Comment on a ‘no comment’

22 12 2010

Remember that nun in Arizona who was excommunicated for sanctioning life-saving surgery for a pregnant woman, surgery which resulted in the termination of her 11-week pregnancy?

Well, now the entire hospital has been disciplined, losing its official Catholic affiliation.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted called the 2009 procedure an abortion and said St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center – recognized internationally for its neurology and neurosurgery practices – violated ethical and religious directives of the national Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“In the decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld,” Olmsted said at a news conference announcing the decision. “The mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St. Joseph’s medical staff and ethics committee decided that the healthy, 11-week-old baby should be directly killed.”

St. Joseph’s president Linda Hunt took the outrageous position that

“If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible, we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case,” Hunt said. “Morally, ethically, and legally, we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save.”

It was precisely this attitude, as well as the unwillingness of administrators and doctors to promise never ever ever again attempt to save a pregnant woman’s life when that procedure might end the life of the fetus that led the diocese to strip its affiliation from St. Joseph’s.

Now that’s life.

h/t: Huffington Post


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3 responses

22 12 2010
emilylhauser

I want to say something about this, but it’s too hard to even think about it. I’d been considering applying for substitute positions in Catholic schools (because private schools don’t require education certification), and I decided that I just can’t.

I have no arguments with individual Catholics — one of my favorite people on earth (Stephen Colbert) is a devout Catholic and Sunday School teacher! — but my arguments with the institution that is the Church are so enormous, that I just can’t do it.

I’m lucky that my husband makes enough money to allow me to take a principled stand that will only ever make a difference to me, and not at all to the Catholic Church, but he does, and it will, so there it is.

How is this human? How can anyone believe that God would approve of allowing this woman to die?

23 12 2010
absurdbeats

I won’t second-guess you, Emily—except, I will.

I taught at a Catholic university and had no problems whatsoever. Now, perhaps it’s different at elementary or secondary schools, but even then, you might be all right.

There were a few notable differences between the Catholic and secular colleges: There were crosses in the classrooms, a fair number of the faculty were priests and nuns, and some of the more philosophically-inclined students tended to refer to theologians and (church) historical documents when offering observations and arguments.

I clearly have one or two or eighty disagreements with the official church, but the church on-the-ground, i.e., the actual people one works with, is all right. It’s not necessarily that they’re all liberal (although some are), but they are human in the way the hierarchs never can be.

So think about it. Maybe it wouldn’t work, but it might be worth a conversation, at least.

24 12 2010
emilylhauser

I love that: “I won’t second-guess you, Emily — except, I will.”

And damn you for making me think! I thought I’d settled this!

Damn it.

I don’t know. It’s the fact of the institution. But you’re right — people on the ground, doing the work, are often a very different bunch than The People Making The Rules.

I’ll think. I’ll let you know!

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