Non-Catholic abortionist working at Catholic hospital: “When a woman says a fetus is a person, I think it is one.”

From Lifesite comes a story that left me perplexed about how to express my anger.

Doc at Catholic hospital: ‘I perform abortions because I’m a Christian’
by Patrick B. Craine

DURANGO, Colorado, July 22, 2011 ( – After a Catholic hospital in Colorado refused to remove a Planned Parenthood abortionist from its ob/gyn staff, [!] pro-life advocates have organized a protest, featuring Live Action President Lila Rose, on Aug. 4.

[Read this slowly…] “The reason I perform abortions is because I’m a Christian,” Richard Grossman, a Quaker, told the Durango Herald after a similar protest outside Mercy Regional Medical Center last year.  [Keep reading slowly and think about the implications…] “Personally, I believe in the strength, intellect and fortitude of women. When a woman says a fetus is a person, I think it is one. I believe the woman empowers the fetus.”  [So… he thinks that one person gets to decide who is human and who isn’t?  What if someone were to decide that Jews, or Blacks, or Quakers weren’t quite human?  Doesn’t he sound like a eugenicist?]

Grossman is the longest-serving physician at the hospital, having served there 44 years, but he also commits abortions on Wednesdays at Planned Parenthood of Durango.  Pro-lifers say he is the only abortionist within a 200-mile radius.

Grossman is also a prominent advocate of population control within the community, through his regular column in the Durango Herald called “Population Matters.” [Speaking of determining who is human and who isn’t, and speaking of population control, note that this fellow works for Planned Parenthood, founded by Margaret Sanger with the expressed purpose of controlling the population by getting rid of black people and those with lower intelligence.] In that column he has opposed the personhood movement, blamed high fertility for poverty in Haiti, [Aren’t most of the poor people in Haiti of a dark complexion?  That is probably what the writer of the article wants us to remember.] and said that the “sort of yelling” he hears from pro-life protestors at the entrance to Planned Parenthood “comes from the old-fashioned era of authoritarian domination.”  [Irony.  Which is more authoritarian or dominating?  The Church’s (human reason’s) teaching that a fetus is a human being and has the right to be born or the claim that one person can determine that this fetus is a person while that fetus is not?  That’s not authoritarianim…. nooooo.]

“Mercy Hospital allows full privileges to Richard Grossman, who violently kills children every week,” said Daniel Anguis, the executive of the pro-life group LifeGuard, who are organizing the August 4th protest. “There are no circumstances under which it is acceptable to murder a child, and no circumstances under which a Catholic hospital should collaborate with an abortionist.”

On Thursday Lifeguard unveiled a new website and petition to end Grossman’s privileges at the Catholic hospital.


Read the rest at LifeSite.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Emanations from Penumbras, Our Catholic Identity, The future and our choices and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Peco says:

    What does the bishop of this diocese have to say? The bishop is fairly new – about 1 1/2 years. There has been a lot of hope for some badly needed changes. Unfortunately, the silence has been deafening.

  2. KAS says:

    I can see how expressing anger over this might be a problem, I mean, where do you BEGIN?

    Here is a doctor with 44 years seniority which means this CATHOLIC hospital has been condoning his work for nearly half a century.

    This doctor works for planned parenthood and advocates for population control.

    How can a Catholic hospital be permitted to condone and support a man whose entire career has been founded on the CULTURE OF DEATH?

    44 years– so more than one Bishop has allowed this evil to fester in his diocese.

    I think I am most angry at the Bishops for failing in their duties.

  3. JP Borberg says:

    The dudes name is ‘Grossman’. Somewhat apt.

  4. Peco says:

    Here is a chance for the new bishop to be bold and do what hasn’t been done in this diocese for DECADES. But I won’t hold my breath on this one. I cannot understand why this diocese cannot just look to the neighboring dioceses of Denver or Colorado Springs or Phoenix to see great examples of bold and courageous bishops.

  5. The Cobbler says:

    “…and said that the “sort of yelling” he hears from pro-life protestors at the entrance to Planned Parenthood “comes from the old-fashioned era of authoritarian domination.” [Irony. Which is more authoritarian or dominating? The Church’s (human reason’s) teaching that a fetus is a human being and has the right to be born or the claim that one person can determine that this fetus is a person while that fetus is not? That’s not authoritarianim…. nooooo.]”
    Not to mention that when liberals hold protests that actually threaten people it’s just standing up for their fellow man person quasi-intelligent lump of cells.

  6. Jerry says:

    @Peco – ”

    It appears the diocese has been and continues to be involved to some extent. From the source article:

    The Diocese of Pueblo told Catholic News Agency in June 2010 that they commissioned a canonical investigation into Grossman’s position at the hospital in 2008 and found that the hospital was in “full compliance” with the U.S. Bishops’ medical directives, known as the ‘Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Services’ (ERDs). The diocese also maintained that his service at the hospital was protected under federal anti-discrimination laws prohibiting sanctions against a doctor over his private practice.

    Fr. Michael Papesh, the Diocese’s Vicar for Administration, told LifeSiteNews Friday that the hospital “remains in full compliance with the ERDs,” but they are still considering how to handle the situation.

    “The situation remains of great concern to the Bishop. It is not only being monitored, but we are exploring various avenues of approach more deeply,” he said.

    Fr. Papesh also noted that the hospital “disallows him to offer or perform abortion related services associated with the hospital.”

  7. SonofMonica says:

    I just decided “Doctor’ Grossman is not a human being. Human beings have intellect and compassion for human beings. Therefore, he cannot possibly meet the requirements…. You know… to me. So, he won’t mind a few blogging Catholics lobbying to have him removed from the hospital, right? If I don’t perceive him as a person, then he won’t feel the pain of losing his job, correct? The pain of having his job ripped from him limb-by-limb. The pain of being tossed in the dumpster after 44 years of practice.

  8. I strongly suspect that the founder of the Quaker movement and the early Quaker colonists who founded Pennsylvania (and supported the toleration of Catholics in the intolerant colonies) would be horrified at the behavior of this individual.

  9. Denise says:

    I think Dr. Grossman’s words and actions are despicable and immoral. That said, I do think the Diocese and the hospital can do little. Nothing he is doing outside his work with the Catholic hospital is illegal or outside the ethical bounds of the standard practice of medicine. (That does not imply that the standard practice of medicine meets the standards of Catholic health care ethics.) Also, privileges means the doctor has the right to practice medicine in the hospital, but the hospital does not pay the doctor. The patient pays the hospital for the use of its services and pays the doctor for his/her services. The hospital has no grounds to terminate privileges. Understand also, that if the hospital were allowed to terminate privileges based on the disapproval of his medical practice unconnected with the hospital, it could set the stage for the termination of privileges of pro-life doctors as well. A secular hospital that does perform abortions would feel free to terminate the privileges of a pro-life doctor who is affiliated with the local crisis pregnancy center. So yes, it is infuriating that this man who sees nothing wrong with terminating innocent lives based on the whims of others is practicing medicine in a Catholic hospital. Unless he is using his work at the Catholic hospital to recruit patients for his diabolical services, I don’t see the hospital or the Diocese have any avenue for direct action. The bishop could tell faithful Catholics that they should think carefully when choosing a doctor and seek one who practices in accord with Catholic principles. It would be reasonable for Catholics to boycott his practice just as they would boycott any business or institution that contributes to Planned Parenthood.

  10. AnAmericanMother says:

    The Society of Friends is in the same boat as the Unitarians. With no apostolic succession and no guidelines but what a majority says the “holy spirit” is telling them, they just drift into whatever the fashionable spirit of the age is up to.
    The Episcopalians, of course, are right behind them in that handbasket.
    All three used to be pretty good, upstanding moral denominations even though not with the fullness of Truth.

  11. AnAmericanMother says:

    Denise, you hit the nail on the head. All the bishop can do is encourage his flock to choose their physicians carefully.

  12. iudicame says:

    Its not a “public” hospital (what ever that means). No so-called doctor has a RIGHT to practice at a privately owned facility. Simply a case of cowardly leadership as is usually the case. m

  13. homeschoolofthree says:

    20 years ago, as a young, naive, RN, I worked in Labor and Delivery of a large city hospital. Many of the Dr’s on staff were Jewish and regularly did abortions at another facility. I was excited when an older Dr. joined the staff who was a Quaker and had spent 20 years on the African continent as a missionary. I thought that we would have a Dr. that finally understood why I refused to prep patients for tubal ligations and who did not spend his days performing abortions! I asked him about his work as a missionary, he had spent those 20 years performing abortions on those ‘poor souls’ in Africa! Then I found out from him the reason he had gone to do missionary work was because he had had his house burned down in the States twice by those “crazy pro-life” people because he had performed more abortions in Ohio than any other Dr. two years in a row!
    I thought the Quakers hated violence! How much more violent can you be than to murder a baby in the womb!

  14. wanda says:

    ‘because I am a Christian’? How about the Ten Commandments? The one about killing? You know, that one? Anyway, thank you, Fr. Z. for posting this story. I hope many of your faithful readers will go to Life Site News, find the story and sign the protest. I must say, this is the first time I have heard an abortionist say that he kills the un-born children because he is a Christian.

  15. trad catholic mom says:


    Grossman is the longest-serving physician at the hospital, having served there 44 years,

    So, for 44 years local Catholics and the Bishops have ignored this? Am I understanding this correctly?

  16. albinus1 says:

    All the bishop can do is encourage his flock to choose their physicians carefully.

    Doesn’t a bishop have something to say about whether a hospital operating in his diocese can identify itself as a “Catholic” hospital?

  17. Denise says:

    Doesn’t a bishop have something to say about whether a hospital operating in his diocese can identify itself as a “Catholic” hospital?

    Yes, the bishop has every right to determine a hospital is not a “Catholic” hospital. However, nothing is occurring at Mercy hospital that is not in accord with Catholic teaching. If the hospital were allowing Dr. Grossman to refer patients to Planned Parenthood for abortions or he was performing sterilizations at the hospital then the hospital would be acting outside the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic healthcare. Dr. Grossman has done nothing that would offer legal justification for the termination of his privileges. His work at Planned Parenthood is completely legal, completely in the scope of care for an OB/GYN, and completely separated from Mercy Hospital. It is also completely immoral, but the hospital and the bishop can take no direct action against him.

  18. Joe in Canada says:

    Denise, I understand your point, but does the hospital not have a legal right to protect its reputation? If someone with privileges in the hospital speaks publicly outside the hospital in direct contradiction to the mission of the hospital, would the hospital not be obliged to protect patients coming into the hospital from this person?

    It should be easy to imagine other scenarios. In Canada teachers have been fired and stripped of their collegial certification because of letters they have written to the editors. While Dr Grossman is not doing abortions in the hospital, he is undermining its identity.

  19. MissOH says:

    Ok, so apart from my disbelief that 1) he does abortions because he is Christian !? and 2) he is and has worked at a (supposedly) Catholic hospital for over 40 years, it appears he has come up with new rules for the science of biology: When a woman says a fetus is a person, I think it is one. I believe the woman empowers the fetus.”
    Um, so instead of an new totally different individual life coming into being at the moment of conception- like I learned in biology- people come from women speaking them into being….I think he got confused with ancient Greek mythology. People don’t spring from the lips of other people.

    Of course his double speak is to salve his conscience over the contradiction the “pro-choice” crowd has when someone has a miscarriage. Since that child was “wanted” ok to feel sympathy, otherwise dehumanize the child.

  20. mtmajor says:

    Frankly, the hospital can certainly terminate his services; and then pay off when he sues them for wrongful termination. There is a consequence for keeping him in their employ for 44 years. Or the bishop can remove the Catholic designation from the hospital.

    There is a way to remedy this – it only takes courage of your convictions to see it through and end this scandal.

  21. amenamen says:

    The absurdity of this situation stuns the imagination. The helplessness of the diocese in the face of the legal conundrum leaves one feeling paralyzed.

    I wonder:
    How does a known abortionist show up for work at a Catholic hospital every week for 44 years?
    Do receptionists, nurses, janitors, patients, administrators, and fellow doctors treat him as a friend? a co-worker? a colleague? a part of their family? Do they greet him when he walks down the corridor? Do they sit with him in the cafeteria? Play golf with him? Are they at peace with him? Are they comfortable with his being there?
    Does anyone ever confront him? Reason with him? Argue with him?
    Does he feel welcome there?
    Does he sense that he is in an environment where he is considered a paraiah and a criminal?
    Is he really the only one? Are there other doctors in his practice? Do any doctors there ever refer their own patients to him?
    Is it remotely possible that he has really NEVER violated any Catholic teachings or policies while on hospital property? Is he really all that careful?
    It is rare that an abortionist is actually a good doctor, at the top of the profession.
    How many malpractice suits, if any, have there been against him?
    He writes a regular column in the secular press, consistently attacking the Catholic Church’s moral teachings. The absurdity of this is galling. How long would a Jewish hospital tolerate the presence of a known anti-Semite?
    How smart is he? His absurd reasoning makes me wonder how he even made it through high school or college.

  22. Warren says:

    Offer him a fat severance package. If he accepts, good. If he doesn’t, do what others have suggested – fire him and then pay him off.

    This kind of sticky situation reminds us that we need to be proactive so we’re not put in a situation of having to be reactive. Catholic institutions could institute, for example, a monthly seminar on Catholic medical ethics. Call it a mandatory one or two hour professional development seminar for all employees. Lots of professions do it legitimately so. If someone agrees to work at a Catholic hospital, they should then expect to be provided with opportunities to learn the nuances of Catholic medical ethics. It might just lead to better disciples who could then better communicate the Church’s teaching and improve the overall level of caregiving in society. On the flip side, those who refuse to participate in the seminar could then be given an initial warning or series of warnings and if necessary, upon further disregard for mandatory participation, be discharged for noncompliance with company policy.

  23. Hieronymus Illinensis says:

    “Personally, I believe in the strength, intellect and fortitude of women. When a woman says a fetus is a person, I think it is one. I believe the woman empowers the fetus.”

    His religion is not Christianity. It is Gynecolatry.

  24. Banjo pickin girl says:

    This guy is obviously an FGC Quaker. I used to be one. They are far worse than the Unitarians because they claim the perks of the Quaker heritage without ever living any of it. It’s all a big sham.

  25. Pachomius says:

    “So… he thinks that one person gets to decide who is human and who isn’t?”
    Actually, Fr., I think he’s saying that reality is governed by consensus. If we all believe that a baby is a person, then that’s true, and if we all believe otherwise, it isn’t, and if we believe you can believe both about two babies at the same time, then that’s possible too.

    Similarly, if we all believe the secret to flying is to flap your arms as you jump off the building, then that’s true, too.

  26. benedetta says:

    This statement:

    “Personally, I believe in the strength, intellect and fortitude of women.”

    is intended to imply that those who acknowledge the sanctity of all human life in the light of Christ do *not* believe in the strength, intellect and fortitude of women. And that judgmental, intolerant, bigoted belief stems from virulent assumptions which refuse as the working paradigm to admit, acknowledge, dialogue with, respect what Catholics actually believe and seeks to portray all Catholics by association with the Church as being people who personally do not believe in the strength, intellect and fortitude of women.

    I am not going to bother to “debate” what is a slur as number one stereotypical slur does not respect to begin with so there is not any indication that debate or discussion will be reciprocated on the terms of mutual respect. However, for the sake of this comment board, the truth is that the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church demonstrates that if it were not for prolife many more women in the form of mothers and their children would be consumed, tortured and slaughtered, and disposed of with a treatment infinitely crass and without any regard for mortal human remains. Abortion despises women, motherhood, and children, all in one fell swoop. Abortion is not premised on any religious belief system or ethical system growing out of any religion or system of societal norms but rather is a legal construct, a legalism and the only argument asserted is that we “can’t do without it, that we need it, and more of it”. Not that it is a good, in and of itself. Our Democratic leaders who while supporting abortion also out of the other side of their mouth say it ought to be rare acknowledge this all the time. The best one could say of it is that it is a necessary evil and when it comes to murdering innocent babies, the specter of a Christ who would wholeheartedly support it while telling lies about actually supporting women is appalling.

    So it is incredibly insulting and offensive and shows gross disrespect for others, lack of sensitivity to make money and feed off the very people he singles out for hateful bigoted attack.

    The democracy currently is not set up to acknowledge the fact that a majority of people in this country have grave reservations about the spread of the culture of death and its effects. More and more young people come to the conclusion, surprisingly, since the media, their leaders, and the generation that teaches them tell them something else, but all on their own, which is inspiration and leadership from God, they conclude that it is an evil and should not be tolerated in a just and free society. Young women do not pinned with the outrageous notion that they owe their equality in the law to the right to kill their own child and they know through history, and particularly those acquainted with the history of the Catholic Church, in this country (see, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Katharine Drexel, Bl Kateri Tekakawitha) and the history of the Church (see, numerous women of the bible, the gospels, acts of the apostles and epistles, numerous courageous female martyrs with more fortitude in their pinky than this Grossman has in his highly compensated life, doctors of the church, founders of religious orders that taught founded institutions, taught huge numbers, and cared for multitudes of sick, the support of prayers by contemplatives without which surely so many souls would have perished, the example of numerous women in our own times who make the courageous choice to move forward to do what is necessary to raise a child (of God) rather than play the victim to the coercion of male presences in their life which say that they wanted the mother for the sex she could offer but when it came down to what God creates that they will turn their back, withdraw psychological, financial or any other support, indeed will persecute and leave her totally alone.)

    So in one fell swoop this guy with his pronouncement and learned opinion wishes to pretend as if huge numbers of Christian women and women from all faiths who wish to support women in crisis pregnancy rather than compel them to annihilate by means of torture and a male physician for a fee, simply do not exist. Well I have news for him and all others who would attempt to portray to the world that’s the way it is and that the legalisms of the law of the land must be defended, at all costs, even if it means disrespecting and insulting the very people he makes his money off of ( and let’s face it, if he is willing to kill their young, he makes his living, in very real terms, from doing more than merely disrespecting and insulting the very people he makes his money off of with his empty words). There are many of us. And we are in the majority.

    Currently although there is a majority many in power wish to portray it as something else. So certain things we take for granted in a democracy, designed to function in the classically liberal style, with robust debate and acknowledgment of both sides in debate in order to clarify and search to find the way to govern and proceed, they are impaired and not functioning in a healthy way at this moment in history for a variety of reasons. The classically liberal way has been sacrificed by many so that so many who call themselves liberal do not even realize that a totalitarian propaganda way of proceeding to look at news is edging closer and closer to a place where we thought it could never happen here. And this guy’s comments entirely reflect the double-speak, the tendency to employ xenophobia in lieu of discussing the merits. If it is not ok for Catholics to speak up on behalf of life because this is informed by faith (which I am not convinced is an automatic disqualifier the way some wield this as a grenade), then, it is not ok for a Quaker (however he styles himself as one) to speak up on behalf of abortion because he sees it informed by his religious belief system.

    No a classically liberal nation would be able to discuss the merits of the arguments and the facts, not base on religious anti-Catholic slur. So, he has no argument for abortion to offer. Prolife has science and ultrasound to offer. Look at the science if one wishes to proceed in discussion as if we are all atheists since faith may not be permitted to inform one’s beliefs.

    Of course if we are going down that path then others who advocate for other things simply because they believe their faith says it is morally right will also have to be disqualified from any debate, and let the chips fall where they may. If that is not inching closer and closer to totalitarianism and state enforced atheism, far, far away from the JC Murray envisioning then I do not know what is.

    What is the way ahead? As in other times historically when grave injustice permeated the land, the conscience of Christianity must speak with a unified voice and contribute to the humanizing of the culture. And it is not enough to demand that bishops alone speak about these things. What must stop first and foremost is the coddling and support extended to choice in numerous ways in parishes, institutions, religious education, positions of leadership and influence, media. Silence is not an option on prolife at every level. For the Church, within its own parishes, to assist in the great deception covering our whole country that the favoring of life versus the favoring of slaughtering children are “equally valid” and relatively equally good must stop. There can be no equating life with the power to kill and slaughter in the Church. Those who come to the Church attempting to lead, teach, publicize, convince others, contribute money to bribe, or whatever other designs or plans in order to further the cause of choice (which is already legal, why would we need them in our own parishes promoting abortion, to us?) if Catholics, must be pastorally guided to recognize what they are doing and repent of it, not be told that it’s all good and helpful when it is utterly destructive. In the instance of non-Catholics attempting to feed off our institutions we need to so much as possible say to them, thanks, but no thanks. There are non-Catholics who will be respectful of our views and we need to support and encourage Catholics in medicine and nursing, teaching, parish council, media so that the prolife message can contribute to society, which needs it not only for prolife but to prevent it from slipping into an abyss of a totalitarian mindset based on fear of others, caricature and suspicion, violence and hatred. When prolife is permitted to contribute meaningfully in all levels of society and be respected then our society will once again regain the classically liberal design which healthily hears and accepts the responsibility of governing through a diverse and pluralistic society.

    My sense is that those in leadership who tolerate Planned Parenthood, who speak up in parish or Church context or setting for “choice” as if this is a good thing, and even those who throw up their hands and say that it is the law of the land and nothing can be done, are frightened. Likely they have been threatened in one way or another through moneyed and powerful interests.

    But it starts with prayer. Every parish may pray for an end to the slaughter of our own people every week. Every parish may permit Catholics to pray that the truth be permitted a just hearing in our public square. If confused about where to begin, there are numerous resources which exist. Every Catholic may walk with a pregnant mother in crisis and help her to live her heart’s joy, the choice of her being, blessed from before time began and named by the Living God.

  27. benedetta says:

    Our parishes and Catholic institutions are Catholic faith communities, not intended to be little political microcosms of the legalisms ruling our society. Those who see in and exploit a Catholic community as something that percolates political actions first and foremost without regard for the truth who is embodied in the person of Jesus Christ, have missed the entire point of a faith which is founded on truth, not an ideological construct of relativism. Just as the preferential option for the poor is truth and not one idea among many, prolife is truth, it is a gift entrusted to the conscience of the Church to speak out to a democratic society composed of religious pluralism for the good of our culture, to show mercy to all people just as Christ did. The Church must speak and act in all places where the faithful come and may be encountered, for worship, education, edification, guidance with a unified voice of the one holy apostolic Church, the Body of Christ and then it may inform the wider democratic society. If there are some in the Church who are hung up still on the legal construct of the 70s and cannot look at the science, and refuse to be a part of the union of the whole Church on this, or feel threatened and thus fear speaking our with clarity and courage for prolife, then they ought to have the good sense, the grace and self-respect and respect to other Christians, to avoid supporting abortion in other ways in order to in the pastoral sense prevent more harm, at the very least, to avoid sacrificing another generation of tens of millions of children to the crafted god of consumerism, to avoid scandalizing young people’s faith, and of course to fail to help women who have had abortions, who according to the science suffer horrible trauma and themselves according to their testimony are scandalized all over again when told that it doesn’t matter or was meaningless. It needs to be not repressed and denied but brought into the open in order to heal the trauma, and that may involve acknowledging that women who have had abortions may be less culpable because hostile, sexually exploitative men sought to coerce them and because society now comes to expect women to merely dispose of a child unthinkingly. Again there are many pastoral resources available and these should be offered hand in hand with the clear speaking of the truth to support young people who may be seeking to live a different path in sacrifice and mercy.

  28. meunke says:

    I can’t read things like this anymore. The temptation to hatred and rage is a little too strong.

    I see things like this and I start getting some very dark, very violent thoughts. Time to move on.

  29. Andrew says:

    Here is his web page: – he is very much interested in ‘sustainable human life on this planet’ and his ability to enjoy it. There is no ability to enjoy it for those he has aborted, but that little contradiction escapes him. Or does it? I suppose, for him, life truly is a matter of the survival of the fittest.

  30. Denise says:

    Ok. It is true that the hospital can terminate the privileges and then accept the legal consequences. However, that doesn’t mean it would be over. Most likely the legal wrangling would spend enormous sums of money and end with a court order to reinstate privileges. Understand that having privileges is very different than being an employee. If he were an employee and receiving a paycheck from the hospital, the situation might be different. Having privileges just means that he has been approved to come in to the hospital and utilize the facilities and staff for the practice of medicine. All of his work within the hospital is in compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives published by the USCCB. His work at Planned Parenthood is completely separate from his work at the Catholic hospital. Does a Catholic landlord have the right to refuse to rent to him? Would a Catholic hospital have the right to refuse privileges to a physician who has entered into an openly gay marriage? Should the hospital terminate the privileges of an OB/GYN who provides IVF services at another facility? Obviously, Dr. Grossman is not Catholic and does not adhere to Catholic principles in all aspects of his life. However, he is compliant with Catholic principles at Mercy Hospital and that is all they can consider when it comes to privileges.

  31. albinus1 says:

    Denise, I understand and appreciate the points you are making. But earlier you wrote:

    However, nothing is occurring at Mercy hospital that is not in accord with Catholic teaching.

    Giving scandal to the Faithful by allowing a known abortionist to work on its premises, even if he isn’t performing abortions at the hospital, is in accord with Catholic teaching?

    The Catholic bishops have repeatedly said that abortion is different from other social issues and that there can be no compromise with it. No one talks seriously about denying Holy Communion to Catholic politicians who openly support the death penalty, whereas there are serious discussions about doing so to those who openly support abortion rights. A Catholic landlord is not obligated to delve into the spiritual state of all those to whom he rents; and, since he presumably isn’t posting a shingle that specifially proclaims that he is a “Catholic” landlord, he isn’t likely to be giving public scandal. An institution, however, that publicly identifies itself as a “Catholic” institution — just as public figures who proudly identify themselves as “Catholic” when it suits them to — are in a different situation and are in a position to cause public scandal. Being an active abortionist is quite a bit more serious than “not adhering to Catholic principles in all aspects of his life.”

  32. benedetta says:

    The other problem which needs to be aired is the reductionist and fatalist tendency, unfortunately taken up even by those with pastoral responsibilities for souls, which is the construct or platitude that choice or prolife are merely “political” stances which one may take and equally valid. Unfortunately this was urged with great gusto in the last national election cycle, but one can encounter it at the community level just the same.

    Whether prolife does or will at all play out in politics remains to be seen, obviously. One party stifles any real contribution or voice of prolife from the get-go. The other at least accepts the contribution of prolife and permits its participation on national level, and when possible is willing to take steps to further prolife and rejects expanding abortion, but it is not a guarantee. Now we may bemoan, some of us that the Democratic party does not act more “democratic”, but the fact is that the Republican party which does permit both stances to engage in the discussion simply is functioning in a more healthy way in a democracy, reflective of all political opinions.

    Furthermore Roe v Wade is a matter of a Supreme Court ruling, made by several white males, hinging on the scientific evidence of a certain time, which of course is now greatly advanced.

    So whether or not one’s view of prolife is accurately termed about “politics” can be greatly questioned.

    But we are right to ask why our spiritual leaders with pastoral care of our souls are inclined to describe what is a Christian teaching in such fatalist terms and determine, for our selves, using reason and intelligence and the sources of the faith, to see whether that is true and to discover which position is the Christian one and which is not.

    Abortion advocates in the Church say that it is a matter of conscience. Obviously the idea of conscience is not something just harvested from nothing but has been handed down and developed by the Church. It is a deception to say that JC Murray’s work countenanced anything other than the Church speaking with one voice through its magisterium on issues of the day. It was not countenanced that individual Catholics teach “as Catholicism” something which is not Christian and be expected to participate in politics or teaching or other spheres with the authority and collective conscience of the faith, and thereby divide and destroy the faith but salvage some secular role and participation.

    Abortion advocates in the Church will reference women’s rights. But it is highly insulting to the dignity of women, just as it is insulting to suggest that in a free society with relatively little crime the death penalty is the best approach for criminal justice, to suggest that women’s dignity hinges upon the ability to kill one’s own child. That is not the right from which women’s rights flow, whether as a matter of academic theory, or, certainly in terms of what we know as to how it has played out in reality. In fact, the abortion mentality has worsened women’s quality of life in myriad ways.

    Of course the woman is not the only calculation for the Church as the Church’s teaching mirrors the goodness of God, the way God regards what God has created, that it is “good, very good.” Further, we are commanded not to kill. Further, we are commanded to bless and apply works of mercy to the poor, not destroy the poor or lord the rule of law over them. We are to be the good samaritan. We are to let the children come to Him. We are to acknowledge what God has said that He has formed us and named us His own, in our mothers’ wombs. If we fail to acknowledge God’s revelation then of course we are following some other command. We are to listen and act upon the Beatitudes and upon the teaching that God has revealed Himself to little ones and that is His Holy Will. We are to care for, bless and be grateful for what God has created and not condemn it. We are to cooperate with the love of Christ which looks upon women, even women who have sinned or messed up in some way, as being infinitely treasured and beautiful in His eyes, to bind up her wounds, and not sentence her to walk the earth forever paying for her mistakes or to forever carry out the will of the one who would use her for her sexual ability and reject her for her potential to also be mother to a helpless one. We are to reject the notion that when a woman gets pregnant her life is over, that she can not make it without an array of consumerist items (after all it is the market that views motherhood as being about first and foremost a wallet and a buyer) and let her soul live and help her to be confident in her heart’s desire. We are to bless the images of life, made in God’s own image which we view so clearly and hear so loudly through science. We are to reject the idea that because of human perceived imperfections or notions of what looks right and normal or optimal for us that we should kill anything mortal that does not look exactly as how we desire.

    Once one begins reading through scripture, and once one begins reading through the teachings of the Church and the bases for them (scripture, Christ), and once one begins praying, whether at Mass, rosary, Adoration, even a little, one discovers that far from being a “political” issue tied to present day America and no more, that it is a universal Christian hope, it is the best way of looking at and hoping in humanity, it encourages us to look at others with the eyes and dignity of God, and it is the essence of the Christian message. The Church possesses this treasure, for whatever reason, it is a gift from God and a responsibility, and if we go the way of silence in our times on this we go the way of death.

    Many of us have, even those who have embraced the teaching of the Church, given voice, supported, coddled, furthered the means and ends of choice in our times. Some of us have misunderstood and have been taught numerous other things than the truth. Some of us were well intentioned in the beginning when Roe was handed down and now refuse to recognize that all did not go as planned, that these outrageous numbers of those slaughtered, the kinds of things that happened with Gosnell and apparently happen in other places, the sorts of things where little girls are targeted in India and in China. Some of us believe that if the laity is permitted to live under the thumb of the culture of death as a legal construct and become lazy about appreciating a healthy sexuality that somehow we will all be healthier for it, but again on this one the results are in and if one looks at it in terms of sexual health it is not better or more spirited, joyful or liberated, more free (because of course the very air we breathe is first and foremost already quite free, good and created so). Some believe that they are somehow helping the poor to break the cycle of poverty however again even secular studies show this is simply not the case and “the poor” recognize that empowered people who wish for their demise do not mean good for them at all and are thus scarred, traumatized, stripped of power and inherent dignity.

    There is nothing about abortion or “choice” that may be justified in Christianity. And Christianity resoundingly, in abundance, lavishly, and joyfully, proclaims, protects, nurtures, defends, loves, life. The law of love and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is of mercy, God’s infinite mercy, reflective of the goodness of all that God has created.

    The Church must speak openly and clearly for life at every teaching and pastoral level. Politics will be politics. But for the good of our people, and the good of the whole world, prolife needs to be spoken at this time in our history that is under the thumb of the culture of death and the Church must speak with a united voice. Prolife is a nonviolent movement of resistance, and the vocation is to prayer and fasting, to works of mercy, and to calmly and joyfully proclaiming the beauty of the teaching of the Church that blesses all God has made.

    When we have divided the Church in its communities, when we have acted with pride to declare ourselves somehow prochoice Christians, when we have neglected our real responsibilities to the poor by supporting abortion and the culture of death that has designs on our humanity, then the mercy of the sacrament of confession is always extended and available, and we may amend our ways, we can correct our brother and sister in love to bring about their reuniting into the fold and the communion of the Church. But we cannot any longer say that we may place our belief, trust, and faith in the teaching of death and destruction, and counsel others to do the same, and dismiss it as politics and ignore the effects of sin, and call ourselves “Catholic”, in whatever sense, orthodox, liberal, cafeteria, traditional and feel ourselves entitled to continue down this path as sinless.

    If we as Catholics may contribute to “politics” informed by any facet of faith, be it protection of the environment to universal health care, to fair wages for work, to the end of torture, then, not one person is excused from contributing to our culture the full message of the gospel, and the dignity and humanity which informs all the social justice needs of our time. Anyone who says they are about social justice but neglects the littlest among us cannot be entrusted with the care of souls and with leadership positions in the Church.

  33. A pregnant woman could drive Dr. Grossman nuts by changing her mind often.

    “This fetus is not a person, Dr. Grossman, I want an abortion.”

    “OK, it’s not a person because you said so. How about next Tuesday?”

    Next Tuesday, the woman says, “Dr. Grossman, I changed my mind, this fetus is a person after all, so I don’t want to abort.”

    “OK, you empower the fetus, so it is a person. But I have to charge you for a cancelled appointment.”

    A week goes by and the woman calls, “Dr. Grossman, is my empowerment of the fetus permanent? I mean, I’m thinking about removing personhood from it, so I can get an abortion after all. Can I do that?”

    “Yeah, sure, let’s make an appointment. But I’m gonna charge you cash up front this time, no refunds.”

    “Well, I have de-personalized this fetus, so it’s ok, but I don’t want to make an appointment just yet.”

    “Why not?”

    “In case I re-personalize him. It. You know what I mean. I would hate to come in for an abortion and decide to re-personalize him at the last minute. I have heard of women being forced to go through with it once the local anesthetics are started, and I would hate to have you abort something I have made into a person.”


    “Because even if I feel it in my heart, but don’t say it to you, doesn’t that count? I want to be sure I will not re-personalize him in my heart, reflexively, as you complete the abortion. That would be horrible, because then you would be aborting a person, not a fetus, and it will be all my fault, and that would be terrible.”


    “And who knows how many women have done that already to you, without saying so!”

    “…well, I perform abortions because I’m a Christian….”

  34. benedetta says:

    Denise, You are right in terms of the legal framework. But I do not agree that the only way to counteract this is for the hospital to attempt to revoke privileges to one who complies with the ethical and practical principles while on premises but mocks them off the site.

    This physician has elected to publicly mock and denounce the teachings of the Church which he makes his living from. So, the Bishop and all those with pastoral care in that diocese may take this occasion as a teaching opportunity for the benefit of the faithful and all. He fundamentally by his statements shows a lack of comprehension about the Church’s teaching on many scores, ranging from the dignity of women to the goodness of all human life without discrimination or regard for being spoken for with wealth or power, ahead of time. The diocese and those charged with pastoral care and who are responsible for defending or speaking the teachings of the Church to the wider culture must provide knowledge, clarification, and the sources of the teachings to offset the harm that has been done to the faithful and the public in listening to and entertaining his two ideas, one being that a Christian may support choice and perform abortions to torture and slaughter a child in the womb, and the other idea, that abortion and not the Church somehow recognizes “women’s fortitude” (a platitude, meaningless..whatever that is supposed to mean, it’s just jargon without any concrete reality). It can be countered on many levels. One is to do so with reason, calmly and rationally as in on a blog, it can be done with letter to editor to local papers, it can be done through letter to the faithful read at Mass or included in bulletins, with links, resources and clarification issued online, through media interviews, through boycott (as someone else mentioned), through recognizing that he is aligned and beholden to first and foremost with his other employer, Planned Parenthood, and just comes to a Church institution for the money and represents a drag on the hope and goodwill of Catholics, to sponsor good programs for young people that inform them of the way in which living the teaching of the Church will help them to live a better quality of life given the times and also help them to live in the faith and with virtue and to help others in need, to increase outreach and support to those in the prolife world. These are the terms this man himself proposes and he is well aware that the diocese cannot legally deny him privileges at this hospital so long as he complies with the Church’s ethical and practical or clinical guidelines, and that fight is a waste of time. Who wants to battle him, and seriously, who cares about him and his paycheck as compared with the very real and far more important responsibility the Church has to young people, to help them live healthy lives in the culture of death, to explain why a Catholic hospital has the ethics and higher standard is subscribes to and how our faith inform these, to explain why all have an obligation to be united in the communion of the Church to help others along in this. He is looking for a legal quagmire, not a dialogue. But since he chose to make a statement employing media then we should meet that where it is and have the dialogue. Not the court system.

  35. benedetta says:

    meunke, Why should an open discussion of reality tempt you to darkness and violence? The way of evil is repression, denial, and to disguise evil, to pretend that the devil does not exist. “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” You need to pray for the grace to speak the truth with conviction and holy fortitude which does so at the service of and on behalf of the weak, the poweless, the hopeless, and all of humanity, with reasoned argument, not threats, violence and destruction. We are always able to pray. It is never acceptable to respond to evil, threats, murder, with violence. We are blessed to live in a country that has the framework to settle things openly, at least, though prolife’s voice is impaired at the moment in some ways in the media and in politics. To stifle the reasoned, peaceful and compassionate voice of the Church is not the solution of holiness. Open discussion aware of all the pitfalls, dangers and arguments from every place is obviously the better way and the reason why JC Murray favored the model of religious pluralism and the contributions of faith.

  36. Gail F says:

    Denise is right. Repugnant as it is, the Catholic hospital does not have a let to stand on to revoke his privileges unless he is referring people for abortions when he is at the hospital or doing something similar. Listen to the woman who knows what she is talking about!

  37. meunke says:


    I think you misunderstood what I was saying. Easy to see, however, since my post was a little vague.

    I am in fact 100% Pro-Life, and indeed welcome discussion on it and taking action on it. I’ll try to detail a little more what I meant by my post.

    I struggle with anger a lot. It is one of my many faults. The trouble I have is when reading about someone like this doctor, and the things he says, and his truly inhuman view of humanity, I get some very dark thoughts and a lot of the WRONG kind of anger coming to the surface. I have a similar reaction upon reading about something like the Wichita Massacre (look it up on Wikipedia if you want).

    Perhaps I should try to read about these things and attempt to be a little more, I don’t know, a little more distanced perhaps, if that’s the right word? I just find it very hard to keep that kind of stuff out of my head when reading about a cold monstrous human being like this doctor.

    “To stifle the reasoned, peaceful and compassionate voice of the Church is not the solution of holiness.”
    I agree. And this is an intention of my prayers daily. However, I do not have the temperament to be able to have a cool, reasoned conversation with someone like this doctor in some kind of debate, any more than I could have a calm, cool debate with the perpetrators of the Wichita Massacre on the morality of their actions. It is simply a failing of mine that I recognize. I’m just not cut out for that. It is too… I don’t know, REAL to me, if you get my meaning?

    Now, with just an average Joe I can debate things, talk about the arguments about abortion, sure. Now, were I ever to meet someone who was this gung-ho in his zest for taking part in infanticide, I would have to excuse myself.

    Not sure if this helped?

  38. benedetta says:

    meunke, I would not worry so much or focus on the doctor, at all. We all must struggle with horrific things committed towards children, some in the name of Christianity even, evil exists and becoming violent in acknowledging reality and struggling to overcome its effects is not the solution. Prolife is informed by pacifism, and the need to discourage people from torture and abusing innocent fellow human beings. Abortion is informed by division, war, the urge to kill, eliminate, hide the effects.

    I would focus on the very good steps one can take to speak out on behalf of life which I enumerated and are not in the least bit violent. But silence or passivity, denial on the issue is not healthy or helpful to anyone. You should discuss with your pastor steps to address channeling your energy on this issue in constructive ways, and there are countless ways to do so, depending on your talents, gifts and resources, which would be helpful to your community and encourage a culture of life. You would meet others socially who would be a support to you with whatever it is you struggle with.

    The prayer of the rosary is of course inherently prolife, as well as the chaplet of divine mercy. The psalms also can bring peace of heart and help fortify you to be effective even in very small ways. You can support others who do acts of mercy for pregnant women in crisis. You can pray for abortionists. You can distribute materials which explain the goodness of the Church’s teaching. You can organize groups to read materials and discuss them. Priests for Life has excellent resources. You can organize your parish to invite a prolife speaker or retreat day.

    With the fact that in politics one party refuses to let prolife participate, and with the assumptions much of the media is proceeding with about the Church and about prolife, the political scene is not very promising. Dialoguing with the culture has to come from the faith of the Church informing in peaceful and informative ways about the goodness and authenticity of the teaching as a way of life and as the way of the gospel.

    Further of course the lack of discussion even in Church circles sometimes which manifests the beauty and dignity of life (“talk about the arguments about abortion” as you put it) does unfortunately make someone like this man emboldened such that not only does he carry out what he does (“infanticide” as you call it and as did happen in Gosnell) but he feels justified to proclaim it, celebrate it, call it Christian, and encourage others to partake and do the same without considering conscience or the good of our society.

    We can’t control politics, and we cannot control the courts, and the law is what it is, as other point out his privileges in the Catholic hospital cannot be revoked so long as he subscribes to the letter of the law. But we can control what we teach, how we extend welcome to women in crisis pregnancy and make known to them that options are available, and we can help to prevent younger people from being deceived with an absence of the presentation of both sides vigorously presented, for whatever reasons that has happened, that is our responsibility. Like I said, who cares about him, that is not the point. The point is to teach and for our faith to inform the culture, to care for the faithful and young people in the faith, in the times and culture as we find it, not to hope or wish it wasn’t so or deny what it is. We can’t neglect to do the small but good steps we can do, especially now. There may come a time that both political parties permit prolife to participates, that the media shows a comprehension level, awareness of the actual teaching and the reasons behind it, that non-Catholics will respect and appreciate the teaching (and though small it is in fact happening in just this way in some places). It is not out of the question, by any means, but it requires us to do some simple and good things (not at all remotely violent or angry things) in the here and now, and probably more than are already doing so or have been doing so from the very beginning. It starts at parish level and level of institution and teaching and there must be unity so the Church may speak in a unified way and inform the culture — when parishes and institutions encourage choice or are silent on issues of choice then others look to us and say we are hypocrites, or lack strength, or do not mean the teaching which of course the Church means and in terms of abortion there is no other Christian way.

    When prolife is able to participate and not be shunned, shamed, shut out from basic participation, then inevitably the Church will be called to different issues, and in this way the Church speaks and is relevant in all times in history, totally in touch with the times and the needs of the human family. I am sure that all pastors, Bishops, people in ministry yearn to be recognized, appreciated, loved, and popular, and they don’t want prochoice people scolding them, withdrawing monetary support, or bullying them and so it is of course easier for all that the issue just goes away, to pretend it is not happening. I guess that is all well and good until someone’s family or loved one is immediately affected. No Bishop or pastor wants to be on the wrong side of the media in this climate. But unfortunately the media and popularity do not determine truth, do not in and of themselves humanize, do not speak to begin with in a unified voice proposing compassion, goodness, life, ethics. Some try, and some fall short of the mark. So it must be recognized that when a Bishop or pastor speaks out for prolife it is at great personal cost and with great courage and conviction, and the fact that they do so and must say goodbye to funds and status in some cases as a result just testifies to the authenticity and credibility of the faith. When one speaks for prolife, there is a certain cost and sacrifice involved, inevitably. Whereas to be silent or to support choice, there is potential gain in many areas, sometimes financial, sometimes status, and always popularity in media. That in and of itself says something.

    The fortitude brought about through the Holy Spirit is not vainglory and does not wish destruction on fellow human beings, even if guilty of what this physician proclaims he does in the name of Christ and with apparent pride. Note that there have been notorious abortionists and people who have aided abortion who have converted. You should read about Dr. Bernard Nathanson and Abby Johnson, courageous individuals, and their process of conversion. God’s mercy is always extended and again testifies to the credibility of the prolife message. We wish the same infinite love of God and goodness upon the abortionist just the same as we hope after it for the precious little ones.

  39. meunke says:

    I think you still missed my point, but I think your heart is in the right place.

  40. benedetta says:

    meunke, Feel free to clarify your point. If it is disturbing to us in one way or another that someone does such things, proclaims it and also says further that he does so in the name of Christ, then I should think the disturbance one feels is the voice of conscience that encourages us to resist giving assistance to such evil whenever possible and particularly to support the voice of the Church which proposes a different way than what this man wishes for people. There is no need for a person of faith to feel excessively worried, anxious, or angry for Christ has “already overcome the world”. But since this conscience has been squeezed out of the debate in the public square to a large extent it falls to the faithful and the entire Church to enable the teaching to resonate in order to prevent further harm. If we give this a pass and affirm this man in his “personal belief” that the human being is not a person, and similarly teach or by silence encourage others to regard it as a necessary evil or an evil over which a free society lacks any control over, then it is possible that we cooperate in and are complicit in what this man carries out. That is the reason why we can’t have our parishes and our leaders and institutions be “both” prolife and prochoice. If one is silent then the voice of the Church is unheard and our passivity supports something we should resist however possible through works of mercy, prayer, teaching, clarification, participation in the public square, etc etc etc. depending on our state and life and sphere of influence.

  41. benedetta says:

    I know that if I were to feel excessively angry at an abortionist, and certainly to hear what this physician has to say it is horrible, and to discover what Gosnell (along with many other staff and cooperators) did was an extended atrocity in our own nation, still, I always pray for abortionists. I never discount the possibility of their conversion, ever. God never gives up on people, nor should we assume that we know the heart of another. But still we can look at their acts and words and discover what they mean, and make sense out of it, and assess what it could mean, what our responsibility might be. It is not just some far fetched possibility. Dr. Nathanson regarded “those protesters” outside abortuaries in exactly the same way, exactly and justified his actions as well the very same way as this man is doing. And yet, if it wasn’t for those protesters, the very ones he mocked and hated, if it wasn’t for the mercy of the Church extended, if it wasn’t for the voice of the Church teaching the truth, with courage, conviction, plainly and clearly, not giving in to the voice that demands silence or exclusion, not only would he never have known any alternative to what he was doing, never would have become acquainted with the immense love of God, and, of course, would certainly have continued to wreak damage, kill and destroy for the rest of his days. And for him personally his conversion was about all of those things but of course made all the difference in the world to him in terms of the quality and enjoyment of life, now with the eyes of one with hope, faith, love, charity, peace. I would not focus on your anger, or this doctor, so much as ask God to pray for abortionists and those who support and fund abortion, and ask others to pray for this intention. All parishes should pray for these intentions.

  42. benedetta says:

    meunke, I do not see that either of your proposals which appear to entail and promote being unfaithful to the Church, either silent complicity to a prochoice mentality and the culture of death, or, “violence” as you suggest, are valid, at all. You do not know my “heart” as we do not know each other so there is no reason to flatter me in lieu of offering sound, reasoned arguments based on fact and truth.

Comments are closed.