Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Boldest Bishop Move In Some Time

Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix has revoked a hospital's designation as "Catholic." That takes guts. You might have heard a while back about how he excommed the nun who ok'd the abortion there. From the looks of things, the hospital didn't know when to quit.

Citing numerous and ongoing violations of Catholic teaching, including an instance of abortion, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix has declared that St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center can no longer call itself a Catholic institution.

The bishop announced his decision in a press conference at diocesan headquarters Dec. 21. It follows months of negotiations with officials for St. Joseph’s and its parent company, Catholic Healthcare West.

These talks, aimed in part at getting the hospital to admit its ethical wrongdoing in performing the abortion, reached an impasse last month. The bishop had given officials a Dec. 17 deadline to reach an understanding. When that date passed, he extended the deadline to Dec. 21

From what we've seen, the hospital attempted to find a theologian who would back the legitimacy of the infanticide that took place. This was the standard practice of many modern whackjobs who figure they can make up their own magisterium by finding enough people to agree with them. Bishop Olmsted's response was entirely appropriate:

In a letter he wrote this past November that was leaked to the press on Dec. 15, Bishop Olmstead voiced frustration with the hospital’s continued justification of the abortion and its refusal to cooperate with him.

“In effect, you would have me believe that we will merely have to agree to disagree,” he told Catholic Health Care West president Lloyd Dean. “But this resolution is unacceptable, because it disregards my authority and responsibility to interpret the moral law and to teach the Catholic faith as a successor of the Apostles.”

The bishop had been insisting that St. Joseph’s admit to its ethics violation, commit to avoiding abortion under all circumstances, and retrain staff members through an institution of his choosing.

Ultimately, the negotiations failed and Bishop Olmstead said he had concluded that St. Joseph “is not committed to following the teaching of the Catholic Church [and] therefore, this hospital cannot be considered Catholic.”

This is a remarkable show of courage, and Bishop Olmsted will no doubt suffer for it. The social justice types will come out of the woodwork to condemn him. He will likely be cast as a misogynist. All the cries of "patriarchal" and so forth will be raised from all the usual suspects (or whores, in the case of dissident theologians). Of course, you'll also hear crap about the sexual abuse scandals, as though that has anything to do with this case or with Bishop Olmsted.

I think it would be a mistake to view this incident in isolation from the broader American Catholicism, though. This is a very public step by a bishop in putting his foot down against the crypt0 (and not so crypto) heretics that have infected the Mystical Body of Christ. Imagine what could happen if others are heartened by this and follow his example. It doesn't have to stop at Catholic hospitals. Why not Catholic schools and universities as well? Why not in parish catechetical and liturgical life? Maybe this will show bishops they can't be so afraid that they fail to do their jobs.

Anyways, one would think that the opposing party here would understand their position, as well as the authority of His Excellency over that position. Alas, no:

In a statement, St. Joseph’s president Linda Hunt said the hospital was “deeply disappointed” by the bishop’s actions. She again justified the abortion and said the hospital “will continue through our words and deeds to carry out the healing ministry of Jesus."

Ah. I get it. We can carry out the healing ministry of Jesus by murdering kids then nursing our pride so that we can refuse to admit our wrong-doing and openly defy a Successor to the Apostles. Yeah, that makes sense.

This whole statement from the hospital can be translated in two words: Non serviam.


Vita said...

Just a question...

Is there any publicly available information that confirms that the hospital wasn't following the principle of double-effect in this instance?

This seems a particularly troubling case from a moral perspective if the infant's death was certain regardless of the procedure.

LeighS said...

Bravo!! What a Bishop!! Thank you for posting...

Throwback said...

WDTPRS has followed that aspect pretty well. Note the most recent discussion of the matter:

Most of the articles from CNA have said likewise. I have to believe that +Olmsted looked into this pretty thoroughly before taking such a step.