Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Bishop and the Hospital

In a controversial decision (at least according to the news services), Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted revoked his consent for St. Joseph’s Hospital to use the name Catholic because he cannot verify that the hospital will provide authentically Catholic health care in accord with the teachings of the Church.

Bishop launched a website to explain why.

His reasons are as follows:

  • St. Joseph’s Hospital’s sanctioning and performing a direct abortion in late 2009,
  • and
  • St. Joseph’s admitting to being in formal cooperation in abortions, sterilizations and contraceptive services administered through their Mercy Care Plan — a $2 billion endeavor covering about 368,000 of Arizona’s poor.

Let's talk about the first one because the second reason is a no brainer. NOTE: The Bishop never said that St Joseph's was not a good hospital or that you will not get good health care there. He merely wants to warn Catholics that it's no longer a Catholic hospital i.e. St Joseph's is not delivering care according to Catholic church teachings on life issues!

The concern of the doctors was not an immediate emergency with the lady with pulmonary hypertension (for whom the Sister approved an abortion) but rather that in a number of cases with this disorder, during childbirth, women have been observed going into respiratory shock leading to death a few days after delivery.

In other words, there was no medical emergency with the pregnancy but in the case of a high risk pregnancy, doctors will always suggest aborting the baby.

This is effectually saying that the mother's life is worth more than the baby's life. But the Catholic church disagrees. We do not rate one life as worth more than another, and we cannot sanction willful murder of one life to make life "less risky" for another human.

The bottom line may come from the Jesuit Spiritual Exercises which remind us that no immoral means justify any ends, even the best of ends.

As my Jesuit Spiritual advisor, Fr John Becker, would say in answer to ANY arguments in favor of abortion, "But it’s murder!"

It is interesting to note that when St Gianna Molla, a pediatrician was pregnant and developed a tumor, she was given the same advice by her doctors that the lady with pulmonary hypertension was given, to abort the child.

St Gianna told them whatever the case, save the baby. St Gianna developed septicemia after her delivery of a little girl (who is now, like her mother, a physician) and died about two weeks after delivery.

And now the church honors her AS St Gianna, a model for all of us. Her daughter whose life was saved by her mother's decision, was present when her mother was canonized by John Paul II.

Truly, as a mother, I would not want to buy my life with the life of my baby. If God wants me or the baby (or both) to live, He will allow it. If not, we, as Catholics do believe that His Divine Providence is a perfect plan.

That is why the Bishop decided what he did and I applaud his decision. He is courageous and standing up for Our Lord and what our church teaches.

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