• RSS Queering the Church

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS Spirit of a Liberal

    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
  • RSS There Will be Bread

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS The Wild Reed

    • Quote of the Day May 29, 2017
      Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services, have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home.That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • "Imagine, Heal, Resist" – Mayday 2017 (Part 2) May 27, 2017
      This evening I share a second batch of photos from this year's Mayday parade. As I mentioned in Part 1, on Sunday, May 7, I attended the 43nd annual In the Heart of the Beast Theatre's Mayday parade in south Minneapolis. This year's theme, "Imagine, Heal, Resist," was all about coming together to "imagine a just and joyous futur […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
  • RSS Bilgrimage

    • Trump Meets Francis, Twitter Talks: One Photo Seen Through Many Eyes May 24, 2017
      Ok everyone, this is the photo we're going to be using for memes today. Godspeed. pic.twitter.com/jGUWt5aYMh— Comfortably Smug (@ComfortablySmug) May 24, 2017One photo, many different ways of reading it — as Twitter commentary this morning is suggesting; different eyes see different things:Vacation Picture No. 937: Wednesday with the family at the Vatic […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
    • Commentary on Manchester Terrorism: "Women [and Girls] Are the Canaries in the Coal Mine for Male Violence" May 24, 2017
      Thought-provoking commentary I have read on the Manchester terrorist bombing as in all likelihood an attack quite specifically targeting girls:Michael Daly: Eight-year-old Saffie Rose was not collateral damage. She was a target. She had been deliberately murdered with icy premeditation along with 21 others at the specific place and time that the bomber chose […]
      noreply@blogger.com (William D. Lindsey)
  • RSS Enlightened Catholicism

  • RSS Far From Rome

    • the way ahead March 23, 2013
      My current blog is called the way ahead.
      noreply@blogger.com (PrickliestPear)
  • RSS The Gay Mystic

    • Christmas at Litmanova December 29, 2016
      The Marian Shrine of Litmanova, Slovakia.Christmas 2017A forest chapel at the Slovakian Marian shrine of Litmanova.Stunning painting of the Sacred Heart inside the forest chapel.
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
    • Not Our President November 16, 2016
      To hear the simplistic denial of those who scream out with naiveté “give Trump a chance” as they condemn others engaged in selfless protest against a certain political and social tsunami in the making, is to ignore his life-time public embrace of policies that tens of millions reject as not just destructive, but evil per se. They are not mistaken.Those in st […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Richard Demma)
  • RSS The Jesus Manifesto

    • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
  • RSS John McNeill: Spiritual Transformations

  • RSS Perspective

    • Rep. Adam Schiff on Kushner May 28, 2017
      California Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee investigating Trump/Russia, comments on Jared Kushner and his plan to create a secret back channel with Russia ...
      noreply@blogger.com (crystal)

A Question for Bishop Olmsted

Originally posted at Talk to Action.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, Arizona made news recently by excommunicating and disciplining Sister Margaret McBride, a hospital administrator who allowed an abortion in order to save the life of a critically ill pregnant woman. Olmsted who has been a highly visible opponent of abortion rights said, “The Catholic Church will continue to defend life and proclaim the evil of abortion without compromise, and must act to correct even her own members if they fail in this duty.”

“Without compromise,” says the bishop. But his zeal left me asking myself: ‘would he impose his narrow view upon the very first followers of Christ who most likely had a quite different opinion when a pregnancy endangered a woman’s life?’

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted has been described as “a company man” when it comes to orthodoxy. As if to live up to this reputation he has denyied Communion to a ten year-old autistic boy unable to swallow; fired the diocese’s nationally-recognized head of Office of Child and Youth Protection because she was married in a civil ceremony; and when President Obama issued the executive order rescinding the previous administration’s onerous restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, he declared: “What President Obama is doing is forcing all American taxpayers to pay for this homicidal research.”

That’s why it is no surprise that he came down hard and fast on Sr. McBride, whose responsibilities at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix included sitting on the hospital’s ethics board, partly to ensure that the medical center adhered to Catholic standards of bio-ethics.

It was in that capacity that she gave the go-ahead for a woman’s eleven-week pregnancy to be terminated. Doctors had determined that continuation of the pregnancy would end the mother’s life due to complications from a pulmonary hypertension.

The Arizona Republic quoted Olmstead as saying:

“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said. “I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.

“An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.”

Olmsted added that if a Catholic “formally cooperates” in an abortion, he or she is automatically excommunicated.

Olmsted’s action even perplexed Catholic conservatives. Writing in the neoconservative journal, First Things, theologian Michael Liccione questioned the bishop’s judgment: “The question is whether he [Olmsted] is indeed right, and that is not clear even to some orthodox Catholics.”

“Moreover,” he cautiously added, “the public outrage over the Phoenix case illustrates the dangers of making politically significant announcements on the basis of moral reasoning that not many people can follow and that even theologically well-educated Catholics disagree about.”

This much is clear: Olmsted is one of a new breed of prelate being promoted by the current pontiff. As a group, they are unyielding to the point of militancy. They are men who subscribe to the letter, but not the spirit of the law — a version of which they would readily apply, given the opportunity, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

But, I wondered what Olmsted would do if a wife of one of Jesus’s Apostles had faced the same life-threatening scenario as this pregnant mother of four suffering from pulmonary hypertension, and she too had sought an abortion to save her life?

The question, although hypothetical, illustrates a contradiction in Olmsted’s version of orthodoxy. The Apostles were all practicing Jews before and after becoming followers of Jesus. And as adherents to Jewish law and customs, if a wife or daughter of one of the Twelve had been in the same life-threatening predicament as that mother of four had been, they would probably have done the same as Sister McBride.

By this standard, it is fair to say that Sister McBride was operating in the tradition of the Apostles. But I wonder — would Bishop Olmsted have excommunicated an Apostle?

Advertisements

2 Responses

  1. You know that the Grand Inquisitor even damned Jesus when He came back to Spain and raised the little girl to life. Jesus was not following Canon Law.

  2. Powerful, Frank. And scary. I did not know of Olmstead’s previous anti-gospel actions. Thanks for sketching some of the background to his excommunication of St. Margaret McBride.

    You say,

    This much is clear: Olmsted is one of a new breed of prelate being promoted by the current pontiff. As a group, they are unyielding to the point of militancy. They are men who subscribe to the letter, but not the spirit of the law — a version of which they would readily apply, given the opportunity, to Catholics and non-Catholics alike.

    And you’re right. And this is why the church is in crisis at this point in history.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: