Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $36,749 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Phoenix bishop explains decision; CHA backs hospital in abortion case

Catholic World News - December 22, 2010

At a December 21 news conference, Bishop Thomas Olmstead of Phoenix, Arizona, explained his decision to lift the “Catholic” designation from St. Joseph’s Hospital after hospital officials declined to offer adequate guarantees that they would abide by Catholic moral directives.

Bishop Olmsted said that in an admittedly difficult case, the hospital had violated the Ethical and Religious Directives approved by the US bishops in performing an abortion for a woman whose life was reportedly endangered by her pregnancy. Without disputing the hospital’s finding that the woman (and thus the unborn child as well) would have died if the pregnancy had continued, the bishop explained that it is never justifiable to take one human life in order to save another. The operation performed in the controversial case, he noted, did not address the medical problems of the mother; it only caused the death of the unborn child.

Bishop Olmsted expressed more general concerns about the direction of Catholic Healthcare West (CHW), the California-based corporation of which St. Joseph’s Hospital is a part. He said another CHW institution in Arizona remains a Catholic hospital, but admitted that he has come continuing concerns about CHW leadership.

In a related development, Archbishop George Niederauer of San Francisco said that he plans to “initiate a dialogue” with leaders of CHW—which has corporate headquarters in San Francisco—to discuss the concerns that Bishop Olmsted has raised about CHW policies.

Sister Carol Keehan, the president of the Catholic Health Association, directly challenged Bishop Olmsted’s decision. She argued that St. Joseph’s Hospital had “carefully evaluated the patient’s situation and correctly applied the “Ethical and Religious Directives” in the case that stirred the dispute. Dismissing Bishop Olmsted’s broader objections about corporate policies, Sister Keehan issued a statement praising CHW for a “long and stellar history in protection of life at all stages.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($124,838 to go):
$150,000.00 $25,162.05
83% 17%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: raynearhood3144 - Dec. 22, 2010 9:39 PM ET USA

    Yes it would be good for the USCCB to force the CHA to remove the word "Catholic" from its name. Unfortunately, there are probably still to many bishops who agree with the CHA's progressive position.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Dec. 22, 2010 7:21 PM ET USA

    This is a critical moment. CHA has thrown down the gauntlet before the bishops, expecting them to collectively back off. I wrote Bp. Olmstead today expressing support and promising prayers for both him and the hospital. That might be a fitting way to encourage the bishops in general to stand firm. Had they done this in Spring 1973, we might not be lamenting now the death of millions of our young. Maybe even Social Security would not be at the brink of catastrophe.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Church Moves On, Slowly 18 hours ago
Is Cardinal Kasper losing his grip? 22 hours ago
The Pope is not the problem October 23
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. October 23
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6