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Dr_Dredd's avatar

Would you let a loved one receive care at a Catholic hospital?

Asked by Dr_Dredd (10535points) May 17th, 2010

In late 2009, a critically ill woman with severe pulmonary hypertension had an abortion at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. She was 11 weeks pregnant, and doctors determined that continuing the pregnancy would kill her. Therefore, the hospital ethics committee allowed the abortion to proceed.

Now, a nun on the ethics committee has been excommunicated and transferred to a different position at the hospital. Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Phoenix Diocese, issued this statement: “I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese. I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition. An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.”

The hospital operates under a medical directive stating that “abortion is defined as the directly intended termination of pregnancy, and it is not permitted under any circumstances – even to save the life of the mother.” A Catholic bioethicist has been quoted as saying that “a pregnancy cannot be terminated as a means to an end of saving the life of a mother who is suffering from a different condition.” (When asked if the church position prefers the mother and child to die, rather than sparing the life of one of them, he said the hope is that both would survive.)

Given this position, what would you do if your loved one was ill or injured and an ambulance wanted to bring him or her to a Catholic hospital? Would you allow that, or ask to be taken to a different facility? Should this type of thing be allowed by the state, particularly if a patient is not of the Catholic faith?

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102 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well I certainly wouldn’t go there if I knew I was pregnant. I would try not to go there if I knew I might be pregnant given their skewed idea of medicine. However, if it’s for something like a broken arm, I’d have no problem going to such an institution. It does make me angry, this story, because I hope there is a normal hospital right next to that one that would put the patient first no matter the situation instead of putting their faith on a pedestal. If there isn’t a hospital right next to that one, I’d hope (and know this isn’t so) that this hospital doesn’t get counted in any records of public hospitals because it doesn’t serve the community as it’s meant to do.

perspicacious's avatar

The only local hospital I would allow myself to be admitted to is a Catholic one.

kevbo's avatar

Not for this health condition, obviously, unless that’s what the patient elected to do. I’m not sure how the accreditation works, but probably there’s a grandfather status for existing Catholic hospitals.

The Catholic church is so f*%ked at this point, it’s difficult to take anything they dictate seriously. Yes, excommunicate the nun, but shuffle the pedophiles around and deny, deny, deny. Blessed are the meek, indeed.

ETpro's avatar

So Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted would have let the pregnancy continue, the mother die of hypertension, killing the baby as well, since an 11 week old fetus is nowhere near viable outside the womb. No, I would not use or let a loved one use a Catholic Hospital unless there were a medical emergency and no other health care available.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@perspicacious Why do you say that?

filmfann's avatar

I am sure Catholic Hospitals aren’t just about the application of leeches, bleeding the infirm, and exorcisms. They probably have real doctors and everything.
I might be concerned if they wouldn’t respect the patients DNR.

Rarebear's avatar

The hospital made the right choice. It’s the Bishop who is whacked upside the head. So the answer to your question is yes.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

After reading what you posted, no. Although there are no good Catholic hospitals in my area, I would not send a family member to a hospital where anything less than the best of care would be provided. The bishop should have been proud that the hospital saved a life.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I would go to one and would be okay with a family member going to one. If we can to a crossroad where the hospital would no provide the level of care that I felt we needed, I would request a transfer to another facility that would give us the care we needed.

ETpro's avatar

@Rarebear That is a valid point. The hospital did the right thing. But the problem I have is that the superstition bound Bishop controls the hospital, not the other way around. His actions will have a chilling effect on the staff. Who knows what might happen the next time they face this challenge. Will they save the woman’s life and put their “salvation” through the Church at risk, or do the true Christian thing and just let both mother and baby die?

SeventhSense's avatar

It many places it wouldn’t make sense not to since they are the only game in town. Although I question their decision making process. Do they cast lots to get to see who lives?

lillycoyote's avatar

We have a very good Catholic hospital in my city. I have had no issues taking both of my parents there. I would take someone to the closest, best hospital available at the moment. When someone is critically ill or critically injured it is no time to get political. Take your loved one to the hospital where they will get the best care. You can discuss the Catholic Church’s position on abortion at another time. And the fact that the ethics committee allowed the abortion to take place and that a nun risked excommunication in order to save a life should really give you an idea about how Catholic hospitals work. That fact that a bunch of Diocese bureaucrats came in after the fact… well that’s not about day to day operations. Catholic hospitals can be, and most of them are, very good.

lillycoyote's avatar

@ETpro You don’t know very many Catholics, do you?

lillycoyote's avatar

Talk about superstition and ignorance! Do you think Catholic hospitals are not accredited by the same standards as any other hospitals? Casting lots to see who lives or dies? Really. You all need to get out more.

SeventhSense's avatar

@lillycoyote
No I don’t think so but the non state/Federal contributions may be affected and funneled more towards other catholic institutions if there are differences with Rome..

YARNLADY's avatar

I would not choose a Catholic Hospital for an abortion, but when my first son was born, the Catholic Hospital took us in as a charity case, never sent us a bill, and provided clothes, food, and other necessities for three months, until the Aid To Dependent Children kicked in, and we were not Catholics.

Maximillian's avatar

Here’s the thing. Whether any one likes it or not, the Catholic Church runs on its own laws, while still abiding by the governments laws. The bishops are the head of the church. And according to Catholic law, a crime was committed. Now, since the government considers the abortion not a crime, the bishop could only excommunicate and reassign the nun.

As long as Catholic Hospitals do not receive federal money, then the federal government does not have the right to infringe upon the bishops decisions, or any Caholic Hospital policy (except basic hospital treatments.) Its the separation of state and church in favor of the church.

And I got the absolute best treatment from a Catholic Hospital.

Like @YARNLADY said, if you’re looking for an abortion, don’t go to an obviously pro-life institution. Other than that, they have some of the best doctors in the world.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Maximillian It’s not just about abortion, though. What about end of life care? When my grandfather was dying, he was taken to a local Catholic hospital. They made some noises about not allowing him to stop dialysis. (Then it became a moot point when his blood pressure went too low for dialysis to work.)

As for federal funding, I guarantee that Catholic hospitals get Medicare and Medicaid funding. In my opinion, that means that they should abide by federal laws (including the ones that state advanced directives need to be honored).

Particularly as a woman, I find this case horrifying. As someone else said, what happens when the next ethics committee is more willing to be influenced by someone like the Bishop? @lillycoyote said that the fact that a “nun was willing to be excommunicated should really give you an idea about how Catholic hospitals work.” I’m more afraid that this brave nun was the exception rather than the rule.

perspicacious's avatar

@Dr_Dredd It’s the best hospital here, and I live in the largest metro area in the state. I’ve lived here my whole life, am an attorney, and have many doctor and nurse friends. I have plenty of information on which to base such a decision. I will say that for certain things, I would consider the large medical center that is part of a state university.

escapedone7's avatar

I would die rather than kill my own fetus. But I want that to be my decision and only mine. Every woman should be free to make that choice herself. It is nobody else’s body, conscience, life. Why should some nun make that decision for her?
That decision should be only up to the mother if she is conscious, or her family if she is not, and of course the professional advice of the doctors involved.

This ethics committee thing is highly disturbing. I had to appear before an ethics committee before they would take a brain dead loved one off life support. Doctors came in to examine him for organ donation but left suddenly, declining to harvest organs, as if they were troubled by something, and that concerned us. We were told by one doctor if we did not make the decision to turn off the machine, our loved one would have to be transferred to some long term care facility. We were having trouble finding one and figuring out how to pay for one, and the doctors kept pressuring us to make the decision or move him. We said ok.

But then, the entire family had to appear before an ethics committee to hear what some board of people thought about it. It made an already painful time excessively disturbing.

For future reference, if you are ever ever ever at a hospital that is not treating you properly you can try to demand a transfer to another hospital. Sometimes I have had luck with this. I will tell you if you call an ambulance from your home you will end up where the ambulance says they have to take you. You can argue but you will go where they take you. But once there, you can harp for a transfer. Sometimes they will do that. If you want to be sure you get to the hospital of your choice directly without a hassle, if at all possible and safe get family to drive you to where you want to be.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@escapedone7 What if it is not such a clear cut choice? Would you rather kill your fetus, or kill yourself and your fetus?

escapedone7's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Doctors often give the worst case scenario in their predictions. I’ve known them to be wrong. I would die trying to give us both a chance, and if we both die we die together. That is stated though from my current position, because I would love to have a child and cannot. I would do anything for the chance. I won’t ever have to make that decision. I suppose if I had other little ones at home to care for and other extenuating circumstances I would feel differently. That’s why I think it should be up to the mother. Everyone feels differently and has different beliefs and circumstances and convictions. Some decisions are highly personal. However if I wanted to find a respite from the doctors that were pressuring me to abort when I did not want to, I WOULD go to a catholic hospital on my on volition to seek sanctuary. It would not be a popular decision.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@escapedone7 Fair enough. I think you summed it up well when you said “But I want that to be my decision and only mine.”

Kraigmo's avatar

I don’t know about St. Joseph’s Hospital, but I do know about many Mercy Hospitals run by the Catholic Church, and they treat anyone, regardless of ability to pay. Sure they will send a bill, but if you don’t pay it, then that’s that. No bill collectors. No bad credit.

I think the abortion issue as mentioned above creates a lot of wrongs, but the Catholic Church is huge, and I would still use their hospitals anyway because I may have a need, and they may be able to help me. And I think it’s very nice of them to run these hospitals, no matter how wrong they may be on the abortion issue, or how wrong they are in how to handle the issue.

Rarebear's avatar

@ETpro The Bishop actually has no authority in the hospital. He can prohibit religious to function in his diocese (like Sr. Margaret), but he has no say in the function of the hospital.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Rarebear Yes, but I’m sure he can exert a great deal of pressure behind the scenes.

ETpro's avatar

@lillycoyote Actually, I do know a good number of Catholics. I live in Boston, which is a heavily Catholic town. Many of our hospitals and a great number of the local schools are Catholic institutions. And My favorite Aunt and Uncle and their three kids are Catholic as well.

@Rarebear My point was that be threatening excommunication, the Bishop is in a very powerful position with thise who genuinely believe that to be cut off from Catholic Communiion is to be cut off from any possibility of attaining heaven. Do you think such a threat would have no influence over hospital staff and management?

Rarebear's avatar

@ETpro What I posted was a direct quote from a local source in Phoenix who is a high ranking medical officer in a local hospital. I didn’t cut and paste his entire email, but the answer to your question is no.

ETpro's avatar

@Rarebear I do not accept the statement of someone whose primary interest is in speaking for the hospital in a PR guise as reflective of each hospital staffer’s innermost decision making process. How would this official look into the mind of each doctor and nurse, and each committee’s deliberation, and predict how they would resolve a conflict between medical ethics and their salvation?

Rarebear's avatar

@ETpro “I do not accept the statement..”
You know nothing of this person. He does not work in that hospital, but works in another hospital who is actually in direct competetion with the hospital in question. He has no interest in disguising the truth. On top of that he’s one of my closest friends and I would trust him with my life. Believe what you will, but don’t disparage someone who you a) have never met, and b) have no information about.

ETpro's avatar

@Rarebear His interest is clearly in defending the Catholic hospital system. Whether he works for this or that Catholic hospital has nothing to do with that.

Rarebear's avatar

@ETpro No, it’s not. He has no interest in defending the Catholic healthcare system. And I’m disappointed in you that you will take the word of a sensationalized news source and not someone who is knowledgeable and close to the scene. So be it.

ETpro's avatar

@Rarebear Sorry to disappoint you, but I call them as I see them.

Rarebear's avatar

@ETpro You have no idea how badly you “called” this one. Absolutely none.

Maximillian's avatar

@Dr_Dredd About your not ending life…. like I said, if you decide to go to a Catholic institution, expect them to follow Catholic law. Another one is that they do not let someone die. They don’t turn off a machine so you can die. They will strive till the very end. They believe in hope. Now, whether you think that is crazy, its the truth. Like I said earlier, don’t expect normal policies in a Catholic institution.
And I am not quite sure about the Medicare issue. It’s probably very similar to the college thing. Direct or indirect money affects policies. But I do know that many Catholic hospitals completely support their patients without federal regulation.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Maximillian That’s just it. People don’t always get to decide what hospital they’re going to. St. Joseph’s is a Level I trauma center; if you are in a life-threatening accident, that’s where they’re going to take you.

Furthermore, according to Arizona law, Level I trauma centers receive significant state funding to maintain themselves (they’re quite expensive to run). Therefore, St. Joseph’s shouldn’t have the right to impose their beliefs on patients who may not share them.

Maximillian's avatar

@Dr_Dredd And now we come to a point in politics. Why doesn’t Arizona cut them off? For many reasons, I suppose. It’s usually Republican, I believe. A party who values Christian principles.
But my hypothesis is this; how many Level I trauma centers really are there? And how much money do they actually receive? If there are only so few, by mandating a Catholic institution do do non-Catholic policies, the Catholic hospital might threaten to close down.
Also, does a Catholic Level I trauma center generate more money than a non-Catholic one? If so, then they wouldn’t receive as much money from the state of federal government.
Finally, is the state a federal government willing to mess with religion? How far are they willing to control a religious hospital, risking a controversial mix of state and church? Those are questions one must ask.

And if they’re sending you to a Level I trauma center, they’re sending you to keep you alive. Not turn off the machine.

ETpro's avatar

@Rarebear The Catholic Church has excommunicated the nun and hospital administrator for saving the mother’‘s life in this case. Medically, the mother had a near 100% chance of mortality of the pregnancy were not terminated. Given that most Catholics are firmly convinced that being excommunicated excludes them from any chance of going to heaven, how can that not have a chilling effect on future decisions in all Catholic hospitals?

Rarebear's avatar

@ETpro I agree with you here—it’s a horrible situation. But that doesn’t change the fact that you accused my friend of defending a health care system, basically calling him an administrative shill, when indeed he is a nationally highly regarded physician in his field.

ETpro's avatar

@Rarebear I apologize for that. I do not know your friend and can not possibly look into his head and read his motives. I should have concentrated my criticism on the Bishop who basically ignored Cannon Law that allows for abortions in extreme cases where the life of the mother is in dire threat.

Rarebear's avatar

@ETpro Okay then. Then we agree.

Maximillian's avatar

@ETpro I must be lacking here. “the Bishop who basically ignored Cannon Law” ??? I’ve never heard of this being part of any Catholic doctrine. Perhaps I’m wrong, but could you provide a source?

ETpro's avatar

@Maximillian I freely admit to being a neophyte on Cannon Law. I am quoting from an article that says there is an exception in Cannon law allowing for abortions to be preformed if there is little chance of the mother surviving without one. In this case, both mother and child would amsot certainly have died without intervention. THe mother could not withstand the stress the pregnancy was placing on her circulatory system and the fetus was far from being old enough to survive outside the womb.

Maximillian's avatar

@ETpro I’m sorry, but I still don’t accept that yet. What was this article? While you look for yours, I’ll see if I can’t find one of mine. Deal?

Maximillian's avatar

Ah here we go, Canon Law 1398. “A person who actually procures an abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication.” http://www.deacons.net/Canon_Law/cci.htm

The nun being excommunicated is explained here http://www.catholicplanet.com/articles/article78.htm under “Obtaining an Abortion.”

“Latae sententiae” is being excommunicated immediately.

Maximillian's avatar

Paragraphs 5–7:
The “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services”, Directive 45, states: “Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable foetus) is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion, which, in its moral context, includes the interval between conception and implantation of the embryo”.

The phrase sole immediate effect is further explained by Directive 47 which states: “Operations, treatments and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child”.

In other words, it is permitted to treat directly a pathology of the mother even when this has the unintended side effect of causing the death of her child, have life-threatening effects on both mother and child, but it is not permitted to terminate or gravely risk the child’s life as A MEANS of treating or protecting the mother.

http://www.ewtn.com/library/prolife/bcdanen1.htm

SeventhSense's avatar

And another reason why people confuse the teachings of Jesus with Catholicism. The Roman Catholic canon law is probably the most perverse thing to ever be attributed to the teachings of Christ. It is politically motivated and amended through the centuries based on whatever man held the seat of power in Rome. It reminds me of a friend of my mother’s who claims she’s “not divorced” although she separated at the same time as my mother got divorced back in 1976. And he never came home again. It’s like “girlfriend you might not think that you are divorced in the “eyes of the catholic church” and it’s simply an “annulment” but you’re ex hubby is living with your sister in Florida and has been for 20 years…talk about denial…

Maximillian's avatar

Canon law changes to change with the culture of humanity and to establish a hierarchy within the church. If there were know rules to govern the members of the church, the church would be split.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Maximillian So rather than allowing people in the church their own ideas, the Canon is written to make them all agree with the ideas of a few men, only one of whom is alive and familiar with current culture? That sounds like the church wants people to follow them like sheep. But then this is the same organisation that tried to stop ‘common people’ reading the Bible for themselves.

SeventhSense's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh
Exactly. A massive church designed to awe the average peasant and a system to keep them illiterate and dependent upon a politicized system of religious servitude.
@Maximillian
Too late. There are 38,000 Christian Denominations.‹(•¿•)› There have almost been fist fights at the Church in Jerusalem between dogmatic priests over rights to dirt and the current Pope wants to send a funeral shroud on tour like Elvis’s cape.

Silhouette's avatar

No, I’d opt for a hospital that isn’t in the religion bidness.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Rarebear I saw that; great article.

I kept on flashing back to Calvin and Hobbes’ “He-Man Woman-Hater’s Club,” but unfortunately, this isn’t nearly as benign.

Maximillian's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh We do this so that people know how to conduct life in what we believe a righteous life. @SeventhSense Yes, there are 38,000 dominations. There are numerous Baptists churches. Numerous Lutherans, Methodists, so on and so forth. But there is one Catholic Church. we have this due to the leadership of one man and one council.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Maximillian I realise that that is your justification for it, but it only serves to deny people the opportunity to form their own ideas. It is part of the reason the Catholic Church is so successful though, since many people want to be told what to think, and independent thought is the bane of religions.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Maximillian You are mistaken – there are at least two major Catholic denominations, the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox Catholic, and several independent Catholic, such as the Old Catholics, the Oriental Catholics, and Ecumenical Catholics and many others.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Rarebear
It’s sad when even trusted members of an organization, in this case the catholic church, are not given the autonomy to make educated decisions based on that same dogma and interpret it’s “laws”. Innocent nuns are excommunicated and pedophile priests are shuffled behind the curtain. Misogyny is definitely an apt description for this behavior. I don’t know what else you can call it.

ETpro's avatar

@Rarebear That is an excellent blog. Thanks for the link to it.

I find it incomprehensible how it is better to let two people die (the mother and the fetus that was far to young to survive outside the womb) than to intervene medically and save at least one life.

The church and the pro-lifers in general are welcome to believe that killing a fetus is murder, but the Bible they claim is the foundation of this belief does not support them in their contention.

Exodus 21:22 “If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
21:23 And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,”

In other words, if she miscarries, it is a property crime and her husband is entitled to monetary compensation for hos loss. Only if his wife dies does it rise to murder.

Rarebear's avatar

@ETpro My pleasure. I’m somewhat “plugged in” to the pro-choice networks.

Maximillian's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Please realize that we have these doctrines to guide people to God in what we believe the best way possible. Many don’t believe that way, but we believe it is the best. the purpose is not to brain wash them, just to guide them.

@YARNLADY My apoligies. I should say that there is only one Roman Catholic church. Eastern Orthodox is an entirely different religion. And those who still hold on to pre-Vatican Council II customs are not recognized.

@SeventhSense What? The interpretation is determined by the Pope and the Bishops. Authority lies within them through what we believe was given by Jesus Christ. And according to the Roman Catholic church, the nun was not innocent for the murder of the child. As for the pedophile priests, I have nothing to say. They should be prosecuted and not shuffled away.

@ETpro Here is the exact excerpt from http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/exodus/exodus21.htm
“When men have a fight and hurt a pregnant woman, so that she suffers a miscarriage, but no further injury, the guilty one shall be fined as much as the woman’s husband demands of him, and he shall pay in the presence of the judges.”

From this, we see that the payment is fulfilled if a fight has ensued the women is hurt during it. In the case, there was no fight. the women was not hurt from a fight.

ETpro's avatar

@Maximillian That is being incredibly legalistic. The point I take away from the verse is that doing something that kills a fetus was not considered by God (for those who believe that is who inspired the Exodus) to be murder, but a property crime. Killing the mother was considered murder.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Maximillian If the intent is to guide, surely these rituals and principles would be proposed as helpful suggestions, rather than laws. Each person and organisation must recognise their own fallibility, and since the Catholic Church does not acknowledge this it is effectively reducing the capacity of members to make their own choices. If you hold excommunication, and therefore loss of hope for salvation, as a knife to the neck of members you are hardly offering guidance – that is control, mediated by threats and fear of eternal torment.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Maximillian
Show me anywhere in the bible where Jesus assigned authority to the pope and any such political man made authority or lineage. Authority was given to ALL BELIEVERS which were called SAINTS. And these believers had no special significance and were never to be worshipped or prayed to either. In the book of Acts Peter expressed this well:

“Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him;”

Note he didn’t include a clause “except me cause I’m the big cheese”

And in Luke:

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No
one is good—except God alone.”

On Judgment and authority Jesus said:
You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me.
~John 8 15–16

Now if Jesus who was without sin, said this, how much less so is any earthly authority to pass judgment. There is no man on earth fit to hold the mantle of God.

Maximillian's avatar

@ETpro The passage says if a fight causes the destruction. Abortion is the direct ending of the fetus. At that point, it’s murder.

@FireMadeFlesh But you see, thats the point. We do believe our faith is infallible, and that it is correct. If it is correct, then it is right.

@SeventhSense Ah. Like many others, you fail to mention the passage in which Jesus Christ gave authority to Peter. Matthew 16:18–19

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.
I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Here is giving POPE Peter the authority over his people, to govern them. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. And Peter bound that he should have a successor, and he bound that his successor and all other successors shall have the keys to heaven. This is known as the Succession of Peter. Jesus Christ gave authority to Peter, and Peter gave it to his successors. Thus the name the Successor of Peter, and the Vicar of Christ.

I hope this suffices.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Maximillian
Man it’s amazing how much error is involved in the teachings of the RC church.
Upon what rock? A man or his faith?
*“Who do people say I am? “You are the Christ”
“Upon this rock I shall build my church”
The rock was Peter’s profession of faith.
The church is what?
A building? No the church is the body of Christ?
The church is not built on any man except God’s son. Rome in their insatiable and bloodthirsty desire for power usurped authority because the fledgling religion was catching like wildfire. These were the same folks who disemboweled Christians in public arenas and simply adapted Roman gods to the new religion because it was expedient to do so. The first Christians met in each others homes and the only rightful seat of authority was always the Temple at Jerusalem. The pope is a false prophet elected by men.

ETpro's avatar

@Maximillian You are dissembling. The crime of causing a fetus to die was considered a property crime. The passage makes no mention of whether or not that was the intent. But if you can put forward an incredible circular argument like “But you see, thats the point. We do believe our faith is infallible, and that it is correct. If it is correct, then it is right.” then there is no point in our discussing anything, because that is close to an absolute rejection of logic as anything I have recently seen in a discussion.

Maximillian's avatar

@SeventhSense The definition of Peter is rock. Jesus reffered to his people, the body, as his church. He was establishing his people upon Peter. Not literally, of course, like a building, but in the sense he was was the foundation of the church. Jesus established the church. He established it on Peter. We did not create it. Jesus did. Take a look at this. http://patrickmadrid.blogspot.com/2009/02/bam-bam-pebbles-argument-goes-down.html

@ETpro I will respond to this later. Tomorrow, probably. Right now, I apologize, I only had time for one response for SeventhSense.

YARNLADY's avatar

The Bible has a passage where God tells his believers to “rip the unborn out of the womb and dash them against the rocks.” to prevent the unborn babies from growing up as infidels.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Maximillian
Catholics love to debate. But hey why not disassemble another sacred cow. Mary had other kids besides Jesus. And the bible gives no indication that she had them any way but the old fashioned method. Of course who cares unless she’s a carry over from A Greco Roman/Egyptian Goddess but there is nothing more heinous to a catholic than sex to make someone impure.
The Blessed Mother

lillycoyote's avatar

We’ve kind of gotten off the subject here, but it’s a social question so that’s not really an issue, however, to bring us back to the original question: Would you let a loved one receive care at a Catholic hospital? Based on the details of this particular instance, I would really think that this would give a person more respect for the care given at Catholic hospitals, rather than less respect. The proper medical decision was made, the fetus was aborted to save the life of the mother, contrary to church doctrine and at great personal and spiritual risk to the nun involved. Do you think she didn’t understand what she was doing? It looks to me like these people are medical professionals, not religious ideologues afraid to act in defiance of church doctrine.

Rarebear's avatar

What I don’t get is how far afield this discussion has gotten from the core issue. The core issue here is that the baby was going to be DEAD ANYWAY. The only question was did they want to KILL THE MOTHER also by not doing an abortion?

I find it reprehensible that someone would have such a mysogynistic position that it’s okay to KILL A MOTHER to save a DEAD BABY. Get it?

The hospital is to be lauded for doing the right thing despite the obvious consequences. I share @etpro’s concern that the Bishops decision would inhibit other hospitals from doing the right thing.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Rarebear I don’t worry so much about the Bishop’s statement. I disagree with @ETpro on this one. The Bishop has to say that. I can’t imagine these kinds of questions/issues, protocols that conflict with church doctrine don’t come up on a regular basis. The nun who was excommunicated knew exactly what she was risking. Her decision, in the end was obviously between her and her God, not between her and her Bishop. I think people in Catholic hospitals, professionals in Catholic hospitals will do their best to act in accordance with their own consciences. Rarebear, I know you are an athiest, you don’t have God to answer to, but you have a conscience, a moral compass, of course. In your entire medical career have you never had to wrestle with your conscience in making the right medical decision?

lillycoyote's avatar

@Rarebear P.S. If there has or have been circumstances where you have wrestled with your conscience, I am not expecting an answer necessarily. You can answer if, and as much as you care to.

Rarebear's avatar

@lillycoyote I disagree that it was between her and her God. It was between her and her patient. What people don’t seem to be getting here is that there was NO CHOICE in the matter. This was NOT a question of abortion or no abortion. This was a question of whether you wanted the baby AND the mother to die or just the baby to die. There was no struggling of moral decision here. There was no ethical dilemma. There was no choice.

And my moral compass has nothing to do with a supernatural being and everything to do with my humanism. I run an intensive care unit—I make decisions all the time about stuff like this. It’s part of my job.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Maximillian The very idea of infallibility is an impossibility. There is always a variation between the opinion and points of view of different people, so different people will interpret things differently regardless of their good intentions. Previous Popes supported the Crusades, which we now see as grievous mistakes, and others committed genocide against various other Christian groups, so obviously a Pope can be wrong – the church is just yet to admit it.
An admission of fallibility would also dispel many of the church’s current problems. When any other political leader makes a big mistake, they are soon forced to resign (at least in developed, democratic countries). When the Pope is involved in a scandal, the church is in serious trouble because they cannot distance the organisation from the man who was supposed to be infallible (but turned out to be a creep).

lillycoyote's avatar

@Rarebear I believe I stated that your moral compass had nothing to do with a supernatural being. Have you never, ever had to wrestle with your conscience, in your entire medical career? And yes, any decision a nun makes that involves a mortal sin is ultimately a decision she make between her and her God. You may not believe, but she does.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I have to agree with @Rarebear. There really shouldn’t have been any moral dilemma. The fact that there has been one, IMHO, indicates that religions should not be running hospitals. (At least not if they are receiving secular funds, and not if patients of other faiths are treated there.)

Rarebear's avatar

@lillycoyote Fair enough, you did. But let’s leave me out of this discussion for the moment. You seem to be suggesting that this was an ethical decision that required wrestling with a conscience. It was not. There was only one correct decision here, and as distasteful as that decision might have been it was the only decision—and the hospital made the correct one.

Let’s take another scenario that WOULD have involved an ethical decision. Let’s say that the woman came in asking for an abortion with a true story of having been raped by her father. Let’s say her father said he was going to kill her if she had an abortion but she really doesn’t want the baby. And lastly the woman isn’t a woman, but a 14 year old girl.

Now. That’s an ethical dilemma if there ever was one.

The current situation is NOT an ethical dilemma. No conscious wrestling required. Either the baby and the mother die or just the baby dies. Either way you have a dead baby.

What I find even more distasteful is that the Church was very quick to excommunicate the nun for making the right decision but meanwhile they cover up the crimes of the pedophile priests.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Rarebear Yup. Double standard if I ever saw one.

Maximillian's avatar

My apologies for not being on to answer as best I could.

@Rarebear You seem to be implying that the nun had the same moral compass as you do. Take into consideration that she has lived as is living with a different way of thinking. She was taking her faith and religion into consideration when making the decision. It was have an abortion to save the mother, or not have an abortion to not save her. That was her dilemma. She was excommunicated immediately because according to the church, anyone who knowingly commits, helps commit, or supports abortion, and knows its sin, is excommunicated immediately.

@FireMadeFlesh Infallibility is used for faith doctrine and religious decrees. The pope is a man, of course. And all men make mistakes. But (as Catholics believe, even though you don’t) when it comes to doctrine, the pope is believed to be infallible.

@ETpro You missed the point that when we read the Bible, we read it in accordance with church teachings and interpretation.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Maximillian Saying the pope is just a man, but infallible when talking about doctrine, is like saying Einstein was just a man but he was infallible when talking about physics. Previous popes ordered many things that we find abhorrent today, but yet they were infallible on such issues, since they were supposedly committed in defence of the faith?

ETpro's avatar

@Maximillian How do you know I missed that? What makes you think that?

Rarebear's avatar

@Maximillian I don’t know what you mean by “moral compass”. The nurse did the right thing.

Maximillian's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh He is infallible through, again what we believe, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. I really can’t give you anymore than that. We believe that his infallibility is supported by God.

@ETpro Sorry if you didn’t miss it. I was just giving an explanation.

@Rarebear She made the right choice according to the secular world. According to the Church, she made the wrong one. And because she is connected to the Church, she was in a dilemma.

Rarebear's avatar

@Maximillian No, she made the right choice period, not just in a secular world.

Maximillian's avatar

@Rarebear From the perspective of an atheist. From a devout Catholic, it was the wrong choice. And I will NOT debate the presence of God with an atheist. Simple no possible.

Rarebear's avatar

@Maximillian Who said anything about God? When did I mention God? I’m talking about the nurse and the hospital, both of whom made the right choice.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Maximillian That is circular reasoning. What the pope says about God is true, because according to the pope God endorses what the pope says. Really??

Are you prepared, even for a moment, to approach your faith from the standpoint of critical thinking? While you obviously have a good knowledge of what you believe, it seems you have little idea of why you believe.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

From a devout Catholic, it was the wrong choice.

@Maximillian That’s the thing. It sounds like, from what I’ve seen, there are equally devout Catholics who agree with the nun. Michael Liccione and Thomas Doyle are both theologians, and give well-reasoned opinions as to why, according to canon law, the bishop is wrong. Perhaps the Pope is presumed to be infallible, but I never heard of the doctrine being extended to anyone else.

Rarebear's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Is correct. I have a friend who is not only a devout Catholic, but a monk. He knows that the correct decision was made.

Maximillian's avatar

@Rarebear I must have been mistaken. I thought we were still speaking of the nun. I must of missed something. And I’d like to meet this monk.

@FireMadeFlesh How is that circular reasoning? If we believe God endorses the pope, then what is wrong in believing that the pope is infallible? I believe in my by faith because I have a strong sense that it is right. Is that not the basis of faith? Not to know why, but to place yourself in the hands of God. That is faith.

@Dr_Dredd Ok. Let me make this clear. Whether you are a liberal or conservative Catholic, the only choices that are correct are the ones set down by the pope and bishops. I have a very liberal Catholic aunt. She may think that what she does is right. But because her choices are the opposite of the church, she is wrong.
And the authority is extended to bishops. Its called apostolic succession.

Rarebear's avatar

@Maximillian The nun is a nurse.

Maximillian's avatar

@Rarebear Sorry. got lost there. but I examine my point again. Because of her moral ties to her faith, she felt stressed over the decision.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Maximillian That is circular reasoning because you believe that God gives the pope authority, but only because the pope said so. There is no reason to think the pope has any authority, except canon law which was written by popes.

Maximillian's avatar

@FireMadeFlesh Now there’s your mistake. We don’t think that way. You said, you believe that God gives the pope authority, but only because the pope said so.” No, we think that way because of what God said through the Bible.

Rarebear's avatar

@Maximillian I’m curious where in the Bible occurs the word “pope”?

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

@Maximillian Your interpretation of the Bible is curious, to say the least. The Bible also said that David’s line would rule Israel forever, but apparently this is not so. I think it is readily obvious that the popes have become corrupted too.

Maximillian's avatar

@Rarebear Of course it doesn’t actually say ‘pope.’ but it establishes the office of a central leader.

Rarebear's avatar

@Maximillian OK, where does it say that it establishes the office of a central leader? And what does this have to do with the issue with the hospital and saving a woman’s life?

Maximillian's avatar

@Rarebear “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18

And I don’t know why it relates. Someone brought the issue of canon law, then the pope, and yada yada. I’m explaining what comes up.

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