The Roman Catholic bishop of Phoenix stripped a hospital of its Catholic affiliation Tuesday for performing an abortion last year that doctors said was needed to save the life of the mother.
Bishop Thomas Olmsted said he no longer had confidence that the administration of St. Joseph's Hospital would run it according to Catholic teachings, "and therefore this hospital cannot be considered Catholic."
Leaders of the institution, founded in 1895 by a Catholic order, the Sisters of Mercy, said it would continue to operate "in the Catholic tradition" but without the official sanction of the church.
"I have hoped and prayed that this day would not come," the bishop was quoted as saying at a Tuesday news conference. "However, the faithful of the diocese have a right to know whether institutions of this importance are indeed Catholic in identity and practice."