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The Bishop, The Sister And The Hospital

Slow to act, but though in the end....

The case of Sister Margaret McBride, who was excommunicated By Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix after permitting an abortion taking place in the Catholic Hospital of St. Joseph, Phoenix, Arizona, is well-known and the issue of Sr. McBride’s excommunication has been widely discussed on the blogosphere in the past. This hospital is part of a series of structures called Catholic Healthcare West (CHW).

In the last days, a new element of the controversy has appeared as the Bishop has now revoked the right of the entire system of medical structures CHW to call itself “Catholic”. This is therefore not a single hospital being singled out, but an entire net of structures found so deficient that the adjective “catholic” cannot be applied to anyone of its components anymore.

You find the statement of the Bishop here. I assure you it is worth the reading. I limit myself to comment as follows:

1) The action of the Bishop is highly commendable. Still, one remains with the uncomfortable impression that in this day and age a Bishop can be ignored for seven long years before action being taken. Years, not months. One understands the need to be somewhat gentle, but if gentleness is perceived as indecisiveness it is no surprise that the bishop’s admonitions are ignored.

2) Bishop’s Olmsted action has, as it appear from the statement, been precipitated by the information about an abortion having taken place. I don’t want to think how long it would have taken for the Bishop to take decisive action if the news of the abortion hadn’t reached him.

3) From the statement it would also appear that on closer scrutiny a series of further infractions have been discovered, which had gone on unchallenged for years. In particular, sterilisations and even abortions have been practised with regularity under the very nose of the diocese, whose ability to know what was happening appears to have been rather impaired. One reads such news and shivers at the thought at what happens every day in the “Catholic” institutions of the rest of the country.

4) By all the justified criticism of the slowness and softness of the Bishop’s past action, what is evident here is the extremely clear tone of the communication. By reading it – particularly if accustomed to the exercises of our local bad shepherds like Archbishop Vincent “Quisling” Nichols – I could scarcely believe that this was an official statement of a Bishop. This is a man who has understood that his inaction led to the loss of human lives and has decided to put an end to it – as far as he can – in the most decisive way. You can read here a further statement released two days after and which is a further example of a brutally frank communication style.

Kudos, then, to Bishop Olmsted for his certainly belated, but nevertheless courageous action. Let us hope that his example will soon be followed by his colleagues and the adjective “Catholic” before a hospital’s (or university’s) name will soon mean something again.


The Hospital and the Priest

In case you think that Catholic priests are dangerous for your child....

Please look at this Guardian article. It deals with the rather shocking episode of a hospital in which, through massive failing at all levels (and, more importantly, failing to correct what was clearly going wrong), more than one thousand people “died of preventable causes”.

Now this is an NHS hospital and public health care is one of the pets of the secular left anywhere from Cuba to London. This might be the reason why the tone of the article is so, well, clinical. So calm. So absolutely dry.

Notice that there is no generalisation here, no process to entire institutions. The existence of the NHS is not called into question. The morality of doctors or nurses as a body is not criticised. It is about making things better, isn’t it…

Also please notice that the scandal here is multi-faceted, as it appears that executives of the relevant NHS were subsequently hired in very well paid quango jobs, of which Labour seemed to have an inexhaustible, ever-expanding reserve. Therefore we have all the ingredients here: a) obvious mistakes on the ground; b) people in the know who have no guts to open their mouth; c) controllers who fail to control; d) when the scandal erupts, hierarchies who protect those who are involved and move them to other, comfortable positions. The similarities with the (homosexual) pedophile priest scandal are therefore remarkable, the biggest difference being that the number of the dead is vastly superior in the case of the hospital.

What is very different, is how the leftist press reacts. The savage attack not only to single priests, but to the priesthood as profession has no parallel here. We see no attacks to the profession of medical doctor, or nurse. Very strange, because in the case of the Staffordshire enquiry the failings to report the conditions of the hospital seem to have been generalised. Many knew, no one has spoken, people continued to just die.

In addition, it is clear here that there was a clear failing of control mechanisms on a grand scale, for several years. Look, I must have heard this already. Then why there is no condemnation of the NHS system in its entirety at least vaguely comparable to the lynching of the Vatican? If single cases of bad behaviour and failed oversight are enough to question, say, priest celibacy, why should a massacre of such proportions not be enough to question, say, the existence of a publicly funded healthcare system in the UK?

This the more so, as this expensive giant seems to have contracted all the … diseases of your typical big organisation: big cost, inefficiency, failing oversight, no accountability, inability to admit mistakes, protection of its members no matter what.

In the case of the (homosexual) paedophile priest scandal, many lefties had no problems in accusing the Pope of covering it all. In the case of the Mid-Staffordshire enquire (up to 1200 dead more), the Labour government at the top remained blessedly exempt from demands of PM resignation.

There are many parallels between this scandal and the failings within the Church to properly protect children, put adequate protection mechanisms in place, deal with problems swiftly and efficiently. There are even more parallels in the tendency (typical of every organisation, let us not forget this) to cover failings, avoid scandals, protect and “recycle” some who have paid a higher price and were possibly asked to offer themselves as scapegoats (or perhaps were just better connected). Finally, there are parallels in the ethical questions that it opens about entire categories, when generalised failings are seen by everyone but no one reacts.

What is surprising (or perhaps not, as we talk about secular lefties here) is that for the NHS an entirely different approach is used than the one used against the Church.

1200 children prematurely dead in five years in Catholic schools because of massive failings systematically undetected.
Imagine that, and what would happen.


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