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Monday, 7 November 2011

Sister Margaret McBride Speaks Out

Fundamentalist certainty is an understandable, but dangerous, stance in a world that William James famously described as a "one great blooming, buzzing confusion." Believing that our "truths" are true for all, and that disagreement is iniquity, is simpler than dealing with the diverse views of seven billion fellow humans.

Last year Sister Margaret McBride was excommunicated for her role at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix in allowing an abortion to be done to save a pregnant woman's life. In her first public comments since Bishop Olmsted pronounced her excommunication, she told the Arizona Republic (by email):
"My journey over the past year has led me in many directions, but ultimately to a new understanding of forgiveness and mercy...Whether we are talking about my situation, the state of the church or society in general, I believe that forgiveness and mercy are extremely important for each of us...

Our important mission to our community has not changed. This is an extraordinary place with people from every religious background doing the impossible every day. At the heart of St. Joseph's is still our commitment to caring for the poor and ill in our community. Each employee is an inspiration to me every day in carrying out the mission of the Sisters of Mercy," (McBride's religious order, which is active in education, health care and social service worldwide).
According to the article, "sources" report that Sister Margaret has "resolved" her excommunication by going to confession.

Here's my guess about what "resolved" means.

When I did my psychiatry training in Boston, we learned which priests were likely to absolve depressed patients for "sins" like masturbation and which were likely to reinforce what we saw as pathological guilt.

I hope that Sister Margaret has been absolved and recognized as a good Catholic by a wise priest!

(For previous posts on St. Joseph's Hospital and Sister Margaret McBride, see here, here, here, here, and here.)


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