Catholic Social Concerns: December 2010 Archives
A thorny matter of faith and morals between a bishop and a historic "Catholic" hospital has been settled: the hospital is no longer a Catholic hospital. Mass is not permitted to be celebrated there and the Blessed Sacrament can't be reserved there. Phoenix's St Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center whose owner is Catholic Healthcare West (CWH) defied Catholic teaching and the authority of the Catholic bishop in whose diocese the hospital is located. St Joseph's is one of several hospitals in Phoenix, Arizona. For Catholics, the bishop of the diocese is the final authority on matters of faith and morals; the bishop is not a branch manager, he is the successor of the Apostles.
Contrary to an editorial in the NY Times today, hospitals who claim to be Catholic are not agents of the state and therefore are not bound to comply with legalities to provide emergency reproductive care.
St Joseph's Hospital was founded by the Religious Sisters of Mercy in 1895.
In Catholic teaching we hold that no one, no institution is the authentic interpreter of faith and morals but the bishop. In this case, The Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix, is the proper teacher and interpreter of Catholic teaching with regard to the faithful and Catholic institutions in the Diocese of Phoenix. But let's be clear: it is not Bishop Olmstead's isolated interpretation of Catholic teaching nor is Catholic teaching determined by him as a private body of teaching and interpreted arbitrarily. What we see in Bishop Olmstead is a man faithful to his word, a priest acting according to his calling and ordination. Catholic teaching is not a policy statement; Catholic teaching coheres to objective and divine truth not to positive law. Catholic teaching is based on sacred Scripture, sacred Tradition and the clear and consistent teaching of the sacred Magisterium through the years. It is the Church's theological and pastoral patrimony that the bishop is responsible for because he's responsible for the salvation of souls in his diocese. He's responsible to see that the faithful and all others meet God face-to-face.
We pray that Mary, Mother of God, will ask her Son, Jesus, to assist us in responding to the worldwide AIDS crisis and to heal and/or cure those who are ill with the disease. And in gratitude for the many, many women and men who have dedicated themselves to fighting AIDS.