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CHA president still backs Phoenix hospital against Bishop Olmsted

Catholic World News - February 08, 2011

Although the Catholic Health Association (CHA) recently acknowledged the authority of diocesan bishops to judge whether Catholic health-care institutions are following Church moral guidelines, the group's president continues to support an Arizona hospital that was sanctioned by Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix.

Sister Carol Keehan, the CHA president, told America magazine that she believes St. Joseph Hospital in Phoenix acted in accord with Catholic moral principles in allowing an abortion in a case when the mother's life was considered at risk. Bishop Olmsted said that the abortion could not be justified, and stripped the hospital of its right to be called a Catholic institution.

Sister Keehan-- who had affirmed the authority of diocesan bishops in an exchange of letters with Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, the president of the US bishops' conference-- told America that the CHA had never questioned episcopal authority. “But can we have a difference of opinion? Absolutely,” she added.

Sister Keehan also revealed that she was not aware Archbishop Dolan would make their exchange public.

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Savonarola - Feb. 09, 2011 12:35 PM ET USA

    The comments by "Chestertonian" are well made except for one point: The CHA is indeed under some bishop's jurisdiction someplace (or maybe more than one) and NOT under "the authority of the USCCB." Let's remember the limited function of the USCCB (with its dubious bloated staff). It's a sort of debating society and a place for timid bishops to see what's politically correct and the episcopal fashion du jour. And, of course, happytalk from Abp Dolan will not solve the CHA problem.

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 09, 2011 8:03 AM ET USA

    As a supporter of President Obama, Sr. Carol has apparently learned the art of political doublespeak, switching from the real Sr. Carol to the PR Sr. Carol when convenient. I believe this statement is from the real Sr. Carol.

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Feb. 08, 2011 11:49 PM ET USA

    Sr. Keehan would appear to have mastered the art of talking out of both sides of the mouth. She ought to consider running for political office--and resign from the CHA. The CHA MUST submit to the authority of the USCCB, or stop calling itself Catholic. Officially Catholic organizations cannot pick and choose which Catholic beliefs they will support and defend. As the slogan says, "The [Catholic] cafeteria is closed."

  • Posted by: Franz10108953 - Feb. 08, 2011 9:28 PM ET USA

    Did anyone really believe the prior headline about an "apparent reversal" in CHA's opinion? The question remains: why is nothing done about Sr. Carol? She is a vowed religious, reports to a superior...ah yes, she brings millions in salary to the Daughters of Charity...sad.

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