Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My correspondence with an abortionist, Part V and Conclusion

(Continued. Read Part I here, Part II here, Part III here, and Part IV here.)


A couple of days later, abortionist Brian Finkel contacted us one last time:

4 October 1995


Dear Manning and Miller:


Thanks for your letter of October 2, 1995. It was funnier than the first one. Nothing brings me more pleasure than hearing the rantings and ravings of indignant Pro-Life harpies.


I read your previous letter in toto; contrary to your allegations in the October 2, 1995 letter. I suggest that if you want to see someone who is hostile and uses a mocking tone when they correspond with a political opponent that you should look in the mirror. There was nothing polite or civilized in either of these letters. Your political position is that of a mean spirited, disingenuous ultra-conservative.


I will share this letter with my Pro-Choice peers. I am sure they will get a good laugh out of it, as I did.


I wish I could spend more time writing this letter to you, but I am very busy here at work, helping the women of Arizona that want, need and seek out abortion services. And I will be watching for another abortion article before year's end, because I know that you are fixated on this subject, and that your zealotry will prevent you from writing about other topics.


Sincerely,


The Big FINK  [This is actually how he signed his name on the last letter.]


Brian L. Finkel, D.O., F.A.C.O.G.

We never responded; by this point, we were fairly certain that this man was incapable of rational thought or discussion, and that there was something seriously wrong with him. We had heard disturbing things about Finkel from other pro-lifers, things like his penchant for brandishing guns both inside and outside his abortion clinic (which he nicknamed the "Vaginal Vault"), mocking the Catholics praying the rosary on the sidewalk, wearing fake devil's horns, peppering his everyday speech with vulgarities and sexually demeaning insults, and other bizarre behavior. There were also allusions to the fact that something unsavory (besides abortion) was going on inside the clinic -- something which troubled even Finkel's own staff.

Our friend John Jakubczyk, a local pro-life attorney, former president of Arizona Right to Life, and Finkel's nemesis, hinted to us that it was just a matter of time before some earthly justice came Finkel's way.

Seven and a half years later, justice finally caught up with Brian Finkel. In 2003, the self-described "much loved and highly respected physician" was convicted on 22 counts of of sexually abusing his patients, and sentenced to almost 35 years in prison. Over 30 women and four members of his own staff testified against him. More than a hundred women in all came forward with similar allegations.

Shockingly, there was a 20 year span between the first allegations of abuse by Finkel and his ultimate conviction (with evidence that he abused women even before that time). So, why did it take so many years to punish this predator?

Finkel might well have been stopped in the early 1980s when formal allegations of sexual misconduct were brought against him. The Board of Osteopathy reviewed and then dismissed those cases. I asked John Jakubczyk today why that might be, and he speculated that "they were dismissed perhaps because the executive director of the Board of Osteopathy was the former president of Arizona Right to Choose." With Finkel performing 20% of Arizona abortions, could abortion rights and the bond between abortion colleagues have trumped protection of women? I'll let you be the judge. [Update: Please be sure to read the fourth comment, below.]

After the Board's dismissals, Finkel's abuse of women continued on and on. If you have a strong constitution, you may be able to stomach this shocking and repellent 1999 interview with Finkel. By that time, Jakubczyk had filed several suits on behalf of women against the abortionist. None of them stuck, until finally one patient's complaint to the police in 2000 caught the media's attention.

To this day, Brian Finkel is unrepentant and arrogant. He's still blaming his victims and pro-lifers for his incarceration, and fancies himself far superior to his fellow inmates. You can read more about that in his recent, sad request for penpals.

In his years as an abortionist, Finkel ended over 30,000 unborn lives and systematically assaulted scores of vulnerable women. The more I read about him, the more I realize how desperately he needs all of our prayers -- that is what I take from this revisiting of our correspondence. Here is a man who hated his parents, hates women, hates unborn children, hates religion and God, who seemingly has no conscience and no remorse... and yet he is redeemable. We must not concede even one soul -- even his soul -- to the devil. If you think to offer a prayer for Finkel's victims, born and unborn, please offer a prayer for him today as well, for he is the most pitiable of men, in most need of God's mercy.

"I am a servant of woman. I provide them with service that they want, need, and seek out... I take a great amount of pride in being there for the women of Arizona when they need a physician and a friend. My only regret is that their are so many women that need my help, and that there is so little time to help them."

The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy. (Diary of St. Faustina, 723)

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.



374 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness.
    This made my stomach turn. What a sick, twisted man. It's almost unbelievable and that fact that it really happened makes me sad...for those babies killed, the women violated and his staff.

    You are right, we should pray for his soul, but to be quite honest, even that is hard to d after hearing all this. I will try though.

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  2. Unbelievable-- this man does really have a soul in serious need of knowing God!

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  3. As I said before, Finkel is despicable, and now a convicted predator. The fact that he also was an abortion provider is of no consequence to that issue. As you have said in your blog post about the priest/pedophilia scandal, predators are present everywhere: schools, churches of all faiths, medical offices, dental offices, and I'm sure in auto repair shops and pizza parlors. You went over the inceidence statistics... are abortion providers any greater threat to abuse their patients than priests or plumbers?

    Catholics get upset when priests are singled out, they feel victimized twice: first by the priests who have preyed on their kids, and then by the general public who generalize about the RCC based on a few bad actors. How is this different?

    You say, "...John Jakubczyk he speculated that "they [early charges agaist Finkel] were dismissed perhaps because the executive director of the Board of Osteopathy was the former president of Arizona Right to Choose." With Finkel performing 20% of Arizona abortions, could abortion rights and the bond between abortion colleagues have trumped protection of women? I'll let you be the judge."

    Egregious speculation. Not worth further comment. This dialog-- four separate posts!-- is enough for me. Good-bye.

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  4. Tony, you still there?

    I'll answer the second part first. Here is an excerpt from the shocking and repellent New Times article (New Times is VERY pro-abortion, by the way):

    Brian Finkel certainly made a strong first impression on Jayne McElfresh. She first encountered Finkel in the early 1990s, when he came before the Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners. She's a board member, and Finkel was there to defend himself against a complaint.

    The board room was packed, McElfresh recalls. "And in walks this man attired in leather. Black leather pants, black leather jacket, black leather motorcycle boots. I think he even had one of those chains dangling from his hip. And in his hand he had a black helmet with a face guard. My first thought was, 'My God, who is this character?' He looked like something out of Knight Rider."

    She bit on her pen to keep from laughing, certain this was a patient, not a doctor. But Finkel's case was called, and he rose to speak.

    "I was dumbfounded," McElfresh says. "I listened to this man speak very passionately about what he did for a living, and the concerns he had and the pressures placed on him. But what I remembered mostly . . . was that you could tell this man cared about his patients."

    McElfresh, who has served on the board for six years and is its immediate past president, says she reviewed Finkel's file after hearing of the large number of complaints against him. She won't discuss particulars, but says she believes many were fabricated by pro-lifers.

    "I reviewed his file, and I made sure I knew who this person was, compared with the persona," she says, concluding, "This is a good physician who does something that a segment of society does not approve."



    Emphasis mine. This woman is NOT the same woman that John J. was talking about in my post, however. So, there was quite a bit of sympathy for an abortionist, and suspicion of anyone who would speak against him. This was written long before the trial, FYI.

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  5. Now, Tony, for the first part of what you said. I didn't claim that there is a correlation between molesting patients and being an abortionist. I am guessing that most abortionists do not rape their patients.

    My little series of posts was due to my writer's block. I thought it was an interesting, compelling exchange with a notorious felon. So, I wrote about it. That's pretty much it. In the end, it's about one pitiful soul who is about as low as it gets. And how even he deserves prayers, because even he -- despicable as he is -- was made in the image of God. He is a member of the human family, just like the women he abused, and just like the children he killed.

    We Christians believe that all humans have inherent, inviolable dignity.

    Maybe you could stick around, Tony, you've got a lot to say and it's good to have you here.

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  6. Wow. That made my stomach turn, too.

    He's a sad, sad man and I'll be praying for him.

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  7. Great series Leila. Thank you. Prayers offered.

    You know, it's easy to read a lot more into his words than he may realize. People at peace don't use the language he uses.

    I do hope the women he hurt found healing. These women also have to confront the fact that they chose this man to kill their unborn child so it's possible that some of them feel they deserved it, which only makes it harder to heal.

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  8. Tony, I never read anywhere in Leila's posts where she claimed Finkel was representative of all pro-choicers or abortionists. Actually, in several sections she implied Finkel seemed quite different from other abortionists.

    Now, I have come across this derogatory language before by pro-choicers. You'd be sick to your stomach if you could hear what was said or done in the name of "pro-choice" at our local clinic. Do I think these folks are all abusing people? No. (Well, actually, I do think their behavior is abusive but not to the level of this Dr's).

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  9. So - what do you all think about St. Josephs hospital, performing an 11 week abortion to save a mother's life & getting stripped of its Catholic affiliation?

    Do you believe the woman in question should have martyred herself, her fetus and irreparably damaged the lives of her husband and living four children to not terminate the pregnancy? Perhaps just prayed about it until she (and the fetus as well) died regardless?

    And 2. Should the hospital have told her to seek that kind of care elsewhere if she chose to remain alive for the family who needs her? That way the hospital could have stayed out of it?

    I think this is a more interesting debate than jumping on some scumbag creep and insinuating pro-choice types would cover up his sex abuse crimes just because he's an abortionist.

    AnnieP

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  10. Hi AnnieP! Read the following, in which Bishop Olmsted details the reasons behind his actions:

    http://gerardnadal.com/2010/12/21/bishop-olmsted-of-phoenix-revokes-st-joseph-hospitals-catholic-identity/

    I support him totally, and I did a whole Doctrinal Quiz Show on the immorality of directly killing one innocent person to save another:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/09/doctrinal-quiz-show-moral-reasoning-101.html

    After Christmas, I will do a post about Bishop Olmsted and St. Joseph's.

    St. Gianna (a physician who gave her life for her unborn child, leaving her husband and three children), pray for us!

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  11. AnnieP

    "So - what do you all think about St. Josephs hospital, performing an 11 week abortion to save a mother's life & getting stripped of its Catholic affiliation?"

    I am not aware of any condition where an abortion itself will save the life of the mother. I am aware of life-saving treatments that may *result* in the death of an unborn child, though. The Catholic Church is not against saving a mother's life - even if one unwanted consequence may be risking the baby's life and losing the baby. But the Church is against simply killing the child outright.

    When reading some of the pieces on St. Joseph's, the hospital seems to have a history of providing thousands of women with abortions and contraception which go against Church teachings - this doesn't appear to be a case of one tragic decision for one tragic situation. But Leila knows more about what's going on with that.

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  12. Wow. It's one thing to know there are people out there that do such EVIL things, but to actually read their words (that interview...*shudder*...I couldn't finish it) is another thing altogether. He's a sick, sick, man.

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  13. Sarah, you are right that it was more than just that one incident that moved the Bishop to act.

    Also, here is a video news conference of the Bishop, regarding the hospital:

    http://www.arizonacatholic.org/2010/12/21/video-news-conference-regarding-st-josephs-hospital/

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  14. I thought that the St. Joseph's situation was interesting too. What the hospital is losing is basically the identity, and the ability to celebrate mass. It isn't as if the church actually contributed to any funding of the hospital. So, in my opinion, not much has been lost. I think as we all know, the highly orthodox catholics are a definite minority in this country.

    Just as I would not look to the church to "educate" my children, I would frankly run from a hospital that was bound by ancient rules to treat me or my family.

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  15. Also, regarding the moral dilemma that Leila brought up, the president of St. Josephs said this:

    “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.”

    This situation was not the same as the principle of double effect. Both would have died, and one could have been saved.

    Also, there are cases where even if the mother's life is not in danger, the rights of the mother supercede. I cannot for the life of me find a link to the article, but there was a case in Colorado where a doctor threatened to press charges against a woman for basically going on with her life while pregnant. The woman had three children at home, and the doctor told her at 15 or 20 weeks or so that she needed to be on complete bedrest or she would lose the pregnancy. The family did not have the medical care or means available to have someone else take care of her three children, so she did not go on bedrest. And because of that, she lost the pregnancy. And the doctor threatened to prosecute her.

    I'd be VERY interested to hear what you think of that situation - prosecuting a mother for being a mother to her three other children.

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  16. Mai, you'd have to give me more details on the Colorado case. It doesn't sound like an moral issue is involved that would violate a Catholic principle (namely, you cannot directly kill an innocent). Negigence? I don't know. Some say that I am negligent for letting my kids ride a scooter without a helmet. That's highly subjective and the Church doesn't speak to it. Let me know the details.

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  17. Mai, direct abortion is NEVER a case of "double effect". If it were an instance of double effect, it would have been moral.

    I strongly urge you, if you truly wonder what the Church's position is, to watch the entire news conference including reporter's questions:

    http://www.arizonacatholic.org/2010/12/21/video-news-conference-regarding-st-josephs-hospital/

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  18. And Mai, of course you are not saddened by the hospital or the nation becoming more secular. However, it is very tragic for many Catholics on both sides that it's come to this.

    But the bishop's words at the 23:37 mark of the video say it all for me. Such inspiration for Catholics!

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  19. These posts were really interesting Leila- I couldn't wait for the next one and am glad you didn't make me wait too long to read the whole exchange!

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  20. She won't discuss particulars, but says she believes many were fabricated by pro-lifers.

    How is this evidence of bias? She weighed the evidence, she cannot discuss particulars, and the board made a decision. Chances are better than even that there were at least one or two pro-life board members, too. This wasn't reported.

    You're making too much of this alleged cronyism.

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  21. Tony, I can speculate, so can you, so can the readers. None of us will know with 100% certainty this side of Heaven. We can only make an educated guess -- I clearly I believe there was bias, you believe there wasn't. We'll let the readers come to their own conclusions.

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  22. Mai, you said, "Both would have died, and one could have been saved."

    But, Mai, first, you don't know with certainty that both would have died. And even so, Catholics don't believe you can directly KILL one innocent person to save another. Direct, premeditated, intentional killing of an innocent person is always immoral. Always, always, always. It's an iron-clad moral principle.

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  23. I clearly I believe there was bias, you believe there wasn't.

    I didn't say what I "believed". I said [in the other comment section] that the claim of bias is not "supportable" by the facts. I don't know, you don't know, so why conjecture about it?

    Now we are just talking past each other and I don't want to be argumentative. Some day you'll have to let me know what you would do as a practical matter to safely decrease the number of abortions, since this is the crux of the matter.

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  24. The unfortunate thing about the St. Joseph's situation is that there was another, moral solution to save the mother's life, as explained in this article.

    If the hospital was faced with that dire situation, Chavira wonders why the staff didn’t attempt to induce early labor with the goal of expelling the placenta, which produces a hormone that affects blood flow and may have been a significant factor in the woman’s condition. 

    But this procedure also likely means the baby’s death because the child is too premature to survive outside the womb. How is this an acceptable medical option in Catholic teaching? 

    “The difference there is that we induce labor prior to viability with the idea of emptying the uterus or treating the pathology at that point,” Chavira said. “The baby will probably not survive given where science is in this day and age in preserving premature babies, but my intention is to treat the mother’s disease, not to kill the baby.” 

    In Catholic moral teaching, this is known as the principle of double effect. It is permissible to do an action that will have both a good and a bad effect if the action is good in itself and directly produces the good effect, and the reason for the action is proportional to the seriousness of the indirect bad effect.  

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  25. First of all, this Finkel guy is a total creep! Yikes.


    And about the St. Joseph's situation, I'm sorry, but I don't really see a huge distinction between inducing delivery in an 11-weeks pregnant woman and providing her an abortion. Both are going to result in a dead fetus.

    Yes, I know, you're going to say "the intent is not to kill the baby in the induction case." But no matter how many times you explain the principle of double effect and how it applies to this case, it just seems like a sneaky exception to get around the rule. Delivering an 11 week old fetus is killing it in my mind. But I suppose if that makes you feel better about the decision, then it doesn't really matter. At least the woman's life was saved.

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  26. I know this is totally crazy and radical... but one possible way of significantly reducing abortions and unwanted babies would be... redirecting our culture towards chastity. I know, I said it was crazy...

    monica (on vacation and can't seem to get into my account for comments)

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  27. I guess this is the way I see it: If the Catholic Church says aborting a fetus (and I agree, an 11 week induction would be an abortion as well) is an immoral sin and cannot be done under any circumstances, then the bishop was correct in his decision. I guess if you want to be a Catholic around here, you have to live it 100%.

    This is why I am not a Catholic. (ha ha, I wish the web could emote, because I am not being sardonic in any way, just factual.) If that were me, I would abort. I have other kids to take care of and I am a wife to my husband.Of course I would cry and grieve, but in the end I do believe my life is more valuable than an unconscious 11 week old developing fetus. I will not debate the merits of this with any of you, because we all know that leads to splitting hairs and Terri Schiavo references, so don't start asking me "when is a life "valuable"?

    Because the position this poor woman was in was basically suicide vs. abortion. And let's hope (or pray, if you prefer) that none of us will ever find ourselves in that awful predicament.

    But, like I said before... what should the woman have done? What would you hypothetically do? Besides saying "maybe my Dr. was wrong" or "no one knows for sure if I would die." And 2. What should the hospital have done to keep their "Catholic" status? Hooked her up to drugs and life support and prayed or maybe casually referred her to another practice? I am NOT trying to challenge your beliefs. I am - as Leila says - "just curious."

    AnnieP

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  28. Mrs. M, it's comparable to the difference between shooting someone in self-defense and shooting someone for the insurance money. Both actions result in a dead person. However, in the first case the intent is not to kill the person but to protect one's life. In the second case there is intent to kill, even if something good will come of it. Even the law recognizes that these two hypothetical shooting deaths have vastly different levels of culpability.

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  29. Monica, yes, a return to virtue is the radical solution. :) And the only loving and holistic one.

    Thanks, JoAnna. And Mrs. M, I totally understand your position and confusion. I will try to do a post on the St. Joe's situation sometime in the week after Christmas.

    AnnieP, I appreciate your understanding that we Catholics are at least consistent in our beliefs and integrity, even when you think we are wrong. I mean that sincerely. It's why I love being Catholic. We stand on principles and truths that are not always easy, but which protect human dignity and give glory to God.

    What would I do? I pray I would have the grace to sacrifice my life for any and all of my children if called to that. I would never authorize a direct killing of one of them.

    Christianity does call us to something higher than mere survival and earthly goals. I hope you will listen to the Bishop's press conference, as it will explain a lot. And, I also hope to explain more about the Christian meaning of love in a future post. I wish there were more hours in the day!

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  30. The split will not affect the hospital's income as the church does not fund it. The only visible change that will be evident immediately is that the blessed sacrament will be removed from the hospital's chapel and mass will no longer be held there.

    The risk is that Catholic hospitals will become irrelevant for the care of women. In our community the Catholic hospital does not allow tubal ligations with c-sections or medically indicated terminations, so those patients transfer care to physicians at the other hospital. As a consequence, the sentiment in the community is that the only hospital with "full service" is the non-Catholic one. Why risk having a problem that cannot or will not be managed following best practices?

    This is a clear case of the bishop practicing medicine, dictating by some arbitrary method how the pregnancy should be terminated. Here's a novel idea: How about doing what's in the best interest of the patient? I cannot believe the hierarchy would put a sick person through such torment; it's unfathomable.

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  31. Tony, as a patient who is Catholic and wants a Catholic hospital to follow Catholic ethics the only way that can be done is for me to be assured they aren't going to kill my unborn child and will instead do everything they can do in any circumstance to provide that child with care.

    If I'm pregnant, there are two patients. That is full service.

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  32. Stacy, bingo. Thank you. What a blessing it would be to have a full-service, authentically Catholic hospital which actually acknowledges that there are two patients when a pregnant woman is sick.

    By the way, we have NFP-only, pro-life Catholic OB/gyns in this town, and their practices are thriving. Praise God!

    Tony, did you listen to the Bishop's press conference? Just curious.

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  33. Do you all remember Melanie Pritchard? The one I had you praying for here:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/07/urgent-prayers-needed.html

    She actually died for several minutes during childbirth and was brought back after an amniotic embolism, three heart attacks, a nicked artery and internal bleeding for several hours. She was a miracle. She was in the OTHER Catholic hospital in town. Here is what Melanie said on her facebook today, about Bishop Olmsted's decision:


    Thank you Bishop Olmsted for standing up for Catholic Healthcare! Had I not been in a Catholic hospital while both my life and my unborn child's life were in danger, one of us may not have survived. Luckily the doctors I had did their best to save both of our lives recognizing that we are both equally human and valuable. That's what doctors are supposed to do!

    Amen.

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  34. AnnieP, Mrs. M, Mai and Tony (and everyone else):

    Lisa's commentary under the bishop's video is excellent and might help you better understand the Catholic mindset:

    http://lisagraas.com/2010/12/22/a-look-at-bishop-olmsteds-news-conference-on-st-josephs-hospital/

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  35. Tony, where I live our Catholic hospitals are thriving. And there is a huge demand for the medical help offered by Catholic doctors and practitioners - so huge that they are struggling to meet that demand. Also, in my experience, the Catholic dedication to certain standards has inspired advancements in medical technology and treatments. For example, for years I got mediocre care by regular OB/GYN's who defaulted to the Pill for every symptom instead of finding out what the cause of the symptoms were. It took a lot of searching for an OB/GYN willing to really test and treat me (and yes, the OB/GYN is Catholic).

    Are you unaware that the Catholic Church, through religious sisters, founded the first hospitals in the US? The faith constantly inspires Catholics to pursue excellence in all intellectual pursuits and in "helping professions" (we have entire religious orders dedicated just to these purposes, not to mention lay folk).

    And on a similar vein, in regards to practically helping people to reduce abortions, many of us here are involved with side of the issue. (Working with teens to help them make good decisions, donating money and resources to crisis pregnancy centers and adoption funds, trying to "be there" for the people in our lives etc). Why else do you think we get so passionate about this issue? :)

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  36. Leila - don't think for a second that I judge your decision. I don't need to understand your position at all. It is easy and clear-cut to comprehend. I just wouldn't do the same and I wouldn't judge you for it. The whole situation would be an awful shame, no matter how you look at it.

    The only time I judge the "leave it up to God" stuff is when parents withhold medication from their dying and gravely ill children and try to pray the disease away. I also know this is NOT the Catholic way, so no need to go there.

    AnnieP

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  37. Insane. Who doesn't think there are 2 patients in pregnancy? Why can't the woman advocate for her own care and make her own decision? The fact is that if the brave Sr McBride hadn't made the correct stand, there may very well have been 2 dead patients. Most of the time, when there is enough time, patients such as the St Joseph woman would have been transferred across town for the proper life-saving care and her doctor can keep his ethics intact. It happens all the time.


    She actually died for several minutes during childbirth and was brought back after an amniotic embolism, three heart attacks, a nicked artery and internal bleeding for several hours. She was a miracle.

    Died for several minutes? Wha? Miracle? Wha? Do you really think the fact that she was in a Catholic hospital made a material difference in the outcome? Really?

    Yahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  38. AnnieP, thanks for your understanding on that. And I'm glad you know we are on the same page about withholding life saving treatments in favor of "praying" a child to health.

    Tony, would it be rude of me to say that you are just a tad bit obnoxious? And, I thought liberals liked diversity? But not diversity of thought, I guess.

    Please try to be respectful.

    Anyway, people who perform abortions or refer for abortions are basically denying that there are two patients. Unless taking that healthy second patient and executing that patient is good health care for that second patient. Is that what you'd like to contend?

    Is it a hard case? Yes, it's tragic. But here's a simple (apparently "insane") concept:

    The direct, premeditated, intentional killing of an innocent person is an act that is ALWAYS wrong, of its very nature, no matter what the motive, and no matter what the outcome one is trying to effect.

    Crazy Catholic ethics, but there we are.

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  39. "Insane. Who doesn't think there are 2 patients in pregnancy?"

    Abortionists. Prochoicers. All of the people who believe a fetus is nothing more than a blob of tissue, a tumor, a parasite, etc.

    The fact is that there was a moral solution -- premature induction of labor. The baby's death in that case would not have been the slaughter of an innocent, but an unwanted and unintended side effect of a medical treatment. Instead, for some unfathomable reason, Sr. McBride et al decided it was acceptable to dismember and kill the baby. It's horribly sad.

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  40. Just to clarify, I am fairly certain that I do, in fact, understand the Catholic principle of double effect. I just disagree with it, especially in types of cases like this.

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  41. Tony, I received this email from a very active pro-lifer back east:

    I just finished reading your correspondence to/from Brian Finkel. I could say it's shocking, but unfortunately to those of us in the movement, it's the kind of thing we see every day. We were (and still are, a bit) involved in a case against an abortionist right over the border in Maryland, who was doing illegal abortions and injured a young girl. You can see some info here:

    http://thegazette.com/2010/09/05/2-abortion-drs-ordered-to-stop-after-maryland-injury/

    We urged the state's attorney to press murder charges for doing illegal late-term abortions. He was only caught after he injured the girl and authorities discovered full-term fetuses in a freezer at the clinic. Disgusting.


    I can tell you, pro-lifers read and deal with this sort of stuff all the time. It's not new. It's true that most are not raping their patients, but there is a lot of ugly, illegal, and unhealthy things that go on in the abortion industry. It's the pro-life community that is watchdogging these sorts of atrocities. Right before Finkel's downfall, we had another Phoenix abortionist who was thrown in jail for a botched abortion and negligence that killed a woman. And when I was growing up in Tucson, there was a local gyn who dumped the dead babies he aborted in a dumpster, and it was quite a news story for weeks. Dirty business, abortion.

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  42. But of course! The ACLU is now trying to put the nail in the coffin for Catholic hospitals:

    http://www.azcentral.com/community/phoenix/articles/2010/12/22/20101222phoenix-catholic-abortion-fight-aclu.html

    What do you think of this, Mai? You said that it's no big loss that St. Joe's was stripped of its Catholic identity. Do you agree with what the ACLU is doing? Or can Catholics have the freedom to have authentically Catholic hospitals?

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  43. Joanna

    Eveything I am reading says early induction of labor before any chance of viability (at minimum 22 weeks) would not have been morally licit.

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  44. Leila and many others say here that the fetus is a person. As in quotes like this: Direct, premeditated, intentional killing of an innocent person is always immoral. Always, always, always. It's an iron-clad moral principle.

    The fetus is not a person. Use the word as much as you like here, but repeating it over and over will not make it true. Under the personhood amendment that was proposed (and roundly defeated - twice) in Colorado, the woman I described above who did not go on bedrest would be convicted of murder.

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  45. Mai

    "The fetus is not a person. Use the word as much as you like here, but repeating it over and over will not make it true."

    The above is your opinion based on your feelings. For those of us who believe that God is the author of all life and that all humans are created in His image and likeness simply cannot accept that opinion. We can all argue back and and forth as long as we like but that does not change the reality of our postions.

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  46. "Person", used legally, does not apply to a fetus. SCOTUS determined that rights can be bestowed upon a fetus at various stages of gestation, but still does not amount to personhood.

    Leila, you can call me obnoxious, fair enough. For the record, I never called anyone insane, but the idea that someone died and was apparently resurrected thrice is an insane concept. If this were testimony in a court of law, I would guess most judges would question the competence of that testimony.

    We can have a dialaog about abortion, which is never an easy topic, but dramatic talk of dying and coming back to life, and miracles and "killing babies" tells me that the discussion will not be rational.

    What would be the consequences, intended and otherwise, of bestowing personhood rights on an 11-week fetus? This could be a fruitful discussion, but ground rules would need to be set, and for me to engage in it, one rule would be to refrain from the drama of miracles.

    My guess is that most of us, whether pro-choice or pro-life, agree on A LOT, and maybe we should concentrate on those things.

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  47. Here's a link to get the discussion rolling.

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  48. Tony, I never said she died and rose "thrice". I said she had three heart attacks. She was without a heartbeat for six minutes on the operating table along with the other catastrophes happening to her body. That is why I said "died".... obviously, she is now back in full force, with no brain damage, no heart damage. You don't believe in miracles, and that's fine. Sometimes things are miraculous. Sometimes, even secular doctors agree with that (will do a post on the canonization process one day). Was Melanie's perfect and rapid recovery a true "miracle"? I couldn't say.... but something amazing happened that cannot be explained.

    More soon....

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  49. It would seem to me, Tony, that the law of the state is your highest truth. SCOTUS, testimony in a court of law, etc...

    And Mai, you said that the fetus is not a person, based on.... votes (or your opinion).

    So, my question for both of you (which has never been answered on this blog): Do you think courts and legislatures legitimately decide personhood? If so, what of the Dred Scott case? Please, I would love an answer.

    Thanks.

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  50. Mai, there is a difference between direct killing (i.e., intentionally shooting someone in the head with the intent to murder) and negligence or recklessness which leads to a death indirectly or unintentionally.

    Before I can discuss your example of the woman who wouldn't go on bedrest, I need to know that you see the distinction.

    Thanks.

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  51. Mai, will you answer my ACLU question?

    And Elisabeth, that makes more sense to me.... I was scratching my head about the early induction. I don't think that could be morally licit at 11 weeks. One day, when there is a "gestator" machine, then yes...

    I'd want to know more about the doctor who had 100% success rate treating and saving women and babies in that position. That seems like the licit option. But bottom line, we cannot save our own life by authorizing and bringing about the death of another.

    If I were an atheist, then I wouldn't care about killing the unborn child; I would do whatever I had to so save my own life. But I am a Catholic, and I will refer you again to this post, and the commentary underneath the video, which is why even death is preferable to directly killing another person:

    http://lisagraas.com/2010/12/22/a-look-at-bishop-olmsteds-news-conference-on-st-josephs-hospital/

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  52. Was Melanie's perfect and rapid recovery a true "miracle"? I couldn't say.... but something amazing happened that cannot be explained.

    All too often, when god-believers cannot explain something, they use god as the "explanation". This will not advance science, and in fact does much to hinder progress. I am certain that there are cases where all vital signs point to no life in a person. But that does not mean they are dead, as likely happened in this case.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your description of the canonization process.

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  53. One might also question in the case of St. Josephs why and how a respected nun who achieved such high standing in the hospital was so quickly ex-communicated while at the same time, it's taken years in several cases for any justice whatsoever to be delivered to priests who sexually molested young children.

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  54. Anonymous, if you had watched the Bishop's news conference, you would have that question answered. Basically, the nun ex-communicated herself. That's Canon Law. She did it by approving the abortion. The bishop merely let her know that she had done so, and he did it quietly, so as to spare her embarrassment. All the leaks came from one side.

    Please watch the news conference. The reporters asked lots of questions that the Bishop answered.

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  55. Do you think courts and legislatures legitimately decide personhood? If so, what of the Dred Scott case? Please, I would love an answer.

    Probably you don't know this about me, but I'm a big, huge fan of Abraham Lincoln. Taney spent a lot of his time trying to "interpret" the constitution in direct opposition to Lincoln's ideas and/or policies. Oh, and I just looked Taney up on Wikipedia. He was a Catholic, go figure. Oh, but you'll say he wasn't a "real" catholic, or whatever.

    Anyway, do you want to talk about every law that was passed, or decided, or whatever, that was eventually overturned? The Taney decision didn't stick around long, thank goodness for Abraham Lincoln. Neither did Prohibition. That was actually a constitutional amendment that was repealed. We had a short period of government-sanctioned commie-hunters in this country as well, that didn't stick around long. Nixon was fairly successful in controlling people around him until he became not so successful at hiding it.

    Maybe I'm not sure what you are asking here. Oh - wait. I know. You're comparing a living, breathing, born, walking around black person to a fetus. Yes, yes. That's your point. You're saying I think I 'own' the fetus just like white folks 'owned' slaves. And you're comparing the terrible decision of Roger Taney's court to our decisions today of declaring that a fetus is not a person.

    Who would you be emancipating the fetus from? The mother? Is the mother using the fetus for economic gain? Please elaborate on your position of saying that a fertilized egg is comparable to a black person.

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  56. Regarding the ACLU forcing Catholic hospitals to provide the full spectrum of health care if they are going to call themselves hospitals.

    This is the first I've heard of that, but I've been following pretty closely the cases where Catholic adoption agencies will be required to consider homosexual couples or face discrimination penalties. It's sort of the same concept that I asked you to write about in your "what should I write about" post. Catholics feel they are being persecuted for their "beliefs". Catholics are being "discriminated against" they say, because they are disciminating against gays.

    I class these two things in the same category. I'm also opposed to having the state help to fund religious schools. Oh, and state-funded Nativity Scenes in government buildings this time of year. I believe in separation of church and state, very strongly. So from the little I read of ACLU's case, I would agree with it in principle.

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  57. Oh. And another thing.

    I'm definitely against bishops making medical decisions for people.

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  58. Yes, ok, I'm back. More about Dred Scott and Justice Taney.

    I think the Dred Scott case was a perfect example of democracy in action. Taney made a bad decision, and in a relatively short (and painful) period of time after that, it was corrected. The other examples that I listed, prohibition, McCarthyism, etc, happened, but people got outraged and made it stop.

    As Tony pointed out, the supreme court has upheld the denial of personhood to the fetus over and over. We have had the personhood movement try to put this up for voting, multiple times, and fail miserably each time.

    I like democracy in action. I'm against a theocracy.

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  59. Disclosure. It's about disclosing the medical therapies available. Does a Catholic doctor in a Catholic hospital have the tight to "forget" to tell a rape victim that she has a right to a morning-after pill? He doesn't have to provide the therapy, but should he inform the patient of the option to go elsewhere?

    Watching the bishop's news conference, I don't think he necessarily feels the woman has the right or ability to make such a decision on her own.

    Hospitals are required to follow federal mandates all the time *if* they take federal funds in the form of Medicare and Medicaid payments. The classic is EMTALA that requires hospitals to provide care for patients regardless of their ability to pay. The same principle should hold true for disclosing options to patients. Not every hospital provides every procedure, but the doctors should be allowed to follow standards of care and offer the patient a timely referral.

    Also, the bishop's newser corroborates my suspicion that the Church is becoming irrelevant regarding health care for women. He even said that "other" area hospitals (plural) were not in compliance wit Catholic teaching because they provided counseling for birth control, provided birth control and sterilization procedures. Honestly, I would think it would be increasingly difficult to neglect the provision of such widespread options in modern America. The bishop is essentially agreeing with me.

    The problem with the St Joseph case is that the bishop never said that the woman should be a part of the conversation. This is not how we provide ethical care in this society. Other questions not answered: Were the physicians who performed the procedure disciplined? Were their privileges restricted? If they were catholic, were the physicians or other board members "automatically ex-communicated" too? Or is that special designation reserved for nuns?

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  60. MaiZeke,

    ***...I've been following pretty closely the cases where Catholic adoption agencies...***

    I've watched it in my state. It happened like this: The government told Boston Catholic Charities (CC) that they had to adopt to homosexual couples. They actually had in the past, but with gay marriage legal the issue got pressed by the media. CC said they could not reconcile that ethically (adopting to gay married couples). So the state withdrew their adoption license. CC specialized in the hard cases, adopting older kids with abuse issues to Catholic families who were ready to help them. They had not shortage of families to help either. And there were no homosexual couples in need of their assistance as any other adoption agency could have helped them adopt.

    Well, the state soon realized they shot themselves in the foot. They needed CC and their willingness to handle the hard cases. They didn't give back the Boston CC their license and the Boston CC instead increased their efforts to the homeless and poor now that they were out of adoption.

    What you won't find in the media because Catholic dioceses don't publish "Look how great we are" press releases, is that the state left all the other CC's alone and now actually about 5 others (last I checked) have stepped up to help with adoption again and (shhh) the state left them alone. Not that many homosexual couples are trying to adopt or foster care children in need. They usually want IVF babies (free in this state).

    The whole thing was silly on the liberal state's part and it begs the question...who was trying to hurt whom? And, of course, who would have been hurt if not for the Catholic Church?

    With the AZ thing...I hope the Bishop stands his ground there too because I imagine that very soon the hospital will realize how much the Church helped them, and they've pushed it away all over a completely reconcilable social battle.

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  61. Stacy, thank you for that perspective. That case saddened me so much. The children always get hurt in the cause of political correctness. Good intentions, perhaps, but terribly misguided and with bad results. I am so glad that at least there was a bit of a course correction.

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  62. Mai, I think you skirted the Dred Scott question (or maybe you didn't understand what I was asking?). I am wondering what you think of the fact that the Supreme Court could declare that some human beings are less human than others. You (and Tony) think that unborn humans are not persons because the courts have said so. Well, that's what Dred Scott said, too. And we all see how wrong that type of law is (some humans are less human than other). So, why do you think it's both "okay" (Roe v. Wade) and not okay (Dred Scott) for the courts to be the arbiter of who belongs in the human family?

    If you could answer that directly, please.

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  63. Sorry for the typos and the choppy punctuation! Ugh!

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  64. MaiZeke said...
    Regarding the ACLU forcing Catholic hospitals to provide the full spectrum of health care if they are going to call themselves hospitals.
    `````````````````````````````````````````

    MaiZeke, regarding the ACLU: Can you explain why the ACLU demonizes Catholicism as 'unethical' but defends Islamic terrorists? I'm just a little mixed up on that point.

    As Bishop Olmsted explained, ethics 'come from somewhere'. All hospitals, no matter whether they are Catholic or not, have 'ethics boards' who determine what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'. The Left isn't interested in living in a pluralistic society wherein one can legally disagree on something. They want to crush Christendom which they consider evil. Islam, they like.

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  65. Mai, I know many black pro-lifers and Catholics who fully embrace unborn children as members of the human family. We are all equal in dignity. So, to pit black people against "fetuses" doesn't hold water. Both are human. We Catholics are inclusive that way. All human beings are welcome in the human family. All have rights, dignity and inherent value.

    Which brings me to the St. Joe's situation again. It makes me bewildered that you don't believe in freedom of religion. If a Catholic hospital cannot have integrity and autonomy, then you are basically wanting (like the ACLU) to run Catholic hospitals out of business. It's hard to even know where you are coming from with that. It's one thing to say you don't want to be a Catholic or go to a Catholic hospital, but it's quite another to side with those who would bully those hospitals into compromising their core beliefs, ultimately necessitating a withdrawal of authentic Catholics from the health care scene. I can't even wrap my mind around why someone would want or promote or demand that.

    Quick questions if you would: Are you against Pell grants? And do you think that Christmas should be repealed as a federal holiday?

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  66. Tony, you said:

    The problem with the St Joseph case is that the bishop never said that the woman should be a part of the conversation.

    Tony, you are soooo missing the point. Try for a quick minute to put yourself on the other side, and think: The direct, intentional and premeditated killing of an innocent is always, always, always inherently wrong.

    That is a moral line that cannot be crossed. You don't like it, but that line is there to ensure the dignity and rights of every human being, including you. To ask a Catholic hospital to be complicit in a grave moral evil, even in order to bring about a good end, is nonsensical.

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  67. I think Mai's exegesis of Dred Scott was spot on. SCOTUS decided one way and eventually it was overturned and finally states' rights on the issue were removed with federal legislation (enforced by a Civil War). Dred might have been a bad decision but represented part of a continuum of national sentiment.

    Abortion-rights advocates think that Roe was decided properly, you don't. That's fair enough. I'll take the chance of being on the wrong side of history regarding Roe since my principles dictate that a woman has the right to choose.

    Sure, states' rights could very well be rendered moot if federal legislation outlaws abortion. The national sentiment may very well be a trajectory towards abolishing abortion rights, alto I don't see it. In most legal opinions, the only way abortion could be made illegal is if a Personhood Amendment is passed. This is unlikely now, and if it ever gathered steam I think that abortion-rights advocates would unleash every weapon to defeat it.

    I understand the dismay at abortion-- I have it too-- but I don't think making it illegal is 1) possible, 2) prudent, or 3) an effective means to reduce abortion. There are plenty of things that are perfectly legal, yet we shouldn't necessarily do them. We need to concentrate on educating people at risk and not wasting our time trying to make it illegal.

    Roe and Dred Scott are very different situations and the comparisons are limited.

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  68. Mai, I am against bishops making medical decisions, too. So it's a good thing bishops don't do that.

    What bishops do is teach the faith, in season and out. And part of the faith is that one cannot directly and intentionally kill one innocent person in order to save another. Catholic doctors and hospitals must know and practice this truth. If not, they cannot rightly call themselves Catholic. As Lisa Graas has said: There is no Catholic "jail"... they are free to leave the Church and cease to use the name Catholic.

    The bishop was doing his job.

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  69. Tony and Mai,

    This response, from AnnieP (who is on your side of the issue), is something I can respect and accept:

    Leila - don't think for a second that I judge your decision. I don't need to understand your position at all. It is easy and clear-cut to comprehend. I just wouldn't do the same and I wouldn't judge you for it. The whole situation would be an awful shame, no matter how you look at it.

    Do you not see as she does that, even if you don't agree with the decision, that the Catholic position is "easy and clear-cut to comprehend"?

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  70. Tony, I agree that it would be very difficult to outlaw all abortions in America today. I think the proliferation of IVF and ESCR is part of the reason why it can't happen easily. However, that doesn't lessen my Christian obligation to try to protect the unborn in law. That, in addition to trying to change people's hearts. Both/and, not either/or.

    Are you saying that the Dred Scott case was not about one group of humans deciding the humanity of another group of humans? I'm still not getting a direct answer on that.

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  71. Tony, to answer you other questions:

    Were the physicians who performed the procedure disciplined? Were their privileges restricted? If they were catholic, were the physicians or other board members "automatically ex-communicated" too? Or is that special designation reserved for nuns?

    I have no idea if the physicians were disciplined. I am guessing not, as the hospital approved the abortion, so why would they be disciplined? I don't even know if the doctors were Catholic. Many non-Catholics work at Catholic hospitals.

    If a Catholic formally cooperated in a procured abortion, then yes, they would have automatically excommunicated themselves.

    No, such excommunication is not reserved to nuns. It applies to everyone in the case of procurement of abortion.

    What is your understanding of excommunication? I'm just curious.

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  72. Leila, I'm not missing any point at all. I completely understand the CC's standing. Nobody is asking the Catholic Church to be complicit in anything. My assumption is that they are not forced to take federal funds in payment. My assumption is that they are not forced to operate hospitals.

    But IF they do, then they have to abide by the ethical standards of medical care. If the Bishop were a physician, would he have offered the patient a timely referral for an abortion to save her life? If not, then he should not be practicing medicine in our modern society.

    Did the physicians perform an abortion on the woman against her will? Not! She was "complicit", the fetus did not have the same moral equivalence to her that you might have placed on it. It's her right to disagree with you. It's her right to disagree with the Bishop. It's her right to have all the options explained and presented. She must not think that an abortion is always inherently wrong.

    The problem with this case is that Catholic hospitals are always playing chicken with these issues. They accept patients, but then when there are medical decisions they cannot respect, they usually punt the patient to another hospital. My understanding is that in this case the patient was too critical to transfer in a safe way, so they had to make a tough decision.

    Usually they cop out and send the patient elsewhere and let someone else make the tough decision.

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  73. Tony, your position is chilling, actually. My son wants to be a physician, like his grandfather. He is a devout Catholic and totally pro-life. Do you think that my son should be allowed to become a doctor? I think it was the Democratic Senate candidate who ran against Scott Brown in Massachusetts who was caught in a radio interview saying that Catholics should not work in emergency rooms. Others have said that Catholic pharmacists must dispense abortion pills. Some medical schools have said that pro-life students cannot get their M.D. unless they violate their conscience and train in abortion procedures.

    Are you okay with this? Can Catholics be doctors? Emergency room workers? Pharmacists?

    You mention federal funding. This is the very danger that conservatives have been warning about. The idea that if an entity receives any federal funding, from any source or routing, then the entity is beholden to the federal government. The only option is to not take a dime of federal money, and where does that leave the Medicaid and Medicare patients? Ironically, it is the Catholic hospitals who treat medicine as a ministry and take those who are indigent and unable to pay. Catholic hospitals treat many of the poor for free. Now, I suppose, they should just shutter themselves and go out of business.

    You may absolutely get your wish. Many Catholic faithful and bishops have already predicted that the day is coming when Catholic hospitals will close rather than be forced to cooperate with moral evil.

    A happy day for you will be a sad day for the millions who rely on Catholic hospitals and Catholic charities.

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  74. Real case in point:
    A woman is cared for by a (Catholic) physician at a Catholic hospital. She is diagnosed with twins at 8 weeks, but one twin is a molar pregnancy. She has one completely normal 8-week fetus and one abnormal conception which is a gestational trophoblastic pregnancy. (You can google it yourself if you care.)

    Her quant HCG is a a million and she is 35 years old, which puts the risk of metastatic disease at 30%. She needs a complete workup, and should be offered an evacuation (abortion), and chemotherapy. The sooner the better for her prognosis.

    The (Catholic) physician discussed this with the patient and she wants "everything done" to improve her outcome, ie, she wants an abortion and chemotherapy. The (Non-Catholic) physician has three options:

    1. Pursue the patients wishes at his hospital, go thru a prolonged ethics committee nightmare with guys like the Bishop. Tell the patient that her wishes will not be respected, and unfortunately, she's going to either die... or live only after some prolonged monkey-circus of following a proscribed method of treatment that has no basis in medical science but, more importantly, satisfies the Bishop's conscience of how to end a pregnancy without actively participating, or some such thing.

    --OR--

    2. Transfer the patient to the Non-Catholic hospital across town for expeditious treatment. (She is not in critical condition.)

    Of course, any sane physician (Catholic or Non-Catholic) would choose option #2, which he did. The patient was transferred, had 4 units of packed red cells on hold, underwent a termination with the expected huge blood loss, and is now undergoing proper therapy with a guarded but long-term positive prognosis.

    Sometimes I get the impression that physicians practice in Catholic hospital for the specific reason that they do not have to deal with such muddled decisions. Just my opinion. While the one physician was up to his shins in emotional drama and maternal blood, the other was likely finishing up his Christmas shopping, seeing his happy ob patients, or maybe having coffee with the Bishop. I'm not judging, only conjecturing. We all have our station in life.

    Methinks the St Joseph case was one in which the docs got taken by surprise and saw this poor woman fading fast. They had no time for the usual transfer, and appealed to Sr Margaret McBride's committee. Honestly, she had no choice but to honor the patient's wishes.

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  75. I have no "wish" of anyone closing. I'm just stating facts.

    My Catholic grandfather was a pharmacist for 50 years and never filled birth control Rx's. The courts have been very clear that no pharmacist can be compelled to do anything against their religion. Employers like Walgreen, however, can make employment contingent on certain practices.

    Believe it or not, physicians of many religious backgrounds, working in lots of hospitals-- Catholic and EVEN Non-Catholic-- are dedicated professionals. Hard to believe, I know.

    I would encourage your son to pursue medicine-- we need good doctors. But if he chooses to care for women he may find that there are conflicts between Catholic dictates and the standard of medical care. Usually there are ways around it, but sometimes there are not. Just my advice.

    Some of the busiest docs I know are devout Catholics who practice in Catholic hospitals and have mostly (only?) Catholic patients. It's a great niche. I also know that the local Planned Parenthood says they get the occasional surreptitious phone call for a referral when someone's daughter gets pregnant. Maybe it's less than other populations, but it happens.

    What is so "chilling" about my last comment. Chilling? Really?

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  76. Yes, Tony, it's so easy being a faithful Catholic physician. It's so fun and kick-back. The whole world loves a faithful, pro-life Catholic. Just ask Bishop Olmsted. ;)

    Anyway, the "evacuation" is (sorry to repeat): The direct, intentional and premeditated killing of an innocent human being. It is up the the woman to decide to abort her child in another hospital if she so chooses. It's legal, as we know. The Catholic hospital cannot force her to stay and be treated where she is. Again, there is no Catholic "jail". But the Catholic hospital may not formally cooperate in a moral evil.

    It's just as simple as that. The individual cases are complex and sad as one would expect in a fallen world. But the principles are not complex. The principles are simple. Every human being, from conception to death, is inherently valuable and inherently equal in dignity. One cannot kill an innocent even to save another life. The ends don't justify the means. Christian Moral Reasoning 101.

    As for Sr. McBride.... she and the hospital may have been caught off guard, as you say, but they have had plenty of time to reevaluate their actions in light of their Catholic Faith. That they did not do so, and remain steadfast in the many violations of Catholic ethics, is very sad, and necessitated the bishops actions.

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  77. Tony, wait... did I imply that non-Catholic doctors were not hard-working, dedicated professionals? My pediatrician is not even Christian, and I love her! I think you jump to a lot of conclusions.

    Anyway, chilling, yes. You basically said that devout Catholics should not be practicing medicine in this "modern society." What else can that mean other than that Catholics who actually take their faith seriously need not apply?

    Societal momentum is going in the direction that the ACLU is: Trying to force Catholic entities to violate their ethics through the power of the federal government. It is chilling and ridiculous and unreal, but that is where we are. I find it sickening and sad, but in the long run it will be the nation's loss. The Catholic Church will retain its integrity even if it has to get out of the hospital business.

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  78. Yes, Tony, it's so easy being a faithful Catholic physician. It's so fun and kick-back. The whole world loves a faithful, pro-life Catholic. Just ask Bishop Olmsted.

    I agree with your sarcasm. Being Bishop Olmsted would indeed be difficult. His position is untenable. But the physicians... until that day when the pregnant pulmonary hypertension patient crumped, they were living large, keeping the easy cases and turfing the tough ones... then the sh*tstorm hit, but they did the right thing and honored the patient's wishes. In the end they are the heroes, along with Sr Margaret.

    It is up the the woman to decide to abort her child in another hospital if she so chooses. It's legal, as we know.

    Yes, but it's up to her caregivers to disclose the options. I never heard Olmsted say that the woman should be given a choice. He merely dictated what was right and what was wrong.

    The individual cases are complex and sad as one would expect... One cannot kill an innocent even to save another life.

    We've just discussed two cases where that did indeed happen. "Innocents" are killed all the time in order to protect others. See Iraq war, or any war for that matter.

    The Catholic hospital cannot force her to stay and be treated where she is. Again, there is no Catholic "jail".

    Who said they could? Would you advocate that abortion not be offered as an option? (Not a rhetorical question.)

    My opinion is not "chilling"; I have no desire to have any facility close. I'm just an observer of the cultural mores and see the CC becoming detached from the mainstream. I'm not advocating that the CC change; I don't care. In some ways I admire their fortitude to stand up for what they believe. But I cringe when people cannot make their own informed medical decisions.

    I'll repeat:
    I understand the dismay at abortion-- I have it too-- but I don't think making it illegal is 1) possible, 2) prudent, or 3) an effective means to reduce abortion. There are plenty of things that are perfectly legal, yet we shouldn't necessarily do them. We need to concentrate on educating people at risk and not wasting our time trying to make it illegal.

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  79. You said: Ironically, it is the Catholic hospitals who treat medicine as a ministry and take those who are indigent and unable to pay. Catholic hospitals treat many of the poor for free. Now, I suppose, they should just shutter themselves and go out of business.

    ALL hospitals treat people for free. Lots of non-profits are non-Catholic, so why the sanctimonious attitude? Why do you keep saying that Catholics should "shutter themselves"? Who is saying this?

    Maybe we should require religious buildings to pay property tax-- that would pay for oodles of health care for the poor!

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  80. Being Bishop Olmsted would indeed be difficult. His position is untenable.

    No, his position is unpopular. Big difference.

    But the physicians... until that day when the pregnant pulmonary hypertension patient crumped, they were living large, keeping the easy cases and turfing the tough ones

    Yes, apparently the hospital was deceitfully skirting Catholic ethical directives for 26 years. Shame on them.

    In the end they are the heroes, along with Sr Margaret.

    The hospital is deceitful and stealthy for 26 years, and then when their dishonestly and lack of integrity is found out, they are "heroes"? We have different ideas of heroism.

    Yes, but it's up to her caregivers to disclose the options. I never heard Olmsted say that the woman should be given a choice.

    Why would a bishop say that a woman should be given a choice to have an abortion? He's a Catholic bishop and he believes and teaches that abortion is murder. He should say that the woman has the choice to kill her unborn child when it is a mortal sin to do so? It doesn't make sense. Surely you can understand that the bishop is not going to cooperate in facilitating an abortion.

    More in a minute....

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  81. "The hospital is deceitful and stealthy for 26 years, and then when their dishonestly and lack of integrity is found out..."

    Which brings up an interesting issue. Who knew about all that evil birth control being doled out? Did the Bishop really just find out recently? And if he did just find out, why wasn't he overseeing it more closely? If I were a Catholic, I would think are important questions. Who knew, and when?

    There is a likely possibility that he knew about this long ago but ignored it because the issue is too unpopular. Birth control is a perennial hot-button issue in all Catholic facilities. I remember dealing with this 20 years ago and the nuns chose to look the other way or risked losing the resident coverage for their "free" clinic. Are you telling me the Bishop is so out of touch that he doesn't know this huge conflict and made sure the hospital was complying with the tenets of Catholicism? Really?

    When all this hit the fan with the patient almost dying because of the hospital by-laws, then all the cockroaches came out of the floorboards about all the Catholic rules that have been ignored, so he had to throw the nun under the bus.

    Nixonian. Chilling.


    By your lack of an answer, I'll assume that you do not think the woman should have been offered the choice between an abortion and death. Now that is chilling.

    (I'm starting to like that word. Chilling.)

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  82. Regarding the killing of innocents:

    We've just discussed two cases where that did indeed happen. "Innocents" are killed all the time in order to protect others. See Iraq war, or any war for that matter.

    I should have made very clear that one can never MORALLY kill an innocent. I thought that was understood by what I have said again and again. Of course innocents are killed all the time. But those killings are not MORAL. It is not MORALLY permissible to kill innocents, whether it's an abortion or whether it's during wartime. That is the Catholic position.

    Would you advocate that abortion not be offered as an option?

    Abortion is not a licit option, so I would not advocate that abortion be offered as an option. Abortion is the direct, premeditated killing of an innocent human being, and that is never morally allowed.

    In some ways I admire their fortitude to stand up for what they believe.

    Thank you.

    Why do you keep saying that Catholics should "shutter themselves"? Who is saying this?

    When entities such as the ACLU and leftist legislators and even the Obama administration are forcing regulations and conditions on Catholic hospitals which will not allow them to be authentically Catholic... that's forcing our hand. Many Catholic bishops would sooner see the hospitals close than cooperate in evil. They have said as much when the issue was raised during the health care debate, and conscience clause debates. If the pro-aborts don't want to see Catholic hospitals close, then they need to leave Catholic hospitals alone. If they keep bringing legislation and law suits against Catholic hospitals, trying to bully them into compliance with their agenda, they will effectively kill Catholic healthcare.

    Maybe we should require religious buildings to pay property tax-- that would pay for oodles of health care for the poor!

    Personally, I would welcome the loss of our tax exempt status. We would not have to be gagged in what we can say. Bring it on!

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  83. Which brings up an interesting issue. Who knew about all that evil birth control being doled out? Did the Bishop really just find out recently? And if he did just find out, why wasn't he overseeing it more closely? If I were a Catholic, I would think are important questions. Who knew, and when?

    Oh, Tony.

    You do not know Bishop Olmsted. I do know him. I can tell you that when he came here seven years ago, he inherited a hot MESS of a diocese. You cannot imagine what he had to straighten out when he took charge of a diocese which was in the hands of many openly dissenting Catholics and a weak previous bishop. We all knew it would take YEARS to even fix the mess in the Catholic schools, parishes, etc. St. Joe's is run by the Sisters of Mercy, I believe, not the diocese. So, you really don't know what you are talking about. He and his staff have done so much to clear out the rot, but it's going to take a lot more time. Things are going well, but he is nowhere near done. And some institutions, like a Jesuit high school and a Dominican parish, are here in town but are not run by the diocese (similar to St. Joe's). It's much harder for the bishop to get the scoop on those entities when they are not under his direct purview. He does have the "right" to dictate who may use the word "Catholic" in his diocese, so as not to confuse the faithful. When he discovered (after repeated questioning) that St. Joe's had been deceitful, he gave them a chance to change their ways and conform to Catholic teaching. When they refused, he rightly stripped them of the name "Catholic".

    He is a holy and humble man, with more integrity in his little finger than I have in my whole body! So, speculate as to his motives and character all you want. I know who he is and I know the truth of what happens in this diocese.

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  84. he had to throw the nun under the bus.

    I actually had to chuckle at this! The nun is very proud of herself, and she is a "hero" in the secular world and with the media, no doubt. She could have quietly gone to confession and returned to the Catholic fold if she had any desire to do so. She is not interested.

    But here's my question: To "throw someone under the bus" means to sacrifice someone for personal gain.... How was sister sacrificed? What did Bishop Olmsted gain?

    And, on the one hand you "admire their fortitude to stand up for what they believe" while on the other hand you accuse Olmsted of throwing sister under the bus. Which is it?

    Also, I might not be engaging in debate on the blogs tomorrow, as I prepare my heart and mind for the birth of Our Savior!

    Merry Christmas everyone!!

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  85. I just wanted to share my own anecdote:

    As a young teen I was taken to a Catholic doctor (completely unintentionally since my family is not Catholic) and proscribed low dosage birth control pills for irregular, painful periods. The doctor then ushered me into her office (complete with Catholic iconography and religious paraphenalia all around), sat me down and gave me a stern talk about how these pills were ineffective at preventing pregnancy and how I was not to think of it as a free pass to mess around or get intimate with a boy at a party. Little did she know I had no intention beforehand of having sex then.

    A few years later, I joined a teen theatre group set up by Planned Parenthood. We met bi-weekly, talked with each other about our lives as teens, confided with each other, helped each other and were offered confidential advice if we wanted it. We wrote and directed short skits to perform for other teen groups/school groups about issues affecting all teens. But the skits all had one common theme: supporting and helping teens feel secure to make choices for themselves about their sexuality and their choices in high school (from those who wanted to have sex to those who wanted to remain abstinent).

    These two experiences are ingrained in my memory. the first being a dour experience where I was sternly warned against sex; the latter empowered me as a young adult exposed to adult situations so common in high school (peer pressure, sex, etc.), to be able to handle adult situations.

    Anecdotal anon

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  86. Anecdotal anon,

    That is so sad on so many levels.

    First, it's sad that even Catholic doctors were/are unfamiliar with other treatments for menstrual problems than putting a young woman on steroids. Today, NaPro doctors actually treat the pathology instead of masking it. Too many doctors use the Pill as a default for everything.

    Second, how sad that Planned Parenthood does the "values free" thing for teens. Unmarried teens shouldn't be having sex at all. It's not good for them physically or emotionally. To think that adults at PP would work to make teens feel good about any decision they make about sex is ridiculous. What if they wanted to sit and masturbate all day? Would PP make them "feel good" about that choice?

    I have my own teenaged experience at Planned Parenthood, getting put on the Pill by adults who made sure I was a "Code Mindy" to keep my parents from ever knowing. I have a lot of thoughts about that, all of them negative. Looking back, how sick and irresponsible of PP and the doctor who handed me those pills as a young girl.

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  87. One other thought, anecdotal anon:

    In general, would you prefer that someone told you the truth in a harsh tone, or that someone told you a lie and made it sound good?

    I'd rather know the truth, no matter how it's delivered, than feel good about a lie.

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  88. I guess what this all boils down to is every patient should have the right to choose which healthcare option they wish to receive.

    The problem with this is that everything gets muddled down into a medical free-for-all. For instance, if you go with the Catholics, not only is abortion out, but so is any type of birth control or "unnatural" (medicinal) ways to deal with women's gynecological problems. Then, there is the "all-natural" movement (like a Dr. Joe Mercola) who are not Catholic, but believe all medicine is evil and you can (and should) cure cancer with baking soda and turmeric pills. They will not give your children vaccinations of any kind, nor will they treat your legitimate medical issues with science-based medicine. But you will get all the coffee colonics and kale juicers you can handle!

    So patients now have all kinds of information based on the scientific data "so-far" or faith, or (in Joe Mercola's case) complete pseudoscience and lunacy in which they must wade through. THEN, when they decide what they want, a whole new challenge arises: where to find the care they seek??? There's a general hospital next door, a Catholic hospital across town and a natural center 40 miles away. Now, what will my insurance cover?

    What if we have general hospitals all over in each community, but separate practices (floors) that treat patients according to their beliefs or wishes?

    I get freedom of choice, but there is - dare I say - a slippery slope between "You have to go to another hospital if you choose to save your life by aborting your fetus" (fair enough, unless you're dying there on the table) and "We don't vaccinate children or give them insulin." (insane & should be illegal)

    Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone - maybe we should concentrate on that for the next few days & pick up this lovely topic again after the holiday?

    AnnieP

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  89. I'm sorry I missed much of this today. This is just ... amazing! that Leila keeps asking this. I'll try to be more clear.

    Leila: Are you saying that the Dred Scott case was not about one group of humans deciding the humanity of another group of humans? I'm still not getting a direct answer on that.

    It was indeed about one group of humans deciding the humanity of another group of humans. And then we had this little thing called a civil war. And then we had an amendment to the constitution saying that one group of people can't judge another group of people as non-persons. So, it was a bad decision, Leila, yes. And then people recognized that it was indeed a bad decision and overturned it.

    You think Roe was a bad decision, and people have been trying to overturn it, and they are failing.

    I think maybe you are trying to make a point that the overturning of Dred Scott is a precedent for overturning Roe. But in one case, Dred Scott, we are talking about living breathing humans, legally defined as persons, and in the other, we are talking about fertilized eggs, not legally defined as persons. As much as you declare that fertilized eggs are persons, that is not legally the case right now and there is no comparison between the cases.

    Tony is trying to help me explain, but you are just not getting the point at all.,

    I don't want to spend a bunch of time today, but I generally agree with Tony's points. A few more things

    Bishops are indeed making medical decisions - saying that an abortion cannot be performed when it is medically necessary is definitely a medical decision.

    Agree with Tony on his tax point - very angry about lack of tax-paying for religious organizations, especially those who do not follow the law.

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  90. I'm getting a little bit annoyed (again) at statements like this:

    It's an iron-clad moral principle.

    These statements should be clarified as "It is a Catholic iron-clad moral principle." Or, as Leila put it elsewhere in this post, Christian Moral Reasoning 101.

    I can't find the actual post right now, but the other day Monica said something to the effect of "Liberals have no morals where fertility is concerned." Or perhaps it was, we have no moral boundaries.

    I argue that liberals (and secularists, or God-haters like me) HAVE morals. They are just not the same as yours. We think that the correct moral decision is to provide options to a woman where terminating her pregnancy is one option. We think that terminating a pregnancy is moral. That is a morally correct choice. Denying the rights of the woman in this case is IMMORAL.

    I do not accept the Catholic version of morality, in many cases, and every time you say something is an iron-clad moral principle, I will ask you to clarify that it is a Catholic one, or perhaps, yours.

    Here is a nice quote from an atheist writer I was reading this morning:

    When religion claims authority in the political sphere, it is unsurprising and totally justifiable that atheists and sceptics question the source of this authority. If religious organisations or their leaders claim to speak on behalf of a god, it is fair to ask whether the god concerned really makes the claims that are communicated on its behalf. Does this god even exist? Where is the evidence? And even if this being does exist, why, exactly, should its wishes be heeded, let alone translated into laws enforced by the state’s coercive power?

    From Russell Blackford, at http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/42550.html

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  91. Tony, are you of the opinion that medical doctors should absolutely comply with every mandate imposed by ther employer, regardless of their individual ethics?

    Put another way, do you believe that a Catholic doctor in 1940s Germany was completely blameless, morally, when killing Jews? After all, they weren't legally persons under German law.

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  92. It took a while, but it looks JoAnna has finally ended this discussion... by invoking Godwin's Rule.

    Have a nice Christmas, everybody.

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  93. Tony, except that she asked a legitimate question. We are talking about one group of human beings who are not considered "persons" under the law. Whether Dred Scott or Nazi Germany, or Roe v. Wade.... that's what we are talking about. We are on topic.

    If she had compared Republicans to Nazis because Republicans wanted welfare reform, then you would have a point.

    Way to scoot out of the conversation, Tony.

    Merry Christmas.

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  94. Mai, you said, about Dred Scott:

    It was indeed about one group of humans deciding the humanity of another group of humans.

    Thank you for admitting that. I agree with you. (I don't know what the relevance of the rest of that paragraph is, about the Civil War, etc.)

    You also said:

    As much as you declare that fertilized eggs are persons, that is not legally the case right now and there is no comparison between the cases.

    It may not be "legally" the case right now, but it might be someday.... What will you think then? Do you always defer to the "law" to know what is right or wrong? Didn't Dred Scott prove that the "law" is not the highest authority regarding morality and human rights?

    You say there is no comparison between the cases. I (and millions of others) say there is a legitimate comparison. Where does that leave us?

    And, did you know that Roe v. Wade was not based on science? What do you think of that?

    Bishops are indeed making medical decisions - saying that an abortion cannot be performed when it is medically necessary is definitely a medical decision.

    Abortion is not "healing" it's killing. So, it's not health care, it's not medicine. What do you think of the moral dilemma I posed some time ago? Would you shoot an innocent person in the head if you could save your life and all the other hostages in the room? After all, the hostages say they will kill that person (and the rest of you) anyway if you don't. What was your answer to that moral question?

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/09/doctrinal-quiz-show-moral-reasoning-101.html

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  95. Mai, you said:

    We think that terminating a pregnancy is moral. That is a morally correct choice. Denying the rights of the woman in this case is IMMORAL.

    Exactly. And Catholics think the opposite. You think abortion is moral, we think it's immoral. Only one of us can be right. It is either immoral, or moral. It cannot be both immoral and moral at the same time. Truth cannot contradict itself. So, the two sides are mutually exclusive. Either you are right that abortion is moral, or I am right that abortion is immoral. We cannot both be right.

    And that is the dilemma we face. We both have our belief on the subject... but since those beliefs are contradictory, only one of those beliefs is objectively TRUE. We cannot both be right on this issue.

    You said,

    I do not accept the Catholic version of morality, in many cases, and every time you say something is an iron-clad moral principle, I will ask you to clarify that it is a Catholic one, or perhaps, yours.

    I am sorry for not being clear. I had stated elsewhere that when I am talking about faith and morals, I am not giving my opinion, but stating Catholic truth. You will not always agree with whatever I'm positing, of course. But if I say it's a truth, or an iron-clad moral principle, I do think it's true for all people at all times (that's what objective truth is). I could say, "it is a Catholic position that this is objectively true, and an iron-clad principle." What I can't say (when speaking of objective truth) is, "this is an iron-clad Catholic principle." Because universal principles apply to all.

    I hope that makes sense.

    More in a minute....

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  96. Tony, why did you not answer my questions about Bishop Olmsted, and the other points I made in two or three of my earlier comments? I think we have a good discussion going and I would like to know your answers. Thanks.

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  97. Mai, you gave me a quote from an atheist, and I want to take the very first statement and comment:

    When religion claims authority in the political sphere, it is unsurprising and totally justifiable that atheists and sceptics question the source of this authority.

    I would say to atheists: When atheists and secularists claim authority in the political sphere, it is unsurprising and totally justifiable that religious believers question the source of their authority.

    So, again, what is the source of your authority? And if it's your brain, then why should I trust your brain more than I trust my brain? After all, your brain is concluding that killing the unborn is moral. My brain is telling me that killing the unborn is immoral. So, what do we do now?

    Also, my brain also concludes that there is a God, and more people's brains agree with my conclusion about that than yours. So, what do we do? What is your (or this other atheist's) authority?

    Thanks.

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  98. Well, I guess we'll put Leila down for saying every war is by definition immoral, even in self-defense. If an army advances and collaterally kills civilians, they have taken human lives... or as you say, "actively killed."

    The pregnant pulmonary hypertension patient needed her placenta removed or she would die, the fetus was merely collateral damage by that crude definition.

    The patient with twins-- one molar and one normal-- needs the molar pregnancy removed, or she dies... the loss of the normal fetus is collateral, no different than the kids and women (since we've breached Godwin's Rule already) that have been killed by the hundreds of thousands with our tax dollars.

    And don't tell me that "nobody can foresee" civilians being killed in a war, Thomas Aquinas notwithstanding. The fact is that when we feel threatened, we do what we have to do to preserve our own safety and it's considered a just use of force. Period.

    If you think for one minute that we as individuals and as a community don't put value judgments on every single life every single moment, then you should add another word somewhere to your "Little Catholic Bubble" blog title.

    With abortion, the only question that remains is WHO should be making that heart-wrenching decision about the fetus-- you, the pregnant woman and her doctor, or Bishop Olmsted?

    This has nothing to do with Dred Scott. Why are still talking about it?

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  99. Catholic doctrine has changed over the centuries. Notions of "hominization" and "animation" by early church leaders have been supplanted by the dogma that humanity begins at conception.

    I realize that Catholics will always view the Pope's current opinion as the operative one, but it is interesting the see that the opinion has evolved and the conception idea is relatively recent.

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  100. Tony, I appreciate that you keep commenting, especially because it gives me more opportunities to correct your misunderstandings about the Catholic Faith.

    Let's start with the last thing first.

    Your link has so many errors that I hope everyone reads it just to see how misguided it is. It's no secret at all that with the advances in scientific understanding of pregnancy and embryology, etc., over the centuries, the Church has changed her understanding of why abortion is a grave sin, but not that it is a grave sin! Your articles shows that the Church has always condemned abortion!

    So, your linked article, as twisted as it is, proves the Catholic point: Abortion has ALWAYS been sinful, and has NEVER been permitted. So, thank you for even using an anti-Catholic source to prove that the Church has NOT changed doctrine.

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  101. In your linked article, which is rife with errors, it says:

    Also contrary to popular belief, no pope has proclaimed the prohibition of abortion an "infallible" teaching.

    Ummmmm..... that is correct. And the Church has also not "infallibly proclaimed" that God exists, either. You might want to read this post so that you have more of an idea of what you are talking about:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/07/answer-to-doctrinal-quiz-show-third.html

    I'm guessing the very ignorant author of that link is talking about ex cathedra pronouncements, of which there have been only two.

    Also, your linked article talks about "conscience" (erroneously)... I will consider this providential, because my next teaching post is going to be about what "conscience" is and isn't, and what the Church teaches about following one's conscience. Stay tuned!

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  102. I never intimated that the CC had allowed abortion as a moral act. I have no doubt that the Catholic Church has always viewed abortion as essentially wrong, as do most religions, but in the past there has been a recognized spectrum associated with the act.

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  103. Tony, you said:

    If you think for one minute that we as individuals and as a community don't put value judgments on every single life every single moment, then you should add another word somewhere to your "Little Catholic Bubble" blog title.

    I am sure that every single one of us has various levels of vice and sin which cloud our thinking and dull our consciences so that we do, sadly, make value judgements about other lives. You are so right. And it's as true as it is irrelevant to this discussion. The Church is there not to confirm us in our sinful judgements, or excuse our devaluing of other lives, but to teach us and guide us as we try to transcend our own pettiness and sinfulness, realizing a higher truth and a life of virtue.

    Or are you arguing that because we devalue others, we should consider that a virtue, and the Church should look the other way?

    By the way, read up on "just wars" in the Catechism (it's online). You may never target or intend to kill civilians. It may be true that some civilians are killed anyway, but that is not the same as willful murder. Abortion is direct and willful murder of the baby. Targeting civilians for death is direct and willful murder of those people.

    So, if you put me down as saying that every war is immoral, you will have misrepresented me, because you have misrepresented the Church.

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  104. Tony, you said:

    I never intimated that the CC had allowed abortion as a moral act. I have no doubt that the Catholic Church has always viewed abortion as essentially wrong, as do most religions, but in the past there has been a recognized spectrum associated with the act.

    I have never said otherwise. So, there is no issue there.

    Catholic doctrine develops, but does not change.

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  105. I'm a little confused as to why anyone who has a problem with "moral principle" would deny basic biology to defend a "moral principle".

    Mai writes: "The fetus is not a person."

    The pro-aborts have found themselves in a War on Science to defend their "moral principle" of abortion, which is actually immoral.

    One day, Americans will look back on abortion as we now look back on slavery, and Mai's comments might very well show up in some college student's paper to demonstrate how distorted the elitist view really 'was' back in the 21st century.

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  106. Lisa, I hope that Mai and Tony watch the video you link to, to see how Planned Parenthood denies basic science. It is embarrassing that that happened publicly, but I am glad it did.

    Mai, Tony, are you okay with the fact that Roe v. Wade bypassed modern scientific reasoning, but stretched back to use ancient sources?

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  107. Just a heads-up to Mai and to Tony and any other pro-"choice" advocate out there: I am going over the Roe v. Wade decision, and I will write about it in the coming weeks. I would love it if you also read the Court decision, and then come informed and prepared to discuss it. It is fascinating!

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  108. (I don't know what the relevance of the rest of that paragraph is, about the Civil War, etc.)

    Well. You are becoming increasingly interesting/entertaining to 'debate' with.

    The point about the rest of the paragraph, that you so conveniently ignore, is exactly the point I'll make next.

    Those of who thought the Dred Scott decision was wrong tried to change it and succeeded, and very shortly after the Dred Scott decision was made.

    Leila then says You say there is no comparison between the cases. I (and millions of others) say there is a legitimate comparison. Where does that leave us?

    So, try to change it. Try to reverse Roe v Wade like we successfully reversed Dred Scott. Oh, wait. You've been trying, for thirty years. And failing.

    If the decision was really wrong, then it would get changed, quickly. That is my point about all of that extra stuff about the Civil War. Roe v Wade is not getting changed. You may think it is wrong, but the majority of Americans do not.

    You also ask me this:

    And, did you know that Roe v. Wade was not based on science? What do you think of that?

    What do you think I'm going to say? What do your peers tell you that secular humanists will think of that? I'd really like to know - do you think I will abandon my support for it if it isn't based on "science"? Do you think I think that all of my decisions must be based on "science"? I just can't follow your line of thinking. Help me out.

    Science is not a religion, it is a tool. I do not base all of my moral decisions on science, although it does help. Science is merely one of the tools in rational thought. As I have said a number of times before, I am able to come to a moral conclusion with my own brain, which has evolved.

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  109. I feel like answering this one today:

    Do you not see as she does that, even if you don't agree with the decision, that the Catholic position is "easy and clear-cut to comprehend"?

    Yes, it is amazingly simple to comprehend. And once I comprehend it, I realize how wrong it is.

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  110. What do you think of the moral dilemma I posed some time ago? Would you shoot an innocent person in the head if you could save your life and all the other hostages in the room? After all, the hostages say they will kill that person (and the rest of you) anyway if you don't. What was your answer to that moral question?

    I think it is interesting to toss around moral dilemmas as a matter of practice, as a means of thinking about other situations.

    However, this moral dilemma does not translate to abortion because you are talking about PEOPLE. Not fertilized eggs. I will not be led down any garden path where you are determined to call a fertilized egg a person.

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  111. After all, your brain is concluding that killing the unborn is moral. My brain is telling me that killing the unborn is immoral. So, what do we do now?

    Then, in a democracy, the brains that are in the majority will make the decisions. And if a bad decision does happen to get made, then people will work to overturn it.

    Let's take another example of a decision that was not in the majority - allowing blacks and whites to marry. The courts decided that blacks and whites had a constitutional right to marry, but it was not a majority opinion at the time. Probably people tried to overturn it, I'm not sure, but it hasn't been overturned. It ended up being a good decision, and it stuck.

    So, we may not always have majority rule in a democracy, but if it is a really bad decision, it will get overturned. Not so in a theocracy, which is what you want, apparently.

    You believe that God exists, your super-special version of God that is interpreted by the organization called the Catholic Church. A bunch of other people believe that God exists and that God allows for contraception and God allows for homosexuality and God allows for whatever it is that you don't agree with. Then each of those interpreters of what God thinks are basically arguing against each other - who has authority in that case? We're all just arguing our own opinions in any case.

    *Are* you pushing for a theocracy? Would you like to get the constitution amended to remove the separation between church and state?

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  112. Lisa says: One day, Americans will look back on abortion as we now look back on slavery, and Mai's comments might very well show up in some college student's paper to demonstrate how distorted the elitist view really 'was' back in the 21st century.

    I'm sure they won't have to troll through all of these comments for *my* quote. They can point to the two miserable failures of the personhood amendment in Colorado if they need documentation.

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  113. Mai, you have said a lot here. Just got back from Mass, gotta feed the troops, but I promise to be back to address it all. I agree, the debate is getting more and more interesting!

    Thanks!

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  114. Mai said, about the abortion situation at St. Joe's:

    Yes, it is amazingly simple to comprehend. And once I comprehend it, I realize how wrong it is.

    Is it objectively wrong? Or only wrong for this era and nation? And, if it's wrong for you, does it have to be wrong for me? Because of course I think the decision was right.

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  115. Mai asked:

    *Are* you pushing for a theocracy?

    No. I simply want to be able to practice my religion in peace and freedom (Catholic hospitals, too). I would also like to live in a nation where every single human being's life is protected by law (that is the main job of government).

    Would you like to get the constitution amended to remove the separation between church and state?

    This assumes that there is something in the Constitution which talks about "separation of church and state." Could you provide me a reference, and then I will address it.

    (If you are talking about the Establishment Clause, that's about the government not establishing a state religion, as in England. That was written for the protection of all worshippers -- so that they can be free to worship without government interference.)

    Soup's on. Be back soon!

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  116. One last question before I eat: Are you really arguing that immoral laws, bad decisions and evil mores are overturned "quickly" by the people? Is that what you see in history?

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  117. However, this moral dilemma does not translate to abortion because you are talking about PEOPLE.

    Yes, I believe fertilized eggs are the very beginning of a human life. You began as a fertilized egg, Mai. That a new human life begins at conception is a scientific fact.

    But, you have said you don't base all your decisions on science. Here are your words about when I asked about Roe v. Wade not being decided on science:

    What do you think I'm going to say? What do your peers tell you that secular humanists will think of that? I'd really like to know - do you think I will abandon my support for it if it isn't based on "science"? Do you think I think that all of my decisions must be based on "science"? I just can't follow your line of thinking. Help me out.

    Science is not a religion, it is a tool. I do not base all of my moral decisions on science, although it does help. Science is merely one of the tools in rational thought.


    I honestly don't know what I think you are going to say. I haven't heard what the secular argument is. I have heard even some pro-choice people agree that Roe is very bad law, just on the merits. But I don't know what an atheist's answer would be.

    You say that science is merely one of the tools in rational thought. What are the others? I don't know what else an atheist would rely on to make a decision about whether the unborn are human beings.

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  118. One more, and I'm really curious about this: You contend that bad, immoral laws are quickly overturned by the will of the people (who have morally evolved brains). So, if Roe is overturned one day in your lifetime (and many believe it will be, as young people are increasingly pro-life), will you suddenly agree that the unborn are people, too? Won't that be "truth" then?

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  119. Stacy, to follow up on what you said about Catholic adoptions services in Boston:

    In February, the D.C. archdiocese ended its 80-year foster program in the nation's capital because the city's legalization of gay marriage meant that the church couldn't say no to placing foster children with legally married gay couples.

    Wuerl said Catholic social services will minister to everyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or otherwise, but "some things we can't do."

    "We want to be able to work with everybody and to continue to serve as we do, everybody," Wuerl said. "And so when we are asked to redefine marriage, we can't do that. ... If you change that definition and then insist that we now follow a new definition, we're going to be limited. And that is what happened."


    Yes, freedom of religion is becoming more and more limited in America. It is very, very sad.


    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/12/26/wuerl-church-wont-evaluate-militarys-gay-service-policy-marriage-clue/#ixzz19Fv16ad3

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  120. If you are talking about the Establishment Clause, that's about the government not establishing a state religion, as in England. That was written for the protection of all worshippers -- so that they can be free to worship without government interference.

    You are free to worship without government interference. You are free to not have an abortion if you believe that it is immoral. What you are not free to do is break the law based on your beliefs, and you are not free to force others to practice your beliefs, as in the case of the Catholic hospitals forcing the no-abortion rule on patients. The patients have a right to make that decision by themselves.

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  121. One more, and I'm really curious about this: You contend that bad, immoral laws are quickly overturned by the will of the people (who have morally evolved brains). So, if Roe is overturned one day in your lifetime (and many believe it will be, as young people are increasingly pro-life), will you suddenly agree that the unborn are people, too? Won't that be "truth" then?

    First of all, Dred Scott was overturned relatively quickly - that is what we were talking about. Prohibition wasn't quite as quick. And, even though the abolition of slavery was in 1865, it was about 100 years later that we actually had equal rights for blacks in the south. It took a long time for those Jim Crow laws to be overturned.

    And 100 years is also relatively quickly, when you think about how long slavery was tolerated. My only statement is that immoral laws will be overturned by the will of the people. The pace at which this is done depends on the issue and the society.

    Now, as to the possibility that the unborn will be people at some future date, will I agree that they are? I don't know what could possibly make that happen - but certainly it could. It is likely if the definition of person is changed - and then if we change the definition, likely I'll agree. Who knows? If the definition of a person is not changed and it is eventually ratified as you wish it, then likely I'll have to do a lot of soul-searching to see why I thought what I thought in the first place. I might be wrong. I'm not as concerned about being "wrong" as you seem to be. If it happens, and I am wrong now, I expect that a lot of new information will have come to light, and I will likely have changed my mind as well. This is not unreasonable, nor anything to be ashamed of, to a rational person.

    To quote Keynes: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" What do you do, Leila? Do you change your mind if the facts change?

    And, you are correct in saying that sometimes it takes a new generation to overturn an old immorality. The youth of today are much more likely to accept homosexual marriage than the older crowd. I haven't heard that the youth are more pro-life, I'll look into that. Certainly it took a few generations to die out in order to overturn the Jim Crow laws.

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  122. Yes, freedom of religion is becoming more and more limited in America. It is very, very sad.

    As I requested a few posts ago, I think this deserves a post of its own. You call it freedom of religion, I call it discrimination of an entire class of people based on a 2000-year-old text.

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  123. Mai, you said:

    You are free to worship without government interference. You are free to not have an abortion if you believe that it is immoral. What you are not free to do is break the law based on your beliefs, and you are not free to force others to practice your beliefs, as in the case of the Catholic hospitals forcing the no-abortion rule on patients. The patients have a right to make that decision by themselves.

    Mai, I want to be very, very, very clear here, so as not to misrepresent you. Catholics believe abortion to be MURDER. Are you saying that Catholics must be forced by the government to commit what Catholics understand to be MURDER in their own buildings? Or else be forced to close their hospitals?

    Thanks. This is very important.

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  124. Mai, you said:

    Now, as to the possibility that the unborn will be people at some future date, will I agree that they are? I don't know what could possibly make that happen - but certainly it could. It is likely if the definition of person is changed - and then if we change the definition, likely I'll agree. Who knows? If the definition of a person is not changed and it is eventually ratified as you wish it, then likely I'll have to do a lot of soul-searching to see why I thought what I thought in the first place. I might be wrong. I'm not as concerned about being "wrong" as you seem to be.

    This is actually mind-boggling to me. You say that if the unborn "will be" people one day (I would have said, "If we finally recognize that they have been persons all along, since they don't change"), then you might have to reevaluate. But right now, you are not concerned about being "wrong."

    ??? Can you even imagine why this would be alarming for someone to hear?

    You are saying, in all honesty I believe, that people are only people if we decide that they are by a vote. And one day, if enough people want to "vote" the unborn into the human family, you may evaluate whether or not you were wrong before to exclude them!

    First, no one's humanity is dependent on another person's vote or opinion (Dred Scott, Nazis should make that clear). Second, if there is a chance that the unborn are objectively human beings, then we must err on the side of life or else we are standing by as the murder of these little people goes on and on!

    How is it that you cannot see that life is not defined by a vote?

    I am truly, utterly baffled. You really seem to think that the unborn are not people because the courts said they aren't. But if the courts one day change that opinion, then you are willing to consider that the unborn might then suddenly become persons? I truly, truly, truly don't get it.

    Unless I am misunderstanding you.

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  125. Mai, you asked:

    Do you change your mind if the facts change?

    Absolutely, I follow the facts where they lead. Facts = truth. That is why I became fully Catholic at age 27 instead of leaving the Church as I planned. I did a U-turn.

    What fact has changed that you think I am missing? I will consider it.

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  126. And, you are correct in saying that sometimes it takes a new generation to overturn an old immorality.

    Yes, very true. And conversely, sometimes it takes a new generation to overturn an old morality. Do you agree?

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  127. Late to the party here -- came down with a monstrous cold today. Ick.

    Tony, you never answered my question. Was it morally permissible, in your view, for Catholic doctors to kill Jews, who were not legally persons, in 1940s Germany?

    Also, as Leila pointed out, one can only invoke Godwin's Law if the Nazi analogy. Isn't applicable. In this case, I'm not discussing Nazis. I'm asking if it is moral for doctors to kill those who aren't legally human beings, as Jews weren't during Hitler's regime.

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  128. Also, Tony, have you ever read the Wiki page about Godwin's Law? Here's a pertinent quote: 

    "However, Godwin's law itself can be abused, as a distraction, diversion or even censorship, that fallaciously miscasts an opponent's argument as hyperbole, especially if the comparisons made by the argument are actually appropriate."

    Then there's the lesser known Anderson's Law, which I believe has already been invoked on this thread (but if not, it will soon).

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  129. Leila says, Are you saying that Catholics must be forced by the government to commit what Catholics understand to be MURDER in their own buildings?

    Actually, through all this banter, this is a very good question. The link I provided upthread (long long ago it seems) showed evidence that Catholic doctrine, while always finding abortion wrong, did not consider it homicide until recently. In the past (and maybe now even, I'm not an authority of the arcane details of Catholicism), one could perform an abortion then confess it away. Done and done. The Catholic hospitals are left in a serious conflict with abortion to save the mother's life. 99.99% of the time they have time to transfer the sick patient to a facility that performs abortions and the situation is resolved. The fact is that nobody would have really let a pregnant pulmonary hypertension patient die if she consented to an abortion. The Bishop can come out now and act aghast that such a thing was done, but it's done all the time and he knows the procedure: get the patient out of MY hospital.

    In the St Joe case, the docs found themselves in a sh*tstorm and resolved it the only way they could. If they had let that woman die, the hospital and the doctors would have been hit with a massive lawsuit for wrongful death and the surviving spouse and kids would have collected a wheelbarrow full of money. The Bishop knows this and is trying to save face with the nominal Catholics, and more importantly, his superiors in the hierarchy. Maybe that sounds cynical, but I'm convinced that all such power structures exist only to maintain their power.

    I would have loved to hear that deposition had the woman died. Plaintiff's atty: "Why did you not offer an indicted termination of pregnancy, Doctor Haberdasher?" Dr Haberdasher: "The Bishop and the Nun wouldn't let me." Hospital atty [removing his checkbook from the drawer]: "Um, do you want that check made out to the deceased's family's trust, or just cash?" The Hospital atty then leaves to prepare for the site inspection from JCAHO that is investigating a wrongful death on the premises.

    So, the short answer is, No, Catholic hospitals are not forced to "murder" fetuses. They can do whatever they want. But, we live in a multicultural society where abortion is legal, and sometimes medically necessary. Patients come to the hospital expecting and deserving certain standards, and one of those expectations is not to be denied standard medical care because of the Bishop's opinion. What if that woman were a pro-choice Methodist and had been brought to St Joe's by ambulance? She dies because of the whim of an ambulance driver? If Catholic hospitals do not want to adhere to medical standards, certain costs-- legal, moral and monetary-- will be incurred.

    JoAnna, that question is ludicrous, and I'm not sure I know why you are asking it. Do you want me to say "yes it's okay to kill Jews" to confirm that I'm unreasonable? Do you think that if I say "No it's not okay to kill Jews", I'm in moral conflict with my position on abortion? Please tell me what your point is.

    And if this isn't an example of Godwin's Rule, I don't know what would be. 1940's Germany... killing Jews... hmmmm. Yup, nothing to do with Nazis there.

    Civil laws often conflict with one's personal moral code or that prescribed by a church authority. That's the nature of living in a multi-cultural community. We each must weigh the consequences of our actions in relation to those laws and decide if it's worth making a moral stand versus acquiescing when these moral codes are in conflict.

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  130. Tony, whether or not it was considered "murder" in the past, it is considered murder now. And, it was always considered a grave sin in the past, as in the present. No Catholic is permitted to take the life of an unborn child, then or now.

    The Bishop knows this and is trying to save face with the nominal Catholics, and more importantly, his superiors in the hierarchy. Maybe that sounds cynical, but I'm convinced that all such power structures exist only to maintain their power.

    This is just bizarre. You clearly do not know Bishop Olmsted. I will leave it at that, and you can go about your uninformed speculations.

    If you are actually interested in the full story, you can hear the 30 minute radio interview with Bishop Olmsted (and my own parish priest, Fr. John Ehrich, who is the medical ethicist in our diocese). Here it is:

    http://thebishopshour.org/2010/12/23/the-bishop-the-hospital-and-the-diocese-of-phoenix/

    And if this isn't an example of Godwin's Rule, I don't know what would be. 1940's Germany... killing Jews... hmmmm. Yup, nothing to do with Nazis there.

    You are utterly missing the point. We believe that the unborn are being killed because the law says they are not human. The Jews were killed for the same reason. How is that an example of Godwin's Rule? We are comparing apples (humans denied the right to life) to apples (humans denied the right to life).

    As I said before, if JoAnna had said that Republicans were Nazis because Republicans favored welfare reform, then you would be correct to invoke Godwin's Rule.

    JoAnna, I love Anderson's Law!!! I see it all the time!! :)

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  131. Civil laws often conflict with one's personal moral code or that prescribed by a church authority. That's the nature of living in a multi-cultural community. We each must weigh the consequences of our actions in relation to those laws and decide if it's worth making a moral stand versus acquiescing when these moral codes are in conflict.

    It's always worth making a moral stand. We never have permission to sin, even to bring about a good (the ends don't justify the means). Taking a moral stand in opposition to the surrounding culture is not something that should be foreign to Catholics. If it is, they are just a little bit too comfortable, and/or have forgotten what it means to be a Christian.

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  132. I think we are speaking past each other and will have to agree to disagree about abortion.

    From the show you linked:

    Interviewer: "Did anyone (of you) talk to the mother in this case, by the way?"

    Ethicist: "No. We have to rely on the testimony from the people who participated in her care."

    Is it odd to you that the patient has refused to talk to the Bishop? It's rare that a patient refuses an ethics committee hearing. I've never seen it before.

    Or worse, the Bishop has not even contacted the patient. (I'm giving the Bishop the benefit of the doubt that eh at least made an effort to hear her side of it.)

    With this level of mistrust, how can the Catholic diocese run a hospital?

    Later...

    Bishop Olmsted: "...they would have had to contact a higher authority... and the ultimate authority for that [the abortion decision] is the Bishop's office."

    Um, no. The "ultimate authority" in this case is the patient. I suppose a patient can ask the Bishop's opinion; this one did not.

    They said repeatedly that they did not know the facts of the case and that they were skeptical that the facts were conveyed to them accurately by the board. Is this a healthy environment for a ruling entity to run a hospital?

    This corroborates my assertion that the Church has become irrelevant regarding the standards in which women are informed in our medical system, as evidence by the fact that this patient did not trust the hierarchy even after the fact to honor her choices or even respect them, and the diocese does not trust the hospital board to be truthful with them. This is not a good way to run a hospital that caters to a broad swath of our culture.

    The Bishop repeated the same phraseology as before that "Catholic hospitals (plural) have not been following Catholic teaching", what he calls "cooperation with evil." This is apparently a long standing problem that he has neglected in Phoenix. He did not know that birth control was being prescribed... over 20 years? This tells me he was not that interested in having the hospitals follow the Church's coda; he looked the other way as long as he could.

    The reason that this last issue is important is because these hospitals have sent the message to the community by their actions that they are really mainstream hospitals with full service, and they hire physicians who respect women's choice over Catholic doctrine. This has been the message by their provision of birth control, IUD's, etc. So when this woman went to St Joe's she could not be expected to realize that "this time is different" and that her life would be put in jeopardy now by an arbitrary adherence to Catholic doctrine in this instance, after 2 decades of cutting corners. Granted, this may be a nuanced observation, but I honestly believe that most health care customers-- even many Catholics-- have no idea what the Catholic Church teaches on these dicey issues and should not be held to a Bishop's esoteric interpretation of morality, especially to the point that she might die.

    The bottom line is that abortion is legal, and therefore it will be expected to be offered as an option. This expectation comes from patients and courts. The real question is, How do you intend to make it illegal?

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  133. Leila. I have been saying this for months on this blog. I am answering you honestly about how I perceive "truth". I don't believe in absolute truths. In fact, and I have said this before, I leave myself open that new facts could emerge and I could eventually believe in God. It is farfetched at this point, but I must be open to it. Similarly, the facts at this point, and the human rights issues, clearly point to abortion being moral, and the fertilized egg not being a person. Until I see better evidence, then I will stick with that opinion. But as a rational human being, I leave it open that that could change.

    Also - people who absolutely cannot change their minds about anything, like YOU, are very scary to me. They are the kinds of persons who blow up buildings when laws change against their wishes. If the people who were against biracial marriage didn't eventually change their minds after the law changed, we would have a terrible society right now (some haven't, actually, but they are dying out).

    You are amazing. You utterly question my possibility of changing my mind, and then you say, "Of course I changed *my* mind!" When you found the truth that tells you that you can never change your mind any more. I can't argue this thread with you any more. This used to be entertaining, now it is just sad.

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  134. You might want to look into this book, Leila:

    http://www.mistakesweremadebutnotbyme.com/

    a few quotes:

    "own up and let go of the need to be right, and learn from the times we are wrong—so that we don't keep making the same mistakes over and over again."

    and

    A great nation is like a great man:
    When he makes a mistake, he realizes it.
    Having realized it, he admits it.
    Having admitted it, he corrects it.
    He considers those who point out his faults
    as his most benevolent teachers.

    From Tao Te Ching (from the same page)

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  135. Tony, I don't know if Bishop Olmsted is even aware of who the mother in this case is. I was under the impression that all identifying details were omitted due to HIPPA regulations. Am I incorrect? If so, can you point me to a source that confirms that the patient in question "refused" to speak to the Bishop?

    JoAnna, that question is ludicrous, and I'm not sure I know why you are asking it. Do you want me to say "yes it's okay to kill Jews" to confirm that I'm unreasonable? Do you think that if I say "No it's not okay to kill Jews", I'm in moral conflict with my position on abortion? Please tell me what your point is.

    I want you to give me an honest answer, Tony.

    You believe that Catholic doctors, against their consciences, should kill human beings merely because civil law does not consider them to be human beings.

    I am asking if you feel the same away about Catholic doctors who killed Jews during Hitler's regime in Germany. Jews were also not considered human beings by civil law at that time.

    If you do believe that doctors should act against their consciences and kill human beings as long as civil law does not consider them such, then logically it follows that you consider the murder of Jews during Hitler's regime to be acceptable.

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  136. JoAnna says, "You believe that Catholic doctors, against their consciences, should kill human beings merely because civil law does not consider them to be human beings."

    When did I say this?

    Answer: Never.

    This truly is one of the problems with arguing this issue: both sides try to dumb it down to a sound bite. If you want to have a discussion, then please don't mischaracterize what I say.

    I am asking if you feel the same away about Catholic doctors who killed Jews during Hitler's regime in Germany. Jews were also not considered human beings by civil law at that time.

    Catholic doctors who killed Jews during Hitler's time were wrong... by my standards. We all answer to our own authority. Nazi Germany was an extreme example but if you think that the US today is just as extreme, then I would say that you have some fighting to do.

    My question, in my last comment, and multiple times is, "How do YOU plan to reduce the abortion rate in the USA in 2011?" This is not a rhetorical question, this is the pertinent question of the day. If you really think abortion is murder on a scale with Nazi Germany, then what the hell are you doing banging on a keyboard in your living room?

    I realize that people who call the other side "pro-aborts" are not interested in pursuing a rational discussion, or a workable solution. I realize that you think that you are right and anyone who disagrees with you is wrong. So be it.

    As for the Bishop; he maintains an exalted position is the faith community to which he belongs. He claims "ultimate authority" over the ethical practice within his medical institutions. Yet, this "ultimate authority" cannot or will not even learn the facts of a significant case that occurred in his very hospital, under his "ultimate authority". Either he's lazy, or his faithful have no faith in his "ultimate authority." Which is worse?

    Add to that, these institutions have been skirting the arcane dogma of the Catholic Church in regards to woman's health... not for months, not even for years... for decades. If this isn't a sign that the Bishop is irrelevant, I don't know what is.

    And if the Bishop, the "ultimate authority", is not deciding which ethical system is being instituted, then who is?

    Has St Joe been operating without any ethical compass? This could be even more serious than first thought [snark].

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  137. Mai, you certainly don't need to be afraid of me. Remember, you are talking to a Catholic who believes in the truth of Christ. That means, I love my enemy, I turn the other cheek, and I don't live by the sword. In fact, violence and murder are mortal sins.... so I would go to Hell, according to my religion. The Catholic martyrs often forgave their executioners at the time of death. So, can you elaborate why a devout Catholic would be scary? I'm really very interested.

    Now, if you want to be scared of some devout folks of certain other religions, then I don't blame you. I am scared of them, too, and I'm half-Arab!

    As to truth. I have said before that if it becomes clear that Christ did not rise from the dead, and/or if the Catholic Church reverses a doctrinal truth, I will leave the Church, because I will know that it is not true. I've done enough research and study to satisfy me that I do have the truth, so I am comfortable. Nothing I have experienced or read in the past 16 years has contradicted what I know to be true.

    Sorry I didn't make that more clear, but I have said it before.

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  138. Tony, I don't have time right now to answer, but I will clarify for you: The diocese did not "run" the hospital. The Sisters of Mercy do. They are not part of the diocese, but any Catholic entity which operates in a particular diocese does so at the invitation of the local bishop (who has final say and has jurisdiction over the use of "Catholic"). But the Bishop was not running the hospital, nor was the diocese. He has a heck of a lot of other things to run, and couldn't micromanage the hospital. That's why it's so slimy that the hospital could not be trusted to be honest for all those years.

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  139. Mai, if it ever becomes clear to me that it is okay to directly kill an innocent person, then you might be afraid of me. But remember... my religion teaches that it is gravely sinful to directly kill an innocent. So, both you and unborn children and the disabled and the elderly are safe. In fact, we fight to protect the right to life of everyone, from conception to death.

    Some might say that the ones to fear are those who don't believe in the sanctity and inviolability of all human life.

    Can you help me feel less afraid of you? ;)

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  140. Good, Tony, I'm glad you see my point at last. I'm glad you agree that it would be wrong to require that doctors kill those they consider to be human beings despite civil law designations.

    My question, in my last comment, and multiple times is, "How do YOU plan to reduce the abortion rate in the USA in 2011?" This is not a rhetorical question, this is the pertinent question of the day. If you really think abortion is murder on a scale with Nazi Germany, then what the hell are you doing banging on a keyboard in your living room?

    This assumes that "banging on a keyboard in my living room" does not help the situation at all. The written word is a powerful tool in changing hearts and minds. I became both Catholic and pro-life in large part due due to various online debates and discussions. I also make my opinions known to my elected officials on a constant basis and encourage them to support pro-life legislation, including help for women in crisis pregnancies, and when I can I participate in prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics. (Besides, today I'm home sick with a horrendous cold; normally I'd be at work.)

    Beyond that, Tony, I donate to various pro-life charities and also participate as a prayer warrior. I'm always ready to direct women in crisis pregnancies to places where they can get help with rent, groceries, supplies, etc.

    Once I'm in a place in my life where I can contribute more on the front lines, I will, but right now I work full-time outside of the home and have three small children and I have to make my family my priority. There isn't time for much else, unfortunately.

    Yet, this "ultimate authority" cannot or will not even learn the facts of a significant case that occurred in his very hospital, under his "ultimate authority".

    What is your proof of this?

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  141. Mai, I can't step away from this.... The idea that atheists are afraid of devout Catholics is fascinating to me, and I want to know more. Were you afraid of Mother Teresa? What if St. Francis of Assisi lived in our era? You may not know many devout Catholics, but tell me more about how you have felt threatened by them. I honestly want to put your fears to rest. I may post on this, so any additional clarifying comments you want to give would be most appreciated. Thanks!

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  142. Good, Tony, I'm glad you see my point at last. I'm glad you agree that it would be wrong to require that doctors kill those they consider to be human beings despite civil law designations.

    I can't tell if you're just yanking my chain or if you're really that simple. Who "required" anybody to "kill"? Where? Why are you insisting that someone "required" someone to "kill".

    Yet, this "ultimate authority" cannot or will not even learn the facts of a significant case that occurred in his very hospital, under his "ultimate authority".

    What is your proof of this?


    My proof is the radio interview to which Leila linked. The Bishop and the two other individuals admitted that they had not spoken to the woman involved, and do not know the facts of the case. The Bishop is admitting that he is irrelevant.

    Leila, when and if the day comes when you become "ultimate authority" on ethics at a health care institution, are you going to allow your ethical standards to be compromised on your watch... for decades? This puts in question the entire ethical operation in Arizona...

    ... if I were Catholic I would ask why the Bishop has allowed such "authority" to be circumvented. It doesn't sound very "ultimate" to me. It sounds like a charade.

    Or not. I honestly don't care because I realize that the doctors and the ethics committee did the right thing in this case. The system works.

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  143. Tony, you said, "if I were a Catholic..." Well, I am a Catholic, and I know that the Bishop, who has been here for seven years (not decades) did not assume that the Sisters of Mercy (whom he does not rule over or control) and their people were lying and sneaking their way around Catholic teaching. He was lied to, and when he found out, he did exactly what he should have done. So, "as a Catholic" I am satisfied. I love the Bishop, and I am disgusted with the Sisters of Mercy and St. Joe's. Shame on them for their sin (lying, cheating, sneaking, lack of integrity) for 26 years. The bishop is blameless in this.

    And please be sure that you are clear about a bishop's role. His role is not to run a hospital, or to make medical decisions. His role is to "teach, sanctify and govern" --

    To "teach, sanctify and govern"[9] means that he must (1) oversee preaching of the Gospel and Catholic education in all its forms; (2) oversee and provide for the administration of the sacraments; and (3) legislate, administer and act as judge for canon-law matters within his diocese.

    He did his job. The hospital was using the name "Catholic" to keep an image, and all the while breaking trust. That is a shame on them, not the bishop.

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  144. Tony, you never answered my question:

    But here's my question: To "throw someone under the bus" means to sacrifice someone for personal gain.... How was sister sacrificed? What did Bishop Olmsted gain?

    And, on the one hand you "admire their fortitude to stand up for what they believe" while on the other hand you accuse Olmsted of throwing sister under the bus. Which is it?

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  145. Leila asks: But remember... my religion teaches that it is gravely sinful to directly kill an innocent. So, both you and unborn children and the disabled and the elderly are safe. In fact, we fight to protect the right to life of everyone, from conception to death.

    From this whole comment thread, it becomes clear to me that if I were pregnant, and I sought medical care from a hospital that labeled itself Catholic, a devout catholic would be happy to have both me and my fetus die instead of giving me the choice to decide if both of our lives are worth losing or mine is worth saving.

    It also scares me that a devout catholic pharmacist thinks he can decide if a woman deserves to get birth control pills or not.

    If I were a lesbian and wanted to check in at a hotel where a devout catholic was the desk clerk, that devout catholic would scare me if she refused to check me into the hotel on the grounds that she doesn't think homosexuals should practice their sexual preference.

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  146. But here's my question: To "throw someone under the bus" means to sacrifice someone for personal gain.... How was sister sacrificed? What did Bishop Olmsted gain?

    And, on the one hand you "admire their fortitude to stand up for what they believe" while on the other hand you accuse Olmsted of throwing sister under the bus. Which is it?


    Thanks for bringing this up again because this issue informs my belief about Catholicism to a large degree.

    I do respect the Catholic view of abortion... in principle. Nobody I know see abortion as the ideal way to end a pregnancy, although I suppose some may view it as less negative than others. I fully understand that. Nobody I know is "pro-abortion".

    What did the Bishop gain? His power. Can you imagine what went through this guys mind when he awoke to learn that an abortion had occurred in a Catholic hospital? I can't, but my guess is that he saw his mission as being severely damaged; the flock would be asking questions of him, the hierarchy would be asking questions of him. What tack would he take to preserve what is left of his "ultimate authority"?

    Answer: It's the nun's fault. She should have known. It's not MY fault.

    What happens when the hierarchy decides that Olmsted is not alert enough, not a good leader? Maybe he gets transferred to work as a parish priest in Sitka, Alaska. No more tee-times at the Biltmore, no more trips to the Vatican, no more lunches with the ArchBishop. Of course, I'm bing facetious, but I'll just say that actors in hierarchies work to maintain their position within that hierarchy. Human nature.

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  147. Mai says "... if I were pregnant, and I sought medical care from a hospital that labeled itself Catholic, a devout catholic would be happy to have both me and my fetus die instead of giving me the choice to decide if both of our lives are worth losing or mine is worth saving."

    True. But I would be quick to add that while individuals may not respect your life, there is enough redundancy set up in our civil system that such a travesty would not occur.

    I know a dozen doctors who are practicing Catholics and not one of them would have allowed that woman to die. (Or at least I'm pretty sure of it, you just never know how wacky some seemingly sane people are.) As Leila has said, Catholic hospitals employ and privilege Hindus, Methodists and atheists by the boatload, and the ethics committees are secular in nature, respecting the multi-culturalism of our society.

    The good news is that while hospitals can be nominally Catholic, in practice the "Catholic" part is increasingly irrelevant.

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  148. The bishop is blameless in this.

    And please be sure that you are clear about a bishop's role. His role is not to run a hospital, or to make medical decisions. His role is to "teach, sanctify and govern" --

    To "teach, sanctify and govern"[9] means that he must (1) oversee preaching of the Gospel and Catholic education in all its forms; (2) oversee and provide for the administration of the sacraments; and (3) legislate, administer and act as judge for canon-law matters within his diocese.

    He did his job. The hospital was using the name "Catholic" to keep an image, and all the while breaking trust. That is a shame on them, not the bishop.


    I'm sure the Bishop is heartened that you'e satisfied. We'll see if his superiors have been likewise.

    from Webster's Govern: to exercise continuous sovereign authority over; especially : to control and direct the making and administration of policy.

    I'm not an expert on Church government, but certainly one opinion could be that the Bishop had failed in his governance on ethical issues.

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  149. Tony, your image of Bishop Olmsted would make for a good TV character, but I know Bishop Olmsted and you don't. You are so far off base as to who the man is, I don't even know where to start.

    Power? Fear of being transferred? Fear of being questioned by his flock? And the Pope? Oh, my. First, if someone like Mahoney in L.A. can stay "in power" for decades, then no one need "fear" being transferred anywhere. A good percentage of the US Bishops are not fully orthodox, and they stay firmly in place, sadly. Would that the hierarchy were as strong and powerful as you describe, ha ha!

    When the bishop discovered that a Catholic hospital had performed an abortion, he reacted the way that he is called to react (and the way I would have reacted, too). All the leaks came from the St. Joe's side. The bishop did his job in complete confidentiality, so as not to embarrass the nun or the hospital.

    Why, then, would the other side "leak" the news? Because they knew just how it would play out in the news (it was predictable). Most Phoenix Catholics, like most Catholics in America, don't know their faith well enough to evaluate the situation or the bishop's actions fairly. The bishop had nothing to gain from "the flock" by doing this, knowing it would be misunderstood and unpopular.

    And, considering the fact that most bishops have Catholic-in-name-only hospitals and universities in their diocese (often many per diocese) and the Pope is not out there sending bishops to Siberia, then how can you say that one of the best bishops in the nation was worried about his position? Gimme a break. His position is very secure, and so are the dissenting bishops' positions (the ones who not only look the other way, but aren't even bothered by birth control, sterilization and abortions going on in the "Catholic" hospitals in their diocese.

    Sorry, none of what you posit about Bishop Olmsted makes sense in light of the situation of Catholicism in America.

    But, I can't change your mind about who you think he is. We will let the readers decide.

    (I hope you stop by today's post on conscience and give a response.)

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  150. I'm sure the Bishop is heartened that you'e satisfied. We'll see if his superiors have been likewise

    His "superior" is the Pope. I assure you, the Pope is very pleased with Bishop Olmsted and always has been.

    I think you tend to think of the Church as some kind of multi-national corporation. It's not a corporation. Your misunderstandings of Catholicism and its "power structure" are common, but completely misguided.

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  151. http://catholicphoenix.com/2010/12/26/where’s-the-beef-local-restaurant-dispute-threatens-to-ignite-national-debate-over-freedom-of-fare/

    You may (or may not) enjoy this. :)

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  152. When McDonald’s tasked Henderschott with investigating the tofu sighting, he quickly ordered an undercover quality-control team to Phoenix. “When our secret shopper confirmed that this franchisee was in fact serving a tofu burger, as well as numerous other beef-imitation soy products,” explained Henderschott, “we had no choice but to intervene.” So, in May 2010, McDonald’s wrote a letter to Sunizona threatening to cancel the companies’ franchise and license agreements within 30 days, unless the offending tofu was banished immediately."

    Now that's governance. I'll guarantee that Sunizona, LLC will not be operating as a McDonald's and serving tofu 7 or 20 years hence. If I were a Catholic I would at least want to see Bishop Olmsted's cease and desist letter to St Joe's and Chandler... otherwise, why the heck are you supporting this governing hierarchy?

    McDonalds protects its band better than the Catholic Church does.

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  153. Of course the McDonald's thing was satire, meant to parallel what happened with the Bishop and St. Joe's. As soon as the Bishop was made aware of the lies and immoral actions of St. Joe's, he did send the letter, gave a deadline for compliance, then revoked the Catholic status of the hospital. The letter was leaked by CHW, published by the media, and that's what started the media frenzy.

    So, I'm glad that you are happy with how the Bishop governed. (And, I am sorry that the bishop is not omniscient, as you wish him to be.)

    Olmsted's actually one of the few bishops in America who does act with courage and swiftness when "Catholic" institutions betray their mission. The US bishops as a whole are not generally admired for their courage in that regard, in case you didn't know. The lay faithful have been praying for years for them to get a backbone.

    That's why faithful American Catholics (few though we be!) love Bishops such as Olmsted, Chaput and Wall (my former pastor, and youngest bishop in America).

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  154. In the earlier post about "what do you want to talk about", I said that I wanted to talk about this:

    "The role of the pope as the head of state, plus the Vatican as the authority over local bishops. The fact that the pope made managerial-like decisions for bishops in the US but when US lawyers are trying to sue the Vatican for making these decisions for US bishops, the Vatican says they're not really their managers. I don't get that, and I would love to explore that."

    It is interesting that Leila now says this:

    His "superior" is the Pope. I assure you, the Pope is very pleased with Bishop Olmsted and always has been.

    Is the Pope his superior, or is he not? We seem to have conflicting opinions here.

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  155. No, Mai, we don't have conflicting opinions here. You have a misunderstanding that the Church is like a corporation. I don't have that misunderstanding.

    There is nothing more frustrating than to hear someone who is totally ignorant about how the Church works speak smugly about her own ignorance.

    Let me direct you to some sources so that you can inform yourself before continuing the conversation. Back soon with those....

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  156. Touche. The satire was lost on me... maybe because it was so believable. The Catholic brand has been degraded to a point far past what any company would endure.

    I'm not Catholic and have no association with Catholic medical organizations. The satirical story does point the operative question: "What did he know and when did he know it."

    You're satisfied, and that really is all that counts. You're satisfied that thousands of "little babies have been murdered" with IUD's and morning-after pills as the Bishop sat as the titular "ultimate authority" and governor. Odd. You can fantasize that he had no knowledge, but I would call that naive.

    If that woman had died at St Joe against the her will and that of her family, then the medical and legal community would have had a major problem with the ethics of that institution, and I daresay it would have huge legal battle on its hands. The institution would have closed long before thousands had been treated thusly over years and decades. Personally I would not have been as satisfied had civil governance failed to that degree.

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  157. Mai, try these links for education on what really happened in the cases you read about in the NYTimes (if indeed you actually care to get the real story):

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/cardinal/

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/evil_monster_update_the_inside_story/

    http://www.catholicanchor.org/wordpress/?p=601

    And as to the CEO/Corporation myth:

    http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2006/0602fea1.asp

    Happy reading!

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  158. Tony, if you think that the Bishop is so magically powerful that he should be able to sniff out and crush all sin and deception in his jurisdiction, then you totally misunderstand sin, human nature, and the role and scope of the bishop.

    The Sisters of Mercy should have kept their own house in order, and CHW as well. Sad that he even had to be involved with this case.

    If you think you would have done a better job of policing all things, then fair enough. I tend to doubt it, but maybe you have mad skills and preternatural senses.

    Yes, I am satisfied. I am used to Catholic hospitals and universities skirting Catholic truths and being embarrassed by Catholic teaching. That is not news to me, or to the Bishop. If it's found out that an institution calling itself "Catholic" is in fact, NOT Catholic, then, after a conversation and warning, the Bishop may say, "Sorry, you cannot call yourself Catholic anymore."

    It's so bizarre that you want so much more from the Church than what would be normally expected. Maybe you think the Church is something that it's not? I'm just not sure why your expectations are so high, or what you think could have been done differently.

    Perhaps you simply have a very high opinion of human nature. By contrast, we Catholics are very familiar with sin and the tendency to sin (concupiscence), so sin (even rampant sin) does not surprise us. We expect it. And if we are the bishop, we do our best to correct those who are wayward, but we cannot force their hand. Free will is a gift that even God does not touch.

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  159. Mai, quick question: Would you allow someone to do something immoral under your roof?

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  160. Leila: Mai, quick question: Would you allow someone to do something immoral under your roof?

    Are you referring to my comment where I talked about the three different ways you scare me? Are you implying that the Walgreens down the street is the pharmacist's own roof? Or that the corporate hotel that employs the clerk does not actually own the roof where the clerk would deny service?

    You'll have to give examples about what you mean here. Certainly I wouldn't allow rape under my own roof, but it wouldn't be allowed anywhere in the country.

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  161. This is becoming entertaining again. There is nothing more frustrating than to hear someone who is totally ignorant about how the Church works speak smugly about her own ignorance.

    And you provide me nothing but a list of pro-Catholic links. Does anyone outside the Catholic church (orthodox bubble) think as you do?

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  162. Leila wrote: "Tony, if you think that the Bishop is so magically powerful that he should be able to sniff out and crush all sin and deception in his jurisdiction, then you totally misunderstand sin, human nature, and the role and scope of the bishop."

    Ditto that. There is no such thing as an informed and faithful Catholic who believes Bishop Olmsted knew this was going on before he said he knew...because we know his character. It has become manifest to us in more ways than one. It seems to me that the people who defend immorality want to believe there really is no such thing as morality. They tried for years to disprove God. Now they want to 'disprove' morality. It's reminiscent of Joy Behar's view that the saints were mentally ill. They can't accept that we actually believe and live these things in our daily lives...unless we are mentally ill. The political Left is full of people like this. See Melanie Phillips' recent remarks on how she has remained the same person, but the Left has continually changed their characterization of her over the years. They will use the same attacks for a few years then switch to something else. Wait and see, when the Apostolic Visitation of Women's Religious Institutes report comes out from Mother Mary Clare, the Left will start a massive campaign demonizing faithful nuns.

    Leila, regarding your question to Mai, I'll be interested to see her response, but at the same time, if she defines what is 'moral' and what is not 'moral' anyway, of course she can honestly say she won't allow anything 'immoral' but allow things that are objectively immoral anyway.

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  163. I can see why Leila thinks that the New York Times is not a good place to get information on Catholic issues. The media and the courts are all controlled by the Jews. As evidenced by cables from Wikileaks:

    It cited “an older desk officer of French origin” who complained that the United States government’s “strong interest in modern European anti-Semitism stemmed from the ‘excessive influence of Jews in your media and government,’ ” while another curial official said some lawsuits against the Holy See “were the result of ‘Jewish judges having too much influence.’ ”

    from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/world/europe/11vatican.html

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  164. Tony, you believe that Catholic doctors should perform abortions in hospitals if necessary. Is that not correct?

    Also, I asked for proof that the woman in question refused to speak to the Bishop. Bishop Olmsted does not have all the facts because they have not been made available to him under HIPAA laws. He does not know the patient's name, so far as I am aware. He may not even know all of the relevant details of the situation, again due to privacy laws. He knows all the facts he is legally entitled to.

    Mai, it makes me sad that you think any Catholic would be "happy" to see you die. A situation such as this is never a happy one for anyone. Doing the right thing is not always fun or easy, or happy. Sometimes doing the right thing is the hardest decision you've ever made. But Catholic moral law, and the Bible, state that we can never do evil so that good may result. Intentional killing of an innocent human being is always evil, regardless of the circumstances. That's Catholic teaching. If St. Joe's chooses not to abide by that teaching, that's their prerogative -- but it is NOT their prerogative to call themselves Catholic if they choose to use evil means towards a good end. That is Bishop Olmsted's call.

    Mai - your NYT article amused me. Desk jockeys at the Vatican are not spokesmen for Catholicism or the Pope. The media, especially the NYT, is all to prone to treat anyone who works at "the Vatican" as an official source or spokesperson, and that's simply bizarre. It'd be like someone from France using an e-mail from me in a news story and attributing the source to the Arizona government.

    If you want to see anti-Semitism, you should check out Martin Luther's "On the Jews and Their Lies." I first read excerpts in my college "History of the Holocaust" course and, as a Lutheran at the time, I was absolutely shocked that I'd never known of his beliefs before.

    Are there anti-Semitic Catholics? Yup. Do some of them work at the Vatican? Probably. Once again, we are not shocked that sin exists, and the last time I checked the Vatican or those who work there aren't immune to sin. Second verse, same as the first.

    As for WikiLeaks, given the founder's recent peccadilloes, I have to wonder how reliable his sources are, and/or how many of these documents are forged or fabricated.

    Also, Leila and Elisabeth (I think), I meant to reply to this one point earlier but I forgot. It seems to me that early induction of labor with the intent to expel the placenta (but not with the intent to kill the child, even though s/he is too premature to survive) would be very similar as removing the fallopian tube in an ectopic pregnancy, and thus morally acceptable under the principle of double effect. The article I linked above suggested as much. Is this incorrect?

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  165. Mai, this is so interesting. You cry foul because I link to Catholic sources which provide and explain facts of the case by players in the case that the New York Times and other secular sources DELIBERATELY LEFT OUT.

    How interested in truth are you?

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  166. JoAnna, it's a great question.... I am surmising that if the placenta is the source of the pathology, then premature induction of labor could be moral, in order to remove the pathology. I would need to know more about the medical condition. No doubt, the moral theologians are already working on this. You could be right....

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  167. Leila, regarding your question to Mai, I'll be interested to see her response, but at the same time, if she defines what is 'moral' and what is not 'moral' anyway, of course she can honestly say she won't allow anything 'immoral' but allow things that are objectively immoral anyway.

    Lisa, good point. It was not a logical question for me to ask.

    Mai, I don't know of a clerk at a hotel who will not give someone a room key. But if an owner of a bed and breakfast won't house a homosexual couple, or a fornicating straight couple, then atheists like you want to sue them or put them out of business.... Am I wrong?

    Same with a family-owned pharmacy. If a pharmacy owner does not want to sell abortifacient drugs in his store, you want to sue him or shut him down, no?

    So, who should be scared here? The people who risk losing their livelihood for practicing their faith, or an atheist who can find another place to vacation or find abortifacient drugs elsewhere?

    There are many Christians who are afraid of losing their jobs because of their faith. It really is sickening, and no matter your belief system, it should outrage you as an American. Sadly, I see that it doesn't.

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  168. I'm sorry, but in cases like this, I really just disagree with the principle of double effect. Maybe I understand it less than I think I do, but it really just seems like an arbitrary way to defend performing a life-saving abortion.

    JoAnna, you said : Mrs. M, it's comparable to the difference between shooting someone in self-defense and shooting someone for the insurance money.
    But from what I've read today (did my research before commenting, or at least tried to) regarding the morally licit ways to end a pregnancy (ectopic, for example), it only falls under the principle of double effect if the action itself is good (i.e. removing the fallopian tube instead of removing the fetus). I don't see how shooting a man in self defense can be morally permissible if the action itself is bad (killing a man).

    Although, even with this information, I am still sitting here scratching my head trying to think of a legitimate difference between removing the fallopian tube growing a human fetus and removing the fetus itself (except for the fact that removing only the fetus allows for future fertility!), as both will 100% definitely result in a dead fetus. It just seems arbitrary.

    I hope you can see that in this case, it seems to me that you are purposefully "mutilating" (your words not mine) a human organ and killing a human fetus instead of just killing the human fetus.

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  169. So curious, Mai. Do you think the New York Times is a fair place to get news about Catholicism?

    Also, since Orthodox Jews hold the same views on sex and abortion and marriage that orthodox Catholics do, does that make you anti-semetic, since you are afraid of people like them/us? Just curious how that works.

    Thanks!

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  170. Mai, sorry, still can't get over that providing actual facts that the NYT left out is somehow not kosher. Can you tell me which facts from the "Catholic sources" are not relevant? And can you think of any reason why the NYT would not attempt to contact the actual players or use actual documents from the case?

    Thanks!

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  171. Mrs. M, just briefly, the Church doesn't say that shooting and killing a person is always immoral. Sometimes it is moral.

    However, what is intrinsically evil is the deliberate, premeditated killing of an innocent -- i.e., murder. Murder is always wrong. Killing in war or in self-defense is not murder.

    I hope that helps.

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  172. And I think Tony and Mai have pretty much said all I would want to say about Catholics being free to practice their faith--

    I wouldn't expect a Catholic hospital to offer services that it believes are morally illicit. However, just as any doctor who is being paid by the Catholic hospital must abide by the rules of the hospital when providing treatment, the hospital receiveing federal funding has to abide by federal laws. Federal law allows abortion, and it offers it as treatment to women in these situations.
    Money from the government --> all services allowed by the government. I think that's a pretty simple premise.

    And for the record, I would say the same thing regardless of what religion was not allowing treatments.
    For example, if a Jewish hospital were trying to bury a man the day after his death but the non-Jewish family wanted the man to undergo an autopsy, I think the family should have the right to keep their loved one out of the ground for the next few days. It's legal, so the federally-funded hospital should offer that option, even if it is against their beliefs.

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  173. Still questioning how removing the fallopian tube housing a growing fetus is not the deliberate killing of an "innocent" as you would say.

    I guess I'll just have to let this one go

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  174. Just thinking out loud, but I wonder who is going to pick up the slack when all the Catholic charitable entities are driven out of existence? After all, the Catholic Church and her institutions are are the biggest charitable entity in the world. Very sad. But at least we can all see why the two sides cannot be reconciled. It's not possible.

    When schools or hospitals or charities are recipients of government money, principles are always compromised. My wish would be that the Church entities take not one dime of government money so that we are not tainted and corrupted. Sad that it's come to this.

    Hillsdale College (Christian) does this brilliantly.

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  175. Mrs. M., because the fallopian tube rupture is what would cause the death of the woman. The fallopian tube is the pathology, not the embryo.

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  176. Mrs. M, the action of shooting a gun is morally neutral but can be used in both moral and immoral ways. When my father-in-law goes out deer hunting, he's not acting immorally by shooting his rifle at a deer. If you shoot a gun at a man that is trying to kill your family, then that action is morally permissible as it is self-defense. If you shoot your gun at an innocent child in a schoolyard, that is extremely immoral.

    Even the abortion procedure itself (e.g., a D&C) is morally neutral. I had one myself for a missed miscarriage. The procedure becomes immoral when used to kill innocent unborn children.

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  177. Mai, here is background on the New York Times from Discover the Networks which is a branch of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. David Horowitz is a Jew, by the way...and my boss.

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  178. P.S. My point in posting that was to show that there are plenty of Jews who understand and want to expose the fact that the New York Times is a leftist organization. The NYTimes frequently disses Israel and Catholicism while being apologists for Islam. Here's my article on a NYTimes columnists treatment of the Cathedral of Cordoba. The NYTimes is vehemently anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish and pro-Islam....no matter who owns it.

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  179. Mrs. M, you don't understand the difference between sticking a knife into an organ of the mother to remove it to save her life, and sticking a knife into an unborn child to kill it because you don't think of this child as a person. That is why you can't tell the difference. With all due respect, my ten-year-old knows the difference because she knows the difference between an unborn child and a fallopian tube.

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  180. One more note, my ten-year-old would fuss at me for using the word 'it' above...and rightly so.

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  181. well whoop-de-doo for you Lisa Graas. You may call the NYT a leftist paper-if it truly is, well, it's one of the few....oh wait, why bother defending when you probably get all your news from Fox News....because that's a "legitimate" source (and yes, that's an assumption).

    Anonymous pirate

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  182. There are many Christians who are afraid of losing their jobs because of their faith. It really is sickening, and no matter your belief system, it should outrage you as an American. Sadly, I see that it doesn't.

    I really wish you would make a whole post on this. I think there are probably a number of other secular humanists that would jump into the fray, instead of this small group left at the end of the "Leila vs the psychopath" series.

    I've said this before too and I'll say it again. You call it your faith, and the government calls it discrimination. You saying that a small B&B who doesn't want to serve homosexuals should be able to deny them that right. That is analogous to an owner of a soda fountain in the deep south who chooses not to serve black people. The B&B owner and the soda fountain owner are both serving the public, and everyone should have a right to be where the public is allowed - and to receive services that all members of the public are allowed to receive.

    Also, the pharmacy issues were not about independently owned pharmacies, they were about employees of large corporations.

    What shocks me as an American is that people are using the same arguments again, 50 years after civil rights were won by black people. That people like you actually feel justified in denying a whole group of people their rights, just because of who they are.

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  183. There are just so many posts from Leila on the NYT series, it's hard to know which one to choose.

    The most interesting one is her questioning why I think it not valid to use only links to Catholic-centered, apologist articles.

    I've said this before, too, but I'll re-use the argument here. Leila asked why I believe that the revolutionary war happened. I believe it happened because there are multiple supporting documents from multiple different groups that corroborate what happened. The documents can be verified. If there were facts that came from a single source, and the facts were contradicted elsewhere, or not corroborated at all, I would be less likely to believe those facts.

    All of your links basically come from the same source - the Church itself. There is no outside corroboration.

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  184. This is a good one too:

    Also, since Orthodox Jews hold the same views on sex and abortion and marriage that orthodox Catholics do, does that make you anti-semetic, since you are afraid of people like them/us? Just curious how that works.

    I don't see evidence of Orthodox Jews forcing their religious beliefs on me, or on homosexuals. That's the difference between orthodox catholics and orthodox jews. Also, I wouldn't classify myself as anti-Catholic (which you are implying by saying I'm anti-semetic). I'm for not allowing any group of people to deny rights to another group of people. There is a difference, and I hope you can see that.

    Thanks!

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  185. All of your links basically come from the same source - the Church itself. There is no outside corroboration.

    This actually makes me laugh in exasperation! There is "no outside corroboration" because the NYTimes and others didn't look at the documents or interview the parties directly involved. We used to call that "yellow journalism".

    Oh, don't worry, I will be doing a post on how you and other secular humanists wish to deny the freedom of religion and freedom of conscience to Christians. I have read about it for a long time, but to read your words in real time is still shocking, even though I should get used to it.

    By the way, why do you think this country was founded? I'm not sure how old you are, but you are younger than me, and I am not sure they still taught that by the time you went to school. I'd love to have your take on it.

    As to discrimination, here is something that you need to understand:

    There is a DISTINCTION between who someone is and what someone does.

    Of course it's immoral to discriminate against someone based on skin color, eye color, hair color, etc.

    But if someone is performing an immoral action (which is an act of the will), then I don't have to condone it, or bring it under my roof, or facilitate it.

    Being black is not an immoral act! It's a state of being. Being attracted to the same sex is not an immoral act, either. However, sexual immorality is an action. It's not a state of being, it's an act.

    Do you not see the distinction? Maybe you need to go back to some of the older posts and read about acts of the will vs. sexual orientation. Very different things.

    I can tell you there are many, many, many pro-life and anti-gay rights activists who are black. They would take GREAT ISSUE with you comparing being black to having gay sex. They resent that comparison, trust me.

    We must have the ability to make distinctions. Please, Mai, if nothing else, tell me you know the difference between being and doing?

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  186. Well, at least Joanna wouldn't be happy about having a healthy woman of child-bearing age die:

    Mai, it makes me sad that you think any Catholic would be "happy" to see you die. A situation such as this is never a happy one for anyone. Doing the right thing is not always fun or easy, or happy.

    Yes, yes, Mai, we value your life much less than we value the ball of cells in your uterus. But we can't remove that ball of cells, even though you'd surely live because of it. So sorry to see you go. We'll find someone to take care of your kids for you.

    That is the most disturbing thing I have read yet on this blog.

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  187. I don't see evidence of Orthodox Jews forcing their religious beliefs on me, or on homosexuals.

    Maybe because they are much smaller in number? I can tell you, they stand side-by-side with Catholic activists when we fight the good fight for traditional morality.

    And I do see you as anti-Catholic. How could I not? You say that we "scare" you (pretty badly, apparently), that we should not be operating hospitals or pharmacies or bed and breakfasts if we won't violate our religious principles by committing or facilitating mortal sins, and you say that our sacred teachings violate human rights (among other things). So, I think you are anti-Catholic. Call me crazy. :)

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  188. That is the most disturbing thing I have read yet on this blog.

    Mai, if that person living inside your uterus were just a "ball of cells" and not a person, then yes, that would be disturbing. But see, we Catholics don't quantify human life. Every single human life (including yours) has equal dignity and rights as every other human life. We don't believe in degrees of humanity, but that all people are created equal. Scary, huh?

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  189. And one last thought about all of this St. Joe's stuff.... The same pro-"choice" folks who are so horrified that Catholicism doesn't permit the killing of innocents even to save the life of another are the same folks who have no problem with 1.3 million abortions performed annually in this country, the vast majority (93%) performed on healthy babies and healthy mothers, and tens of thousands of those in the later months, with babies enduring their limbs ripped off their bodies and bones crushed.

    When I see you weep over those abused and lost children the way that Catholics do, then you will have some moral credibility, and I will take you more seriously when you speak of your angst over this one very sad, very, very, very rare case.

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  190. http://www.minti.com/members/ellamia/photos/41668/11-Week-Old-Fetus/

    Mai, please go to this site, look at the photo, and tell me if what you see is a "ball of cells." Thanks.

    (The baby pictured was the same age as the baby aborted at St. Joe's)

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  191. Mai, if it ever becomes clear to me that it is okay to directly kill an innocent person, then you might be afraid of me. But remember... my religion teaches that it is gravely sinful to directly kill an innocent. So, both you and unborn children and the disabled and the elderly are safe. In fact, we fight to protect the right to life of everyone, from conception to death.

    Some might say that the ones to fear are those who don't believe in the sanctity and inviolability of all human life.

    Can you help me feel less afraid of you? ;)


    Mai, you never told me why I shouldn't fear you? I actually really would like to know.

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  192. Also, Mai, you said that if new "facts" come to light, you might conclude that the unborn are actual human beings. What kind of facts would those be, since you told us that you don't base it on science?

    Thanks!

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  193. Lisa, my point was that removing the fallopian tube and removing the fetus both result in a dead fetus... You're right that I don't have a problem with it either way, but I was simply looking for the distinction you Catholics have come up with that makes one more moral than the other. In my eyes, dead fetus equals dead fetus. Leila gave me a response that at least clarified the Catholic position even though I disagree (fallopian tube being the problem not the fetus). With all due respect, I found your response unnecessarily rude when I was simply trying to understand the distinction to better understand the Catholic position.

    Thanks Leila for clarifying. I think I understand it a bit better now. You believe that by removing the fallopian tube you are simply treating the pathology with killing the unborn child being a consequence of that action. While I still would consider removing the fallopian tube in an ectopic pregnancy an abortion, i'm at least glad that Catholic moral principle allows for this life-saving procedure.

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  194. You believe that by removing the fallopian tube you are simply treating the pathology with killing the unborn child being a consequence of that action.

    Yes, Mrs. M, you have that right, but with one caveat: I would not use the word "killing". The unborn child is not killed by anyone at all, although by removing the diseased tube, the child will unfortunately die. It may not seem like a huge distinction, but morally it is. There is no "killing" involved in this case, as there would be in an abortion.

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  195. Also, Mai, you said that if new "facts" come to light, you might conclude that the unborn are actual human beings. What kind of facts would those be, since you told us that you don't base it on science?

    You have got to be kidding. They would be new facts. I don't know them yet. Sigh. This argument is becoming absurd.

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  196. Re: the religious discrimination debate.

    If you make a separate post, I'll comment there. I do not care to carry on three arguments in this post any more.

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  197. And finally, the abortion debate.

    I think you understand my position very well. I value the living breathing human mother's rights over any rights the fetus might have. I think I understand your position very well. You give the fetus rights and value them over the mother, even to the point of death.

    Once we have covered that, you move into the "sucking brains out of fetus' heads" arguments (babies enduring their limbs ripped off their bodies and bones crushed), and that is where I leave the abortion debate.

    Call me ignorant and smug (oh, you've already done that), or say that I have no moral credibility, but this is enough for me.

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  198. I'll agree with mai, the debate is silly when we pcik nits about removing placentas vs fetuses vs fallopian tubes. The bottom line is that we are intervening and not trustin some higher power.

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  199. During an ectopic pregnancy, the fallopian tube is not the problem. The fetus growing inside the fallopian tube is the problem.The fallopian tube is not "diseased" in this situation, it is being compromised by a growing fetus. The fetus must be removed (aka aborted)for the mother to live.

    I respected you more, Leila, when you said you'd pray for grace and be ready to leave all your 8 kids behind as well as your husband as to not "murder" any life inside you. If you're going to preach it, you were going to live it (at least in hypothetical conversation).

    Yet now, you so easily split hairs as to, "we're not aborting the fetus, we're removing the fallopian tube and oh well - collateral and unintended damage."

    It is because you cannot even concede that the removal of a fetus from a woman's body may be medically necessary in some instances. As a Catholic, you may not participate in such medical treatments, of course. But to simply admit that sometimes abortion isn't meant to kill the child, it is the unintended and unhappy consequence of saving the mother's life... I know you already understand it, because otherwise you all wouldn't be looking for loopholes, like removing perfectly healthy organs (what you railed against a few posts ago) in order to get around the part where you have to call it what it is - an abortion.

    AnnieP

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  200. Mai, I find it equally chilling that you would consider your own child as nothing more than a "ball of cells." I've lost babies at 5 weeks and 12 weeks and neither of them were "balls of cells." They were my beloved children, and I miss them daily. And yes, I would rather risk death than intentionally kill any of my children, whether born or unborn.

    Tony, still waiting for sources re: your comments about Bp. Olmsted's knowledge of the events in question.

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