Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shepherd of the Church

Bishop Thomas Olmstead, of Phoenix, Arizona, has come under alot of fire in the seven years he has been here.  The latest is an uproar over his revocation of St. Joseph's Hospital's Catholic status.  Yet, what else could he do but stand up for and insist upon Catholic moral principles at a Catholic hospital.  Catholic Healthcare West, the administrators of the hospital, purport to subscribe to the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services", set forth in its fourth edition, by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2001, which plainly states in Part Four, directive number 45, that " never permitted".  In this case, the abortion was performed on a pregnant woman with pulmonary hypertension.  Doctors predicted that she had a "100% chance" of dying of this complication of pregnancy before the baby was born.  We all know how accurate doctors "predictions" can be.  I don't intend to debate that particular issue. 

My intention is to uphold and thank Bishop Olmstead for being a true Shepherd of the Catholic Church in an era of political correctness and lukewarm Catholicism.  For saying the rosary out in front of abortion clinics every week in all kinds of weather.  For making the Sacramental Marriage Preparation process harder, instead of making the annulment process easier.  For speaking and writing to politicians who want to be identified as Catholic, and telling them that they need to embody and protect Catholic morality if they want to do so.   We need this kind of example from our leaders, religious as well as secular.

Of course, the bishop has done some things that I disagree with.  But those deal more with administrative issues. As Paige Byrne Shortal mentions in her excellent column in this month's Ligourian Magazine, "The Word in Our World", Catholic "bishops and pastors are cast into roles of corporate CEOs rather than enlightened gurus".  And this is much of what inspired me to start this blog.  My deep, abiding love of the Catholic faith, and Catholic tradition, versus my abhorrence for administrative nonsense.

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