Alex Blaze

Hospital loses Catholic status for life-saving abortion

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 27, 2010 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: Catholic church

Here's one of the big reasons people are moving away from organized religions. I can't imagine why anyone would want to hear moral lectures from people who censure hospitals for saving people's lives (via Feministing):

Bishop Thomas Olmsted said he no longer had confidence that the administration of St. Joseph's Hospital would run it according to Catholic teachings, "and therefore this hospital cannot be considered Catholic."

Leaders of the institution, founded in 1895 by a Catholic order, the Sisters of Mercy, said it would continue to operate "in the Catholic tradition" but without the official sanction of the church.

"I have hoped and prayed that this day would not come," the bishop was quoted as saying at a Tuesday news conference. "However, the faithful of the diocese have a right to know whether institutions of this importance are indeed Catholic in identity and practice."

The hospital's president, Linda Hunt, said she was "deeply saddened" by Olmsted's decision, adding, "The fact that this situation stems from our decision to save a young woman's life is particularly sad." St. Joseph's is run by San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West, which operates more than 40 hospitals and clinics in California, Arizona and Nevada.

I just can't see why saving a woman's life is something a hospital should not have done. Then again, I don't get why a religion is so committed to opposing women having sex in the first place that it'll ask them to give up their dreams, independence, and health to keep themselves morally pure, but then again it's men who run that Church so it probably doesn't seem like a big deal to them.

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Two things, the first being that there are numerous other religions out there which do not have these sorts of issues. It is unfortunate that when people think of religion they automatically think of Catholicism, Christianity and Abrahamism in general when there are so many others often far older and for more reasonable on issues.
The second is that one must consider that the hospital was set up by the sisters of mercy who have a long a nasty history of mistreating women especially where children are concerned and the children also. It is nice that the hospital has broken with the traditions of that nasty organization.
I applaud them.

The rigid thinking of the religious right, as illustrated in this situation, is designed to keep the brains of their followers underdeveloped. This leads to neurosis which is characterized, per the wiki article below, as having a "poor ability to adapt to one's environment, an inability to change one's life patterns, and the inability to develop a richer, more complex, more satisfying personality." I.e. the sort of person thrilled to send money to the rich guys who prey on these followers.

Since the income of the elite who run the religious right takes precedence over everything else it is easy to see why Bishop Thomas Olmsted censured the hospital for saving the woman's life. Her life or his bank account; definitely a no brainer for him.

Nerissa, your first sentence hits the nail on the head.

Ironically, it is this type of rigid, legalistic thinking that Jesus taught against. In His day, the Pharisees self-righteously looked at things in that manner, and now today, the thinking of those who pompously call themselves "Christian" has calcified in exactly the same way.

We are called to use the brain God gave us ... but for so many it feels safer to cling mindlessly to dogmas that are centuries old.

the Vatican decided years ago to threaten institutions with loss of "catholic" status that do not follow the teaching of the church. which is very clear- there is no permissible abortion. They would rather both the mother and child died. Then they could laud her death as somehow sanctified.

And no, they don't care about women. we're for making babies.

These old institutions are losing ground each and every day. In DC, their is a non-discrimination law. Because the Catholics would not submit to it in adoption, they had to get out of the business of using our tax money to fund their adoption services - 1 down. The new Cardinal in DC has just announced it is not the Churches to meddle in the DADT policy - 2 down. When they get thier noses out of civil marriage and job discrimination, that's when we all win. We have to use secular strength and secular institutions to push back on these patriarchal, misogynistic and anti-gay institutions and marginalize their oppression as much as possible. Keep pushing for anti-discrimination laws at the state and local levels. This is where you win.

In my moral theology classes, we were always taught the difference between direct and indirect effect. In this case, the bishop is saying that a moral solution would have been to treat the malady of the mother without terminating the pregnancy. What he fails to see is that the hospital seems to have accurately followed what the Catholic Church prescribes in these situations. The hospital ethics committee didn't pursue the abortion as a "good" to be achieved.It pursued the route deemed necessary to save the life of the mother.Any team of doctors will argue about what is necessary in a critical situation. Any team of moral theologians will also argue about what is necessary in such a situation. When imperfect humans with informed consciences make a decision aimed at doing the right thing, God does not condemn them. The bishop should have simply said that he disagreed with what was done and he should have acknowledged that every case is different and that Catholic hospital administrators have ample guidance that helps them make decisions. To excommunicate them is ridiculous. (Keep in mind that we only know what the news report tells us about this case, but on the face of it, I think the hospital seems to have followed the teaching of the Catholic Church.)

Regan DuCasse | December 28, 2010 2:25 PM

This falls directly in line with the blatant hypocrisy there is concerning women's reproductive health and choices.
There are pharmacists who willfully will be derelict in dispensing RU486 or other forms of birth control (regardless of why it's prescribed), yet have no issue with dispensing Viagra or Cialis or vasectomies even to very young men without challenge.

Contraception, is the exceptional purpose for self reliance, freedom and reproductive health ever known.
There is distinct gender bias, even in cases of choosing permanent sterilization BEFORE having children, that reveals just how unethical the medical establishment will be in that regard.

Regardless that pregnancy has these obvious risks for women, and always has in many other ways besides physical, the influence of religious dogma or plain old patriarchal sexism on who gets to choose when a woman should be a mother or NOT, displays the arrogance of men, who don't have to shoulder these risks.

A female, apparently has less value than not only a fetus, but someone not even conceived yet.
Stupid, let alone strange. The Catholic Church has a lot to answer to in this kind of abuse of women in particular.
I'd rather they answer to us mortals, than think we should all wait around while they prefer to answer to God.