In 2005, dissident Catholic theologian Daniel C. Maguire wrote in an essay:
There may be serious and justifying reasons for killing pre-personal, fetal life. The decision on that belongs naturally to the woman who carries that life. Women have a far better track record than men when it comes to cherishing and protecting life. Let’s leave abortion decisions up to them.
In other words, the man favored the direct taking of the life of a preborn child, whom he preferred to relegate to the status of non-person.
Of course, what he opined in this brief excerpt from his Sacred Choices tome is nothing new for those who refuse to accept the fact that a human being begins at his biological beginning. Maguire was merely following in the footsteps of others in his category, including Richard McCormick, SJ, the infamous theologian/priest who suggested that there were such things as nuanced positions, not only on abortion per se, but regarding the actual beginning of the life of a preborn person. It was he, among others, who coined the term “pre-embryo,” which is simply a meaningless term designed to dehumanize the person prior to implantation.
It is in this vein that one particular theologian took issue recently with the actions of Bishop Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona, who excommunicated Catholics at St. Joseph’s Hospital, including Sister Margaret McBride, for being involved in the abortion of an 11-week-old human being. Olmsted’s medical ethics director, Father John Ehrich, explained, “She consented in the murder of an unborn child. There are some situations where the mother may in fact die along with her child. But — and this is the Catholic perspective — you can’t do evil to bring about good. The end does not justify the means.”
Rushing to the nun’s defense came canon lawyer Father Thomas Doyle:
[T]he bishop “clearly had other alternatives than to declare her excommunicated.” Doyle says Olmsted could have looked at the situation, realized that the nun faced an agonizing choice and shown her some mercy. He adds that this case highlights a “gross inequity” in how the church chooses to handle scandal.
The “gross inequity” to which this man refers pits the actions of a living human being against those that followed after her consent to the killing of another person. To my mind, it is the abortion that was the gross inequity, regardless of one’s title or perspective
But Doyle is—along with the likes of McCormick and Maguire—of that school of thought that often places compassion on a level with personal comfort, accommodation and compromise. Sadly, there are many who praise such liberal-minded views, rather than understand the core question, which is quite simply, is it ever permissible to take the life of a human being?
Those who have supported Bishop Olmsted, present company included, have been branded with all sorts of descriptive phrases such as “woman hating” and having an “undisguised preference for a woman’s death over abortion.” But the agenda of those who would come to Sister McBride’s defense is far more sinister than merely railing at the Phoenix case. As feminist commentator Carole Joffe explained to her audience, the pro-life agenda is bloodthirsty! She attacks any legislative effort that might crimp the availability of abortion including these misguided insights:
Then there are the mandatory ultrasound laws. These are occurring in a number of state legislatures, but nowhere to date with such viciousness as the one recently passed in Oklahoma. There the new law stipulates that one hour before her abortion, the patient must receive an ultrasound, with the monitor positioned so that she can see it, and the doctor must point to and describe the heart, limbs and organs of the fetus. There are no exceptions for victims of rape or incest.
The current Supreme Court has also shown an unprecedented and disturbing hostility to women with respect to abortion. In its most recent decision on the subject, the 2007 Gonzales v. Carhart case, which upheld a ban on a certain abortion technique (intact dilation and extraction, or so-called “partial birth abortion”), the Court, shockingly, for the first time upheld an abortion restriction which did not allow any exception for a woman’s health.
In other words, it is mean spirited and vicious to provide the expectant mother with the opportunity to see that the child who is about to be murdered is in fact her baby! And it is apparently callous and hateful to make an attempt, no matter how flawed, to protect some, but not all babies who are seconds away from being born.
Exactly who is being malevolent in these matters? Obviously, it all depends on who is grinding the axe. For as Joffe opines in her tirade, those of us who defend human rights without exclusion are people who thrive on attitudes of misogyny, extremism, demonization and blatant cruelty. And the reason for such a plethora of odious monikers? We are making some progress with the message that there is no such thing as a class of human beings who should be denied recognition for any reason, including the timeless culture of death mantra that abortion is a mere choice belonging exclusively to the female who exercises her rights regardless of the consequences imposed on the victim of her free will decision.
Such proponents of mass killing must be celebrating over the news that in Durango, Colorado, there is an abortionist, Grossman by name, who is not only killing little babies prior to birth “every Wednesday of every week” at the Durango Planned Parenthood, but is also on staff at a Catholic hospital! While this might not shock many who read this commentary, it is nonetheless a heinous insult to Christ and His Church.
In writing of this atrocious fact, Gualberto Garcia Jones, who is also leading the Colorado personhood effort, tells readers
Despite repeated entreaties to my bishops, I have not learned of any action being taken to end this scandalous situation. I have since learned that local pro-life activists (Catholic and Protestant) have been trying to get the Catholic Church to step in and stop Dr. Grossman for at least three years!
It should be noted, that while I realize that it is scandalous to point out this ongoing situation within the Catholic Church, it is a much more egregious scandal to let it continue unaddressed….
It seems that the Catholic Church is not capable of putting a stop to Dr. Grossman’s evil audacity. The reason, according to local activists, is that the hospital and the church fear federal employment discrimination lawsuits. There is, however, a valid basis to believe that this Catholic hospital would be within its right to fire a murderer such as Dr. Grossman, although it is more likely that the church would lose a lawsuit from Dr. Grossman.
When it comes down to it what makes a church like the Catholic Church great is its claim to be the repository of the Truth, not the health of its bank accounts.
Contrast, if you will, the difference between a diocese where a shepherd will not permit a killing on the premises of a Catholic hospital to go unaddressed and the alternative, which is to employ an abortionist who does not ply his trade IN a Catholic hospital but rather down the road. Having made the comparison, ask yourself, why the disparity?
So when news reporters and pro-death advocates feed on a media-created circus centered on the prudent, wise and consistent actions of a man like Bishop Thomas Olmsted, we can better understand their ultimate agenda. Nicholas Kristof, New York Times reporter, in writing about the Phoenix situation told readers:
The Roman Catholic hierarchy is entitled to its views. But the episode reinforces perceptions of church leaders as rigid, dogmatic, out of touch—and very suspicious of independent-minded American nuns.
Vilification is nothing new, of course, among the media elite who despise all that is genuinely Catholic, but one has to wonder why the same media has not attuned itself to the Durango situation. Well, don’t give that a second thought. In Durango, the culture of death has cowed the Church into silence. Their job is done there so they can concentrate their venom on Phoenix and do so with as much revulsion as they can muster.
For these reasons, we ask you to
• Pray for Bishop Olmsted and his loyal advisors.
• Sign our open letter in support of Bishop Olmsted.
• Encourage every Catholic bishop and priest to act decisively and with the armor of faith against the death peddlers.