Skip to comments.Bishop Olmsted ‘gravely concerned’ by abortion at Arizona Catholic hospital
Posted on 05/18/2010 5:17:36 AM PDT by markomalley
Bishop of Phoenix Thomas J. Olmsted is gravely concerned after learning a direct abortion took place at a Catholic hospital, urging that an unborn child should not be seen as a disease and should never be directly killed. A Catholic ethicist also commented on the case, saying both the mother and the child deserved the best medical efforts.
The abortion took place late last year at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. The mother was 11 weeks pregnant and was seriously ill with pulmonary hypertension, the Washington Post reports. The condition limits heart and lung function and is reportedly made worse and even fatal by pregnancy.
An ethics committee which included doctors and hospital administrator Sr. Margaret McBride ruled that the abortion was necessary.
Bishop Olmsted issued a Friday statement in response to what the Diocese of Phoenix called hospital officials acknowledgement that an unborn child was killed through a direct abortion.
Saying he was gravely concerned by the fact that the abortion was performed, the bishop said he was further concerned by the hospitals claim that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mothers underlying medical condition.
An unborn child is not a disease, he insisted. While medical professionals should try to save a pregnant mothers life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child.
The end does not justify the means, he insisted.
Bishop Olmsted explained that every Catholic institution is obliged to defend human life at all its stages, and that Catholic individuals also have this obligation.
If a Catholic formally cooperates in the procurement of an abortion, they are automatically excommunicated by that action, the bishop continued. The Catholic Church will continue to defend life and proclaim the evil of abortion without compromise, and must act to correct even her own members if they fail in this duty.
We always must remember that when a difficult medical situation involves a pregnant woman, there are two patients in need of treatment and care; not merely one. The unborn childs life is just as sacred as the mothers life, and neither life can be preferred over the other.
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.
The bishop cited Pope John Paul IIs encyclical Evangelium Vitae, which recognizes direct abortion as a grave moral disorder.
Bishop Olmsted said the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Institutions (ERDs) are very clear on this point.
According to the Washington Post, hospital officials defended Sr. McBrides actions. At the same time, she has been reassigned from her job as vice president of mission integration at the hospital.
Last week Catholic Healthcare West sent to Bishop Olmsted a letter signed by board chairwoman Sr. Judith Carle and President and CEO Lloyd Dean. Seeking clarification on the directives, the letter agreed that pregnancy is not a pathology in a healthy mother but it claimed the case of the abortion was different because of the nearly certain risk of death for the mother.
"If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it," the letter said, according to the Arizona Republic. "We are convinced there was not."
Seeking comment, CNA contacted John Brehany, executive director and ethicist of the Catholic Medical Association.
In a Monday e-mail, he expressed sadness that the life of the unborn child was taken and said he regrets that the hospital did not work with the bishop and the diocese more proactively to avoid the situation.
Brehany said Bishop Olmsted drew attention to the consistent and solemn teaching of the Church that one can never intentionally do evil to achieve a good end or result. This includes never choosing an action whose intent and direct effect is to end the life of an unborn child.
Noting some very complicated diseases and health care conditions which affect pregnant women, he said the Church has recognized some cases like uterine cancer in which effective treatment results in the death of the unborn child.
To deal with these hard cases, a four-step process of moral analysis, called the principle of double effect, has been developed. Working through this process helps us to ensure that neither the intent nor the direct effect of the action proposed is morally evil, Brehany explained.
In the case of uterine cancer treatment, the intent is to treat a dangerous disease. The means of the action, removing the mothers diseased organ, does not directly target or kill the unborn child, nor is the death of the unborn child the means by which the mother's life is saved.
Judging from descriptions he had read in the press, Brehany added it appears that teachings of the Church and this process were not appropriately followed.
While the mother suffered from a serious disease, it seems it was the intent of the health care providers to end the life of the child. And, the means chosen to promote the health of the woman was to abort a viable pregnancy.
Brehany also thought Catholic moral principles were clear in the case and the abortion was not consistent with Catholic morals.
Acknowledging hard cases which moral theologians struggle to understand, he said he was not sure the Phoenix case rises to such a level of difficulty.
CNA asked Brehany what people should understand about Catholic ethics in this case.
The Church is motivated by sincere love for all human persons in need. In this case, there were two patients -- mother and child. Both are human beings and both are worthy of our best efforts in medicine.
Many times in life it is easier to focus on some people and to avoid or overlook the needs of others, he warned. The respect for life that still undergirds our Western culture has been the source of many positive developments in technology and medical practice that have saved countless lives.
The most important things people can do are to choose morally good actions and avoid morally evil actions. There are many tragedies in life. We cannot always prevent bad things from happening to people.
Many times we are faced with hard choices. But what we can never ethically do -- because our ultimate goal is to follow the will of God and build his kingdom on earth -- is to choose to do evil, even when it appears that it will result in highly desirable and understandable results.
Repentance would mean going the other way, would mean no longer voting Democrat. Continuing to vote for the Democrat party would not be repentance.
This “Sister” McBride needs to be disciplined, defrocked, and excommunicated publicly; bell, book, and candle, if it is found that she ordered or allowed an abortion to take place at a Catholic hospital.
This is a worse scandal (not that it will be reported that way) than any priest sex scandal. A Catholic Religious has taken an innocent life. There is no defense to that.
“Gravely concerned” does not seem to be a sufficient response.
Bishop Olmsted just excommunicated Sr. McBride, and others. Finally, a Bishop with courage. But now watch the liberals attack Bishop Olmsted like demons.
The Sisters of Mercy are a religious institute of pontifical rite. So the local bishop has limited power over them (think about Bishop D'Arcy and Father Jenkins of Notre Dame).
These articles need to be forwarded to the Apostolic Nuncio, Abp Pietro Sambi:
Mailing Address: 3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W, Washington, DC, USA
Also, Cardinal Franc Rodé, the Prefect for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, should be made aware of this.
The Congregation is located in front of St. Peter's Basilica at Piazza Pio XII, 3 / 00193 Rome.
Pertinent telephone numbers are:
His Eminence the Cardinal Prefect +39. 06. 69884121
His Excellency Archbishop Secretary +39. 06. 69884584
receptionists +39 06. 69884128 and +39. 06. 69892511
FAX +39. 06. 69884526
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Prefect)
A closer read reveals that he actually excommunicated those who performed or allowed the abortion. Excommunication doesn't require formalities, that fact that he publicly informed them that they are excommunicated ipso facto latae sententiae (by the fact), is a solemn and severe response. Excommunication means one is barred from the sacraments of the Church, meaning that one is barred from salvation itself, unless they repent. Many Catholics don't know about 'latae sententiae ' excommunication regarding abortion, but the good bishop informed these particular folks of the current status of their souls. It really doesn't get any more severe than that.
IMO, an avowed liberal who isn't even Catholic, has no business being the head of Catholic hospitals! Whose brilliant idea was this, anyway?
Mrs. Prince of Space
I did some reading on PPH and pregnancy and there is/was a mortality rate of about 30% for the mother- but based on a lot of variables we do not know in this case
I would expect the Church did a thorough investigation of the facts of this case we and the media do not know- before it made its decision
I personally know women who defied much worse odds than 30% to carry a pregancy to term.
Time to make a serious example of some people, Bishop.
why hasn't she been excommunicated and drummed out of her order?
One would think the Catholic church, if not appointing a Catholic, would at least make certain the director of the hospital affirmed basic Catholic values. Abortion would be one of the very first topics covered in such an affirmation.
See post #6. The local bishop has only very limited things he can do to her. Only the superior of the Sisters of Mercy can do what you suggest.
Can. 699 §1. The supreme moderator with the council, which must consist of at least four members for validity, is to proceed collegially to the accurate consideration of the proofs, arguments, and defenses; if it has been decided through secret ballot, the supreme moderator is to issue a decree of dismissal with the reasons in law and in fact expressed at least summarily for validity.
Can. 700 A decree of dismissal does not have effect unless it has been confirmed by the Holy See, to which the decree and all the acts must be transmitted; if it concerns an institute of diocesan right, confirmation belongs to the bishop of the diocese where the house to which the religious has been attached is situated. To be valid, however, the decree must indicate the right which the dismissed possesses to make recourse to the competent authority within ten days from receiving notification. The recourse has suspensive effect.(NB: Sisters of Mercy are an Institute of Pontifical Right; therefore, the local bishop has no say in this)
Can. 703 In the case of grave external scandal or of most grave imminent harm to the institute, a member can be expelled immediately from a religious house by the major superior or, if there is danger in delay, by the local superior with the consent of the council. If it is necessary, the major superior is to take care to begin a process of dismissal according to the norm of law or is to refer the matter to the Apostolic See. (NB: again, since this is an institute of pontifical right, the bishop has no input in this process)
Those rules are good rules in the instance of a conservative, orthodox order operating in a diocese with a lib-fag ordinary; but, unfortunately, they are difficult in instances like this.
You should consider writing or faxing the Nuncio and the Prefect about this instance. Methinks if they start hearing enough about this troublesome nun, they may exert a little pressure on the superior to do something about her.
BTT% for later.
The Catholic vote could have prevented 50 million abortions if they had not voted Democrat all those years. For sure the African American vote could have prevented those same abortions as well.
It`s all too little to late, unless they gey some backbone and say Catholics that vote for pro abortion candidates are not welcome in the Church.