Wednesday, May 19, 2010

News link of the day - abortion, excommunication, and a double standard

Nun Excommunicated for Allowing Abortion [NPR]

Go read the whole thing. Listen to the audio, too. Here's an excerpt:

Last November, a 27-year-old woman was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. She was 11 weeks pregnant with her fifth child, and she was gravely ill. According to a hospital document, she had "right heart failure," and her doctors told her that if she continued with the pregnancy, her risk of mortality was "close to 100 percent."

The patient, who was too ill to be moved to the operating room much less another hospital, agreed to an abortion. But there was a complication: She was at a Catholic hospital.

"They were in quite a dilemma," says Lisa Sowle Cahill, who teaches Catholic theology at Boston College. "There was no good way out of it. The official church position would mandate that the correct solution would be to let both the mother and the child die. I think in the practical situation that would be a very hard choice to make."

But the hospital felt it could proceed because of an exception — called Directive 47 in the U.S. Catholic Church's ethical guidelines for health care providers — that allows, in some circumstance, procedures that could kill the fetus to save the mother. Sister Margaret McBride, who was an administrator at the hospital as well as its liaison to the diocese, gave her approval.
And then Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted immediately excommunicated Sr. Margaret because "She consented in the murder of an unborn child."

Really, sir? I suppose you would rather rob the other four children of their young mother?

Hey, this isn't fair, you say? Damn straight it isn't. Read on:

"In the case of priests who are credibly accused and known to be guilty of sexually abusing children, they are in a sense let off the hook," Doyle says.

Canon lawyer Rev. Thomas Doyle says no pedophile priests have been excommunicated. When priests have been caught, he says, their bishops have protected them, and it has taken years or decades to defrock them, if ever.

"Yet in this instance we have a sister who was trying to save the life of a woman, and what happens to her? The bishop swoops down [and] declares her excommunicated before he even looks at all the facts of the case," Doyle says.
How's that for a double standard?

Augh, it makes my brain hurt!

So the old gentlemen's club dilly-dallies on the dirty old men who have been destroying lives all over the place, and yet kicks one woman out for saving another woman's life, for saving the mother of four children, for sparing those four children a motherless childhood.


Yes, it sucks that she lost her unborn baby. The woman almost died, and that nun saved her life, and now that nun's going to hell?

(Kinda like when Huck Finn thinks he's going to hell when decides he's going to free Jim, even though Huck thinks it's a sin to free someone else's slave?)

What gives anyone the right to effectively condemn someone to hell through excommunication? I don't care how divinely inspired it is; no earthly institution has the right to make that decision. Leave that in God's hands.

Really, if you have decided to believe that abortion is murder, then don't get an abortion. But don't take that choice away from anyone else.

Put yourself in the situation. Or if you're vaginally challenged, put your wife, girlfriend, sister, mother, cousin in that situation. What would you do? Would you let her die? Would you forgive yourself for that? Would you be like Oklahoma and subject her to an invasive questionnaire and an ultrasound first? Would you forgive her if she lived? Would you let God, in his unfathomable divine mercy and unconditional love, forgive you?

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