Az. hos­pi­tal stripped of Catholic cre­den­tials

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - BY VIC­TOR MOR­TON

The bishop of Phoenix on Dec. 21 stripped a Ro­man Catholic hos­pi­tal of its abil­ity to de­scribe it­self as Catholic af­ter rul­ing that the hos­pi­tal had per­formed an abor­tion and been in­volved with other pro­ce­dures con­trary to church teach­ing.

At a news con­fer­ence, Bishop Thomas J. Olm­sted cited a case that prompted a pub­lic spat with the ad­min­is­tra­tors of St. Joseph’s Hos­pi­tal and Med­i­cal Cen­ter, in which a preg­nant woman with a his­tory of ab­nor­mal blood pres­sure was ad­mit­ted to the hos­pi­tal in Novem­ber 2009 and her preg­nancy was ter­mi­nated.

The hos­pi­tal de­fended it­self in re­cent months and again on Dec. 21 by say­ing doc­tors had de­ter­mined the woman’s death to be cer­tain if no abor­tion was pro­vided. Thus, they ar­gued, the pro­ce­dure was licit be­cause it was in­tended to save the mother’s life.

Bishop Olm­sted brushed aside that claim, not­ing that the U.S. Con­fer­ence of Catholic Bish­ops has is­sued Eth­i­cal and Re­li­gious Di­rec­tives (ERDs) for hos­pi­tals declar­ing that even in dan­ger­ous preg­nan­cies, both the mother and child are hu­man be­ings who should not be killed, even for the sake of sav­ing the other.

“In the de­ci­sion to abort, the equal dig­nity of mother and her baby were not both up­held,” Bishop Olm­sted said at a news con­fer­ence an­nounc­ing the de­ci­sion. “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.”

St. Joseph’s Pres­i­dent Linda Hunt said the hos­pi­tal was “sad­dened” by Bishop Olm­sted’s or­der, but said the hos­pi­tal had

“In the de­ci­sion to abort, the equal dig­nity of mother and her baby were not both up­held,” Bishop Olm­sted said at a news con­fer­ence an­nounc­ing the de­ci­sion. “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.”

done noth­ing wrong.

“If we are pre­sented with a sit­u­a­tion in which a preg­nancy threat­ens a woman’s 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,” Ms. Hunt said. “Morally, eth­i­cally and legally, we sim­ply can­not stand by and let some­one die whose life we might be able to save.”

The im­me­di­ate im­pact on St. Joseph’s, which was es­tab­lished by the Sis­ters of Mercy in 1895, is likely to be min­i­mal since the hos­pi­tal is owned by a par­ent com­pany, Catholic Health­care West, and does not re­ceive funds di­rectly from the church. Bishop Olm­sted’s state­ment also spec­i­fied that Catholics may con­tinue to pro­vide and re­ceive med­i­cal care there.

Bishop Olm­sted or­dered that Masses will no longer be cele- brated at the hos­pi­tal and that the Blessed Sacra­ment, a con­se­crated host that the church teaches is Je­sus’ body and blood, be re­moved. Hos­pi­tal ad­min­is­tra­tors said they will com­ply with the bishop’s or­ders.

Bishop Olm­sted al­ready had ex­com­mu­ni­cated Sis­ter Mar­garet McBride, R.S.M., the nun who had ap­proved the 2009 abor­tion.

In a state­ment is­sued after­ward, Bishop Olm­sted said he also had “re­cently learned that many other vi­o­la­tions of the ERDs have been tak­ing place at CHW fa­cil­i­ties in Ari­zona through­out my seven years as bishop of Phoenix and far longer.”

He cited Catholic Health­care West and St. Joseph’s in­volve­ment in the Mercy Care Plan, which he said in­volved “for­mally co­op­er­at­ing with a num­ber of med­i­cal pro­ce­dures that are con­trary to the ERDs, for many years. I was never made aware of this fact un­til the last few weeks.”

Its in­volve­ment with Mercy Care de­lib­er­ately in­volved the Phoenix hos­pi­tal, though the bishop did not elab­o­rate on how, with con­tra­cep­tion and re­lated ser­vices, vol­un­tary ster­il­iza­tion and abor­tion.

He said he had “a meet­ing which in­cluded an ad­min­is­tra­tor of St. Joseph’s Hos­pi­tal, who ad­mit­ted that St. Joseph’s and CHW are aware that this plan con­sists in for­mal co­op­er­a­tion in evil ac­tions which are con­trary to church teach­ing.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Bishop Thomas J. Olm­sted, seen here at his in­stal­la­tion in Phoenix in De­cem­ber 2003, has de­cer­ti­fied a Catholic hospi­tal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.