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Bishop rips hospital chain, threatens to revoke Catholic status of hospital

Catholic World News - December 15, 2010

On December 17, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix will declare that St. Joseph’s Hospital is no longer a Catholic institution unless its parent company recognizes that the abortion that took place there violated the US bishops’ ethical directives and pledges it “will never occur again.”

The bishop’s November 22 letter to Lloyd H. Dean, president of Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), followed earlier correspondence in which Catholic Healthcare West, relying on the analysis of M. Therese Lysaught, attempted to justify the killing of the unborn child that took place at the hospital in late 2009. Lysaught is associate professor of theology and director of graduate studies at Marquette University.

In response, Bishop Olmsted wrote that as bishop, it was his task to interpret the moral law and the bishops’ ethical norms authoritatively within the diocese.

Bishop Olmstead also stated that if St. Joseph’s Hospital wished to remain a Catholic hospital, it must consent to a review by the diocesan medical ethics board and training of its staff by the medical ethics board or the National Catholic Bioethics Center.

Going beyond the issue of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Bishop Olmsted blasted Catholic Healthcare West for operating some hospitals that do not abide by the US bishops’ ethical directives. Citing the example of a hospital within diocesan boundaries, he spoke of his

absolute objection to CHW operating hospitals without following the ERDs [Ethical and Religious Directives]; namely my objections to your administration of Chandler Regional Hospital, where as an organization calling itself “Catholic,” CHW authorizes sterilizations and I know not what other immoral acts. I continue to find this arrangement deeply troubling.

With 53,000 employees, Catholic Healthcare West is the nation’s eighth-largest nonprofit hospital chain.

In September 2009, Dean, Catholic Healthcare West’s president and CEO, lauded a speech by President Obama on healthcare reform. According to Federal Election Commission records, Mr. Dean made $10,000 in contributions to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee over a ten-day period earlier that summer and donated an additional $250 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. An early supporter of Obama’s presidential campaign, Mr. Dean gave $2,300 to Obama for America in September 2007.

Catholic Healthcare West, California’s largest nonprofit hospital provider, has 41 hospitals, more than 10,000 physicians, and 53,000 employees. In an article examining the salaries of nonprofit hospital CEOs, The Wall Street Journal reported in 2008 that “Catholic Healthcare West, a hospital system based in San Francisco, forgave a $782,541 housing loan it made to its CEO, Lloyd Dean. Counting the forgiven loan, Mr. Dean’s total accrued compensation in 2005 was $5.8 million. Catholic Healthcare West says his compensation reflects his skill in turning the hospital system around financially.” Dean also serves as a Wells Fargo director.

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Show 6 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Dec. 15, 2010 11:09 PM ET USA

    Thank you, Bishop Olmstead, for leading us in right paths and for standing up for the precious lives defenseless babies. Pray for this courageous Bishop. Pray for the souls of mothers and father who seek their children's deaths and pray for the souls of those who make money destroying other women's unborn children.

  • Posted by: rpp - Dec. 15, 2010 6:07 PM ET USA

    Oh Holy Spirit, we humbly thank You for infusing Bishop Olmstead with courage, wisdom and charity that he has demonstrated here. Please help his words and actions to lead to a conversion of hearts. We humbly ask You continue to to provide all these gifts. Through Christ our Lord, AMEN. Blessed Virgin Mary, protector of the unborn, pray for Bishop Olmstead.

  • Posted by: monemur - Dec. 15, 2010 1:21 PM ET USA

    Thank you, Bishop Olmstead. St. Thomas More would be proud of you. I hope that the same steps are taken with universities who are unabashedly anti-Christian in their pro-abort faculties and corrupt administrators. They are no longer Catholic, and yes, the bishops DO have the authority to confirm what everyone already knows about these apostate universities.

  • Posted by: GymK - Dec. 15, 2010 12:53 PM ET USA

    I am so proud to be a member of the Phoenix Diocese. Our good Catholic Bishop acts like a good Catholic Bishop should. Bishop Olmsted inherited a Diocese in disarray and has taken many steps to bring us back in line with authentic Catholic teaching. This is only the most recent example. Who could have ever imagined that "Catholic" hospitals would perform sterilizations and abortions and then try to justify them? Please pray for Bishop Olmstead, he needs all the support he can get.

  • Posted by: non-faithfulcatholicschools7869 - Dec. 15, 2010 11:01 AM ET USA

    It sounds to me as though the hospital doesn't want to be Catholic anymore. Obviously since they donated to Obama, they don't believe in the Sanctity of Life. Maybe it would be best to cut them loose. Kudos to Bishop Olmstead!!

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Dec. 15, 2010 8:24 AM ET USA

    Bravo to Bishop Olmstead! Maybe he can become the next Archbishop of Boston when O'Malley retires or moves on...we can only hope.

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