Because Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix has set that date as the deadline for Catholic Healthcare West (based in San Francisco) to indicate that it will comply with his demands regarding St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital, which is in his diocese. If the demands are not met, he will yank the hospital’s status as a Catholic entity.
Specifically, I require the following in order for me to postpone any further canonical action directed against St. Joseph’s Hospital:
1. CHW must acknowledge in writing that the medical procedure that resulted in the abortion at St. Josephs’ hospital was a violation of ERD 47, and so will never occur again at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
2. CHW must agree to a review and certification process conducted by the Medical Ethics Board of the Diocese of Phoenix to ensure full compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives of the USCCB. The Bishop and his representative from the Medical Ethics Board must have appropriate access to their facilities and protocols for review. (As hospitals and health care organizations submit to similar kinds of certifications from the government or from medical oversight organizations, it should not be unusual to have a group from the Catholic Diocese to certify that hospitals run by CHW are in full compliance with Catholic moral teaching).3. CHW must agree to provide for the medical staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital ongoing formation on the ERD’s, as overseen by either the National Catholic Bioethics Center or the Medical Ethics Board of the Diocese of Phoenix.
I intend to publicly revoke my endorsement of St. Joseph’s Hospital as a “Catholic” hospital unless I hear from you by Friday, December 17, 2010. Only when you agree to all three terms as described above, will I agree to refrain from my public announcement regarding the status of your Catholic identity. A revocation of my endorsement of St. Joseph’s Hospital would necessitate the following actions:
• Removal of the Blessed Sacrament from all Chapels and Tabernacles at St. Joseph’s Medical Center.
• Prohibition of all Masses celebrated in Chapels within St. Joseph’s Medical Center.
• Public advisory from the Bishop’s Office issued through the Catholic Sun Newspaper and website that St. Joseph’s no longer qualifies as a “Catholic” hospital.
• Priestly ministry and other ministry to the sick will most certainly continue within St. Joseph’s Hospital, as it does in any hospital when the sacraments or pastoral care are requested by patients.
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