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Religion briefs Stockton Diocese Bishop Stephen Blaire alarmed by federal mandate

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Posted: Saturday, February 4, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 8:37 am, Mon Feb 6, 2012.

Stockton Diocese Bishop Stephen Blaire is calling on all Catholics to lobby Congress to repeal the federal government's recent mandate for all private health plans to include sterilization and contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs.

"Essentially, it is saying that freedom of religion pertains only to freedom of worship and religious teaching, but not to the practice of religious faith in the charitable, social and health institutions of the church," Blaire wrote in a letter to parishioners throughout the diocese.

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  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 10:53 pm on Wed, Feb 29, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Andy Crowder stated...does that make me a bigot

    Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition...
    BIGOT...a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race

    Given that Andy takes "EVERY" opportunity to denegrate and say something derogatory about the Catholic church, and since he has an obvious axe to grind with the church... the answer is yes Andy, you fit the perfect picture on what a bigot is...

  • Andy Crowder posted at 7:42 pm on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Andy Crowder Posts: 245

    The word bigot originated in the 16th century and meant a superstitious religious hypocrite. It fits the Catholic Church very well. I come from a Catholic family and saw the church destroy some of my cousins, one of them to abuse. I do not hate Catholics. It seems most of them disagree with the church these days. That seems healthy. You continue to defend the church on issues that are clearly immoral and the cause of great suffering to innocent people. It is not bigotry to point out evil and wrong doing. I loathe the KKK. I think the N.a.z.i hierarchy was evil--does that make me a bigot?

  • Alex Kennedy posted at 7:22 pm on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Alex Posts: 215

    So it's ok to paint all Muslims with the same brush i.e intent on destroying democracy and instilling Sharia Law, but Catholics should each be painted individually. I have no problem with Catholics, I even grew up in the Church, my problem lies with the leadership which is why as an adult I elected to leave the Church in favor of a more accepting and tolerant branch of Christianity.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 5:58 pm on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2110

    Andy: Never said the people of the Church were perfect. There are many things I (and other Catholics) would like to see changed about the Church and there is more and more movement to make those changes. But the fact remains that the language used in recent threads by people like Alex and you would NEVER be tolerated for any group other than Catholics. You and Alex mock, disrespect and outright insult Catholics just for being Catholic. It is called bigotry. Amazing how you would never tolerate it against gays or minorities but so easily rely on it when it comes to Catholics.

    Any outsider reading your posts would see A: yes you have valid concerns and B: you are bigoted against the Church. Alex even classifies all Catholics as the same many times over.

  • Andy Crowder posted at 5:31 pm on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Andy Crowder Posts: 245

    No one has a problem with Catholics, Kevin. It's the church that has always been corrupt and at times, evil. Catholics are often the ones suffering the most at the hands of your virginal men in lacy dresses and shiny red shoes. Catholic children have been raped and tortured and women denied basic healthcare even in life or death circumstances. Gays are vilified and Africans are dishonestly told that condoms will increase their chances of getting AIDS. And that's all ongoing. Where is your outrage? No decent human being who had not been brainwashed would willingly be a part of that, let alone defend it. History, even recent history, well we know where that leads--genocide and slavery. If you examine all this and still embrace canon law, then you are more than welcome to it, just keep that power hungry bunch away from making decisions for the rest of us.

  • Alex Kennedy posted at 11:43 am on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Alex Posts: 215

    Although the hospital stood by the decision in this case, doctors and nurses will think twice next time out of fear of their own excommunication. And in most secular hospitals this clear cut case would never appear in front of an ethics panel, wasting precious time that the woman obviously did not have. 

    As for the majority of Catholics siding with the Sister, it goes to show how seriously out of touch Catholic leadership is when it comes to the reality of women's lives. Another reason why religious men (especially ones without an MD) should not be making any kind of policy in regards to women's reproductive health.

  • Kevin Paglia posted at 11:11 am on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Kevin Paglia Posts: 2110

    To be clear:

    1: the hospital sided WITH Sr Margaret Mary McBride. The hospital did and continues to follow it's mission statement

    2: It was the BISHOP who made the decision to excommunicate her, not Catholics. Like any large group there are going to be good and not so good leadership. This Bishop is a hard-liner meaning he is looking strictly at the words of the Church, not the Spirit.

    3: Most Catholics sided with Sr Margaret. Most of us understand the difficult situation she was put in and we also understand the life of the mother needed to be protected. To cast us ALL because of one leader is like saying all teachers are abusive like the ones in recent news from LA.

    I guess it is just easier to hate Catholics than listen to them and TRY to understand their perspective.

  • Alex Kennedy posted at 10:21 am on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Alex Posts: 215

    The woman already had five young children. The Church would rather have her die leaving those children motherless allowing a LIFE SAVING abortion. How is an 11 week old fetus supposed to survive in a dead woman? This is exactly why men should not be making policies about women's health.

  • Alex Kennedy posted at 10:12 am on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Alex Posts: 215

    Below is an example showing why Catholics should not be in the business of providing health care. The story also serves to negate the DB post of the Caltholic hospital's mission statement. The mission statement is not being lived up to.

  • Alex Kennedy posted at 10:07 am on Fri, Feb 10, 2012.

    Alex Posts: 215

    The Church does not care about the health of women especially if it mean one less future parishioner which is why they have such a forceful stance on woman's reproductive rights:

    Nun excommunicated, loses hospital post over decision on abortion

    By Catholic News Service

    PHOENIX (CNS) -- A nun who concurred in an ethics committee's decision to abort the child of a gravely ill woman at a Phoenix hospital was "automatically excommunicated by that action," according to Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix.

    Mercy Sister Margaret Mary McBride also was reassigned from her position as vice president of mission integration at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix after news surfaced about the abortion that took place late last year. The hospital did not say what her new job would be.

    The patient, who has not been identified, was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering from pulmonary hypertension, a condition that the hospital said carried a near-certain risk of death for the mother if the pregnancy continued.

    "If there had been a way to save the pregnancy and still prevent the death of the mother, we would have done it. We are convinced there was not," said a May 17 letter to Bishop Olmsted from top officials at Catholic Healthcare West, the San Francisco-based health system to which St. Joseph's belongs.

    But the bishop said in a May 14 statement that "the direct killing of an unborn child is always immoral, no matter the circumstances, and it cannot be permitted in any institution that claims to be authentically Catholic."

    "We always must remember that when a difficult medical situation involves a pregnant woman, there are two patients in need of treatment and care, not merely one," Bishop Olmsted said. "The unborn child's life is just as sacred as the mother's life, and neither life can be preferred over the other."

    Sister Margaret, who has declined to comment on the controversy, was on an ethics committee that was called to decide whether doctors could perform an abortion to save the mother's life. Catholic institutions are guided in making such decisions by the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services."

    Bishop Olmsted cited a section of the directives that reads: "Abortion (that is, the directly intended termination of pregnancy before viability or the directly intended destruction of a viable fetus) is never permitted. Every procedure whose sole immediate effect is the termination of pregnancy before viability is an abortion."

    But the Catholic Healthcare West officials, in their letter, asked Bishop Olmsted to clarify the directives, citing another section that reads: "Operations, treatments and medications that have as their direct purpose the cure of a proportionately serious pathological condition of a pregnant woman are permitted when they cannot be safely postponed until the unborn child is viable, even if they will result in the death of the unborn child."

    In a letter to the editor of The Arizona Republic May 18, Dr. John Garvie, chief of gastroenterology at St. Joseph's, called Sister Margaret "the moral conscience of the hospital" and said "there is no finer defender of life at our hospital."

    "What she did was something very few are asked to do, namely, to make a life-and-death decision with the full recognition that in order to save one life, another life must be sacrificed," Garvie said. "People not involved in these situations should reflect and not criticize."

    According to a brief biography posted on the hospital's website, Sister Margaret "has 34 years of health care experience in both for-profit and not-for-profit health care management." She holds a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's in public administration, both from the University of San Francisco.

    Bishop Olmsted said in his statement that any Catholic who "formally cooperates in the procurement of an abortion" is automatically excommunicated. "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," he added.

    The diocese also posted on its website a two-page statement by Father John Ehrich, medical ethics director for the diocese, on "Catholic morality and pregnant mothers who are at risk."

    "The unborn child can never be thought of as a pathology or an illness," the priest said. "That is, the child is not that which threatens the life of the mother, rather it is the pathology or illness (cancer, premature rupture of membranes, hypertension, preeclampsia, etc.) which threatens the mother's life."

    Adding that "no physician can predict what will happen with 100 percent accuracy," Father Ehrich said, "What we should not do ... is lower risks associated with pregnancy by aborting children. ... When we try to control every possible situation in life, we end up playing the role of God."

    Copyright (c) 2010 Catholic News Service/USCCB. All rights reserved.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 7:12 pm on Thu, Feb 9, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405


    Our Values
    Catholic Healthcare West is committed to providing high-quality, affordable health care to the communities we serve. Above all else we value:
    • Dignity - Respecting the inherent value and worth of each person.
    • Collaboration - Working together with people who support common values and vision to achieve shared goals.
    • Justice - Advocating for social change and acting in ways that promote respect for all persons and demonstrate compassion for our sisters and brothers who are powerless.
    • Stewardship - Cultivating the resources entrusted to us to promote healing and wholeness.
    • Excellence - Exceeding expectations through teamwork and innovation.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 7:12 pm on Thu, Feb 9, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Since Andy is clueless as to why the Catholics would be interested in providing healthcare, I thought I would show their mission statement...

    Time to educate yourself Andy...

    Our mission sets a clear focus for our work. Our values define how we carry out the mission. Our vision demands that we consistently and effectively live up to both.

    Our Mission
    Catholic Healthcare West and our Sponsoring Congregations are committed to furthering the healing ministry of Jesus. We dedicate our resources to:
    •Delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable health services;
    •Serving and advocating for our sisters and brothers who are poor and disenfranchised; and
    •Partnering with others in the community to improve the quality of life.

    Our Vision
    A vibrant, national health care system known for service, chosen for clinical excellence, standing in partnership with patients, employees and physicians to improve the health of all communities served.

  • Andy Crowder posted at 4:33 pm on Wed, Feb 8, 2012.

    Andy Crowder Posts: 245

    Excellent point, Alex. Any Christians care to explain why they need healthcare at all?

  • David Diskin posted at 8:16 am on Wed, Feb 8, 2012.

    David Diskin Posts: 185

    I don't recall any outrage when health plans started covering Viagra.

  • Alex Kennedy posted at 8:21 pm on Tue, Feb 7, 2012.

    Alex Posts: 215

    Why have the church provide healthcare at all. Why don't they just ask their parishioners and employees in their companies to pray for health. If God really loves you he would cure you, if not yee shall die like the sinner you are.

  • Margaret Blastow posted at 8:11 pm on Sat, Feb 4, 2012.

    Peggy Blastow Posts: 6

    Bishop Blaire is morally outraged that the Catholic church will only be able to buy insurance that covers essential women's health services. Are you kidding me? It's against the church's teaching to treat women for endometriosis, migraines, and menstrual-related disorders? 1.5 million women, 15% of all pill users, need it exclusively to treat painful health problems. The church wants to deny treatment to these women? The church is crazy and cruel and sexist.



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