, put the child at risk too - but to kill the child because the mother's life was in danger?  This is not a moral option for a Catholic to consider.  The decision of the committee was that to continue the pregnancy would have put the mother's life at imminent risk, but there comes a point when we must yield to the Lord's Will be done in our lives. 

One of the issues involved here was that Bp. Olmsted's office was not consulted prior to the abortion decision and/or the abortion itself.  Sister McBride could have yielded to her bishop here and allowed him to make the decision and take the heat for it - why did she act so autonomously? 

Another thing the "blogosphere" must consider - we weren't sitting in on those meetings of the ethics committee.  We don't sit in Bishop Olmsted's seat.   We're basically a bunch of arm-chair quarterbacks and as such we should allow those in authority to do their jobs.  Was Sister McBride right to endorse this abortion?  Bishop Olmsted has firmly stated she was not and has backed his position with the position of the Catholic Church on abortion.   It simply cannot be permitted in a "Catholic" institution. 

Lets allow Sister McBride seek reconciliation with the Catholic Church privately.  This need not be continually aired, especially by Catholics.  To do so can be considered scandalous, which in itself is sinful.


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