Action: Support +Olmsted and Promote Catholic Identity at Phoenix Hospital!

Update: CHW responds to our social campaign in support of +Olmsted

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix is refusing to allow a Catholic hospital under his care to continue ignoring Church teaching:

The Catholic bishop of Phoenix will strip St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center of its Catholic status on Friday if the hospital’s parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, does not meet his demands to guarantee compliance with church teachings.

Three demands were contained in a Nov. 22 letter Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted sent to Lloyd Dean, president of Catholic Healthcare West. The bishop wants the hospital to give him more oversight of its practices to ensure it complies with Catholic health-care rules, provide education on those rules to medical staff and acknowledge that the bishop is correct in a dispute over a procedure the diocese says was an abortion.

“There cannot be a tie in this debate,” Olmsted wrote. “Until this point in time, you have not acknowledged my authority to settle this question.” [AZ Central]

Bishop Olmsted is setting an important precedent.

Catholics hospitals derive the right to bear the name “Catholic” from the permission of their bishop. This is because the local bishop is responsible for “quality control” at catholic hospitals, so that catholics in his diocese can know with certainty that their health care will be administered according to the ethical principles formulated and defended by the Church.

Bp. Olmsted sent his letter to Lloyd Dean, President/CEO of Catholic Healthcare West. CHW has Twitter and Facebook accounts, and someone has already posted on CHW’s wall to oppose Bishop Olmsted:

Let’s drown out this hateful voice with our faithful ones. Visit CHW’s Facebook page and voice your support for Bishop Olmsted and the responsibility of this Catholic hospital to follow his directives! (note: you have to “Like” the page before you can post on their wall, and you need to have a Facebook account.)

Also, if you have twitter, please join me in retweeting this encouraging message to CHW.

Together, we can effectively support Bishop Olmsted’s simple request that a hospital in his diocese which bears the name Catholic also acts Catholic.

Update: CHW responds to our social campaign in support of +Olmsted



23 thoughts on “Action: Support +Olmsted and Promote Catholic Identity at Phoenix Hospital!

  1. Alex says:

    Based on the articles I have read so far, I have no problems with what Bishop Olmstead is doing, he is completely correct on his demands.

    If the Hospital or any organization wishes to be considered “Catholic” Then it must abide by Catholic teaching. In doing so they also are under the authority of the church. An abortion is a violation of said teachings.

    Bishop Olmstead is the leader of the church here in Phoenix and ALL Catholics on his diocesis submit to his authority.
    If you disagree with that then your choices are clear either you are Catholic or you are not and that is all he is saying to CHW.

    The medical details of what occurred are not clear and probably cant be made available except by the Patient herself. At the heart of the discussion is the authority of Bishop Olmstead over Catholics on his Diocese.

    And in this he is correct, either CHW is a Catholic Institution or is not.

  2. Donna says:

    I’m really not sure about this whole issue. It does make me uneasy. I just read in an article about the increasing frequency of selective reduction, even of twins. Selective reduction is often done when there are many fetuses as a result of in vitro. The justification for it is that it can prevent complications from having so many embryos implanted. This sort of reasoning sounds disturbingly similar to some of the considerations I was tossing around in my head about when a procedure is direct or indirect abortion, and when it might be morally acceptable. It can become a slippery slope leading to just these sorts of things–“selectively reducing” a twin (or any other child)–horrifying.

    The Bishop’s job is chief shepherd of his flock. What a difficult job he has. I have to trust his decision, and the hospital should have consulted him about this case before they did anything.

    1. Francis says:

      Donna: You make some very good points, and this is an excellent reason that the Church condemns in vitro fertilization. But, in the case of this woman, according to the hospital documents, she was very close to death and could not even be moved. If she died, her unborn baby would definitely also die.

  3. Donna says:

    I’ve been thinking and reading alot lately about this difficult situation. JohnE, I kind of see your point about comparing the life of the unborn with what would you do with a born child…it’s good to put that into perspective. But I think the unkindness in some of the posts here is not necessary. Do we know that medical care would have saved both mother and child in this case? Doesn’t the Church allow for situations like this under the principle of double effect? Not everyone is just out to kill the unborn callously; this isn’t a case of the scandal of elective abortion. I honestly don’t see much of a difference between this case and ectopic pregnancies, I really don’t. The Church calls that indirect abortion and says it’s acceptable. The baby would die anyway, and this way the mother can be saved. At any rate, we weren’t there. I really can’t even pass judgment on Bishop Olmsted because none of us here has all the facts. I have to tell myself to trust Christ, trust the Church. We really don’t know all the answers here.

  4. Francis says:

    Dear Justin: May the Peace of Christ be with you this Advent season. In this particular case, the baby was at 11 weeks gestation. The mother was in danger of death and was in such a condition that she could not even be moved. She is a mother of 4. Doesn’t she have a right to defend her own life?

    1. JohnE says:

      I don’t know all the details, but I hope when you say that she is a mother of 4 that you are including the unborn baby in that total.

      We don’t know what the fate of the mother would have been if they had pursued treatment that did not require the direct killing of her child.

      For the sake of argument, let’s assume the unethical “treatment” of killing the unborn baby was not done and both the mother and the baby ended up dying. Death is not the end for us. In such cases I think the death of 2 is better than the survival of 1. I think people are still not seeing the unborn child. Ask yourself if it would also be justifiable to kill a 3-yr-old child if your survival depended on it and the 3-yr-old was going to die anyway. I think the answer becomes clearer then.

  5. The Will says:

    Keep an eye on Catholic Phoenix for more on this issue.

  6. Justin says:

    More reason to support Bishop Olmsted.

    And for his critics, keep your morally relativistic excuse-making for baby slaughter to yourself. Your words are like the braying of an ass.

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