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Archive for June, 2010

Readers, we just caught a new post by the folks over at Boston Catholic Insider regarding the Caritas Christi transaction that looks like it’s a worthwhile read.  It’s their Top 10 questions about the Caritas/Cerberus deal.  All merit a read, but if Question 7 in particular is true, it’s baffling to us why that would be part of the sale agreement:

If Cerberus fails to make the promised capital investments over the next four years, why does the Massachusetts Attorney General get to choose where that shortfall is donated?

Section 8.8b says, “To the extent that, by such fourth anniversary, Purchaser has failed to cause the Health Care System to spend or commit to spend no less than $400 million as provided in Section 8.8(a), Purchaser shall cause the Health Care System to contribute such shortfall to a charitable foundation designated by the Massachusetts Attorney General.”  In other words, if Cerberus doesn’t spend $200 million on improvements they committed to make to the Caritas Catholic healthcare system as part of the deal, Martha Coakley can decide to give that $200 million to the National Rifle Association or the National Organization of Women, or whomever the heck she pleases?  Who died and left Martha Coakley in that position of responsibility?  Why don’t those committed funds go back to the Archdiocese of Boston?  If Cerberus drops the Catholic identity, $25 million goes to a charity of the Archdiocese’s choice, but if they reneg on a couple hundred million of investment in the system, the Attorney General decides where that shortfall goes?  This makes no sense whatsoever.

Can Fr. Erikson or anyone from Archdiocese explain this one to us?

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We are delighted to have heard from Vicar General
Fr. Richard Erikson on Thursday evening in the comments on our last post about Fr. Bryan Hehir (“Fr. Bryan Hehir “Wounds Catholic Unity” by Undermining U.S. Bishops on Healthcare”) and are preparing a response to him in the next few days.  In the meantime, reader Mary Reilly, alerted us to a new blog about what is happening inside the Archdiocese of Boston, and we are intrigued by the initial posts and comments over at aptly-named Boston Catholic Insider.

So far, Boston Catholic Insider is showing some organization charts and what appears to be a “lay of the land” of how the Archdiocese functions on paper, along with the six-figure salaries of their Cabinet members.  We already knew the salaries from the financial disclosure reports, but it’s interesting to see how it all fits together, as depicted in what is apparently a published organizational chart, especially the highest-level of influence.

The depiction of  Fr. Hehir’s responsibilities validates what we have been saying here.  It cites his past salary at Catholic Charities USA as being about $96K/year.  We assume he was making at least that as President of Catholic Charities of Boston combined with his Harvard salary?   (Note: the average salary for a full professor at Harvard is $192,000). Can anyone help us find out what he is paid at Harvard for being a full professor teaching 3 courses  during the academic year?

Beyond Bryan Hehir, the content and insider comments are both interesting, and we’ve discovered a few other choice tidbits already.  For example, we knew that the communications guy, Terry Donilon, has never said a word publicly about the truths of Catholicism or teachings of the Catholic Church, but we didn’t know he had two brothers deeply entrenched in the Obama administration who also helped derail Robert Bork’s 1987 Supreme Court nomination. Here are a few more examples:

While many of us at the Pastoral Center have been on pins and needles for the last few months, the Chancellor just hired himself an assistant whose salary is over $100,000.”

Apparently the archdiocese is hiring David Thorp away from the (very liberal) Holy Family Parish in Concord for a newly created position.

Aren’t you kind to call The Concord Pastor “very liberal”. Around my house, the wife and I tell our children it’s apostasy!  Yes, the Thorpe hiring is VERY curious, isn’t it. He’s been hired for “new evangelism”. What happened to the multimillion dollar effort they put into “Renew”? Has that “liberal” program run it’s course? Didn’t rounding up retired women to convene minichurches in people’s houses work out for them?

Of course, you already know our opinion about RENEW.  Seems like this new blog is worth watching.  For those Boston Archdiocese “insiders” reading our blog, you may want to share some of your tips over there.

By the way, we googled on Boston Catholic Insider and couldn’t find the blog, but we did find this instead–a list of dissident theologian, Richard McBrien’s favorite bishops. (His list was published this month in the National Catholic Reporter).  Among those on McBrien’s list: disgraced gay Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Cardinal Joseph Bernadin (of “seamless garment” reknown)  .As you might know, Richard McBrien preached at the first Mass that Fr. Bryan Hehir celebrated after he was ordained a priest in 1966, so it all does really come back to Fr. Bryan Hehir in the end.

Have a good weekend!

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As you all probably know by now, at a June 15 meeting
of the U.S. bishops, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops  President Cardinal Francis George condemned Catholic Health Association President Sr. Carol Keehan for her role in helping pass President Obama’s abortion-funding national healthcare legislation. The USCCB called the CHA’s actions a “wound to Catholic unity.” At about the same time, the CHA was meeting for their annual conference (June 13-15), where President Obama offered his praise via video to Sr. Keehan and the CHA for their role in passing the legislation.  Who was at the CHA’s conference to praise Sr. Keehan in-person right after Obama’s video, give her air-cover, and reinforce that fissure or “wound”? Naturally, Fr. Bryan Hehir. What is the Archdiocese of Boston doing about his ongoing comments that bring division and scandal to the Church?  As usual, nothing.  You can listen to some of Hehir’s comments via the YouTube clip linked to below.

Here are excerpts of the article by Catholic News Agency, “Cardinal George: Sr. Keehan chose Obama over Catholic bishops“:

The bill which was passed is fundamentally flawed. The Executive Order is meaningless. Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation.
The cardinal also expressed disappointment with CHA “and other so-called Catholic groups” because, “in the end, they have weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S.”
the USCCB and CHA’s positions on Obama’s health care are not just “two equally valid conclusions inspired in the same Catholic teaching,”
“As Bishops, we disagree that the divergence between the Catholic Conference and Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Health Association, represents merely a difference of analysis or strategy. Rather, for whatever good will was intended, it represented a fundamental disagreement, not just with our staff as some maintain, but with the Bishops themselves.
As such it has resulted in confusion and a wound to Catholic unity.

The problem is a serious one. What did Fr. Bryan Hehir say about all this? First, he praised Sister Carol’s “experienced, hands-on care for the poor and ministry to all, and her intelligent and courageous leadership of this organization,” which was followed by thunderous applause. But the worst came later when he said there were “multiple voices” in the debate, the CHA, the U.S. bishops, and others. Amidst those multiple voices, he said “there was foundation for the different judgments made on the bill in the Catholic moral tradition.”

What?!! So, Fr. Hehir is saying that the U.S. bishops have no more authority to speak on this important issue than other “voices,” like the woman dubbed the “million dollar sister” for her eye-popping near seven-figure salary leading the $16M CHA. Reader LastCatholicinBoston commented:

Duh, Catholics through history have been proven to be right and wrong. What Hehir always leaves out is that the Church and Magisterium are never wrong.  They are the authority.

A reader attending the conference sent us her audio recording  of Hehir’s talk at the conference, and here are short selected clips:

Fr. Hehir’s undermining of the bishops and obfuscating the real concerns is obvious when you look carefully at the Catholic News article about his talk, reprinted in The Pilot. Thanks to blog readers Chantel and LastCatholicinBoston for their insights and comments of rebuttal, which we have expanded on below.

Time to move forward after differences on health reform, priest says

By Catholic News Service (posted June 16 in Rochester Catholic Courier)

DENVER (CNS) — Differences within the Catholic community during the health reform debate were not about the objectives to be accomplished but about the “degree of assurance” provided by the bill on those objectives, Father J. Bryan Hehir told the annual convention of the Catholic Health Association June 13.
That’s massively downplaying and sanitizing what happened, as it became clear toward the later part of the debate, and certainly with the final bill, that there wasn’t really any assurance on federal funding of abortion and conscience protection

“It is time to face the future, not replay the past continually,” said Father Hehir, secretary for health and social services for the Archdiocese of Boston, in a keynote talk on the opening day of the June 13-15 convention in Denver.
How? Hehir gave no answers.  Not once did Hehir give a specific suggestion on how to move forward, especially toward the goals of defending life and conscience protections.

“Understanding that debate — its process and its product — is a necessary task, but far more urgent is the need to answer the question of moving forward from where we are to where we need to go to provide health care which is morally grounded, legally protected and provided with compassion and competence,” he said.
Sounds nice in principle, but no specific suggestions were given. (And Fr. Hehir, how exactly can you have morally grounded legislation that funds abortion?)

Father Hehir, said the debate was complicated by “a disturbing characteristic of the American political process — polarization that is both intellectual and political.”
Yes, the debate over killing the unborn is polarizing. We’re sorry that you find it “disturbing” that Catholics are standing up to protect life. Maybe you should not have oversight over the Archdiocese’s Pro-Life Office or Catholic healthcare in Boston if you have a problem with this.

But he said the end result of the debate “has the proportions and the potential” of such legislative landmarks as the Social Security Act of the 1930s, the civil rights reforms of the 1960s and welfare reform in the 1990s.
Sure does, and it’s scary….

As the debate began, there was widespread agreement in the Catholic community about four objectives to be accomplished by the legislation, Father Hehir said. Those objectives were basic health care for all; no federal funding of abortion; expanded access to health care for immigrants; and conscience clause protections for religiously based health care, he said.
With passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March, “the four objectives are partially met,” Father Hehir said. “It will take continuing work on each (objective) to meet the potential of a just health care system protective of human life and human dignity from life’s inception along the spectrum to its natural end.”
How do you “partially meet” a goal of not killing the unborn? Either it’s met and the unborn are protected, or it’s not met and the unborn are aborted with federal funds. (When Obama signed the legislation on March 24, Lifesitenews reported: “The executive order claims “it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services,” but adds it is to “ensure that exchange plan funds are segregated by insurance companies in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.”That’s merely a restatement of the Nelson language in the Senate bill that allows some taxpayers to be forced to pay for abortions as long as an accounting scheme is used to cover up the funding.”)

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops insisted, however, that the final bill and the executive order did not adequately guarantee conscience rights or guard against expanded federal abortion funding.

Father Hehir said debate over the “meaning, status and significance” of the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding of abortion except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother’s life, “became one of the primary fault lines in the secular and Catholic debates” about the health reform bill. “The final judgment on this bill is not about Catholics inside and outside the permissible range of Catholic moral teachings.”

LCIB: Apparently Fr. Hehir is an authority speaking when he makes declarative statements about the essence of the bill. Perhaps he should speak to Fr. Frank Pavone about the permissible range of Catholic moral teaching on abortion.

Father Hehir quoted the late Jesuit Father John Courtney Murray in distinguishing between mistakes and errors. Father Murray said mistakes are “deficiencies of intelligence,” while errors are based on a “deficiency of good will…His point was not to assume mistakes are errors. His conclusion was that the Christian community is not in error, no matter how many mistakes are made.”
What the heck does that mean? If multiple voices are babbling with radically different conclusions, somebody has to be wrong, and in the Catholic Church, there is an authoritative voice.  Are the U.S. Bishops and the CHA just both equally right? Is there somehow a Bryan Hehir version of the Magisterium?
LCIB: What Murray described and I suspect Hehir knows is what is known as Hanlon’s Razor…and I summarize – never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.  Or, the Christian Community (as defined by Hehir) never acts maliciously (as an enemy of the Church) they are only prone to mistakes. Hehir’s conclusion on Murray’s conclusion is a complete bluff.
What Hehir is saying is that the Christian Community (as defined by him) is never motivated by malice. That is, the wolf in sheep’s clothing does not exist.  We know differently.

Do check out Fr. Z’s blog post, “Who Speaks for the Catholic Church in the U.S.” for more insights into the controversy.

If the history this blog has exposed on Fr. Hehir isn’t enough to get him silenced, one would think his public disagreement with the U.S. Conference of Bishops (where he worked for 15 years) and his endorsement for the CHA and the abortion-funding Obamacare legislation would do it. But not here in Boston under Cardinal O’Malley.

ps. Guess who presided over the opening Mass at the CHA conference?  Bishop Lynch of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can read our posts about Bishop Lynch and his recent Eucharistic Conference where Bryan Hehir spoke here and here.

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A quick read of this weekend’s edition of The Pilot
and a look at recent news from the Boston Archdiocese confirms the sad state of affairs for Boston Catholics.  The Cardinal Archbishop of Boston seems to have even less backbone than the traces of it we glimpsed earlier in his Boston tenure.  He is continuing to make questionable personnel decisions and let dissident cabinet members and advisors run amuck, and it’s becoming evident that he is failing in his episcopal responsibility to teach, sanctify, and govern.  (Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?)  Here are a handful of examples:

Fr. Bryan Hehir at the Catholic Health Association. Fr. Bryan Hehir spoke at the Catholic Health Association conference on June 13, where he heaped praise on Sr. Carol Keehan for her leadership of the organization, and separately said that “there was foundation for the different judgments made on the bill in the Catholic moral tradition.”  That is yet another Bryan Hehir fabrication. Shortly before Hehir’s talk, a video by President Obama also praised Sr. Keehan for her role in getting the bill passed.  The Pilot reported on Hehir’s talk and the Obama comments, but never covered that about the same time, the President of the U.S.C.C.B, Cardinal George was slamming Sr. Keehan for defying repeated attempts by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to get her to not endorse the abortion-funding Obama healthcare legislation.  We’ll have an in-depth blog post on this in another day or so.  It’s a mystery why The Pilot did not report the full story–do they want to avoid criticizing Fr. Hehir perhaps?  That Cardinal O’Malley keeps Fr. Hehir around has become an embarrassment and scandal to the Church.  The kindest explanation would be that it’s a reflection of Cardinal Sean’s ongoing poor judgment.  Is anyone in the Holy See paying attention to this?

Letters to the Editor of The Pilot. I’ve been reading The Pilot for a lot of years, and never would have imagined that the newspaper had such a strong gay and lesbian readership as the letters of the past 2-3 weeks suggest.  This week all 6 of the letters to the editor published were about Michael Pakaluk’s recent column that talked about the consequences of a Catholic schools admitting children of gay parents. 4 of the 6 were critical of The Pilot or of Pakaluk—one from a Catholic lesbian woman who expressed “hurt and betrayal” by the Pilot’s decision to publish Pakaluk’s column, one was from a gay man who also has a gay sister raising twins, one is from a “devout Roman Catholic” who was “appalled,” and another from someone who felt if children of gay couples were not admitted to Catholic schools, then why not also reject children of soldiers (thou shalt not kill) or a parent who had pre-marital sex.  The absence of good catechesis on the part of these writers is very clear.   Cardinal O’Malley merely issued a short statement in mid-May to placate everyone, and his trusted advisor, Bryan Hehir, forcefully delivered the message  a day later that they are moving forward with creating policies to admit children of gay parents. More than a month has passed, and the Cardinal has done zero teaching on this issue about the reasons why the Church sees homosexual relationships as immoral and disordered.  That lack of any public teaching by him on this issue since 2005 has led to this free-for-all of poorly-informed opinion-spouting.  His own cabinet team and many priests are following a very different direction than the Cardinal’s own 2005 letter.  It’s yet is another clear indication he is failing in his responsibility to teach, sanctify, and govern. He has the time every week to dictate or write the blog of his global travels and his networking with priests, religious, and laity, but apparently no time to teach or govern here in Boston.  Thankfully, two letters were published from lay people who helped set the record straight–one who said that Michael Pakaluk was “absolutely correct about the insidious nature of the gay agenda being implemented in schools with impressionable children,” and another who said, “the truth is, Mr. Pakaluk is just stating what the Bible states…he’s being vilified for accurately representing his religion.”  We are going to ask the Pilot to re-run the Cardinal’s 2005 letter on homosexuality next week.  Let’s see if they do it.

Cardinal O’Malley names Jack Connors, Jr.
to head Cabinet Secretary search.
While we are in the poor judgment department, here’s another example.  After power-broker, Jack Connors, played a key role in the ouster of Secretary of Institutional Advancement, Scot Landry, and after it was reported that Connors has also given a quarter of a million dollars to pro-abortion political candidates in recent years, who does the Cardinal put in charge of the search for his replacement?  Naturally, Jack Connors. Seems to me  that “like attracts like”  in this world.  So, if you want to build a leadership team that will help you evangelize the truths of the Catholic faith and preach the Gospel in-season and out of season, you’d probably start by having search committees for key roles headed by people who are comfortable with those same truths.  Not around Boston, where our Cardinal continues the pattern of acting in a way like he is unable to understand this–or worse still, he understands it and rejects that as important.  How much do you want to bet that whomever is picked for the position has also supported pro-abortion politicians or has dissented from Church teachings in some way?

Cardinal O’Malley praises Dean Garvey appointment as President of Catholic University. Much has been written about how the outgoing president of CUA helped solidify the Catholic identity of the university during his tenure.  On his blog, Cardinal writes, “Dean Garvey has been an important figure at Boston College and has done so much to strengthen the Catholic identity of Boston College.”  Your Eminence, could you give some examples? Um, as reported previously, how did Dean Garvey’s honoring pro-abortion politician Edward Markey in violation of the USCCB’s guidelines help solidify the Catholic identity of Boston College?  How did Dean Garvey giving $1,750 of his personal money over two years to the pro-abortion Sen. John Kerry help solidify the Catholic identity at BC?  How did his signing a statement touting BC Law School’s being “one of the first law schools in the country to include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination pledge…and reaffirming their commitment to being a welcome place…for LGBT students” help solidify the Catholic identity of BC?

Based on what he writes on his blog, the Cardinal seems to relish traveling all over the country and around the world schmoozing with people and networking, while we hear next to nothing about him teaching or governing in Boston. Even when the Cardinal blogs something important, it’s often overshadowed by his failure to lead according to what he writes.  For example, he writes about attending the Mass for the anniversary of married couples, and he wrote:

It’s always a wonderful event and an opportunity for us to showcase the centrality of the Sacrament of Marriage in the life of the Church in today’s world, a world where more people are postponing marriage or foregoing marriage, where marriage is under attack because of the divorce mentality, the prevalence of cohabitation and even attempts to redefine what marriage is. The Church must be a very clear voice in defending traditional marriage and holding this up as an ideal for our people, which for us is a sacrament, a sign of the love and the unity that unites Christ and His Church, His bride.

Sounds great, but HELLO!?!  How can the Church have a clear voice defending traditional marriage and hold that up as an ideal for our people in the face of attempts to redefine marriage, while you, Mary Grassa O’Neill, Jack Connors, Fr. Bryan Hehir, and the rest of your administration are holding-up “gay marriages” or gay partnerships as an ideal for Catholic school children making them look equivalent to traditional marriage?

Folks, stay tuned for our detailed post about Bryan Hehir’s CHA talk.  Also, keep reading for additional news from the archdiocese this coming week, including sad news word due any day now about significant Pastoral Center staff layoffs and the naming of new auxiliary bishops.

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Many of you have probably seen the news that Catholic
University of America has appointed Boston College Law School Dean, John Garvey, to be the new president.  Fortunately, sources like Catholic Culture and Pewsitter came out quickly letting everyone know about Dean Garvey’s troubling record on failing to defend Catholic teachings. But every report we have seen still is missing a few things, so we’d like to fill in the rest of the story.  Even though this is slightly off-topic, when someone from Boston has a history of failure to uphold Church teachings, you can predict that Fr. Bryan Hehir and probably Cardinal Sean O’Malley are also involved, and this story is no exception.

Catholic Culture’s piece “Catholic U’s new president: Law school dean who awarded honorary degree to abortion proponent” describes how Dean Garvey defied USCCB recommendations and honored the pro-abortion Rep. Edward Markey with an honorary degree in 2007, incurring the public criticism of the Cardinal Newman Society.  It also cites his $1,750 in personal contributions to pro-abortion Sen. John Kerry:

According to federal election records, Mr. Garvey made three donations to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, whose support for abortion led 14 bishops to state during the 2004 presidential campaign that they would deny him Holy Communion. In June 2002, Mr. Garvey donated $250 to the Kerry Committee; in March 2003, he donated $1,000 to John Kerry for President, Inc.; and in April 2004, he donated $500 to John Kerry for President, Inc

Maybe Dean Garvey’s history filled all of the available space in the article, but there are several things they missed.

First, Dean Garvey muddled the Church’s teachings on marriage to the Law School in September of 2009 by his lackluster defense of law school professor, Scott Fitzgibbon, who appeared in an ad promoting traditional marriage in Maine.  Initially Garvey said the prof had the right to represent himself personally but then, as reported in LifeSite News, after faculty complained he welcomed faculty opposition to Church teachings, resulting in “Boston College Law School in Disarray Over Prof’s Defense of Marriage“:

Rather than praising Fitzgibbon’s public defense of a Catholic teaching, Dean Garvey wrote that Fitzgibbon’s “public statements represent his own opinions … and do not state any official position of Boston College Law School.”

We also have faculty members who hold a contrary view, which they too are free to express publicly,” he wrote. “Many have done so while referring to themselves as BC Law professors. One of them has publicly led the fight to oppose the Solomon Amendment on the grounds that it is an affront to gay and lesbian students and prospective members of the U.S. military. Others have taken controversial positions on such subjects as abortion, euthanasia, and the treatment of detainees.”

Three days after Fitzgibbon’s pro-traditional marriage ad aired, a group of 76 “Individual Faculty and Administrators at Boston College Law School,” including Dean Garvey, issued the following statement : “The undersigned members of the faculty and administration at Boston College Law School feel that it is important to reaffirm our belief in the equality of all of our students. We are proud of the fact that Boston College Law School was one of the first law schools in the country to include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination pledge, and we reaffirm our commitment to making our institution a welcome and safe place for all students, including LGBT students.”

This blogger asked, “Are They Going To Rename the Law School After Judas Iscariot? “He is basically saying that a law school at what presents itself as a Catholic College does not uphold Church teachings as it is supposed to according to Ex Corde Ecclesia and has denied them. In other words, it has betrayed its mission to be an authentically Catholic college.”

Here’s at least one connection to Fr. Bryan Hehir.   In 2005, Fr. Hehir chaired the search committee that selected the new Executive Director of the Mass Catholic Conference, Ed Saunders, despite the fact that Saunders had given personal contributions to politicians that opposed the Church on abortion and gay marriage.  The Catholic Conference is the legislative lobbying arm representing the 4 bishops in Massachusetts, and it has reported functionally under Fr. Hehir  since late 2004.  Dean Garvey was also on the search committee.  Here’s what was reported initially when the Saunders appointment was first announced:

Over the last several years, the bishops have faced increasing difficulty influencing public policy, with their credibility tarnished by the clergy sexual abuse scandal and their legislative agenda dominated by high-profile failures: the church’s unsuccessful efforts to stop passage of the same-sex marriage and embryonic stem cell research bills.

In the process of hiring Saunders, the bishops have made it clear that they expect the church’s legislative agenda to be broader, reflecting the church’s longstanding interest in social policy.

Whenever we hear “broadening the interest to include social policy” and Fr. Bryan Hehir, we can predict what that means.  Shortly thereafter, the proverbial doo-doo hit the fan after it became known (“Conservative Catholics question past donations by bishops’ lobbyist“) that Saunders had given the maximum contribution allowed by law to a number of politicians who supported abortion and gay marriage–including voting against the Church on the then-active constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Those darned “conservative Catholics” always have to muck things up for the Archdiocese of Boston by airing their dirty laundry in public.  Yes, folks, Dean John Garvey was one of the members of the search committee who approved Saunders’ appointment, along with Bryan Hehir who led the search.  Several conservative Catholics reported at the time that they applied for the position but were not granted an interview.

Speaking of committees that approve appointments of people for key leadership roles, we should not overlook the role of Boston’s own Cardinal Sean O’Malley in the naming of Dean Garvey to head Catholic University.  As the Cardinal reported in his most recent blog (filled with pictures and stories of his travels, networking and activities everywhere else but Boston), he is on the board of directors at Catholic University and voted on selection of the new president:

As I mentioned earlier, following the celebration at the cathedral my hope had been to be able to travel to Rome to be with the Holy Father for the closing of the Year for Priests. However, I was needed in Washington because the board of directors at Catholic University had to come together to select a new president. We are very pleased with the wonderful caliber of the candidates who applied for the position and we look forward to the announcement of the new president in the near future.

Today, Cardinal O’Malley came out with his own statement about Dean Garvey’s appointment:

His commitment to the mission of Catholic education and dedication to exceptional academic achievement will be of great benefit to the University and its students and faculty.”

So Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley continues his own well-established track record of hiring or supporting the hiring of heterodox Catholics to key roles in the Church.

We’ll end with a post on this same topic from the wonderfully outspoken Bishop Emeritus Rene Gracida of Corpus Christi, who wrote yesterday, the “Boston virus continues to spread.”

Beginning with the scandal of the funeral liturgy for Sen. Edward Kennedy, I have posted quite a few posts pointing out the sad state of affairs in Massachusetts, especially in Boston.

For years now, it has been apparent that the state of the Catholic Faith as it is lived and manifested in the public activity of prominent Catholics in Boston is truly deplorable.

Ordinarily I would not be commenting on the Catholicism of Bostonians any more than I would comment on the Catholicism of any other diocese or archdiocese in the United States, except that a significant number of national leaders hail from Boston and when they bring their heterodox religious to the Nation’s Capitol their influence is magnified far out of proportion to what it should normally be. The most recent case in point is the appointment of Dean John H. Garvey of Boston College Law School as the new President of the Catholic University of America in Washington.

His appointment was only announced today and already it has begun to produce negative reactions from Catholics, clergy and lay, who love and value the role the University has played in the history of the Church in the United States.

It is beyond my understanding to know how the appointment could have been decided upon  by the bishops and cardinals who constitute the Board of Trustees of the University.

Surely the writings, speeches and actions of Dean Garvey were researched by the Selection Committee and eventually by the full Board.

How is it possible that the Board could have chosen a man whose views on the nature of the relationship between a Catholic university and the Church were so questionable.

His views seem to be opposed to the spirit of all that Pope Benedict XVI has said and written about secularism and relativism.

So many of his views seem to be opposed to so many of the public declarations of the NCCB and the USCC.

It would almost seem that the approval was given by the Secretary of State or by the Congregation for Christian Education without the knowledge of the Holy Father.

What is particularly baffling is how the assent to the appointment by the Holy See could have been obtained in view of the fact that the University if a Pontifical University under the jurisdiction of the Holy See.

I can only hope and pray that before Dean Garvey is actually installed as President of The Catholic University of America pressure from loyal, faithful and concerned Catholics, especially alumni of the University, will have persuaded either Dean Garvey to decline to be installed, the Board to withdraw appointment, or the Holy See to withdraw its approval.

Yes folks, the Boston virus continues to spread. Apologies for the side-trip off our main topic, but no one else seems to be sharing the “big picture” and we thought our faithful readers should know it.

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We get lots of emails and we debated whether
to share this one. This email exchange between a Boston priest and a lay person originated with a recently published Letter to the Editor in The Pilot by the priest in favor of admitting children of gay couples to Catholic schools, but then pulled in Fr. Bryan Hehir, so we felt it would be of interest to our readers.  The priest’s letter was published on June 4, and heres an excerpt:

Cardinal Sean’s statement was compelling and instructive as to how we all should think about this issue.  After affirming the mission of Cahtolic schools as institutions that “…exist for the good of the children,” he clearly states what needs to be a guiding principle going forward.  “we have never had categories of people who were excluded (from Catholic schools.)”  To which he could have easily added, “…and we don’t indend to start now!”  …To begin to discriminate against children who have two mommies or two daddies would fly in the face of this very proud tradition.  Sadly, one diocese in our country has chosen to do so.  For most Catholics, tihs is both a black eye for the church and a personal embarrassment.”

How the priest determined he could speak for “most Catholics” on this issue is a mystery to us here at Bryan Hehir Exposed. Because the priest was comfortable having his initial comments published in the Pilot (and because he was also referenced in a follow-up article in the Boston Globe), we felt it was OK to share excerpts from this email exchange:

Sent: Sunday, June 06, 2010 9:33 PM
Subject: Big Picture on Catholic Education for Children of Gay Parents
Msgr,
I read your letter to the editor of the Pilot, and was most disappointed to see what you wrote. The essay below [“The Big Picture on Catholic Education of Gay Parents“] was written by someone especially to address the sort of perspective you put in your letter. The column by Michael Pakaluk that was printed just below your letter further reinforces the weaknesses in your argument of being open to everyone without exception. It sounds like you are not concerned about any of the consequences of your recommendation. I hope and pray you will reconsider your perspective after reading the essay below as well as Michael’s piece. –
-Dan

We were of course flattered that the writer passed along Joe Sacerdo’s essay.  The priest responded:

On Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 4:08 PM, Msgr.  wrote: Hi Dan… Have we met ??? I consder the artcle by Pakaluk to be un Christian, incorrect, hateful and misinformed.

Dan’s response:

 Msgr.  Thank you for your response. I do not believe we have ever met. I simply saw your letter in The Pilot. I think Pakaluk’s comments about pornography are off-base, but his concerns about the tacit approval of gay relationships which the Catholic school gave seem legitimate. How do you propose to address all of the issues mentioned in the essay on the “big picture” (written before Pakaluk’s column appeared)? Are there aspects of that which you think are also incorrect or misinformed? Some of those same arguments plus new ones are described today at: https://bryanhehirexposed.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/are-boston-catholic-schools-violating-vatican-directives-and-canon-law/

Always great to see a plug for the blog! Seems like a straightforward question that should have produced an objective, fact-based response, right?

On Sat, Jun 12, 2010 at 9:16 AM, Msgr wrote: the blog “brianhehir exposed” is a shameless attack on a priest who has been nothing less than a great asset to the Catholic Church. I am not inclined to go to that blog. Prudence, charity, reasonableness and sensitivity need to inform our attempts to remain faithful to the teachings of the church .

We are feeling very hurt by this comment.  “Shameless attack on a priest who has been a great asset to the Catholic Church”?  We are trying to get the Archdiocese and Fr. Hehir to remain faithful to the teachings of the Church, and we think Fr. Hehir and the Archdiocese should be ashamed of some of the things they have done.The exchange continued:

 Msgr, Thank you again for your response. Can you educate me on what specifically you feel is factually inaccurate? The evidence from his track record seems rather well documented that he has rather consistently opposed or worked to undermine Catholic Church teachings over the past 35 years, both behind the scenes and in public venues. Can you help me understand how that makes him a great asset to the Church? Or is it that you feel the areas where he has opposed or undermined Church teachings are areas where the teachings should be changed, so the blog calling those out in a critical way makes it a shameless attack?

The priest’s response:

Msgr  wrote: Hi Dan… Father Hehir was the author of the bishop’s letter on war and peace and has distinguished himself both within and outside the Catholic Church. Cardinal Sean O’Malley apparently agrees with this assessment since he has asked him to be a member of his cabinet. Reasonbly speaking, if Father Hehir were such a threat to the stability, sanctitity and orthodoxy of the church would not Cardinal Sean have acted before now to silence his voice. I hope that this helps you to distinguish between committed people of faith and people who are using the media to propogate their thoughts. Best Wishes….

Hmm.  So, Fr. Hehir is an asset to the Church because 27 years ago, he became famous for authoring the 1983 bishop’s letter “A Challenge of Peace” and because the Cardinal likes him? 

Hi Msgr, Thank you again for your response. I’m not sure I understand the logic behind either of the reasons you mentioned for why Fr. Hehir is a great asset to the church. The bishops letter on war and peace Fr. Hehir authored was proven wrong within only a few years after it was written. Its message of pacifism was intended to counter the Reagan-era arms buildup, but it was that arms buildup (not pacifism) which helped bring an end of the Cold War. The bishops were forced to back down from that same position of pacifism a few years later when that approach was proven wrong.  So, his authoring of that letter serves as an example of one of Fr. Hehir’s “big ideas” which was ultimately proven wrong. Secondly, that our Cardinal apparently feels that he’s a great asset surely does not make it true just by the Cardinal’s belief, does it? Cardinal Law believed a number of his senior administrators and cabinet members were assets, meanwhile they were reassigning child-molesting priests to other parishes to keep harming children. Fr. Hehir publicly contradicted the Cardinal on the situation with St. Paul’s Hingham on radio station WBUR one day after Cardinal O’Malley put out his message about the approach going forward.  There are no doubt a number of people who the Cardinal Archbishop feels are great assets who are in fact working actively to undermine Church teachings.

These two are obviously not seeing eye-to-eye.  We wonder why they even continued the communication. 

Msgr  wrote: I am not sure I recall the bishops issuing a statement “backing down” from their previous letter which was not an encomium to pacifism. Nor am I aware of all the people , close to the Cardinal, who are working to undermine the Church..

We don’t know what to make of the Msgr.  But, we do admire the layman for holding his ground:

Msgr,  As best as I recall from my own knowledge of history as well as historical documents, the USCC secretariat regarded the Reagan administration as almost immoral for its contribution to the arms race and its apparent preference for military solutions that avoided the underlying causes of certain regional conflicts. The Challenege of Peace asked for an absolute ban to nuclear weapons, either as a first strike or in retaliation. Numerous statements by the USCC opposed any military aid to El Salvador, including congressional testimony by Fr. Hehir himself in the early ’80s. Under the Carter Administration, the U.S. did not supply military aid to the governments of El Salvador.but as we all know, social and economic assistance and attempts at a political settlement didn’t work and the Communist-backed Marxist rebels just grew stronger. I believe it was in February of 1984 that Bishop James Malone provided congressional testimony saying that following a visit by US bishops to El Salvador in 1983, “our conference muted its long-standing opposition to all U.S. military aid to El Salvador.” In terms of people close to the Cardinal working to undermine the Church, here are two examples. I believe you’re on the board or were on the board of Regis College. In October of 2002, Fr. Hehir appeared on a panel at Regis and called Catholic sexual teachings “a chronically afflicted area.” How does that not undermine the Church? On May 16 that the Archdiocese was going to carefully study and consider the policies of the Denver Archdiocese that banned children of gay parents from Catholics schools. “…their positions and rationale must be seriously considered.” A day later on WBUR, Fr. Hehir said the opposite–that the Cardinal was “not going to be talking about what other bishops do.” Fr. Hehir said Catholic schools in this archdiocese have been admitting and will continue admitting children of gay couples with formal policies. That he contradicted the Cardinal publicly a day after the Cardinal’s previous statement surely gives additional evidence that he is undermining the Church in Boston, wouldn’t you agree?

Seem like fine examples from our perspective.  Things quickly go south from here:

Msgr  wrote: The two examples that you cite regarding Fr, Hehir at Regis and his comments after the Cardinal’s statement are very weak indeed.

After that, the part of the exchange we saw fell apart quickly:

Msgr, I think we are on totally different pages and this exchange has become unproductive.

Fr. Hehir came out and said publicly the teachings of the Church on sexual morality were wrong, and you don’t think that’s a problem or undermining the Church. You came out publicly to say you felt Catholic schools unconditionally admitting children of gay parents was also fine, with no regard for any of the consequences of that, including the psychological harm to the children of teaching them their parents’ relationship is immoral. (all documented below, in Pakaluk’s piece, and elsewhere, which you apparently refuse to acknowledge). Perhaps it is not intentional on your part and you do not even realize you are doing it, but your comments communicate that you personally have no problem with leading Catholic faithful astray. How many readers of the Pilot will come away from your letter to the editor mistakenly believing the Church has no moral objections to homosexual relationships? Perhaps you might wish to re-read what Cardinal O’Malley said on this topic in his letter on homosexuals: http://www.cardinalseansblog.org/2006/11/17/ Jesus told the adulteress to “Go and sin no more.” The Cardinal said we must tell active homosexuals, “Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior.” Fr. Hehir’s comments at Regis did not say this–they said the opposite. Your letter did not say that–it suggested the opposite. I don’t know how many souls have been led astray by priests failing to preach the truth of the Gospel and the true teachings of the Catholic Church in this archdiocese. This exchange began with my comments about your letter to the editor of the Pilot, which failed to even once mention Church teachings on homosexuality and homosexual relationships, and instead appeared to put them on a pedestal by criticizing Fr. Rafferty’s decision.

I continue to hope and pray you will reconsider your perspective and understand the blind-spot that you yourself apparently have in terms of what it means to preach the truth in-season and out-of-season. In Christ, Dan 

Neither one was going to change the other’s mind, so they agreed to disagree:

From: Msgr, Date: Mon, Jun 14, 2010 Dan… for the first time in our dialogue, I completely agree with you ” “I think we are on totally different pages and this exchange has become unproductive.”

Doesn’t look like these two are exactly going to become quick drinking buddies.  Perhaps there were other parts of this exchange that were not provided to us, but it sure seems like the priest was completely unwilling to consider any facts or evidence about the consequences of admitting children of gay parents that would negate his viewpoint.  He also conveniently neglected to mention anything in his Letter to the Editor about Church teachings on homosexuality, or the part of the Cardinals’ statement that he planned to carefully consider the Denver Archdiocese’s precedent and rationale for excluding children of gay parents in the interest of the psychological well-being of the child. 

Hopefully this priest is not representative of the Boston presbyterate and will not be in a teaching role in the future. He needs our prayers.

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The latest revelations in recent days from the
Archdiocese of Boston and their Catholic schools suggest they are actively ignoring Vatican teachings and directives, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Canon law, and even the USCCB. Read on for these 3 examples, as we will let you be the judge.

Example 1:
Pilot columnist Michael Pakaluk described in his column a few days ago how his 6-year-old son had a classmate in a Boston Catholic school whose “parents” were gay. He expressed the concern—with specific examples from his son’s experience—where the school dealt with the two men such that the school implicitly taught his child and other children there was nothing wrong with same-sex relationships.  His piece has created what the Boston Globe labeled today a “firestorm” of controversy.  Predictably, gay activists like Jarrett Barrios and DignityUSA complained.  (Note to Globe reporter, if you’re looking for a firestorm, read the next paragraph)

Example 2:
As reported by ThrowtheBumsOutin2010, the school newspaper at Sacred Heart High School in Kingston just published a center-spread story about gay students at the school coming out to their friends.  Teens struggle with academics, broken families, dating, their appearance, self-confidence, what to wear, lack of solid role models in society, hormonal changes in puberty, their identity as a person, peer pressure to smoke, drink, and have sex, and more.  In the midst of all this, how exactly is it that a 15 or 17-year-old just going through puberty determines conclusively they are gay?   What is the school doing to help these teens discover a path to Christian perfection?  Apparently nothing.  The article normalizes a decision by a teen that they are gay or bisexual.  If this article is OK, then why not interview a boyfriend/girlfriend to write about their first experience with sex?  Why not an article about boys first experiences with masturbation?  Why not a centerfold piece interviewing teens who are wrestling with what to do after bing-drinking or getting high on pot or cocaine?  Even if someone went so far as to argue for the teens’ freedom of speech (which is a bogus argument in a private Catholic school), then why is there a complete absence of Church teaching in this same article or newspaper to promote the truth of Catholic moral teachings in this area?  Furthermore, the piece cites statistics and writings of people like Alfred Kinsey, without mentioning details about his work such as his claim that sexual activity in even very young children is natural, healthy and to be encouraged. Concerned Women for America reported that in his research,

Kinsey recorded children having orgasms during manipulation by adult “partners” and insisted that the children’s “definite pleasure from the situation” was evidenced in their “screams,” “convulsions,” “hysterical weeping,” “fighting,” and “striking the partner (adult)” (Male volume p. 161).

Example 3:
Fr. Bryan Hehir, who Cardinal O’Malley recently described as highly trusted “strategic advisor” who brings “fidelity to the work of the Church” and “clarity to our message and mission” said in a May 20 WBUR interview that Catholic schools in this archdiocese have been and will remain wide open to children of gay couples.  He said, “Are we doing it already?  Yes.   And we intend to do it as the Cardinal indicated, with formal policies.”  That means the Archdiocese fully intends to institutionalize what’s described above.

Can someone explain why you should do that when a wide range of Church teachings and directives say that’s wrong?  Here’s what the Vatican says which the Archdiocese of Boston and their Catholic schools are basically ignoring:

Vatican’s Pontifical Council on the Family’s 1995 document, Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.

Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in educational centers chosen and controlled by them. In this regard, the Church reaffirms the law of subsidiarity, which the school is bound to observe when it cooperates in sex education, by entering into the same spirit that animates the parents. [No. 43]

In some societies today, there are planned and determined attempts to impose premature sex information on children… They cannot understand and control sexual imagery within the proper context of moral principles and, for this reason, they cannot integrate premature sexual information with moral responsibility. Such information tends to shatter their emotional and educational development and to disturb the natural serenity of this period of life. Parents should politely but firmly exclude any attempts to violate children’s innocence because such attempts compromise their spiritual, moral and emotional development. [No. 83]

“Parents must protect their children, first by teaching them a form of modesty and reserve with regard to strangers as well as giving suitable sexual information but without going into details and particulars that might upset or frighten them [No. 85]

Catechism of the Catholic Church; “the right and duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable” (2221).

Apostolic Exhortation on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World His Holiness (Familiaris Consortio):

The Church is firmly opposed to an often widespread form of imparting sex information disassociated from moral principles.”

With actions like the above, the Boston Archdiocese appears be overruling the primacy of parents as the first educators of their children. In addition, by condoning the exposure of young children to homosexual parents of other children, they are ensuring that all children will be put in a situation of confusion that will require explanation by parents. How does the Archdiocese explain their rationale behind keeping parents out of the loop and breaking the innocence of a 6-year-old mind to explain why Johnny has two daddies?

There’s more.

Pope John Paul II’s Letter to the Bishops on Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons:

The Church is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.”

Code of Canon Law: Canon 22: prohibits the canonization of civil laws that are “contrary to divine law.” Because same-sex “marriages” or civil unions and mutatis mutandis adoptions are contrary to divine law; it is arguable that the civil law allowing them cannot be regarded by the Church as valid. Admission of the children to Catholic schools would certainly give the impression that the status of the parents is comparable to parents united in the bonds of Holy Matrimony.

Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cautioned about recognizing homosexual unions and making them a model in society.

11. The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behaviour or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society. Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself.

The U.S.C.C.B’s Guidelines for Ministry to Persons with Homosexual Inclination say the following:

Special care must be taken to ensure that those carrying out the ministry of the Church not use their position of leadership to advocate positions or behaviors not in keeping with the teachings of the Church. They must not belong to groups that oppose Church teaching. It is not sufficient for those involved in this ministry to adopt a position of distant neutrality with regard to Church teaching.

The Church does not support so-called same-sex “marriages” or any semblance thereof, including civil unions that give the appearance of a marriage. Church ministers may not bless such unions or promote them in any way, directly or indirectly.

(Then again, as we documented in The Big Picture, Fr. Hehir seems to pick and choose which USCCB guidelines he wishes to follow based on whether he agrees with the guideline or not).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church also says the following:

#2357: Basing itself on Sacred Scripture…tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

What about all of this do officials at the Archdiocese of Boston and the Catholic schools find unclear or difficult to follow?  Despite all this, the Catholic Schools in Boston are marching on with full endorsement of people like Fr. Bryan Hehir, $325,000/year superintendent of schools Mary Grassa O’Neill, and apparently the Cardinal, who first said this issue was being carefully studied, but then said nothing about the contradictory message from Fr. Hehir a day later saying the arcdiocese is driving full-speed ahead with institutionalizing the admittance of children of gay parents and just is documenting the policies.

Beyond all of the concerns documented in The Big Picture, it clear that the implicit or explicit approval and endorsement of homosexual relationships, activity, and “marriages” is happening in Catholic schools today.  Does that violate the teachings, guidelines, and directives above?  It sure seems that way.

Cardinal Sean, before you hop on a plane to Dublin this fall to teach Ireland everything you’ve learned and implemented in Boston, would you please clean up this mess by stating Church teachings with courage like you’ve said we should do, requiring that your team abide by those teachings, and getting rid of the people presiding over this situation who cannot commit to those teachings?

We welcome a response from the Archdiocese, and will publish whatever they say to us.

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