Pharyngula

Catholic hospitals favor death

A pregnant woman in a Phoenix hospital was in a dire state: she was suffering from severe pulmonary hypertension, a condition made much worse by the pregnancy, and was at risk of heart failure. The hospital did what had to be done, with the approval of the family: the 11-week-old fetus was aborted, and the life of the mother saved. This was routine, and I think there was no moral ambiguity at all in this situation: either the mother’s life was saved and the fetus was destroyed, or both mother and fetus would die.

Except that this was in a Catholic hospital. One of the people on the ethics committee that reviewed the case before the abortion was a nun, who agreed that this was the right thing to do. Predictably, Thomas Olmsted, bishop, has deplored the procedure and declared that the nun is automatically excommunicated.

“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said in a statement sent to The Arizona Republic. “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.”

So, inhuman monster and non-doctor Olmsted thinks they should have just stood by and watched the woman go into cardiac arrest and die? This is insane and unethical.

If this is to be standard operating procedure for Catholic hospitals, I think it’s time for the government to step in and remove doctrinaire Catholics from all roles in hospital administration — they are an ongoing danger to the health of innocent patients. Do not go to Catholic hospitals: you never know when the local witch doctor will pop up by your bedside, go “ooga booga” (in Latin, of course!), and tell you that your treatment makes god angry so the staff has decided to let you suffer and die. It’ll be good for you…in imaginary Heaven.

Oh, but let the nun who realized that reality has priority over dogma stay on the job.

Comments

  1. #1 Kevin
    May 17, 2010

    So, excommunicate a nun for saving a life while coddling pedophile priests…

    This will be my go-to when someone states that the Catholic Church is a good group of people.

  2. #2 Inferno
    May 17, 2010

    Well this is actually because the abortion resulted in one less child that could in the future be a potential rape victim, and the Catholic Church would be one child less on its way to the Guiness World Record of organization with the most child rapes without consequences.

  3. #3 daveau
    May 17, 2010

    Totally consistent with the Calvin quote from Sunday Sacrilege:

    If a woman grows weary and at last dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing, she is there to do it.

    The only issue I see here is that there is one less baby for atheists to eat.

    What the hell is wrong with these people?

  4. #4 Michelle R
    May 17, 2010

    A couple weeks ago I learned the existence of a form that would allow me to cancel my baptism with the catholic church.

    Consider it printed, filled, and sent.

  5. #5 SC OM
    May 17, 2010

    The Catholic Church allows the termination of a pregnancy only as a secondary effect of other treatments, such as radiation of a cancerous uterus.

    So OK to save a uterus, but not to save a woman.

  6. #6 Gus Snarp
    May 17, 2010

    11 week old fetus? I’m no doctor, but it seems to me that a choice was made between mother and fetus both dying and just the fetus dying. I agree, if the Bishops can’t see that allowing them both to die just so they didn’t directly terminate the pregnancy is worse than terminating the pregnancy and saving at least the mother, then he should have no role whatsoever in determining policy. In my hometown most of the major hospitals are Catholic. I’m glad they’re there to provide medical care, but they should not be permitted to allow people to die to maintain their foolish beliefs. Too many people don’t have access to care outside of the Catholic hospitals, and too many trauma victims would be sent to a Catholic hospital because of the time factor. To then die because of someone’s religious beliefs would be a gross injustice. Thankfully this hospital and this nun made the right choice. With all the persecution of nuns these days, and their strong differences with the church, I am astounded that these women have not yet renounced Catholicism. I hope they do. The Church should not get to both attack nuns and reap the PR benefits of the wonderful work many of those nuns do. When the women religious abandon Catholicism, perhaps it will help other women to see how ridiculous the religion is.

  7. #7 Brownian, OM
    May 17, 2010

    Is it just me, or are clergy (especially Catholic) increasingly sounding like the annoying rich kid in the schoolyard that no-one likes but insists on shoehorning himself into everyone else’s games? “Me, me, ME! Everybody listen to me! My dad is rich!”

    Get a real job, you dumb douche.

    Unfortunately, the analogy is not exact, as there seems to be a non-insubstantial group of Catholic laity who seem unable to ignore these yapping parasites.

  8. #8 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 17, 2010

    The only issue I see here is that there is one less baby for atheists to eat.

    One less? Where do you get your fruits d’utérus then?

  9. #9 BlueIndependent
    May 17, 2010

    Someone should tell the Catholic Church that “hippocratic” is not spelled “hypocritic”.

    As if this even need be said though. We know what they’re about, and doing good is not it because their beliefs never fail to get in the way. And even when one their own does the right thing, that paternal hand of understanding is always there to lay waste to the proceedings.

    Ah the beauty of inexperienced, uneducated, sexless men living alone in a house so he can murmur to his god, telling pregnant women how things are.

  10. #10 maarten.jan
    May 17, 2010

    Excommunication is like being told by the ‘ugly-people-group’ that you’re not ugly enough. I want to be excommunicated :-(

  11. #11 tsg
    May 17, 2010

    This will be my go-to when someone states that the Catholic Church is a good group of people.

    As well as for when they insist “right to life” is about preserving life and not about controlling women.

  12. #12 LMR
    May 17, 2010

    Not about this story, but about the RCC in general.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/05/17/vatican.abuse/index.html?iref=allsearch

    Now they want to distance themselves from the sex scandals by claiming that bishops are not employees of the Vatican, therefore the Vatican bears no responsibility for them.

  13. #13 faisons
    May 17, 2010

    All I can do right now is to applaud the nun. I was raised as a Catholic, and went to Catholic school (amazingly, they taught factual, science-based evolution in biology class). Aside from their odd strictness about dress codes, the nuns were actually pretty cool, and very practical. I’m not surprised by the fact that this nun saw that there was a true medical issue at hand, and that it was either save one life OR let both of them die.

    So, good for the nun. Regardless of her strange religion, at least she’s still got a bit of real-world common sense and compassion.

  14. #14 bbgunn071679
    May 17, 2010

    I’m sure the teabaggers down there in AZ would goose-step in line with the bishop if they heard the mother-in-distress was an undocumented worker.

  15. #15 Michelle R
    May 17, 2010

    @Maarten.jan: I think you can request excommunication. Or you can go take a piss in the holy water in front of a cardinal. That oughta do it.

  16. #16 MS
    May 17, 2010

    Most of the comments with the original story seem to be on the side of sanity, even from Catholics who are otherwise anti-abortion. That’s a good sign, I guess.

  17. #17 faisons
    May 17, 2010

    @ MichelleR

    Where do I find that form?

  18. #18 Stephen Wells
    May 17, 2010

    I’m glad to know that the people who made the decision were able to put reality ahead of the fantasies they’re supposed to believe in.

    I think, from the bishop’s letter, he thinks that the hospital should have hooked the woman up to life support on the spot and kept her pregnant even if she did have a heart attack. The attitude that women are incubators, not people, is pretty clear.

  19. #19 sorceror171
    May 17, 2010

    Hmmm. A Catholic friend of mine insisted to me that the Church does allow abortion in the case of threat to the life of the mother. The ‘theological’ term is “principle of double effect” – basically the death of the fetus was treated as an unfortunate side effect of the otherwise permissible efforts to save the life of the mother.

    But for example, if a woman has an ectopic pregnancy, they can’t just remove the fetus. They have to take a chunk of the fallopian tube, ‘with the unfortunate side effect that the baby dies’. Reminds me of the silly workarounds many Orthodox jews do to get around Sabbath restrictions.

    Only the side effects are a lot worse. A couple of ectopic pregnancies could render you infertile forevermore…

  20. #20 Celtic_Evolution
    May 17, 2010

    OK… Taos is one of the most beautiful cities in the US, and I love the picturesque beauty of the Arizona deserts… but so help me there’s not enough money in the world to convince me to step one foot in that backwards, evil state at this point.

    Go fuck yourself, AZ.

  21. #21 dingdong
    May 17, 2010

    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.

    This appears a staggeringly intellectually bankrupt statement.

    Firstly, nobody was ever saying that the unborn child was a disease. Fetuses (fetii?) and pregnancy are not always perfect (find a woman and blame her) and occasionally the pregnancy will lead to dangerous consequences for the parent.

    That is not equating it to a disease.

    Secondly, saying

    the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.

    Well, yes it does. Lets look at the options here…

    If you indirectly kill the fetus, then it will because because the mother is dead. So now you have a dead mother AND a dead fetus.I’m guessing they think this is OK just because it wasn’t aborted.

    I’m not even sure letting the mother potentially die would be indirect killing of the fetus anyway, as you are basically aware that this was likely going to happen.

    How people can’t see that this was the best course of action is beyond me. Hats off to the nun for daring to use her brain instead of follow the dogma.

  22. #22 David Marjanovi?
    May 17, 2010

    So, inhuman monster and non-doctor Olmsted thinks they should have just stood by and watched the woman go into cardiac arrest and die?

    The way I read his quote, that’s not the case. Rather, he simply doesn’t understand that a pregnancy can ever endanger a woman’s life. The idea has never occurred to him. He just doesn’t get it:

    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.

    After all, that’s not how a loving god would have made the world, is it.

  23. #23 BlueEyedVideot
    May 17, 2010

    And yet, when I make our standard plea for sanity on are local newspaper computer forum, The Tulsa World, the level of stupid rises against me like an immense tsunami of dumb . I wish I knew a better way of getting through to the marching morons, I believe my consternation stems from a lack of understand of mechanism by which sensible-enough people are turned into mindless, thoughtless robots by the master shamans.

    I do believe that the lies and innuendo broadcast by Faux News (Glenn Beck in particular) are taken as gospel by this crowd.
    Coupled with the very prevalent Anti-Abortion activists, the dense shields are holding fast.

    I had one lady criticizing democrats (and Obama in particular, no surprise there) because as she claimed, “democrats will not let our children go to war and lose their lives which is their rights.”

    Between the political shamans on the right, and the fascist holy men on the far right, bible-belted Okies have a hard time hearing the truth. And recoil like a Howitzer when the do hear it.

  24. #24 Gus Snarp
    May 17, 2010

    I find it interesting that the Bishop said this:

    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.

    While the medical professionals said this:

    If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it. We are convinced there was not.

    So he’s saying that because the medical facts challenge his belief system that they must be wrong. This is really the same anti-science mentality from a religious person as that involved with creationism.

  25. #25 alysonmiers
    May 17, 2010

    Right. An “unborn child is not a disease,” so the doctors should have let the fetus die along with its mother. What part of “the treatment necessary to save the mother’s life required the termination of an 11-week pregnancy” don’t you understand?

    Wait. That’s right. If women don’t die in pregnancy and childbirth, they might start thinking they’re allowed to do something with their lives other than make babies, and that would just be unacceptable. Eggs, omelets and all that.

  26. #26 Lyr
    May 17, 2010

    So they would rather have two dead people (if you count the fetus as a person) rather than one dead person (the fetus). Insane.

  27. #27 SteveM
    May 17, 2010

    I think this trope, “The ends do not justify the means” is a bit overused and misunderstood. Sometimes the only proper way to justify a “means” is by the “ends” that result, especially when it is the only means to that end.

    I am sure that being a Catholic hospital, abortion was not simply one choice among many that they could have used to save the life of the mother. That it came down to being the only choice and so the end does indeed justify the means.

  28. #28 Becca Stareyes
    May 17, 2010

    You know, I remember reading articles about being a EMT and triage — when you’re the first responder on a scene and there’s more injured people than you can deal with. The writer noted that that anyone who wasn’t breathing or didn’t have a pulse should be assessed and moved past unless they were the only person needing medical attention. Because keeping them alive could be done, but might kill two or three other people who need help but won’t need continuous help until they get to a hospital.

    Yes, it stinks. This case stinks too — it seems like the woman wanted to carry to term, and it would have been awesome if the doctors could have saved both of them. But it’s better to save as many lives as you can, and realize that limited time and the frailties of the human body means you can’t win them all, even if you try. (I suppose the argument is that it’s better to passively let the fetus die (with the mother!) than to actively kill it. Which strikes me as objectionable — passive versus active shouldn’t have a moral difference here, all other things being equal. And here they aren’t.)

  29. #29 Leslee Beldotti
    May 17, 2010

    Instead of…

    It’s a child, not a choice.

    How about…

    It’s a woman, not an incubator with legs.

  30. #30 Celtic_Evolution
    May 17, 2010

    @Maarten.jan: I think you can request excommunication.

    You know the real kicker, though? According to Canon law, even if excommunicated, as a catholic you are still obligated to attend mass and tithe… you just can not receive the eucharist or take active part in the liturgy.

    Ain’t that a kick in the ass, eh?

  31. #31 Gus Snarp
    May 17, 2010

    @Celtic Evolution – I’ve got some good news for you. The Taos I know is in the much more progressive state of New Mexico. They do have a penchant for re-using city names there, so maybe you’re thinking of a different one, but otherwise you can visit Taos without guilt.

  32. #32 David Marjanovi?
    May 17, 2010

    …though the “directly killing” part does make me wonder.

  33. #33 Celtic_Evolution
    May 17, 2010

    Gus Snarp –

    @Celtic Evolution – I’ve got some good news for you. The Taos I know is in the much more progressive state of New Mexico.

    Oh for fuck sake… I was just there like 16 months ago… I can’t believe I just did that.

    I have no excuse.

  34. #34 raven
    May 17, 2010

    hypertension-pulmonary.blogspot:

    Discussion of Pregnancy in Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH)

    An early case series reported a 50% mortality rate associated with pregnancy and Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH).A more recent account noted a 30% mortality rate and partly attributed the decline in the mortality rate to earlier recognition, better understanding of the pathophysiology of Primary Pulmonary Hypertension (PPH), along with improvements in medical therapy and critical-care obstetrics. Recognition of the elevated maternal-fetal mortality rate has led physicians to recommend effective contraception and, in the event of a pregnancy, early fetal termination. The maternal mortality rate is related principally to the increased demands on the cardiopulmonary system during pregnancy.

    30% of pregnant PAH patients will die.

    That is the statistic. Individual cases will vary in their probability of death, some higher, some lower.

    This woman was at high risk of dying. That bishop just told her to go ahead and die. I don’t think he had any right to tell someone else to die but thank Cthulhu, I’m not a Catholic and can just ignore these clowns.

  35. #35 charley
    May 17, 2010

    Totally consistent with the Calvin quote from Sunday Sacrilege:

    If a woman grows weary and at last dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing, she is there to do it.

    I think this gem is Luther’s.

  36. #36 Eamon Knight
    May 17, 2010

    Between this and that Brazilian 9yo incest victim (recall that she was carrying twins, and continuing the pregnancy would have been very dangerous) from last year, we can safely dismiss the RCC’s “Culture of Life” slogan as bullshit. As Russell Blackford likes to call it: the Cult of Misery.

    Yeah, I know: the rank-and-file laity, local clergy (apart from a few notorious exceptions), the nuns who run basic services, are mostly just regular, decent people, who’ll usually do the right thing. But they’ve got themselves stuck into this huge institution with idiotic and anti-human dogmas, interests to protect, and a history of corruption fifteen centuries long. What the RCC needs (well, aside from total dissolution, which ain’t likely) is another Luther to scare them shitless, and another Erasmus to say “See? I told you so! Now here’s what we need to do to save the Church: [list of enlightened and modernist reforms]“.

  37. #37 arwen8aragorn
    May 17, 2010

    We’re completely screwed in my community then… every hospital is Catholic since they let the Catholic hospital buy out all the other hospitals in the area “to save money and lower healthcare costs.”

    The first thing they did was to eliminate the ability to get a tubal ligation…

    Now, I find I’m going to have to risk driving another 15-20 minutes to another state to get real medical treatment if I’m having a heart attack if I’m pregnant. Great. Thanks state of KY for allowing them to have a monopoly so we have no choice.

  38. #38 daveau
    May 17, 2010

    Sili@8-

    One less? Where do you get your fruits d’utérus then?

    Apparently, they just threw it away. Go figure. Besides, I like them big enough so they don’t fall between the grates on the barbecue.

  39. #39 SteveM
    May 17, 2010

    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.

    “…to treat the underlying medical condition” is not saying that the fetus was a dissease. Just that the only way to treat that disease was to terminate the pregnancy.

    Not a good analogy at all, but like amputating a limb to treat gangrene. The limb is not the disease but there is no way to treat gangrene besides amputation.

  40. #40 tsg
    May 17, 2010

    I think this trope, “The ends do not justify the means” is a bit overused and misunderstood. Sometimes the only proper way to justify a “means” is by the “ends” that result, especially when it is the only means to that end.

    I tend not to pay attention to people who use this phrase unless they are saying “[these] ends do not justify [those] means,” rather than, as is usually the case, “the ends do not [ever] justify the means.”

  41. #41 theshortearedowl
    May 17, 2010

    Why didn’t God intervene and save the life of the foetus?

  42. #42 Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM
    May 17, 2010

    I cannot say that this pronouncement from the bishop surprises me in the least. Yet it is an other scratch mark in my tally about why I hate the RCC.

    Woman, thou art the uterus of the world. Do not allow any desires, ambitions and trying to survive get in the way of this function.

  43. #43 SteveM
    May 17, 2010

    re 41:
    Why didn’t God intervene and save the life of the foetus?

    I think that is what the bishop was expecting. Or, if He didn’t save their lives, He has some mysterious “plan” for why He didn’t.

  44. #44 Ibis3
    May 17, 2010

    Your headline is misleading. To be fair to those involved, the Catholic hospital [staff] acted in the best interests of their patient, the woman. It is the bishop of Phoenix who favours death.

  45. #45 a.human.ape
    May 17, 2010

    This is insane and unethical.

    Yeah, to put it mildly. I think most people would call it murder.

    Apparently Bishop Thomas Olmsted took some time off from covering up sexual child abuse to come out in favor of murdering innocent people. I’m not surprised.

  46. #46 SteveM
    May 17, 2010

    re 44:

    You’re correct but people really should be reading the whole article and not just the headline.

  47. #47 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 17, 2010

    In other fun Catholic news, Bishops are not employees of the Vatican and therefor the Vatican is not responsible for their actions.

  48. #48 Michelle R
    May 17, 2010

    @Faisons #17: The only form I got offhand is this one by a french canadian movement. So it’s french, sorry~

    http://www.mlq.qc.ca/sexprimer/apostasie
    http://www.mlq.qc.ca/pdf/2009/apostasie_2009_04_05.pdf

    Then you mail it to your local churchies (What’s Diocèse in english…whatever). I’m sure you can find an english one somewhere.

    I guess that if you do that, it’s more effective than excommunication since you fully renounce you ever were part of that church.

  49. #49 superheadcat
    May 17, 2010

    “So they would rather have two dead people (if you count the fetus as a person) rather than one dead person (the fetus). Insane”

    Maybe, just maybe, a pregnant woman is not exactly a life, just a tool/vessel/incubator that happens to be lucky enough to host what is considered a life, you know, the type that the almighty God created in his image.

    I feel offended and disgusted that those people call themselves “pro-life”. That is a gross insult to the most basic human decency associated with the word “life”

  50. #50 Dianne
    May 17, 2010

    I’m no doctor, but it seems to me that a choice was made between mother and fetus both dying and just the fetus dying

    It is. The woman in question had primary pulmonary hypertension, according to the article I read on this case. There is no way to get a pregnancy to term or even viability in someone with PPH-their lungs and heart simply can’t take the added workload. She should have been offered tubal ligation long ago.

  51. #51 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    May 17, 2010

    She should have been offered tubal ligation long ago.

    Should have

    Another mark on Catholics.

    Birth Control bad, even if it prevents situations like this one.

  52. #52 Twin-Skies
    May 17, 2010

    @faisons

    This story reminds me of this priest I read about here in Manila who was in support of a gov’t run Reproductive Health program, despite warnings by a local bishop that anybody who supported such programs were not genuine catholics.

    The difference was that the priest was a Jesuit who had spent decades working in the local slums and saw the problems of overpopulation firsthand, while that idiot bishop was a beaurocrat.

    I still disagree with his religion, but I’ve read his columns and letters to the paper, and he makes a helluva lot more sense than the bishop.

  53. #53 ButchKitties
    May 17, 2010

    @faisons

    I believe Michelle is referring to this: Debaptism Certificate

    You can also formally renounce the Catholic faith by writing to the bishop of the diocese where you were baptized, and declaring “actus formalis defectionis ab Ecclesia catholica”. More instructions can be found here.

    When I wrote my bishop to officially leave the church, I requested a sacra rotum tribunal to have my baptism annulled. My reasoning was that if they can annul a sacrament like marriage, that is only undertaken by consenting adults, then surely they could annul a sacrament that is performed on un-consenting babies. The bishop was not amused.

  54. #54 daveau
    May 17, 2010

    Charley@35-

    I think this gem is Luther’s.

    Yeah, I read it incorrectly. PZ was making the assumption that we all knew that Martin Luther founded the Lutheran Church. I can’t keep track of all these cults.

  55. #55 va.terrero
    May 17, 2010

    An unborn child is not a disease

    And THAT is what we are saying…. In his head apparently it is. This only serves to show the extent of his ignorance.

  56. #56 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 17, 2010

    A non-medical, unwed, professional virgin clergyman of a patriarchal religion is pontificating on a medical procedure necessary to save a woman’s life. This guy really hates those uppity women who insist on not being killed.

  57. #57 Legion
    May 17, 2010

    Ahh, good old St. Joes. We once worked there many years ago. There was a Natural Family Planning program within the hospital that taught women how to use the rhythm method. No one liked it, including the women who taught the classes because it was thought to be too complicated and not a very reliable method of birth control.

  58. #58 caryn
    May 17, 2010

    The really odd thing about this is that as I understand the doctrine of double effect, it’s supposed to be the case that so long as your intent is not to kill the fetus, but to treat the disease, if the fetus is killed as a side effect of the treatment it is merely unfortunate and not morally culpable.

    So the intent here was to remove the placenta, which was what was mucking around with maternal hemodynamics in the first place. Killing the fetus is an undesired consequence of this removal, but the goal wasn’t to kill the fetus.

    I gather the problem is an unspecified metaphysical conception of what it is that counts as an event. There are multiple ways of describing events here and it isn’t obvious that one-event descriptions (pregnancy termination) trump two-event descriptions (removal of the placenta resulting in death of the fetus).

    If the moral permissibility of it rests on how you describe the event, it seems like there’s no language-independent fact of the matter about what’s right or wrong.

    I doubt that’s really the position Catholics want to espouse.

  59. #59 Pierce R. Butler
    May 17, 2010

    Is this really Bp Olmsted’s fault, or is he just another hapless victim of this year’s rampaging epidemic of Arizona brain fever?

  60. #60 'Tis Himself, OM
    May 17, 2010

    Unfortunately what the bishop said wasn’t specific enough to prosecute him for practicing medicine without a license.

  61. #61 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    May 17, 2010

    In other fun Catholic news, Bishops are not employees of the Vatican and therefor the Vatican is not responsible for their actions.

    Awesome! So they’re handing over cardinal SinLaw, are they?

    And, hey!, the Joseph Ratzinger is the bishop of Rome! That means we can take him into custody, too, right?!

  62. #62 Legion
    May 17, 2010

    LMR:

    Now they [the RCC] want to distance themselves from the sex scandals by claiming that bishops are not employees of the Vatican, therefore the Vatican bears no responsibility for them.

    Further, they’re requesting that the court ignore the religious master/slave relationship between the Vatican and US bishops — all in order ot make the case that the Vatican has no authority over bishops.

    We’d like to see a rougue bishop see just how committed the Vatican is to this position by coming out as Gay, challenging the church’s position on celibacy by marrying his partner, and hosting a weekly, bingo and birth control potluck for the flock.

  63. #63 Jessie
    May 17, 2010

    Be fair to the bishop. In his mind, the death of the woman is willed by god so we have no right to intervene. Clearly, if god wants the woman and fetus to survive, he will make it happen, by some miracle.

    Of course, that does mean that there is no point in having hospitals, so why do catholics have hospitals?

  64. #64 KingUber
    May 17, 2010

    Even though I am against abortion, if the mother was really going to die without it then I suppose it was the only thing to do

  65. #65 Brownian, OM
    May 17, 2010

    Even though I am against abortion

    I think I’m actually pro-abortion. Not just pro-choice, but pro-abortion. Kill ‘em all, I say. God will know his own.

  66. #66 Gus Snarp
    May 17, 2010

    Wait, do Bishops have a different relationship vis a vis employment by the Vatican than nuns do? If not, then what does this “not an employee” stance mean for the Vatican’s current witch hunt for feminist nuns?

  67. #67 https://me.yahoo.com/hairychris444#96384
    May 17, 2010

    @Gus

    They’re all freelance with some really fucking weird clauses in their contracts.

  68. #68 revjimbob
    May 17, 2010

    The bishop “is the voice of moral authority”

  69. #69 puzzledponderer
    May 17, 2010

    Wow. Kill both the fetus and the mother (who has hopes, aspirations, an emotional history with many people, memories, ideas of the future, etc…) or just kill the fetus (who has barely anything to lose by not being born)? Hmm… this being your only two options because reality is cruel that way, what could you POSSIBLY choose?

    It would seem like that’s not a tough decision to make. Amazingly, some people still can’t grasp the obvious.

  70. #70 Ing
    May 17, 2010

    “unborn child is not a disease”

    Even more annoyingly this is patently false. I can think of several serious medical conditions upon which an unborn child IS part of/the cause of a disease.

    What else would you call a fetus that implants in the Fallopian tubes? You have a serious medical condition that’s only cause is the molecular machinery that will build a child.

    Hell, what else would you call a parasitic twin?

  71. #71 Hypatia's Daughter
    May 17, 2010

    Laura Sabin is (was?) a Canadian Catholic feminist who wrote about abortion some 30 years ago. I believe she coined the aphorism “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament of the Church.” She wrote once about a special class of sins that result in instant excommunication from the Church; i.e. one can consider oneself excommunicated at the commission of the sin without the requirement that the Church declare it so. Most involved priestly abuse of their sacramental powers, such as a priest having an affair with a married woman then taking her confession and absolving her of the sin of adultery.
    The only sin that involved an ordinary parishioner was abortion. Not rape, not incest, not murder. Which led me to conclude that the issue with the RCC is not the murder of the fetus (no matter that they are always claiming abortion is murder) but that the fetus is killed before it is born and is passed through the rite of baptism. If a woman murders her 3 month old, she gets a chance to be forgiven & absolved; but not a woman who has an abortion. Because a 3 month old has the opportunity to be baptized…..
    If it was really about “the right to life” the RCC would come down on Catholics who kill in self defense, or who fight in an “unjust” war (as they declared the war in Iraq to be); and the Catholic politicians who support the war. (Remember how a priest went after Kerry for supporting the views of the voters on the legality of abortion rather than pushing the views of the RCC on the issue?)
    The purity of their piety is directly related to who suffers – while a man may find his life threatened by a criminal or in war, thank god, no man is ever going to die of pregnancy & childbirth. So they can be moral purists on that point.

  72. #72 Gregory Greenwood
    May 17, 2010

    Yet more proof, if proof were needed, that the catholic church values a small mass of cells, that not even the most generous interpretation could rationally claim is equal to an adult human or a child, more highly than the life of a woman.

    Even where the death of foetus and mother is certain anyway if the foetus is not aborted, they still will not countenance abortion. So it is not only the foetus that is seen as more important than a woman’s life, but the abstract principle of anti-abortionism is also held in higher esteem than a woman in all circumstances.

    Catholicism is once again challenging Islam for the, apparently covetted, crown of the world’s most insanely misogynist religion. I would like to see Credo from the ‘Daughters of Eve’ thread try to claim that this gells with his/her idea that the growth of women’s rights in recent years is somehow the work of Judeo-Christian religion.

  73. #73 https://me.yahoo.com/a/SaqGVG0xvJEQVwURVamS3DTCdvov0BLhXK1jOsYPPJQ-#b4893
    May 17, 2010

    You know, I’d like to send in that form to cancel my baptism and communion, too, but frankly, I’d rather be excommunicated (in the least-harmful way possible, of course).

    I’d rather force them to publicly acknowledge me than to privately “quit”, even though I did, in effect, quit in 1984.

    This action by this bishop is one of the biggest asshole moves I’ve seen in a long time. Although, I gotta admit that the ‘wingers who are now saying that our new Arab-American Miss America is only there because of Affirmative Action are way up on the “asshole” list, too.

    MikeM

  74. #74 MrFire
    May 17, 2010

    caryn @58 and others:

    To me, the principle of double effect, as interpreted by the Catholic Church, appears to be: I’m taking you with me. Even while they concede that the foetus is doomed, there is a tacit (and I suspect largely subconscious) conviction that it must be accompanied by the maximum possible damage to the woman. Hence, the woman’s death in this instance, or in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, the removal of a significant portion of the woman’s reproductive system. Under no cirumstances is the woman allowed to come out of the matter unscathed.

    I have also heard double effect mentioned in relation to the Trolley Problem, although in my uninformed opinion, the comparison is not completely accurate.

  75. #75 ashleyfmiller
    May 17, 2010

    An unborn child is a parasite if not a disease and there are complications that come from that. It may be a wanted, loved, adorable parasite, but fact is that until ~25 weeks, the only thing than can keep it alive is being inside another human.

    A woman is something like 33 times more likely to die carrying a fetus to term than not, even without additional medical conditions. This is like not complicated stuff. If a woman doesn’t want to risk her life for potential life, why is that ever wrong? And if that’s grey, certainly this wasn’t. A dead fetus is a better result than a dead woman and a dead fetus, certainly. Or are we now not allowed to treat ectopic pregnancies?

    Angry! Why are you posting so much stuff about how awful the world is to women today? Grr.

  76. #76 Rincewind'smuse
    May 17, 2010

    @ 20,

    Go fuck yourself, AZ.

    There are a lot of good people here trying to offset the assholes…Janet Napolitano wasn’t a stellar governor but she successfully beat down the more intellectually and morally challenged of the state legislators with the veto for several years. Now to gain back the control of state government after it’s been run into the ground….and, yes Olmsted is every bit the douchebag he seems to be…

  77. #77 Dr.FabulousShoes
    May 17, 2010

    Lets just show the bishop some pictures of partial molar pregnancies and let that fuck with his head for awhile. Although, that is so strange that he’d probably just say that someone made it up to make him question his faith.

    Incubators with legs indeed.

  78. #78 Armand K.
    May 17, 2010

    The end does not justify the means.

    Coming from a Catholic bishop, that’s deep irony on so many levels.

  79. #79 Ibis3
    May 17, 2010

    @SteveM #46
    The fact that this is the headline isn’t the point I was trying to make. I’m just saying that the hospital and its staff made the right choice, yet they’re being tarred with the brush that should be reserved for the bishop. The nun who was excommunicated and removed from her position is herself lumped in with the death-favourers.

  80. #80 MrFire
    May 17, 2010

    Dr.FabulousShoes @77:

    Lets just show the bishop some pictures of partial molar pregnancies and let that fuck with his head for awhile. Although, that is so strange that he’d probably just say that someone made it up to make him question his faith.

    Good example. Here’s another: chimerism. There are examples involving humans, too.. Two separate, fertilized eggs fuse back together to create a single organism with two sets of chromosomes. According to the Catholic Church, one person can have two souls…of course, I can see them BS-ing their way through that little conundrum. Perhaps I should cross-post this onto the eternal thread.

  81. #81 amphiox
    May 17, 2010

    Wow. Kill both the fetus and the mother (who has hopes, aspirations, an emotional history with many people, memories, ideas of the future, etc…) or just kill the fetus (who has barely anything to lose by not being born)?

    This kind of actually reminds me of that morality thought experiment wherein volunteer subjects given the scenario of a runaway train and two sets of innocent bystanders that might be killed. If given the choice to warn either the group of 5 or the group of 1 but not both, most would readily be willing to warn the 5 and sacrifice the 1. If given the choice of warning the one or staying silent, wherein warning the one guarantees the death of the five, would be willing to choose to stay silent. But if given the choice of pushing the one in front of the train to save the five, or doing nothing and guaranteeing the death of the five, would not be willing to do so, even if the result of scenario 2 and 3 were in fact the same.

    They seem to be tapping into an ancient, and perhaps not properly applicable to the modern situation, ethical instinct against actively doing harm (with the a priori assumption that they consider aborting the fetus to be harm), even when actively commiting the smaller harm avoids the greater harm, and passivity results not only in greater harm, but global harm (ie the harm from passivity includes the entirety of the harm of activity).

    They claim their religion gives them unique insight into some “higher” morality. But when it is seen in practice, it seems no different from a very old, very “low”, instinctive morality, which we even see to some extent in apes.

    As for the nun in this case, perhaps she ought to take her excommunication as a divine sign that she’s been in the wrong church. And the hospital should perhaps reconsider its affiliation.

  82. #82 amphiox
    May 17, 2010

    Of course, to make the scenario I describe in #81 fully equivalent to this one, the man you have to push in front of the train has to be standing on a loop of the track such that even if you don’t push him, the train will plough through the other group of 5 and kill him anyways.

    AND he would have to be a dog, or cat (or fetus) – ie, not equivalent to a real human being.

  83. #83 MS
    May 17, 2010

    Have to agree about the title: the hospital did the right thing (in this instance, although I’m sure there are many other times they didn’t, where birth control and abortion issues are concerned).

  84. #84 Molly, NYC
    May 17, 2010

    Olmstead is such a horse’s ass that you have to wonder how he got to be a bishop.

    Then you remember that the competition for the job includes guys like this.

  85. #85 Givesgoodemail
    May 17, 2010

    And for a bit more background information, and an address for the dear Bishop Olmsted, you can look here.

  86. #86 truthspew
    May 17, 2010

    So let me get this right. You can do one of two things, save the mothers life or both mother and child die?

    Easy decision – abort the child.

    There is a big divide between nuns and priests. Nuns are out there on the front lines teaching children, caring for the sick, etc. Priests just roll in and administer last rites.

    But for the Bishop to excommunicate that nun, totally uncalled for since she was simply stating the obvious.

  87. #87 BlueIndependent
    May 17, 2010

    “Oh for fuck sake… I was just there like 16 months ago… I can’t believe I just did that.

    I have no excuse.”

    LOL no you don’t. Were you thinking Sedona (AZ’s Taos) and said Taos?

  88. #88 DominEditrix
    May 17, 2010

    I don’t know if that’s still the practice in Catholic hospitals, but it used to be that, if the choice were between saving a woman giving birth or saving the child she was delivering, it was preferred that the baby be saved. I don’t imagine this happened all that frequently, but I could certainly see an emergency room/mother haemorrhagging scenario on an understaffed holiday.

  89. #89 BlueIndependent
    May 17, 2010

    “…unborn child is not a disease…”

    The bishop, as can be expected, like anything he says regarding sex does not understand medicine or the medical definition of the word “disease”. It’s like creationists who think they understand the word “theory” in the scientific sense. I used to misunderstand the word “disease” myself until I married a nurse. The word “disease” simply describes a condition by which normal functioning of the body is either about to be threatened or is threatened significantly, sometimes mortally. The term says nothing about the threat being virus-based or having some other form of common notion of disease that springs from loaded words like cancer, diabetes, malaria, leprosy, etc.

    So, the bishop, as has been shown by many others here, is utterly wrong. Pointing out egtopic pregnancies is a perfect example too. If the bishop is so damned concerned about the “life the unborn”, would he not be for aborting a fetus growing in a mother’s fallopian tube, which could kill her, but if it doesn’t could leave her barren for the rest of her life anyways?

    What these theist busy-bodies care most about is leaving humanity stupid and incapable of solving solvable problems. And if women have to suffer their Biblical lot in life for it, so be it. I would love to see my wife tear this douchebag limb from limb on the subject of abortion in front of an audience.

  90. #90 truthspew
    May 17, 2010

    Legion: Funny story. In my Catholic High School we had a Christian Brother who told us his thoughts on the rhythm method.

    He said and I quote “Another name for those who practice the rhythm method is parents.”

    Brother Stephen was a bit of a whack job but he came out with some gems.

    And as to the de-baptism, I’m just going to take the shortcut. I plan to get some communion wafers and I want to violate them on the steps of the church. I’ll video the whole thing and then send it to the bishop. Closest thing I can get to pissing in the holy water.

  91. #91 dutchdoc
    May 17, 2010

    NOW would probably be a good time for that nun to read PZ’s earlier post:
    Daughters of Eve

  92. #92 blf
    May 17, 2010

    [F]or the Bishop to excommunicate that nun, totally uncalled for since she was simply stating the obvious.

    Except that reality is not allowed in the Rape Children Cult. The tricky chess piece has done the Nun a favour, and removed from her the embarrassment and constraints of supporting Bronze Age slavery.

  93. #93 ConcernedJoe
    May 17, 2010

    This so illustrates the silliness of insisting things are black and white – and black and white according to some interpretation of what is black and what is white.

    Repeating myself – but I cannot help thinking this scenario a defining scenario (are you insane and value dogma over humanity or are you sane and rational and value humanity over dogma):

    Raging fire; you can save 50000 petri dishes of embryos (50000 embryos) OR (mutually exclusive – no waffling or tricks or mitigating circumstances allowed) one 5 year old normal child. What do you do? Quick now answer! See a problem? I think if you do you a a dangerous nut!! and so is that bishop!!!

  94. #94 Etruscan
    May 17, 2010

    As is usually the case, those who are responsible and qualified will do the right thing, while the peanut gallery stands around bitching.

  95. #95 Pierce R. Butler
    May 17, 2010

    Hypatia’s Daughter @ # 71: Laura Sabin is (was?) a Canadian Catholic feminist who wrote about abortion some 30 years ago. I believe she coined the aphorism “If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament of the Church.”

    I had thought that line came from Bella Abzug, but apparently Floryence R. Kennedy said that in 1973.

  96. #96 MadScientist
    May 17, 2010

    Bishop Olmstead needs to be burned at the stake for heresy. The official catholic position is that abortion is morally acceptable in such situations. Besides, as a bishop he cannot excommunicate people – who the hell does he think he is, the fucking pope?

  97. #97 MadScientist
    May 17, 2010

    @SC OM #5: The bishop is full of shit; he is either ignorant of the church’s own position on the matter (as set out over 40 years ago) or a deliberate liar. If you care to waste time you can in fact find documents issued by the vatican which would support the decision of the nun, not of the bishop. To support the bishop’s view you might have to go back in time to the first council at Latera – or even the council at Nicosia. Or was the Lateran one older? Blah … who cares – if the church can make stuff up, so can I.

  98. #98 truthspeaker
    May 17, 2010

    Posted by: Eamon Knight | May 17, 2010 11:33 AM

    Yeah, I know: the rank-and-file laity, local clergy (apart from a few notorious exceptions), the nuns who run basic services, are mostly just regular, decent people, who’ll usually do the right thing. But they’ve got themselves stuck into voluntarily joined this huge institution with idiotic and anti-human dogmas, interests to protect, and a history of corruption fifteen seventeen centuries long.

    Fixed that for you.

  99. #99 Timaahy
    May 17, 2010

    Great to hear that the hospital seems to have achieved the best outcome possible, given the circumstances.

    Now, on to the other big issue. What is Latin for “ooga booga”? I’m going to have a stab and say “oogus boogus”.

  100. #101 Jessie
    May 17, 2010

    And as to the de-baptism, I’m just going to take the shortcut. I plan to get some communion wafers and I want to violate them on the steps of the church. I’ll video the whole thing and then send it to the bishop. Closest thing I can get to pissing in the holy water.

    A mass excommunication during the pope’s visit to Britain in September would make for some interesting headlines.

  101. #102 george.wiman
    May 17, 2010

    Do not go to Catholic hospitals: you never know when the local witch doctor will pop up by your bedside, go “ooga booga” (in Latin, of course!), and tell you that your treatment makes god angry so the staff has decided to let you suffer and die. It’ll be good for you?in imaginary Heaven.

    (Emphasis mine) I’m even more worried they might let me suffer and live. A good friend of mine was subjected to three agonizing months of pointless medical torture that he didn’t want because nobody would say; “Enough!” He even had a living will clearly expressing that he didn’t want that.

  102. #103 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    I keep wondering why there even ARE “Catholic” hospitals…

    http://www.slate.com/id/2205326

    didn’t answer my question, but makes me think even harder that there simply shouldn’t be.

    catholic hospitals, I mean.

  103. #104 monado
    May 17, 2010

    She was lucky she wasn’t in for childbirth, as I have been told that a Catholic hospital makes pregnant women (and possibly their husbands) sign an agreement that if it’s a choice between the life of the baby and the mother, they will save the baby. I hope that’s not still going on.

  104. #105 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    I have been told that a Catholic hospital makes pregnant women (and possibly their husbands) sign an agreement that if it’s a choice between the life of the baby and the mother, they will save the baby.

    don’t know for sure, but you aren’t alone in your concern about the issue:

    So let me make this clear: At the present moment, as a physician, I would not feel comfortable with a woman I cared about seeking obstetric services at a Catholic hospital.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jacob-m-appel/after-st-josephs-are-wome_b_578086.html

    yeah, it’s huffpo, but still…

  105. #106 steverino63
    May 17, 2010

    Doesn’t the fact that Bishop Olmsted said the nun was automatically excommunicated further undercut Pope Benedicktus’ claim that all these people who work for him are really just independent contractors?

    http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2010/05/pope-those-priests-dont-work-for-me.html

  106. #107 Nebula99
    May 17, 2010

    NOW would probably be a good time for that nun to read PZ’s earlier post:
    Daughters of Eve

    Quoted for truth. Honestly, that nun should be proud. She saved a woman’s life, did a good deed, stood up to authority, and got out of the Catholic Church all in one day’s work.

    The only [auto-excommunicating] sin that involved an ordinary parishioner was abortion. Not rape, not incest, not murder.

    Wow. Just fucking wow.

  107. #108 Rorschach
    May 17, 2010

    The ‘theological’ term is “principle of double effect” – basically the death of the fetus was treated as an unfortunate side effect of the otherwise permissible efforts to save the life of the mother.

    IIRC from reading Hauser’s book, double effect is a rather universal phenomenon in the human brain when making moral judgments, and not at all exclusive to Catholic theology.

    Catholic hospitals and the services they provide, especially Maternity, are a preferred tool to apply political pressure over here in Australia, when the local RCC bigots are faced with political decisions they don’t like.
    Fuckfaces.

  108. #109 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    Catholic hospitals and the services they provide, especially Maternity, are a preferred tool to apply political pressure over here in Australia

    evidently, little different in the states, as the league of Catholic Bishops attempted to blackmail the country by saying that if FOCA passed, they would close over 600 Catholic Hospitals.

    It worked.

    FOCA is now on the back burner in the legislature.

    btw, if you read it, FOCA is nothing more than a restatement of the law of the land under Roe V Wade.

    so, Catholics were more than happy to blackmail politicians and people needing hospital services in order to…

    accomplish nothing.

  109. #110 Peter H
    May 17, 2010

    Jumping ahead with only 2¢ in hand,

    IF the pregnancy had continued and
    IF the woman had succumbed (fetus & all) and
    IF her family had sued the hospital for negligent homicide/manslaughter right down to and including its (undoubtedly blessed) cornerstone . . . . .

  110. #111 Ichthyic
    May 17, 2010

    accomplish nothing.

    grandstand.

    that’s more apt.

  111. #112 Mark F
    May 17, 2010

    What a double standard here. She gets excommunicated almost immediately yet a priest that piddles little boys gets shuffled around and protected for decades.

  112. #113 thrasymachus
    May 17, 2010

    PZ, does it *really* astonish you that the Catholic Church expresses opinions that are so backwards and barbaric, which tend to elicit outrage among those of us who haven?t had their intellects stultified by Catholic dogma? After all, the Catholic Church subscribes to a philosophy that was forged during the Iron Age. The attempt to foist this archaic philosophy on the inhabitants of the 21st century is really quite amusing. Obviously, it is completely out of tune with the current moral zeitgeist (as are the dogmas of most religions). My hope is that people are finally waking up to this fact?

  113. #114 Robster
    May 17, 2010

    Another example of the religiously deluded being placed in a position to have an effect on the lives of others. How have we let this happen? In Australia, we’ve got two hospital systems. Private and state. Many of the private hospitals are / were owned by the catholic churh. Over the last couple of years, they’ve been selling their health service assets and getting out of the trade. I think this is because anti-discrimination legislation in many states precludes the church from discriminating against gay people and non-catholics in terms of staffing their facilities. So, it seems, all their goodness is not goodness at all. The church is primarily in health to get their rubbish out into the marketplace, in a hospital, there’s always a gaggle of priestly persons popping about hailing mary and preaching to a an audience that can’t easily escape. Who the hell is mary? Anyway, in this country at least, this revolting organisation is getting back to its grass roots job of preaching bullshit to rapidly reducing numbers of potential parishiners.

  114. #115 Jbags
    May 17, 2010

    Err, whatever happened to the Doctrine of the Lesser of Two Evils?

    I know in cases like contraception they manage to avoid doing the sensible thing that might be recommended by this principle by saying “contraception vs unprotected sex is a false dichotomy as it precludes abstinance” (I won’t critique this point as I think all of you are all perfectly mentally capable of that feat); however, this IS a clear cut dichotomy, “lose child and mother” or “lose child”.

    Surely in that case, the second option is the best outcome of a bad situation, quite literally the lesser of two evils. The ethics board clearly understood this, so how come this “bishop” is so blind to well established Catholic doctine?

  115. #116 Judy L.
    May 17, 2010

    @Amphiox #81 & 82,

    Actually, the ethical scenario of the run-away train and harming one innocent to save five does very much apply in this case, except that in this scenario the fetus isn’t one of the innocent bystanders, the fetus IS THE TRAIN. The fetus (or rather, the pregnancy) is just like a run-away train, operating on auto-pilot with no intent or consciousness (and thus no moral agency), but is still the material agent of harm. Thus, the only ethical choice is to blow up the train and get it off the tracks.

    Pulmonary hypertension must be a devastating condition for the women who have it and are planning a pregnancy or who find themselves pregnant. It’s infuriating that anyone would tell these women that their lives must be sacrificed because an imaginary phantom prefers that their fetuses die from natural, “indirect” causes.

  116. #117 Hypatia's Daughter
    May 17, 2010

    #95 Pierce R. Butler. It would have been in the early 70′s when I read it in Laura Sabin(e?)’s column in the Daily Star. I don’t recall she attributed to anyone; but it seems to have been floating around everywhere at the time, so it may well have been Flo Kennedy who first coined it.

  117. #118 baldfatgit
    May 18, 2010

    I’m coming late to this, but as I understand it, the story is even more bizarre than PZ reports.

    The nun wasn’t excommunicated – she was demoted and re-assigned to other duties.

    The person who was automatically excommunicated was the patient…

  118. #119 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawml_965fp9NYnJVV6l9fKfiGwSYikvoC4E
    May 18, 2010

    Doesn’t Thomas Olmsted, bishop, understand his own faith? Does he not trust in his own lord, who doth move in ways mysterious? It’s pretty clear that this fetus was destined to become a mass murderer and so was removed by divine intervention. Why else would the master permit the nun to think this the better course of action? This bishop must be rehabiliated so that he better trust his maker. He needs a top-up. We should forgive him his sin of momentary doubt, not condemn him, we should try to help him see the light.

    OK, so I’m not entirely serious here. So excommunicate me. Oh, wait, I’m not ‘incommunicated’ anyway.

  119. #120 Anubis Bloodsin the third
    May 18, 2010

    Seems that the ‘oogus boogus’ fraternity are descending the dark slippery slope into moral oblivion but cannot resist hysterical and hypocritical pontifications presumably aimed at the sheeple but scatter blasting anyone within ear shot of a media terminal.

    They are consolidating their death like grip on their present victims of Jesuit benevolence that is all.
    After all cannot have them wondering off and getting all rational.

    The RCC is undergoing terminal decline in priest numbers, obviously now that the bonus of diddling kiddies has been recognised by the greater society as being unacceptable no matter who your fictitious boss or bishop might be.
    Seems that glitch has taken the ‘holy joe’ scam down a notch or two in job preference from mentally retarded morons that would otherwise have used it as an outlet for their confused and complicated inadequate sexuality.

    They are being sidelined by most secular institutions and they are losing the awe stricken fear they so liked to foster throughout the ages.
    The gig is up, they have been busted by a rationality that is beginning to filter through the wider community and little do they like it.

    I suggest it is not just the RCC, it is also creeping in other religious cults.
    The C of E really is already in smelly meltdown and actively considering splitting themselves down the middle, mainly cos that is what all religions do.
    With a lot of ‘fatwa’ envy, come bile, running through their anaemic life blood presumably.

    A trait already coveted by the fudagelical ‘hard of thinking’ brigades so beloved by cretinist advocates.

    It is a just the competition in deity that stumps them all.
    Islamic sensibilities like to declare summat morally off and the legions accept point immediately and unquestioned.
    What an operational blueprint that would be for an xian based delusion?

    That is why the enmity not because of the delusion itself…having that power would cream Rick Warren’s or Bill ‘Donkeybreath’s’ pants continually.

    But that is not, nor ever has been, the case in xianity because there are to many scams and profit considerations floating in the toilet bowl of ‘spiritual enlightenment’
    To many cults practising the substance if not the word.
    To many wackaloons dragging the delusion into disrepute.
    To many woo merchants making a laughing stock of the premise.
    To much ‘oogus’ not enough ‘boogus’.
    Sombre times indeed for deluded and delusionals alike, which cult to support, which set of arbitrary doctrines to claim precedence, who to actually worship, what to actually worship, and why?
    All the cults are laying out their tacky wares to snare the unwitting that pass by and are perceiving their own displayed spread as meagre and rather tawdry actually quite inane in a certain light.
    So the traditional wielding of lies,fantasy, fiction and wishful thinking are plumbing even greater murky depths of lunacy and sheer insanity in a bidding war, all trying to out moralize the other wannabe moralisers in the religio-wars.

    No wonder the chronically challenged rhetoric is screeching ever more hysterical diatribe.
    They are girding their metaphorical loins to at least preserve the status quo, they are not succeeding by poll counts and secular attitudes.
    All major delusions are slowly haemorrhaging numbers and more alarmingly influence.

    And they know it.

    It must be a severe shock to their atrophied sensibilities when their own institutions start functioning logically and humanely.
    No doubt they will blame atheism as a cause of the ungodliness, a last gasp kick in the gonads of the ‘ólde enemy’ out of sheer malice and pure adulterated toxic hatred.

    No change there then.

    Let them spew their gross and bloated insane pontifications it makes a fascinating spectacle.
    The RCC had a headache which was the precursor of schizophrenic inspired megalomania.
    This is but the symptom of incompetent and flatulent fear on their part.

    It is well that the populace see it in all its rancid pathetic insipid glory.
    And realise under their own volition that all that glitters is not gold, and all that promote home grown morality by worshipping its own institution will not necessarily be morally qualified.
    And certainly all that claim they are will be seedy bigoted liars with another far more sinister agenda.

  120. #121 Aquaria
    May 18, 2010

    It always comes back to what George Carlin says: It’s not about saving babies, it’s about controlling women. What better way to control them than by telling them that Gawd wants them to be an incubator for any conception until Gawd decides what to do with it, and don’t you dare question that, much less decide not to let a clump of cells stay there against your will. But if the clump of cells dies along with the woman who can’t kill the clump of cells killing her, well, that’s Gawd’s will. Who are you to challenge Gawd? Either way, you deserve to die for being a filthy woman who lured innocent, pure men into filthy sex.

    As for this bishop, this is really sad. My mom used to work at a Catholic hospital, specializing in obstetrical anesthesia. They weren’t this extreme about saving the fetus, even if it kills the mother. Of course, that was in the 80s.

  121. #122 JNorris
    May 18, 2010

    Another reason to avoid Arizona: you might need medical care while visiting and the local bishop is the hospital’s death panel.

  122. #123 Eamon Knight
    May 18, 2010

    The Bishop’s words provide an interesting little case study in the use of slogans to obscure truth:

    “An unborn child is not a disease” juxtaposes “child” (good) with “disease” (bad), and of course the obvious reaction is “of course not!”. But this obscures the fact that pregnancy — despite being a completely natural, normal process, necessary for the continuation of the species — carries real risks, even for a healthy woman. It counts as a “medical condition”, whatever priests or idealistic hippies may say about it. Add in a pre-existing disease like this poor gal has, and it becomes life-threatening. Or to toss in an analogy: vigorous physical exercise isn’t a disease either — but it’s also something you refrain from if you’ve got a serious cardiac condition.

    “The end do not justify the means” — another appealing moral truism. Granted, simplistic utilitarianism doesn’t work. For example, we don’t get to murder someone, even if harvesting their organs would enable us to save multiple transplant candidates. But this case isn’t in that class: the fetus (whose moral status is dubious at best) is dead either way. Scrupling about whether to just do the necessary, or wait for it to happen “naturally”, or as a side effect of something else, is stupid (especially when doing so entails high risk to another party).

  123. #124 baldfatgit
    May 18, 2010

    Since it seemed an odd punishment I followed up with the bishop’s own site and discovered that things get even more weird. A Q&A document was added on 5/18 and it sheds more light (www.catholicsun.org/2010/phxdio-stjoes/Q-AND-A-ST-JOSEPH-HOSPITAL-FINAL.pdf).

    EVERYBODY has been automatically excommunicated – not just the nun and the patient, but also all staff members (doctors, nurses, admins) involved who are Catholic, as well as anyone who paid for the procedure.

    The claim is that the patient was told that the procedure would meet with church approval, and that it’s the fact that a D&C was used rather than some other procedure that has triggered this automatic excommunication.

    The excommunication can apparently be resolved by seeing the priest and undergoing a special confession, plus maybe a trip to the bishop to see about participating in calming the faithful, but for now it seems the whole hospital’s future is in doubt unless they promise not to do this kind of thing again.

    Which, considering that it was a medical decision, speaks volumes about the Catholic church seeking to dictate to doctors how to practice medicine. That’s another wall of separation that needs to built…

  124. #125 Zoot Capri
    May 18, 2010

    This is just one more instance in a long list that reinforces my belief that the Catholic Church is a dangerous evil cult which should be investigated and dismantled. And taxed, and it’s wealth redistributed to the countries where the riches came from for the support of the poor people who believe this swill.

  125. #126 Ichthyic
    May 18, 2010

    EVERYBODY has been automatically excommunicated

    awesome!

    saves everyone involved the trouble of having to get the CC to excommunicate them manually, and the CC shoots itself in the foot at the same time.

    win win.

    for those that weren’t so lucky:

    http://www.atheistfoundation.org.au/articles/easy-steps-excommunication

  126. #127 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawk4ZNQs2Bl8_H4z3YlM_4gddeVboQckWy0
    May 19, 2010

    I also wrote a similar article about this little incident and I have some douche claiming that there were ‘other’ options available.

    “There were other options, were they tried first? Read this:
    Purpose. The treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) in pregnancy is reviewed.
    Summary. PAH is a disease characterized by narrowing of the pulmonary arteries and increased vascular resistance. Women with PAH should avoid becoming pregnant, as the physiological, cardiovascular, and pulmonary changes that occur during pregnancy can exacerbate the condition. However, several viable treatment options are available to improve the outcomes in this patient population, including inhaled nitric oxide, calcium-channel blockers, targeted pulmonary vasodilators, and sildenafil. Epoprostenol, a naturally occurring prostaglandin and vasodilator, is a pregnancy category B drug. Reproductive studies in rats and rabbits have found no impaired fertility or fetal harm at 2.5?4.8 times the recommended human dosage of epoprostenol. [...]“

    Is this for real? I am certainly no MD, but this response smells like its a frothy gish-gallop of one sort or another; and rats and rabbits are certainly not studies to entirely base treatments on. Thanks in advance for your help.

    I do apologize for the the google login. Open id was having no part of me this evening. :(

  127. #128 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    Is this for real?

    frankly, it’s irrelevant.

    the only thing that IS relevant is the woman’s immediate diagnosis at the time, and what was recommended all agreed on wrt to the best course of treatment (except the bishop, who of course is an ignorant fuck).

    so, you can safely tell your commenter that his link is entirely irrelevant to the case at hand.

  128. #129 Ichthyic
    May 19, 2010

    … nevermind, I went ahead and flogged him.

    couldn’t resist.

  129. #130 Eamon Knight
    May 19, 2010

    @124:and that it’s the fact that a D&C was used rather than some other procedure that has triggered this automatic excommunication.

    I’ve run across this before, in connection with the Brazilian incest case: that if only the pregnancy had been terminated in exactly the right way everything would have been copacetic (it’s justified by some delicate parsing of the Double Effect rule).

    To me, it doesn’t matter: given the choice, doctors should use whatever method poses the least risk to the patient.

  130. #131 Chris
    May 21, 2010

    I?ve set up a Facebook group called ?Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted is a depraved misogynist? for anyone you shares my opinion of this obnoxious idiot.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=120730744626484&ref=mf

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