.- The Diocese of Phoenix clarified over the weekend that a hospital working on certifying its Catholic identity has not been stripped of its Catholic status.
“Contrary to reports in the media, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center has not been stripped of its Catholic status,” the diocese said in an Oct. 20 statement.
“The hospital is in the process of renewing its status and ensuring its compliance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services. This renewal process was necessary following the corporate reorganization of its parent company in January.”
The renewal is needed because Mercy Gilbert's parent company, Catholic Healthcare West, was reorganized as a secular company under the name Dignity Health on Jan. 23.
As a result, Mercy Gilbert needs to renew their recognition as a Catholic institution with the Phoenix diocese.
Because this is an ongoing process, “Bishop Olmsted has a duty to the Catholic faithful to inform them that he cannot state with moral certitude that Mercy Gilbert Hospital provides Catholic health care which is in full conformity with the teaching of the Church,” the diocese said in an Oct. 18 press release.
Once the process is completed by the hospital, Bishop Olmsted will be able to recognize their Catholic identity.
On Dec. 21, 2010, Bishop Olmsted revoked his consent for St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center to utilize the name “Catholic” in any way. That decision followed a Nov. 2009 abortion performed on a woman who was 11 weeks pregnant and had heart and lung conditions.
When Bishop Olmsted determined that that decision was immoral, the hospital refused to agree, and so its Catholic status was removed.
In the decree removing St. Joseph's Catholic status, Bishop Olmsted wrote that he “cannot verify that this health care organization will provide health care consistent with authentic Catholic moral teaching as interpreted by me in exercising my legitimate Episcopal authority to interpret the moral law.”