Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix’

Golden Coconut Award

In November, Coming Home began a monthly award, the Golden Coconut, an award for the coconut pro-abortion apologists who spout the most anti-scientific nonsense in the headlong pursuit of butchering babies.

There has been one individual within the Catholic Church who is deserving of the December AND the Year-End Award, and that is Sister Carol Keehan, a member of the Daughters of Charity.

Sr. Keehan has had herself a banner year. She gave political cover to politicians on voting for Obamacare, rode to the defense of another sterling woman religious, Sister McBride, who has been presiding over a hospital that aborts babies in the case of rape, incest and the “mental health” of the mother (which means anything that might be on the stress scale at all). Keehan also defends McBride’s governance which includes sterilizations of men and women, and the prescribing of all manner of contraceptives, many of which are abortifacients.

In statements defending Catholic Healthcare West, of which St. Joseph’s in Phoenix is a member, Keehan stated:

“They carefully evaluated the patient’s situation and correctly applied the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services to it, saving the only life that was possible to save,” and that CHW and St. Joseph’s were “well-known” for a “long and stellar history in the protection of life at all stages.”

This in direct opposition to Ob/Gyn’s on the ethics board in Phoenix, and a Bishop with a doctorate in Canon Law.

The National Catholic Reporter has named Sr. Carol Keehan as their very first “Person of the Year”. A serious award from a publication that has long been the broadsheet for the shadow magisterium in America.

First Ever Award!

FB friend, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf writes:

National Catholic Reporter has named Sr. Carol Keehan as their very first “Person of the Year”.

Even though she was head of the Catholic Health Association, a political lobby group, before 2009 Sr. Keehan was relatively unimportant.

Then Sr. Keehan, as an exponent of the Magisterium of Nuns facing off against the Catholic Bishops, gave cover to “catholic” pro-abortion politicians to vote in favor of legislation that would ultimately provide taxpayer money for abortions.

But this honor NCR is giving to Sr. Keehan isn’t really about her opposing bishops or bishops’ conferences.

This isn’t really about nuns being persecuted by a Vatican investigation.

This isn’t really about the conflict between women and bishops or women’s roles.
This certainly isn’t about compassion for the poor, or health care.

Sr. Keehan’s award is about abortion, and bringing the abortion business into “catholic” hospitals.

NCR is offering Sr. Carol Keehan as the acceptable Catholic face, the poster person, for compassionate access to abortion for poor women.

NCR honors Sr. Keehan because this year she did more than anyone else to change the perception that Catholics must oppose abortion.

Quite a legacy.

Quite a legacy indeed. For her efforts, Coming Home joins the National Catholic Distorter in recognizing Sr. Keehan’s life’s work. For her untiring defense of those who strike at the child of the womb, for her consistency in striking at the Bishops and undercutting their authority, for misrepresenting public policy and Canon Law, for leading souls astray via her shadow magisterium, it is the responsibility of Coming Home to award her the highest distinction it can bestow on a leader in the Culture of Death,

The Golden Coconut Award.

The great solace for the Church and the Culture of Life is that orders such as Keehan’s will cease to exist in another fifteen years, as most of their members will have died off, and the remaining will be very old and in retirement and nursing homes. Young, vibrant and faithful communities are springing up in their place and renewing the Church landscape.

Rebellion and death are hardly the stuff of vocations posters. Young women with a love of the Lord don’t want to sign on to community life with a bunch of angry old women. Keehan and her ilk are living anachronisms. Their rebellion, their pro-abortion advocacy is part of a feminist rage at perceived inequity because of a male-only priesthood. It is a quid pro quo with the lives of babies, and the spiritual and psychological welfare of the mothers whom they lead astray.

They are angry women, whose sin of anger leads them into a scorched earth campaign.

Along with her Golden Coconut comes sincere prayers for her conversion of heart and reconciliation with the Bishops whom she has repeatedly struck with wicked claw.

My thanks to pro-life friend and activist Tina Mahar for bringing the NCR award to my attention.

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Many will recall the battles earlier this year on this blog when I defended Bishop Olmsted for declaring that Sister Margaret McBride, R.S.M. excommunicated herself by approving an abortion at Saint Joseph’s. I wrote several posts on this issue:






SIXTH (How Catholic Bioethics is guided)

SEVENTH (An article on Double-effect)


Many came out in defense of this monstrous nun. But nobody ever starts with an abortion like this. Now the explosive truth has been revealed, and it’s eye-popping!!

Now that the truth has come to the Bishop’s attention about what a vipers pit that “Nun” has been running, Bishop Olmsted let fly. Here is the Bishop’s own official statement, released through his Office of Communications.

Merry Christmas from Coming Home to one of the few Eagles among our Bishops! God bless you, Bishop Olmsted.

St. Joseph’s Hospital no longer Catholic
Statement of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted
December 21, 2010

Jesus says (Cf. Mt 25:40), “Whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.”

Caring for the sick is an essential part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Throughout our history, the Church has provided great care and love to those in need. With the advent of Catholic hospitals, the faithful could also be confident that they were able to receive quality health care according to the teachings of the Church.

Authentic Catholic care in the institutions of Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) in the Diocese of Phoenix has been a topic of discussion between CHW and me from the time of our initial meeting nearly seven years ago.

At that first meeting, I learned that CHW already did not comply with the ethical teachings of the Church at Chandler Regional Hospital. The moral guide for Hospitals and Healthcare Institutions is spelled out in what are called the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I objected strongly to CHW’s lack of compliance with these directives, and told CHW leaders that this constituted cooperation in evil that must be corrected; because if a healthcare entity wishes to call itself Catholic (as in “Catholic” Healthcare West), it needs to adhere to the teachings of the Church in all of its institutions. In all my seven years as Bishop of Phoenix, I have continued to insist that this scandalous situation needed to change; sadly, over the course of these years, CHW has chosen not to comply.

Then, earlier this year, it was brought to my attention that an abortion had taken place at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. When I met with officials of the hospital to learn more of the details of what had occurred, it became clear that, in the decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld; but that the baby was directly killed, which is a clear violation of ERD #45. It also was clear that the exceptional cases, mentioned in ERD #47, were not met, that is, that there was not a cancerous uterus or other grave malady that might justify an indirect and unintended termination of the life of the baby to treat the grave illness. In this case, the baby was healthy and there were no problems with the pregnancy; rather, 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. This is contrary to the teaching of the Church (Cf. Evangelium Vitae, #62).

It was thus my duty to declare to the person responsible for this tragic decision that allowed an abortion at St. Joseph’s, Sister Margaret McBride, R.S.M., that she had incurred an excommunication by her formal consent to the direct taking of the life of this baby. I did this in a confidential manner, hoping to spare her public embarrassment.

Unfortunately, subsequent communications with leadership at St. Joseph’s Hospital and CHW have only eroded my confidence about their commitment to the Church’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Healthcare. They have not addressed in an adequate manner the scandal caused by the abortion. Moreover, I have recently learned that many other violations of the ERDs have been taking place at CHW facilities in Arizona throughout my seven years as Bishop of Phoenix and far longer.

Let me explain.

CHW and St. Joseph’s Hospital, as part of what is called “Mercy Care Plan”, have been formally cooperating with a number of medical procedures that are contrary to the ERDs, for many years. I was never made aware of this fact until the last few weeks. Here are some of the things which CHW has been formally responsible for throughout these years:

• Contraceptive counseling, medications, supplies and associated medical and laboratory examinations, including, but not limited to, oral and injectable contraceptives, intrauterine devices, diaphragms, condoms, foams and suppositories;

• Voluntary sterilization (male and female); and

• Abortions due to the mental or physical health of the mother or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

This information was given to me in a meeting which included an administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital who admitted that St. Joseph’s and CHW are aware that this plan consists in formal cooperation in evil actions which are contrary to Church teaching. The Mercy Care Plan has been in existence for 26 years, includes some 368,000 members, and its 2010 revenues will reach nearly $2 billion. CHW and St. Joseph’s Hospital have made more than a hundred million dollars every year from this partnership with the government.

In light of all these failures to comply with the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Church, it is my duty to decree that, in the Diocese of Phoenix, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, CHW is not committed to following the teaching of the Catholic Church and therefore this hospital cannot be considered Catholic. The Catholic faithful are free to seek care or to offer care at St. Joseph’s Hospital but I cannot guarantee that the care provided will be in full accord with the teachings of the Church. In addition, other measures will be taken to avoid the impression that the hospital is authentically Catholic, such as the prohibition of celebrating Mass at the hospital and the prohibition of reserving the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel.

For seven years now, I have tried to work with CHW and St. Joseph’s, and I have hoped and prayed that this day would not come, that this decree would not be needed; however, the faithful of the Diocese have a right to know whether institutions of this importance are indeed Catholic in identity and practice.

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Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

A recent graduate of my alma mater writes a few comments to tell me that she was taught in college that Catholic doctrine actually allows for abortion to save the life of the mother. Her other, more extended comment is here, along with my reply.

Frankly, it comes down to this:

A pregnant woman would have almost certainly died without an abortion. Had she died, her baby would have died as well. With the abortion, she had a chance to live. Either way, the baby is dead.

I understand your belief that it is better to let two people die “naturally” than deliberately end the life of one who was going to die anyway to save another.

However, let us consider this from the question of choice. Consider the fact that this woman was placed in a Catholic hospital and *could not be moved* due to the very serious condition she was in. Is it legitimate to say that regardless of what *she* wants, what *she* believes, regardless of the four living children she has waiting, a HOSPITAL (where she has gone for *life-saving* treatment) can deny her a procedure that would save her life? The end doesn’t justify the means? The “means” was going to happen either way! The baby was going to die!

I am very pro-choice but I do support the right of a religiously-affiliated hospital to choose not to provide abortions, birth control, etc. And yet, in the situation where a patient is dying, has absolutely no other options in terms of getting treatment, what then? I also cannot believe that a sister would flippantly “o.k.” an abortion if she did not clearly see that it was fit. I genuinely believe that her excommunication indicates an ongoing distrust of female opinion, particularly in the Catholic church.

Mr. Nadal, do you think you could stand there and tell that woman she could not continue to live because you couldn’t justify ending the life of a baby that was doomed to die in the next few hours anyway?

I would appreciate if you would read the post in the following link and share your thoughts:

Gerard M. Nadal
Hi Erin,

Congratulations on your graduation!! It’s hard work, but ultimately worth the sacrifice. What was your major?

You raise several great issues. Let’s tackle them individually.

First, I read the NPR article and wrote a post on it:


I beg you to remember that because of HIPAA restrictions, it is interesting to note the level of detail being released by the hospital. In truth, nothing at all ought to have been released. They are leaking just enough information to spin the story their way.

Next, NPR is hardly the authoritative source of information when it comes to Roman Catholic Doctrine. Actually, the most authoritative voice in the matter is being dismissed, and that is a Roman Catholic Bishop, who is an Apostolic Successor speaking in his capacity and with authority as such. Bishop Olmsted also possesses a doctorate in Canon Law (Church Law). So, as both a doctor of Canon Law and a Bishop, I would expect that HIS would be the voice considered most authoritative on what the Church accepts as permissible. Instead, it is being derided by a media that thinks they know best what the Church teaches.

Next, I believe that you labor here under a false and misleading notion of what the Church teaches, specifically as you recall your education on the matter at St. John’s Univ. Either you were taught the principle of double-effect and you are making a mistaken application here, or you were taught erroneously by a theologian who was substituting their preferred view of the universe for established moral dogma and Canon Law.

As for the particulars of this case, as I have written, it is highly unlikely that this woman suddenly found herself in this condition at 11 weeks of pregnancy. You’ve seen the comments here on this blog from a pediatric cardiologist, who in her 20 years of this specialty has only seen three cases of sudden pulmonary hypertensive crisis, essentially one case every seven years. So my comments in the link provided above stand. It is highly unlikely that this woman suddenly found herself in this situation.

The position of the Church is clear. We do not directly and intentionally kill the baby to save the mother. If you ask if I were a physician, could I stand and tell the mother she had to die?

That’s the wrong question. As her physician, I would have told her from the outset that I do not abort babies. Period. I would have told her that St. Joseph’s will not abort babies. Period. I would have stressed that my job is to do all that I can to save BOTH mother and child and that I will do all within my power to do so. I would have advised that if the couple wanted to hold out therapeutic abortion as an option, that they see another physician with privileges at another hospital that permits abortion. (Not hard in a city as large as Phoenix). That’s the exercise of the woman’s legal choice in the matter.

I would refer you to the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists for further inquiry from actual pro-life OB/GYN’s:


Again Erin, this is a very bad situation, made so by the failure of the hospital administration to lay down clear limits. Bishop Olmsted represents those limits with great fidelity.

Finally, I refer you to the case of Dr. Gianna Beretta Molla, a physician, wife and mother who chose the life of her baby over the abortion recommended to her. It cost her nothing less than her own life. Read about it here:


Her whole life was a protracted preparation for that one heroic and love-filled decision. Her life illustrates what is missing in this story, and that is the daily practice of virtue on the part of the nun who allowed for the direct and intentional death of the baby, as well as the physician who did the killing. Consider this quote from former US Senator Dan Coats:

Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization.

The only testing ground for the heroic is the mundane.

The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life, or even a nation, is those hundreds of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private.

Habit is the daily battleground of character.

That’s why Sr. McBride has been excommunicated and Dr. Molla has been canonized a Saint.

God Bless.

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Well, this was only a matter of time. An NPR article questions the justice and integrity of Phoenix Bishop Olmsted in declaring that Sister Margaret McBride incurred automatic excommunication when she gave her approval for an abortion in an 11-week pregnant 27 year-old woman with pulmonary hypertension judged to be near death. The article questions the excommunication of a nun trying to save a life, while pedophile priests incur no such penalty.

Good question for a canon law seminar or a social justice seminar, worthy of great consideration. However, in this case, and in all others dealing with excommunication, it is a dangerous and illogical conflation.

A child was killed in a Catholic hospital. The moral dimensions surrounding that decision stand on their own merits and do not rely on the merits of unrelated human rights violations. The line of argumentation in the NPR article that suggests as much illustrates a dangerous conflation of issues and ignorance of morality and justice.

There is no doubt that the sexual abuse of children is truly horrifying, whether by a Priest, a parent, a school teacher, scout leader, or any other person betraying a position of authority and trust. Whether or not that abuse merits excommunication is an argument that I would love to see vetted by moral theologians and canon lawyers.

Suppose it were an offense that merited excommunication? Further suppose that pedophile Priests incurred the penalty. Excommunication is a penalty intended as a medicinal remedy. Readmittance to the Church is made through confession to a Bishop (unless he delegates that authority to his Priests). Even if all of that were already operative, it would have no bearing on the intrinsic merits or demerits of the case in Phoenix.

Further, the Pope is the one with the authority to promulgate canon law. The NPR piece deceptively leads one to the erroneous conclusion that Bishop Olmsted, or any other Bishop, has discretion in excommunicating pedophiles, when in fact he doesn’t. Bishops can only adjudicate as much as Church law allows them to adjudicate, and I have not heard of Bishop Olmsted being implicated in cover-ups of pedophiles.

Yet this will be the new narrative when going after other abuses, “But what about the pedophiles…?” The pedophiles are now being dealt with decisively.

So let’s return to matters at hand.

Regarding Sr. McBride, the issue here is not medical, but administrative.

The Catholic Church has clear guidelines in moral theology and bioethics about what is, and is not permissible. A Catholic hospital’s administration is responsible for communicating those boundaries to the attending physicians, who are then responsible for respecting those limits, and communicating them to their patients.

This woman didn’t go from totally healthy to needing an abortion overnight. In going for her prenatal care, the physician no doubt was treating her for the hypertension, and should have communicated that the pregnancy could exacerbate the condition, presenting the dilemma of abortion v. danger of maternal mortality prior to viability at 25 weeks. Further, the physician should have communicated to the parents that if the condition did deteriorate, presenting at St. Joseph’s would preclude abortion as a therapeutic option.

In the time it took to go to St. Joseph’s and wait for a round of medical/ethical consults, the couple could have gone to another hospital in a city of 1.5 million, with a metro area of 4.5 million.

It isn’t hard to see that there was a breakdown in the communication of clear limits regarding abortion. Someone needed to be held to account for that breakdown. Sister McBride’s decision could not be left standing as a precedent for the future in a Roman Catholic Hospital.

There are plenty of other hospitals where this is an acceptable procedure. The clear communication of these limits by the administration and OB/GYN’s on staff would direct patient management in cases like this toward facilities offering the abortion option, if that is an option that the couple wishes to hold in reserve.

That said, this was a case tailor made for more Bishop bashing by abortion’s apologists who would love nothing more than to see Catholic hospitals forced through law, or bad administrative precedent, into performing abortions. Bishop Olmsted is to be commended for his moral clarity.

{HT: Jill Stanek}

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