Bp. Olmsted removes “Catholic” status from another Phoenix hospital

Bp. Olmsted is reinforcing Catholic identity again.

As I wrote some time ago: We’ve seen this movie before, and it ain’t The Bells of St. Mary’s.

I saw this at azcentral.com:

Bishop strips Mercy Gilbert Medical Center of Catholic status

By Michael Clancy
The Republic

Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, a 212-bed hospital that served about 85,000 patients last year, mostly from the East Valley, has been stripped of its Catholic status.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix temporarily revoked the Catholic status of the hospital on Thursday. Mercy Gilbert had been the last Catholic hospital in the Phoenix area.

Officials from the diocese would not comment, but Olmsted said in a statement that the hospital has not met his criteria to be considered Catholic.  [I wonder if other US bishops have criteria and if they are examining Catholic hospitals.]

Diocese spokesman Rob DeFrancesco declined to address the nature of the criteria, but he said nothing specific happened that concerned the bishop.  [In other words, the woman religious administratrix didn’t approve abortions?]

The revocation is reminiscent of the bishop’s decision in December 2010 to revoke the Catholic status of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. Both St. Joseph’s and Mercy Gilbert are part of Dignity Health, a California company.

Paul Szablowski, vice president of marketing, communications and public relations for Dignity Health Foundation East Valley, said the hospital wants to retain its Catholic identity.

We think we have a clear picture of what it will take to satisfy the bishop,” Szablowski said.

Julie Graham, the hospital’s public-relations and marketing director, later said that they believe the bishop was only warning them and that they still have the Catholic status.  [Ummm…. Julie… what part of “revoked” was unclear?]

The diocese statement said that at this time, Olmsted could not guarantee that the hospital’s care fully conforms to Catholic teaching.

The Catholic Church details its positions in a 43-page document called Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. It includes the church’s opposition to contraception, abortion and euthanasia. It calls for consultation with the bishop under certain circumstances.

Two years ago, in the St. Joseph’s controversy, Olmsted declared the hospital to no longer be Catholic after talks failed to resolve differences that stemmed from a medical procedure at the hospital.

[Watch this…] A pregnant mother of four was ill with pulmonary hypertension, and doctors determined that surgery was needed to save her life. They also claimed the procedure met the terms of the directives.  [Was that spin?]

Olmsted concluded the surgery was an abortion, not permitted under the directives.

In discussions with the hospital, he demanded more oversight, required the hospital to provide education about the directives to medical staff, and obliged the hospital to acknowledge his authority.

The hospital said it could not legally or ethically comply with Olmsted’s demands.  [And, therefore, Olmsted was right to revoke their Catholic status.]

Officials at St. Joseph’s have said that, other than Olmsted’s declaration that Mass may no longer be celebrated at the hospital, nothing has changed as a result of his position.  [Maybe “officials” at the non-Catholic hospital have said that, but the rest of the world knows that if a hospital is going to call itself Catholic, it has to be in line with criteria that the local bishop has the right to set and review.  Furthermore, St. Joseph’s, formerly Catholic, became the hissing shame of the Catholic world for a time because of their decision.]


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  1. AnnAsher says:

    Our Lady, Hammer of Heretics, Pray for Bishop Olmsted.

  2. luisfernandez says:

    From the Diocese of Phoenix website:

    PHOENIX (Oct. 20, 2012) — The Diocese of Phoenix issued the following statement today regarding Mercy Gilbert Medical Center:

    Contrary to reports in the media, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center has not been stripped of its Catholic status. The hospital is in the process of renewing its status and ensuring its compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. This renewal process was necessary following the corporate reorganization of its parent company in January.
    The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix was established Dec. 2, 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Led by The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, more than 820,000 Catholics call this diverse, vibrant and faith-filled diocese their home.


  3. aviva meriam says:

    May God Bless and Protect Bishop Olmsted.

  4. EXCHIEF says:

    Bishop Robert Vasa when Bishop of the Diocese of Baker Oregon (now Bishop of Santa Rosa CA) removed the “catholic” status of St Charles Hospital in Bend Oregon….there are a couple of others in the Diocese that should meet the same fate.

  5. bwag217 says:

    My Bishop is flawless.

  6. Martha in SD says:

    I wish I could say that our Bishop would do that in the Sioux Falls Diocese, but I can’t. He can’t even make a firm stand in support of the TLM that we struggle to keep alive and treat fairly. Please pray for Bishop Paul Swain. With respect…

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    This is all the more important in the face of the impending HHS mandate. If the HHS mandate is not struck down by 2014, a number of Catholic hospitals will be sold. Most of them have Catholic names which will mislead the Catholic public and the general public after sale to secular corporations, unless we are very clear about what is happening.

    I hope this doesn’t come to pass, but it could.

  8. Pingback: St Kateri Tekakwitha St Marianne Cope Fanon Bishop Olmsted | Big Pulpit

  9. Magash says:

    “This is all the more important in the face of the impending HHS mandate. If the HHS mandate is not struck down by 2014, a number of Catholic hospitals will be sold.”

    Which is exactly what I fear will happen catholicmidwest. In order not to take a stand Church properties will be sold off and the bishops will duck standing up for the truth on a moral technicality. The morally right thing to do if the mandate is not overturned is to refuse to obey the law, which includes refusal to pay the fines. One is not morally required to obey an unjust law. Further one is not morally required to accommodate an unjust law either.
    By giving up control of Catholic social service organizations in what will be the biggest seizure of Church property since the English seizure of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the bishops will be able to avoid martyrdom while giving the culture of death the fruits of the labor of millions of Catholics accumulated over generations. It is a victory Obama is right to expect based on the general failure of our bishops to do the right thing in the lurch for the past forty years.

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