Between Sister Margaret Mary McBride of Phoenix and Sister Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association, there’s just a whole lot of misinformation and scandal going on. Much of the media persists in telling their tales from a very slanted perspective. Let’s see if we can get the facts out and avoid the hyperbole that bathes controversial matters Catholic with deception.
Sister McBride was most recently characterized in USA Today as the victim of an “angry bishop” who, they claim, rebuked the nun after she approved the abortion of a preborn child for the alleged reason that the baby’s existence was threatening the life of the child’s mother.
The fact is, however, that Sister McBride excommunicated herself, at least according to Catholic Church law (Canon 1398), which is far more credible than the USA Today report.
Bishop Thomas Olmsted explained this with great care. According to Catholic teaching, he wrote, “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.”
Perhaps this clear case of DIRECT KILLING is confusing to USA Today and that is why they opted to get opinions from Father Kevin O’Rourke rather than Bishop Olmsted. But watch out, because O’Rourke is not known for his orthodoxy. He once defended the direct killing by starvation of Terri Schiavo.
Bioethicist O’Rourke seems a bit bewildered about the differences between killing on purpose and doing all one can to save two patients, even though in the process one of them may die. While O’Rourke’s opinion is much to the liking of USA Today, it is still in error. His suggestion that the direct abortion of the baby in the Phoenix case could be perceived as “care” misses the point. He further pokes his professorial finger at the diocesan spokespeople, claiming they are not “well-schooled in bioethics.”
And then there’s Sister Keehan, who was pressured by the Knights of Malta a few days ago to resign from a prestigious hospital board post. Why was that? Well, Sister Keehan, “in opposition to the United States bishops, was a key supporter of the abortion-expanding [Obamacare] bill—so much so that she was given one of the 21 ceremonial pens President Obama used to sign the measure into law.”
Obama rather likes Sister Keehan and has for some time. As a matter of fact, in October of last year, when Blessed Damien of Hawaii was elevated to sainthood by Pope Benedict XVI, the president selected Sister Keehan to be a member of his delegation. Yes, she officially represented the White House along with several dignitaries, including pro-abortion Hawaiian Senator Daniel Akaka.
Sister Keehan was even described in Time magazine this past April by Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s widow as “courageous and purposeful.” A darling of the culture of death, at least when it comes to health care reform, is she.
And yes, Sister Keehan is still at the helm of the CHA. This is why we issued a call to Cardinal Francis George, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to use his influence to have her dismissed. We did this based on the cardinal’s public expression of disagreement with the CHA’s support of Obamacare.
Any Catholic nun who defends public actions or policies in direct conflict with the fundamental Catholic teaching that abortion is killing, is a Catholic nun who should be required by her bishop to deal with her errors, repent of her mistakes and seek Christ’s mercy. Is that too much to ask, given the fact that this nun-sense is creating confusion and scandal? We think not.