A doomed effort
A Catholic woman priest is trying to convince herself that the bishop of Phoenix didn’t mean what he of course necessarily did mean. She’s not having an easy time of it.
When I was a teen, I saw a movie that depicted a bishop, the brother of a pregnant woman, who loved his sister, but when the chips were down and it was her life or the baby’s life, the choice was his to make and he chose the baby. I will never forget how horrible I felt that his sister was powerless in this situation, and that the decision was her brother’s to make.
Quite – and in the bishop’s case, it wasn’t even a matter of choosing the baby, because that choice wasn’t available. It was a matter of choosing – insisting – that the fetus and the mother should die instead of the fetus only.
So today, here we are again, reflecting on the controversy surrounding the mother in Phoenix whose life was saved by the the ethical team at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital. As directive 47 indicates, one is obliged to save both lives, but if that is not possible then the moral principle is to save the life that can be saved. Surely, Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix is not implying that the hospital should have let the mother die when her life not only could be but was saved! Hopefully, Bishop Olmsted, Bishop Niederauer will clarify their positions in this kind of tragic situation when pregnant women’s lives are at risk.
Oh yes he is – that’s exactly what he’s implying, or rather, simply saying. He knows perfectly well that that’s the issue, because that is the issue. It can hardly have escaped his attention!