Posts tagged statement

Diocese of Phoenix Statement on the Passing of Eddie Basha

The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix joins with the Arizona community in mourning the passing of Eddie Basha. He will be fondly remembered as a community leader, a businessman, a family man and a Catholic.

We offer our prayers and condolences to the Basha family and the community that he served with great generosity.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Diocese of Phoenix Clarifies Status of Mercy Gilbert Medical Center as a Catholic Hospital

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.

Diocese of Phoenix Statement on the Current Status of Mercy Gilbert Medical Center

On January 23, 2012, the parent company of Mercy Gilbert Hospital was reorganized from being a Catholic corporation (Catholic Healthcare West) to being a secular one (Dignity Health). In light of this change, Mercy Gilbert was asked by Bishop Olmsted to renew their official recognition as a Catholic institution in the Diocese of Phoenix.

While discussion has been ongoing, to this point Mercy Gilbert has not yet fulfilled the criteria for this renewal. Thus, Bishop Olmsted has a duty to the Catholic faithful to inform them that he cannot state with moral certitude that Mercy Gilbert Hospital provides Catholic health care which is in full conformity with the teaching of the Church. It is, however, his hope that Mercy Gilbert will successfully complete the renewal process, at which time Bishop Olmsted will grant his recognition of their Catholic identity.

It has been recently announced that Creighton University has established a medical school in conjunction with St. Joseph’s Hospital.

This has led to some confusion since Creighton University is a Catholic institution. Thus, to ensure clarity on the issue, I wish to affirm to all of the faithful that St. Joseph’s Hospital is not a Catholic institution.

Secondly, St. Joseph’s Hospital does not faithfully adhere to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.

Catholics, and all people of good will, are advised that they cannot be guaranteed authentic Catholic health care at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, in a statement today providing clarification to the status of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

Statement from the Diocese of Phoenix Regarding Catholic Organizations Challenging HHS Mandate

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix today issued a statement in response to the filing of 12 lawsuits around the nation saying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Statement from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted on Revisions to HHS Mandate

PHOENIX — Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, has issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s Feb. 10 announcement. It echoes the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ grave concerns about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate that will compel virtually all private health plans to provide coverage that deny our religious freedom, namely providing coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortifacients.

Read the statement.

Bishop Olmsted: St. Joseph’s Hospital no longer Catholic

Jesus says (Cf. Mt 25:40), “Whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.”

Caring for the sick is an essential part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Throughout our history, the Church has provided great care and love to those in need. With the advent of Catholic hospitals, the faithful could also be confident that they were able to receive quality health care according to the teachings of the Church.

Authentic Catholic care in the institutions of Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) in the Diocese of Phoenix has been a topic of discussion between CHW and me from the time of our initial meeting nearly seven years ago.

At that first meeting, I learned that CHW already did not comply with the ethical teachings of the Church at Chandler Regional Hospital. The moral guide for Hospitals and Healthcare Institutions is spelled out in what are called the Ethical and Religious Directives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I objected strongly to CHW’s lack of compliance with these directives, and told CHW leaders that this constituted cooperation in evil that must be corrected; because if a healthcare entity wishes to call itself Catholic (as in “Catholic” Healthcare West), it needs to adhere to the teachings of the Church in all of its institutions. In all my seven years as Bishop of Phoenix, I have continued to insist that this scandalous situation needed to change; sadly, over the course of these years, CHW has chosen not to comply.

Then, earlier this year, it was brought to my attention that an abortion had taken place at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix. When I met with officials of the hospital to learn more of the details of what had occurred, it became clear that, in the decision to abort, the equal dignity of mother and her baby were not both upheld; but that the baby was directly killed, which is a clear violation of ERD #45. It also was clear that the exceptional cases, mentioned in ERD #47, were not met, that is, that there was not a cancerous uterus or other grave malady that might justify an indirect and unintended termination of the life of the baby to treat the grave illness. In this case, the baby was healthy and there were no problems with the pregnancy; rather, the mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St. Joseph’s medical staff and ethics committee decided that the healthy, 11-week-old baby should be directly killed. This is contrary to the teaching of the Church (Cf. Evangelium Vitae, #62).

It was thus my duty to declare to the person responsible for this tragic decision that allowed an abortion at St. Joseph’s, Sister Margaret McBride, R.S.M., that she had incurred an excommunication by her formal consent to the direct taking of the life of this baby. I did this in a confidential manner, hoping to spare her public embarrassment.

Unfortunately, subsequent communications with leadership at St. Joseph’s Hospital and CHW have only eroded my confidence about their commitment to the Church’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Healthcare. They have not addressed in an adequate manner the scandal caused by the abortion. Moreover, I have recently learned that many other violations of the ERDs have been taking place at CHW facilities in Arizona throughout my seven years as Bishop of Phoenix and far longer.

Let me explain.

CHW and St. Joseph’s Hospital, as part of what is called “Mercy Care Plan”, have been formally cooperating with a number of medical procedures that are contrary to the ERDs, for many years. I was never made aware of this fact until the last few weeks. Here are some of the things which CHW has been formally responsible for throughout these years:

  • Contraceptive counseling, medications, supplies and associated medical and laboratory examinations, including, but not limited to, oral and injectable contraceptives, intrauterine devices, diaphragms, condoms, foams and suppositories;
  • Voluntary sterilization (male and female); and
  • Abortions due to the mental or physical health of the mother or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

This information was given to me in a meeting which included an administrator of St. Joseph’s Hospital who admitted that St. Joseph’s and CHW are aware that this plan consists in formal cooperation in evil actions which are contrary to Church teaching. The Mercy Care Plan has been in existence for 26 years, includes some 368,000 members, and its 2010 revenues will reach nearly $2 billion. CHW and St. Joseph’s Hospital have made more than a hundred million dollars every year from this partnership with the government.

In light of all these failures to comply with the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Church, it is my duty to decree that, in the Diocese of Phoenix, at St. Joseph’s Hospital, CHW is not committed to following the teaching of the Catholic Church and therefore this hospital cannot be considered Catholic.

The Catholic faithful are free to seek care or to offer care at St. Joseph’s Hospital but I cannot guarantee that the care provided will be in full accord with the teachings of the Church. In addition, other measures will be taken to avoid the impression that the hospital is authentically Catholic, such as the prohibition of celebrating Mass at the hospital and the prohibition of reserving the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel.

For seven years now, I have tried to work with CHW and St. Joseph’s, and I have hoped and prayed that this day would not come, that this decree would not be needed; however, the faithful of the Diocese have a right to know whether institutions of this importance are indeed Catholic in identity and practice. [PDF]