Life-Saving Excommunication

This past week the Catholic Church raised the bar on irony and hypocrisy when they took a hard-line stance in defense of children by excommunicating Sister Margaret McBride (shown at left). Her offense? Saving a pregnant woman’s life.

You see, McBride, along with a group of doctors, was part of an ethics panel that consulted with a pregnant woman at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. The woman was 11 weeks pregnant, at the time, and suffering from a condition called pulmonary hypertension which is aggravated by pregnancy. Pulmonary hypertension limits the ability of the heart and lungs to function properly during pregnancy, and the doctors who examined her said her chances of surviving the pregnancy were near 0%, and the only way to save her life was to terminate the pregnancy. The ethics commission counseled the woman to that effect, and she had the procedure and survived.

The Phoenix Catholic Diocese, led by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, rewarded Sister McBride for her wise counsel with an excommunication. Bishop Olmstead released a statement saying, "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."

He went on to add that “The Catholic church will continue to defend life and proclaim the evil of abortion without compromise, and must act to correct even her own members if they fail in this duty.”

Where was this stern position on the safety of children when thousands of kids were being molested by priests? This nun is excommunicated, but convicted pedophile priests are simply defrocked - apparently, if you save a woman’s life by destroying a fetus you’re destined for hell, but if you destroy the trust of countless children by sexually abusing them you’re still a candidate for heaven. (I knew there was a reason I didn’t want to go there...)

This is institutional misogyny that would make the Taliban clap their hands with glee. The message here is that the sins of men are simply not as serious as the sins of women. After all – it was a woman who got us kicked out of the garden in the first place, right?

It’s also yet another incident in a long line which proves that Benedict and his inner circle (I like to call them “Benny and the Jets” – oh but they’re weird and they’re wonderful…) are completely out of touch with the rest of the world. Even the staunchest Catholics I know are appalled by this ruling. As the leadership and laity of the Church drift farther apart, the gap between doctrine and the actual beliefs and behaviors of Catholics is widening into a canyon. Mother Church is growing ripe for a schism of epic proportions. Soon Catholics in developed nations are refuse to drink the kool-aid anymore.

When this Vatican III happens, perhaps they can clarify that being Catholic doesn’t mean that you have to ignore science. Or modern medicine. Or compassion. Or common sense. Wait... if they accepted all that, they wouldn’t really be Catholic anymore, would they?


Poet Abroad said...

As a recovering Catholic, this is just one more reason why I'm glad to have parted ways from this diabolical organization.

His Sinfulness said...

You can't have these uppity women thinking they're in charge of anything, you know? Not doctrine, not ethics, and certainly not their own bodies!


Post a Comment