As I said in an earlier post, the Vatican proposes to respond to lawsuits, claiming that it is responsible for the conduct of the Catholic Church in the United States, by saying that the church and its bishops aren’t under the control of the Vatican. I’ve never seen those fornicators before in my life, says the Pope, in other words. Don’t blame me!
But when a nun, a hospital administrator, makes the decision to allow an abortion for a young woman who was in extremis, and time did not permit moving her to another hospital, why then, of course, we can whip up the discipline of the church in a moment:
Last November, a 27-year-old woman was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix. She was 11 weeks pregnant with her fifth child, and she was gravely ill. According to a hospital document, she had "right heart failure," and her doctors told her that if she continued with the pregnancy, her risk of mortality was "close to 100 percent."
The patient, who was too ill to be moved to the operating room much less another hospital, agreed to an abortion. But there was a complication: She was at a Catholic hospital.
"They were in quite a dilemma," says Lisa Sowle Cahill, who teaches Catholic theology at Boston College. [ ]
[ ] Sister Margaret McBride, who was an administrator at the hospital as well as its liaison to the diocese, gave her approval.
The church did a snuff job on Sister McBride pronto!
The woman survived. When Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted heard about the abortion, he declared that McBride was automatically excommunicated — the most serious penalty the church can levy.
The linked NPR article gives the whole box score, too:
Excommunicated nun who authorized an abortion: 1
Excommunicated pedophile priests: 0
A comment from a Catholic canon lawyer, also in the article:
[He] says no pedophile priests have been excommunicated. When priests have been caught, he says, their bishops have protected them, and it has taken years or decades to defrock them, if ever.