Sister Margaret was summarily ex-communicated by the bishop in Arizona -- kicked out of the Church. Not even pedophile priests are excommunicated. One of the doctors who works with her was quoted in The New York Times with this to say:
“She is a kind, soft-spoken, humble, caring, spiritual woman whose spot in Heaven was reserved years ago... The idea that she could be ex-communicated after decades of service to the Church and humanity literally makes me nauseated.”
No allowance was made by her bishop for the difficult dilemma faced by this hospital ethics panel of which she was a part; indeed, the statement from the bishop's office all but said that the hospital should have let the pregnant woman die (along with her fetus) and the nun should have gone along with that. Most of those I know who are anti-abortion are not even that hardline.
This incident should be seen as part of a larger picture. I posted in March that American Catholic nuns are virtually at war with the Catholic bishops. They were on opposite sides of the health care debate (please click HERE to read that post), and they are posing an increasingly vocal challenge to the male hierarchy of the Catholic Church. That the Catholic bishops are now excommunicating nuns while still making excuses for their pedophile scandals is nothing less than outrageous, and tars all churches of every stripe with the brush of intolerance and rigidity.
This column ran yesterday in The New York Times by Pulitzer-prize winning columnist Nicholas D. Kristof and I highly commend it to you:
Sister Margaret’s ChoiceTo read the full article, please click HERE.
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
We finally have a case where the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy is responding forcefully and speedily to allegations of wrongdoing.
But the target isn’t a pedophile priest. Rather, it’s a nun who helped save a woman’s life. Doctors describe her as saintly.
The excommunication of Sister Margaret McBride in Phoenix underscores all that to me feels morally obtuse about the church hierarchy. I hope that a public outcry can rectify this travesty.
Photo of Sister Margaret from The Catholic Sun.