There are some strange things going on in Phoenix Arizona between St. Josephs Hospital and Bishop Thomas Olmstead. The scenario began in November 2009 when the pregnancy of a woman with malignant pulmonary hypertension was terminated to save her life. At that time the Bishop responded by excommunicating a member of the ethics committee which had authorized the procedure. Fast forward to November 22, 2010 when Bishop Olmstead sent a letter (read it here) to the President of Catholic Healthcare West, St. Joseph’s parent corporation threatening to strip St. Joseph’s of their Catholic identity unless they concurred with several conditions that include acknowledgement that they were wrong and he is right. Click on the picture of St. Joseph's below to see coverage.
Read the letter-the hubris is palpable. Now the Bishop has followed through on his threat and St. Joseph’s has stated it could not ethically and legally comply with the Bishop’s demands. Essentially the Bishop has behaved as a bully and taken the position that you either play my way or I will take my ball and go home. Now he has taken the ball. Fortunately St. Joseph’s, the largest teaching hospital in Arizona and a significant provider of care for the poor and indigent seems poised to continue without the Bishop.