It is a mark of the effective apostolate, and we have posted the final chapter of Pope John Paul II’s wonderful book Sign of Contradiction, in a series of ten sequential posts beginning May 9, 2009.
In a welcome sign from one bishop, the Church continues to create leaders when they are needed, as this article from Catholic World Report notes.
“In the past, bishops sparked shocked headlines in newspapers by betraying Church teaching. Now a brave few make headlines by upholding it. Consider the case of Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix. New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has likened him to a member of the hierarchy during the “cruel and debauched days of the Borgias in the Renaissance.”
“That sounds pretty bad. What, exactly, has Olmsted done? Shown corrupt indifference to the protection of children? Profited off the abuse of them? No, it turns out his cruel sin in the eyes of Kristof and company is that he wants to protect children, including the forgotten unborn ones often killed under the worldly logic of false compassion.
“In May, it came out that Bishop Olmsted had upheld canon law after learning, to his alarm, that a nun at a Catholic hospital in the diocese of Phoenix, several months earlier, formally cooperated in the killing of an unborn child from a patient’s difficult pregnancy.
“Olmsted had quietly, conscientiously, and properly followed Church teaching and discipline in the matter (under canon law, Mercy Sister Margaret McBride incurred “automatic excommunication” through her action; he simply informed her of that, and she lost her executive position at the hospital).
“But the media, hungry for stories that pit “progressive” nuns against “reactionary” bishops, publicized it, at which point Olmsted issued a laudably straightforward comment:
“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese. I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.
“An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.
“Every Catholic institution is obliged to defend human life at all its stages; from conception to natural death. This obligation is also placed upon every Catholic individual. If a Catholic formally cooperates in the procurement of an abortion, they are automatically excommunicated by that action. The Catholic Church will continue to defend life and proclaim the evil of abortion without compromise, and must act to correct even her own members if they fail in this duty….”