Skip to comments.Calling Good 'Evil' and Evil 'Good' (A Phoenix Bishop excommunicates a Catholic Hospital)
Posted on 02/15/2011 4:46:37 PM PST by SeekAndFind
In a recent New York Times column, Nicholas Kristof attacked Catholic Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. Olmsted did something that Kristof considers unconscionable. He made a moral decision that was consistent with the Bible and the teachings of his Church-and he had the audacity to act upon it.
In late 2009 a pregnant woman suffering from pulmonary hypertension went to St. Josephs Catholic Hospital in Phoenix for treatment. And part of the treatment was an abortion.
Now it is true that pregnancy can be a mortal risk for a woman with pulmonary hypertension. But from the bishops point of view, St. Josephs did not demonstrate that the abortion was strictly required to save the womans life-the only morally acceptable reason for terminating a pregnancy.
After an investigation, Bishop Olmsted announced last summer that Sister Margaret McBride, who approved the abortion, had excommunicated herself. In December he announced that for performing the unwarranted abortion and for other deviations from Church teaching, St. Josephs was no longer a Catholic hospital.
This led Kristof to proclaim a battle of two rival religious approaches. One approach, he writes, focuses on dogma, sanctity, rules and the punishment of sinners. The other exalts compassion for the needy and mercy for sinners-and, perhaps above all, inclusiveness. (As if one excludes the other).
Kristof then wrote that Jesus might sue the bishop for defamation. For someone who so easily and flippantly invokes Jesus, Kristof appears to have a stunning ignorance of what Jesus actually said and did. He forgets that the same Jesus who offered compassion for the needy and mercy for sinners was very specific about doctrinal truth, the need for sanctity and obedience, and the threat of eternal damnation.
But then, this isnt about Jesus. Its just another example of calling good evil and evil good. That was the first and fatal temptation in the Garden. Satan labeled good-obedience to God-a restrictive evil. Then he labeled evil-disobeying God-an unmitigated good. How little things have changed particularly in matters of sexuality and life.
We see the same thing in Apples rejection of the Manhattan Declaration app. The Manhattan Declaration simply restates age-old Christian teaching about life, sexuality, marriage, and freedom. Apple, however, makes the dubious claim that as a result of the declarations rejection of homosexuality it is likely to expose a group to harm and is objectionable and potentially harmful to others.
All this despite the declarations affirmation that gays and lesbians possess a God-given, profound, inherent, and equal dignity.
And by the way, Archbishop Olmstead is a steadfast proponent of the Manhattan Declaration.
The goodness of a culture is measured by how that culture-its institutions, laws, and habits-measures up to the natural law, that objective and unchanging standard of good and evil God has written into the universe and into our consciences.
Inverting good and evil led directly to the first sin and to the human habit of repeating that sin over and over again.
The solution for Christians is to affirm the truth about good and evil when its popular and even when its not. And no matter what the New York Times may say about it.
I apparently missed the part Bishop Olmsted discusses his medical credentials.
I apparently missed the part where Bishop Olmsted discusses his medical credentials.
Interesting to me as I am right now watching “A Man For All Seasons” I have never seen it before but know it involves a man taking a stand for what he thinks is right rather than what the king wants.
I’d imagine that baby coulda used someone on his/her side.
I am a Southern Baptist but on the subject of abortion (and divorce) there is no disagreement between us and the Catholics.
I bet you miss quite a bit.
This apparently is not an easy case as one might suppose.
According to this site, here is the reasoning of those who performed the abortion ( it seems very reluctantly ) :
Linda Hunt, president of St. Joseph’s, said in a statement after the bishop’s news conference that the hospital was “deeply disappointed” by the action but would “continue through our words and deeds to carry out the healing ministry of Jesus.”
In May, officials at St. Joseph’s publicly acknowledged that an abortion occurred at the hospital in late 2009. The Arizona Republic, in its initial story on the matter, also revealed that Mercy Sister Margaret McBride had incurred an automatic excommunication because of her role on the ethics committee that sanctioned the abortion.
“Consistent with our values of dignity and justice, if we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, our first priority is to save both patients,” Hunt said in her statement. “If that is not possible, we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case.
“We continue to stand by the decision, which was made in collaboration with the patient, her family, her caregivers and our ethics committee,” she added. “Morally, ethically and legally we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save.”
On the same site I gave, here is Bishop Olmstead’s reasoning for stripping St. Joseph of its Catholic identity:
Bishop Olmsted, explaining his authority to revoke the Catholic identity of St. Joseph’s Hospital, cited Canon 216, which states: “No undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.”
“I have hoped and prayed that this day would not come,” the bishop said. “However, the faithful of the diocese have a right to know whether institutions of this importance are indeed Catholic in identity and practice.”
After learning about the abortion earlier in the year, Bishop Olmsted met with hospital officials to learn more about the particular case, he said at the news conference.
“It became clear that, in their decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld,” he said. The baby “was directly killed,” which is a violation of the ethical and religious directives.
Throughout the process, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Catholic Healthcare West have maintained that the intention was to save “the only life that could be saved,” the mother’s, according to the hospital.
The bishop responded to the claim in a May 14 statement, reiterating that “the direct killing of an unborn child is always immoral, no matter the circumstances, and it cannot be permitted in any institution that claims to be authentically Catholic.”
RE: Southern Baptist but on the subject of abortion (and divorce) there is no disagreement between us and the Catholics.
What is the Southern Baptist stance if a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life as in this particular case?
They were listed right after your Doctor of Divinity degree.
Here is the case in perspective :
St. Joseph’s and its parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, considered an appeal of Olmsted’s decision to the Vatican but plans none for now, a hospital representative said. In response to concerns raised by some that Catholic guidelines could compromise women’s health, Dr. Charles Alfano, St. Joseph’s medical director, said pregnant women are and always will be safe at the Phoenix hospital.
The dispute between the hospital and the bishop came to a head in late November, when Olmsted declared an end to discussions that had gone on since he heard about a surgery he considered an abortion that took place more than a year earlier.
The case involved a terminally ill woman suffering from pulmonary hypertension.
Her condition was worsened by her pregnancy, to the point where her death was imminent, doctors said. St. Joseph’s officials insisted Tuesday that they tried to save both the mother and fetus and that the decision to terminate the pregnancy in November 2009 was a last resort.
Alfano said there was no safe way to transfer the woman to a facility that wasn’t guided by Catholic health-care directives.
“She essentially was moribund,” he said.
Alfano confirmed the hospital did not believe it was in violation of Catholic directives, which prohibit abortion, because the purpose of the surgery was not to kill the baby but to save the life of the mother. He said the hospital has terminated pregnancies before in similar situations and couldn’t affirm it never would do so again.
What he wanted us to do was impossible, considering the level of care we provide,” he said, referring to the bishop’s demands.
Alfano, an obstetrician, said similar cases have arisen before but added, “Pregnant women have always been and will always be safe at St. Joseph’s.”
I would suspect there would be no difference between the two. I will have to say each individual congregation has their own free will, but there are certain areas in which there is agreement.
What hasn't been discussed was the possibilities of the mother carrying the baby long enough to live before her death. If that possibility was available then the mother's death was an unfortunate consequence. It is the duty of every parent to give up their own life so that their children can live. If any of my children needed a heart transplant and I was an acceptable donor I would not hesitate to do so.
RE: It is the duty of every parent to give up their own life so that their children can live.
Interesting... is this Roman Catholic teaching?
If so, I would now like to turn to the Southern Baptist in this thread... Mr. yarddog, do Southern Baptists teach the same thing?
I have no doubt at all that my Mother would have given her life for any of her children but that is not the question.
The question is should we take the life of an innocent child for the convenience of the Mother or Father.
I am not convinced that the hospital etc. were being honest in saying it was necessary to save the Mother. If it was so, I do not think the Church would have taken the action they did. It is clear they did investigate. I can see no reason for them to lie. I can see a lot of reasons for the hospital et als to lie.
I saw it in theatre when I was 12 years old. It's still the greatest movie I've ever seen. At one point, as a teenager, I bought a double LP soundtrack of the movie and listened to it so many times I knew just about every line! And what a cast! Paul Scofield won the oscar for best actor and he's still my favorite actor of all time. The currently aging John Hurt as Richard Rich, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Shaw, Orson Wells... Enjoy and watch it again and again, it keeps getting better!
Robert Shaw has a very strong persona. He was a good choice to play the King.
He is one of the few people who could hold their own with Sean Connery which he did in “From Russia With Love”.
RE: The question is should we take the life of an innocent child for the convenience of the Mother or Father.
For convenience, NO. No abortion is justified.
But, In order to save the life of the mother ? If Natural Law (the Catholic poster in this thread ) is to be believe, apparently the Catholic answer is NO, the child should be spared. The mother should die, sacrifice her life in order for her child to live whether she wants to or not.
I am not sure if this is Southern Baptist teaching.
As for this particular case, I am not ready to pronounce a judgement on who is lying in this case.
If St. Joseph is going to appeal to higher authorities, I say let the case play out so that we can know the entire story.
The bishop's job is to stand for what the Catholic Church believes and teaches, and there it's really quite simple:
Under no circumstances can an innocent* person be deliberately killed, not even to save another person's life. No exceptions.
*A conscious aggressor is not an innocent person, thus self defense is allowed. An unborn baby is an innocent person, however.
The hospital can go along with Catholic teaching or not, but if their choice is "not," then it's dishonest for them to keep calling themselves "a Catholic hospital".
That would entail permitting someone to kill you to save another person's life. See my preceding post; that is never allowed under the moral law.
It is not permitted to kill a child to save a parent. It is not permitted to kill a parent to save a child.
RE: Under no circumstances can an innocent* person be deliberately killed, not even to save another person’s life. No exceptions.
How does that square with this argument made by the doctor — Consistent with our values of dignity and justice, if we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a womans life, our first priority is to save both patients, If that is not possible, we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case.”
So, they argue:
1) They tried to save both mother and baby
2) It was not possible under the circumstances
3) The only life that they could save was the mother, and that’s what they did.
I thought that women usually didn't develop hypertension until later in the pregnancy. It's becoming almost typical for babies born after 22 weeks to survive, and thrive, so if the woman was past 5 1/2 months, the baby could have been delivered, and treated as any other preemie.
The Church teaches that the doctor should try to save BOTH. In this day, and age, depending on the stage of the pregnancy, it can be done. Otherwise, the delivery could be done, and an attempt made to save the baby, but if it dies, at least it wasn't killed intentionally.
That's true of pregnancy-induced hypertension ("toxemia") but this patient had pulmonary hypertension, an entirely different condition which affects the pulmonary circulation and the heart. According to this article the pregnancy was 11 weeks along - first trimester, absolutely not viable.
Women can develop hypertension any time during the pregnancy.By the time I was three months along, each time I had done so. Mine just behaved itself reasonably well, considering.
It's the hospital's responsibility to educate their doctors on how to practice medicine within the bounds of Catholic morality. They obviously dropped the ball pretty completely.
Which brings up the question - should they have let the woman die? Since that’s what would have happened, in which case both mother and baby die - two lives lost instead of one.
I agree with the hospital...The Mother only, lives, or they both die...Easy choice...
RE: I agree with the hospital...The Mother only, lives, or they both die...Easy choice...
Well what can I say? I hope you’re not Catholic, otherwise, you don’t get communion. :(
I watched that all the way through for the first time last week (or was it the week before? LOL), and that is a fine movie. Wouldn’t the world be better off with lots of St. Thomas Mores? ;)
Note to self: Don’t say something stupid in Vladimir998’s presence.
So you don’t think abortion is murder then?
It seems like the bishop is expecting too much here. If the hospital thought they were following ethical Catholic practices and it turns out they weren’t, isn’t the answer to teach them better so they can get it right the next time?
If there is a case to be made that the hospital was trying to get by with something, more should be said about that. If not, why the excommunication?
I’m a lifelong Catholic and I honestly thought that if the mother and baby were both going to die absent intervention, that was one time you could ethically abort the baby, because one life saved is better than two dead. It is not a “good” outcome, but the best that can be done under the circumstances. Also, I thought abortion in the case of tubal pregnancies was not grounds for excommunication, under the same reasoning, that both would die otherwise.
If that’s not right, the bishops had better explain things better to all of us, and do so before the next life-and-death situation arises.
I don't condemn all with such a broad brush as you guys do...
What if a soldier throws a hand grenade into a group of terrorists about to set off a dirty nuke in a city or town, and, the soldier knows there is an innocent civilian within the group of terrorists???
The baby in question would have died anyway...The baby in question possibly would have suffered far more in a prolonged death than it had...
Catholic's do not use moral relative reasoning to determine truth on an issue that Catholics consider absolute truth already clearly defined.
Abortion for any reason is wrong. No good ends can ever justify bad means. In this case all agree there was a direct abortion. The arguments really are only about the 'reasons' those who murdered are justifying said murder by.