Catholic Healthcare West, one of the largest religious health systems in the country with 38 hospitals, is in danger of losing its status as a Roman Catholic institution in Phoenix as a result of recent incidents including an abortion approved by a nun at the system's largest hospital.
Phoenix abortion flap widens
The Rev. Thomas Olmsted, bishop of the Diocese of Phoenix, said in written statements that Sister Margaret McBride was excommunicated from the church after she admitted to Olmsted that she approved of the abortion after the pregnancy was said to have threatened the life of the mother.
“The mother's life cannot be preferred over the child's. Both lives are equal,” the diocese said in a statement. “It is not better to save one life while murdering another. It is not better that the mother live the rest of her existence having had her child killed.”
A statement from 738-bed St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix said the hospital is standing by McBride, who remains on staff and has been appointed to a position focusing on strategic initiatives.
“We have always adhered to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services as we carry out our healing ministry and we continue to abide by them,” St. Joseph's hospital said in a written statement. “In this tragic case, the treatment necessary to save the mother's life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy.”
The bishop's statement went on to criticize St. Joseph's religious sponsor, San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West, which also owns 224-bed Chandler (Ariz.) Regional Medical Center where the bishop said hospital officials are known to have violated Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives in another, undisclosed incident.
“These realities are a scandal to the faithful and must cease if CHW wishes to … maintain its recognition as a Catholic institution in the Diocese of Phoenix,” the statement said.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.