22 December 2010

Phoenix Bishop Cuts the Cord With Obstinate Hospital Offering Abortions

Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted removed his ecclesiastical imprimatur from St. Joseph’s Hospital because Olmsted believed that the hospital was not adequately addressing the scandal caused by a 2009 “emergency” abortion on a 11 week pregnant mother suffering from pulmonary hypertension.

By not deeming St. Joseph’s a Catholic hospital, the Blessed Sacrament was removed from the Chapel and Mass is no longer celebrated.  Catholics may go to St. Joseph’s for treatment, but the Bishop can not guarantee that their care will be Catholic.

St. Joseph’s Hospital refused to back down from its presumption that they acted rightly in extending emergency treatment to a patient that included an abortion. Hospital officials also were unrepentant at their practice of administering contraceptives and conducting other abortions after rapes and incest or due to the “mental or physical health” of the mother.  So essentially this means that St. Joseph’s has been Catholic in Name Only (CINO) for quite a while.  Bishop Olmsted is redressing public scandal by reinforcing Catholic values.

The ACLU insists that the first responsibility of a hospital should be to its patients, not to a religious leader (or the values which they uphold).  The ACLU’s amicus letter to HHS noted that Catholic Hospitals make up 15% of all bedspace in the U.S. and often these facilities are the only providers in regions.

The ACLU’s assessment that the Customer Comes First in health care priorities will become increasingly irrelevant as Obamacare is implemented.  The much derided “Death Panels” do exist, though they bare more benign monickers like Best Practices and Cost Benefit Analysis.

Religious organizations, like the Catholic hospitals, have been realizing their faith through public  services for years.  But as acceptable government standards start dictating how these humanitarian efforts are to be administered, the faithful will opt out of areas which are counter to their sacred values.  So Catholic Services will opt out of Adoptions in the District of Columbia as they refuse to bless same sex couples as eligible adaptors.

While St. Joseph’s Hospital is a preeminent regional health care facility with  a strong 115 year history behind it so it may not miss the Bishop’s blessing, many other religious hospitals may be dependent on Catholic charity.  If faithful medical facilities have to acquiesce to abhorrent ethical practices by the government, there will be a shortage of bedspaces as well as faithful health providers.

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