"The Catholic bishop of Phoenix will strip St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center of its Catholic status on Friday if the hospital's parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, does not meet his demands to guarantee compliance with church teachings.
Three demands were contained in a Nov. 22 letter Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted sent to Lloyd Dean, president of Catholic Healthcare West. The bishop wants the hospital to give him more oversight of its practices to ensure it complies with Catholic health-care rules, provide education on those rules to medical staff and acknowledge that the bishop is correct in a dispute over a procedure the diocese says was an abortion.
"There cannot be a tie in this debate," Olmsted wrote. "Until this point in time, you have not acknowledged my authority to settle this question."
St. Joseph's and San Francisco-based CHW did not immediately comment on the letter.
If the bishop were to revoke the hospital's Catholic status, Olmsted said, he would prohibit Mass and some religious items at the building. How the loss of Catholic identity would affect the facility's mission, funding and perception by patients and the public remains unclear.
The letter is the culmination of a debate that began in November 2009."
"There cannot be a tie in this debate...". That simple truth deserves to be shouted from the rooftop of every Catholic Church in the world. This defines the battle. There is right...and there is wrong. There are no gray areas. Good cannot come from evil, no matter how well intentioned.
The sooner the Church remembers this and the sooner she begins to insist upon it the better off the world will be. Will it make her popular? No. Will it cause many to depart from the truth all the while proclaiming that somehow the truth has departed from them, as though truth can only be defined and described through the lens of their own personal and subjective experience and feelings? Yes. And I say, so be it.
A smaller, purer, more aggressive and militant Church is what the world needs, speaking the truth and doing battle with the forces of evil. Fast on its feet and able to move decisively against the enemy, superbly trained and grounded in solid and traditional tactics; a Marine Corp religion, if you will.
It's time to put on our belts and sheath our swords, pick up our shields and form the line of battle. The time for donuts and coffee, fellowshipping, holding hands while we pray and preaching love, happiness and salvation without pain , suffering and damnation are over. The time for war, the kind where people die and kingdoms are burned to the ground has come.
I believe that this war has already been engaged in the spiritual world and that it is fast bleeding over into ours. Prepare yourselves with prayer and the sacraments. Prepare yourselves with the Scriptures. Learn to listen to God, to argue with him and to accept the truth. This will be a war of earthly battles but they will be won in the spiritual realm.
The line has been drawn in the sand. Will you cross it? Or will you hold back, hoping that things will be all right if we just give it a little more time for negotiation, for talk, for fellowship and donuts?
Me? I made my decision about ten years ago and stepped across. I pray every day for strength, wisdom and the courage to do God's will. I'm scared, literally to the bone, of the things I know are coming. But I'm also sure that in the end God wins and I desperately want to be on His side, because I love Him and want to spend eternity with him.
You must make your decision, too. Not deciding will condemn you just the same as deciding for the evil one. God is truth, all black and white with no gray. Yes or no; those are your only choices.
Which will it be?