Statement from Pueblo Diocese on the Mercy Protest leaves only confusion, division

In a response via press release to the Mercy Protest in Durango, Colorado, the Diocese of Pueblo has offered a confusing message that indicated support for both the pro-lifers who came to protest and Mercy Hospital’s policy of allowing privileges for abortionist Richard Grossman:

A deep concern for Life has brought people of good faith together at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango.  It is most unfortunate that a doctor who performs abortions elsewhere also exercises medical privileges in this Catholic hospital,” it continued. “For some time we have been in dialogue with the hospital, and we have been assured that Mercy Regional Medical Center at all times has adhered to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Ethical and Religious Directives for health care facilities by neither offering nor performing abortions in the hospital.”

This confusing statement of support for both sides indicates that the diocese, perhaps simply employees in the chancery and not Bishop Fernando Isern himself, is either showing some incompetence on this urgent matter or an unwillingness to take a position. Catholics in the Diocese of Pueblo are left with no clear understanding of Bishop Isern’s position on material support for abortionists and scandal.

It is not merely “unfortunate”, as the diocese statement claims, that an abortionist has privileges at Mercy Hospital. It is a violation of the directives which the Diocese of Pueblo falsely claims the hospital “has adhered to”.

As I wrote on August 3:

To my knowledge, Mercy Hospital is not engaged in explicit or formal cooperation in abortion, but these are not what will be addressed at the Mercy Protest. At issue is the hospital’s material cooperation in abortion. More specifically, the hospital engages in “mediate material cooperation” by granting privileges to abortionist Robert Grossman. […]

[…] Even if Mercy Hospital in no way “performs” abortion, and even if Mercy Hospital does not “agree” with Grossman’s killing of thousands of unborn children, the institution is “contributing” to him in that he has been granted privileges.

There is also the issue of scandal:

“Scandal” is a complete disregard for the souls of others.

Therefore, they are guilty of scandal who establish laws or social structures leading to the decline of morals and the corruption of religious practice, or to “social conditions that, intentionally or not, make Christian conduct and obedience to the Commandments difficult and practically impossible.” This is also true of business leaders who make rules encouraging fraud, teachers who provoke their children to anger, or manipulators of public opinion who turn it away from moral values.

Grossman is certainly a “manipulator of public opinion who turns it away from moral values”. This is clear from his writings.

The directives are not being followed, despite the claim of the Diocese of Pueblo. It is not helpful for the diocese, particularly if only from a chancery employee, to issue a press release claiming support for pro-lifers while brushing them off with a false claim that the directives are being followed. They are not being followed.

Surely, Bishop Isern must know that ignorance and confusion are what cause division. By perpetuating confusion, the diocese is, intentionally or not, driving a wedge that can only serve to build resentment and exacerbate division. As a faithful Catholic, loyal to the Magisterium, it pains me deeply to say that. It is most difficult to bear when our chanceries fail to stand for truth. When this happens, according to Can. 212, it becomes a duty to speak out.

According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.

Hopefully, Bishop Isern will attend to this matter personally and make a stand for life, in accordance with the directives as explained above. Church resources should never be spent to subsidize abortionists.

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