Olmstead says no Jesus in the chapel at St Joseph's hospital in Phoenix.
I hope everyone had a peaceful and joyous Christmas. I know I did in spite of the fact I was unable to engage in the usual consumer binging I have been known for in the past. This Christmas was the Christmas of well wishing and home made gifts. It was a good Christmas in it's very simplicity and I enjoyed it immensely.
Now onto some other thoughts.
Over the past couple of days I have been immersed in the blow back from Bishop Olmstead's decision to rescind the Catholic status of St Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix. Over at dotCommonweal there is an extensive discussion surrounding the medical decision and whether it qualified as a direct abortion. The NCR has four or five articles dealing with the hospital's response to Olmstead both before and after his decision, and over at America, Fr. Jim Martin has posted a synopsis of other folks commentary some of which is very good. And then I feel compelled to add this link from frequent reader Jim McCrea about a Dr. Phil show "When Good People Do Bad Things". The show details some of the current research on responses to authority figures including Stanley Milgram's work in the sixties which was sort of a shot heard round the psychological and educational world. Both science and history say good people will do very bad things if they believe they've been given permission to do so by a respected authority figure. It was important for me to keep this in mind as I read the convoluted reasoning being used by conservatives to justify Olmstead's actions.
Part of that convoluted reasoning allows conservatives to place pregnancy and pregnant women in a different and unique class when it comes to self defense. In this case it seems a pregnant woman is not engaging in an act of self defense, but an act of promoting her survival at the expense of the child. She is not defending her life. She is selfishly promoting her own survival. The idea that a mother might be defending the right of her other children to have a mother does not enter this equation. Nor does the fact that in this case both mother and child would die. Two deaths, half orphaned children, and a widower were God's will for this family. God sometimes allows difficult situations to test us and thwarting his will is cowardly and faithless. Hmmm......
This kind of thinking allowed one commenter to compare Sr McBride's failure to let both mother and child die with Abraham's willingness to off his son Isaac. I guess the implication was that Sr McBride failed the test of acting in accordance with God's will. The commenter called this kind of situational obedience a 'terrible beauty'. I tend to see it as spiritual selfishness and moral cowardice. If that's the kind of God Catholics are supposed to believe in, I'm not much of a Catholic. I could not in conscience waste a mother's life I could save for some hugely abstract moral thought about the sanctity of fetal life or obeying an especially bizarre notion of God's Will. Especially in view of the fact there are other children in the equation and the Church makes all kinds of other loop holes for other types of killing and murder.
Which is the point I keep coming back too. Why is pregnancy the one situation in which one life must at all times be subordinate to another? Why does pregnancy automatically demand the sacrificing of the maternal life to the pre born life? I don't get this as there is no such situation for men. We do not tell a father that he must donate his two kidneys to a child in renal failure even though said donations won't allow the child to live and will certainly result in his own death. In point of fact, Catholicism doesn't demand any father donate any part of himself at any time to insure the life of one of his children. Catholicism only demands that kind of ultimate sacrifice of pregnant women. Why is this? What makes fetal life more innocent and precious than day old post born life--or any other life? What makes fetal life important enough to mandate excommunication when it's ended directly, but this is not true for any other time in any other human life---- except the Pope's life. Come to think of it Phoenix mother equals Ali Agca doesn't make much moral sense either.
Quite frankly it boggles my mind that a fetus is deemed more important than the life of a mother who already has four children, even when the fetus can't be saved. This then isn't about life per se, it's about a principle in Canon Law. And in Olmstead's case, he is not defending life or Canon Law, he is using Canon Law to promote his own authority. That's just mind blowing to me. Where is the living Jesus in this move? I guess like the pregnant mother, Jesus too is subordinate to Canon Law and Olmstead's authority. Olmstead has certainly shown this is so because he has also decided there will be no Masses nor Eucharistic presence at St Joseph's. Olmstead has decreed no Jesus will be present at St Joseph's. He has used Canon Law to directly abort Catholic Jesus from St Joseph's.
That last really really angers me. I mean really angers me. It's spiritual malpractice of the worst sort, but that does seem to be what we can expect from a certain of bishop. And of course, there is no real Canon Law to deal with the situation of a bishop gone amok. How convenient for Olmstead.