Archive for September, 2010

We’ve had it with the Archdiocese of Boston’s
response to the dissent from Church teachings being permitted that continues to scandalize the faithful. An upcoming Boston conference is still featuring a backer of a pro-abortion politician. If you’re fed up also and want to let the Vatican know, we’ve made it really easy for you.  (Click the “Fed Up” picture to take action immediately).  This is the first move of what we’re calling the “Boston Catholic Tea Party.”  The good news is that we now have a green light from the Boston Archdiocese to take our complaints to the Holy See!

On October 9, the archdiocese is sponsoring another Social Justice Conference, this time featuring Fr. Thomas Massaro, SJ from Boston College along with Fr. Bryan Hehir. Fr. Massaro, was one of 26 signatories to a public letter supporting the nomination of pro-abortion former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration.  Three archbishops in Kansas City (see below for references) have rebuked her for her pro-abortion views that ran contrary to Church teachings, with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann asking her to no longer receive Communion until she repudiated her stance and make a “worthy sacramental confession.”   Our complaints about Fr. Hehir go back nearly 40 years, including his presiding over Catholic Charities of Boston when they brokered adoptions to gay couples and when they honored the pro-abort/pro-gay marriage Mayor of Boston, and his undermining Catholic teachings on abortion, Catholic conscience exemptions, women priests, and voting for pro-abortion politicians.

This blog reported about the scandal of this conference on August 24 and sent an email to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson,  and the Cardinal’s two priest secretaries on September 3 asking to have the two speakers removed from the agenda. (This was also a formal response to Fr. Erikson’s request to meet with us in-person so he could tell us how to blog in a kinder and gentler way).  We let them know if we did not hear back by September 8, we would conclude that the recipients felt the  speakers were “acceptable for an archdiocesan-sponsored conference” and we would also “assume that you are comfortable with our taking these concerns to the Holy See as a next step.”  We received no response, meaning the Cardinal and Vicar General have given us the green light to take this to the Papal Nuncio, Congregation for Bishops, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Holy Father.   We’ve set-up a simple form you can complete to send emails and faxes to those people, so just click here to go straight to the form or click on the “Fed Up” graphic.

Below is an excerpt from our email to Cardinal O’Malley and Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson.

From: Bryan Hehir Exposed

To:      Cardinal Sean O’Malley
            Fr. Richard Erikson
            Terry Donilon

Date:  September 3, 2010
To Cardinal O’Malley, Fr. Erikson, and Mr. Donilon,

We continue to be dismayed by the Archdiocese of Boston’s response to our Catholic blog, Bryan Hehir Exposed….

If the archdiocese cares about building the Body of Christ and preaching the Truths of our faith and a culture of life, why does your upcoming Social Justice Conference feature Fr. Thomas Massaro, from Boston College, a speaker who publicly backed the pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for HHS Secretary?  What message does that send?  Why is Fr. Hehir featured, when his track record of undermining and confusing the teachings of the Church is so well documented and proven?  Has the list of speakers been personally approved by the Cardinal and by Fr. Gaspar, whose name is listed on the archdiocese’s website as a key contact for the event?

In Courage to Be Catholic, author George Weigel said, “Bishops who think of themselves primarily as managers — or worse, bishops who think of themselves as discussion-group moderators whose primary responsibility is to keep everyone “in play” — are going to be unlikely to act like apostles when the crunch comes.”

The crunch is upon us.  Cardinal Sean, do you see yourself as a discussion group moderator whose main job is to travel, make event appearances, blog about your travels, and keep everyone “in play,” or are you an icon of Jesus Christ capable of the sort of bold leadership Boston needs, as seen in Matthew 21:12?  Do you want to be Archbishop of Boston, with the responsibilities of teaching, sanctifying, and governing that are associated with the job, or is being away from the responsibililties of Boston now of greater interest to you?

Please see our recent post on the matter of the upcoming Social Justice Conference.  Based on the widespread promotion of this conference in parish bulletins happening today, it would appear that these controversial speakers are officially approved by the Cardinal and Archdiocese.  To avoid scandal to the Church and to the faithful, we believe both speakers should be removed from the speaking agenda for the reasons listed above, below (ref. blog post), and in our blog since March.  We would appreciate the courtesy of a response regarding removal of these speakers from the agenda by Wednesday, September 8.  If we do not hear back from you, we will assume that you maintain these speakers are acceptable for an archdiocesan-sponsored conference, and we also will assume that you are comfortable with our taking these concerns to the Holy See as a next step.

Thank you for your continuing consideration of our requests that the Archdiocese act on the faithful Catholics’ concerns we have documented.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The bloggers at Bryan Hehir Exposed

We’re not the only ones who have complained to the Archdiocese of Boston about this upcoming event and asked for something to be done.  Both speakers are still listed on the event website

The Holy Father recently warned that the “greatest danger” to the Church is not external persecution, but the “negative attitudes” of the world that can pollute and “infect the Christian community” from within. And Cardinal O’Malley and Vicar General Fr. Erikson are telling us by silence and inaction that they approve of both speakers and it’s OK with them for us to take this to the Holy See. 

Frankly, we’re fed up with the archdiocese thumbing their noses at these long-standing complaints.  In addition, Fr. Hehir is scheduled to speak at a Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s symposium in Rome, October 15-16.

So we’re asking you to join the “Boston Catholic Tea Party” and help rid these upcoming conferences from “negative attitudes of the world” such as those the Holy Father alluded to.  Today’s the day to start firing away!  Just click on the “Fed Up” graphic to get to a form where you can fill in your name and address to send an email or fax to Cardinal O’Malley, the Papal Nuncio, Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Holy Father. (your email address is optional, just if you want to be kept posted on the results of the campaign).   We urge people to use your real name, but you can also enter a different name.  After you fill out the form, just click “Sign the Letter,” verify the info is correct, click “Submit” a final time, and it’s done.

Please spread the word to your friends and family members and join us in praying a Rosary daily asking for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary to crush Satan and the evil spread by the devil.  We’d like to see at least 100 people complete this by the end of the day today if possible and get 500 by the end of the week.  We’ll let you know when we hear more about any action the archdiocese or Holy See takes.

Read Full Post »

We’re starting to hear the concept of a Catholic “Tea Party” a lot lately and are thinking we may throw one of our own very shortly to address the ongoing situation with Fr. Bryan Hehir. 

Deal Hudson at InsideCatholic recently said, “the Catholic tea kettle continues to boil, as the patience of many of the lay faithful is running out.”  Michael Voris at Real CatholicTV has a great video on the same topic that we thought you might want to watch.   

Michael talks about the need to “purge our own ranks of traitors”  and when I watched Michael’s video, my jaw nearly dropped at the number of names he mentioned who felt like they popped straight out from the Bryan Hehir chronology:

  • Richard McBrien of Notre Dame, who preached at Fr. Hehir’s first Mass after he was ordained and who cited Hehir in his book, Caesar’s Coin, as being the “the clearest and most faithful interpreter of John Courtney Murray today” and “the Catholic theologian most faithful to Murray’s vision today.”
  • Disgraced homosexual Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who represented the U.S. at the 1987 Synod on the Laity and who played a key role at a secret pre-Synod meeting at St. Mary’s College at Notre Dame where Fr. Hehir helped push the position that America had something to teach the universal Church about sexual liberation.
  • Sr. Joan Chittister, a Call to Action supporter whose worship of the feminine is described by Voris as essentially “pagan Goddess adoration” and who was interviewed and cited along with Fr. Bryan Hehir in the book by dissident Catholic, Kerry Kennedy, “Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk About Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning.”
  • Ret. Aux. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who, according to Voris, “runs unchecked around the country promoting all things homosexual, peace and justice, blah blah” and who worked closely with Bryan Hehir on the pacificist 1983 Bishops pastoral letter on nuclear disarmament, “The Challenge of Peace.”

It’s as though Voris is describing Boston when he talks about the obstacles to getting the message through to the Catholic hierarchy–people who work for the Church who just want to keep the wheels of bureaucracy grinding it out (maybe the Vicar General in Boston?), people who don’ t want to rock the boat by passing messages on to the bishop (priest-secretaries to the Cardinal?), and the practice of sending important matters to committees (Catholic school education for children of gay parents?). 

We never mentioned this before, but we sent an email to the Cardinal and the Vicar General several weeks ago complaining about Fr. Bryan Hehir and Fr. Massaro speaking at the upcoming social justice conference.  We got no response and are thinking that in addition to starting a Rosary novena for the intention of purification of the Boston Archdiocese, it’s about time for a local “Boston Catholic Tea Party.”  Let us know what you think.

Read Full Post »

Before we continue discussing Fr. Bryan Hehir’s “substantive contributions” to the U.S. bishops’ 1976 Bicentennial “Liberty and Justice for All” program and notorious “Call to Action” Conference, we’d like to share this contribution from a reader for your amusement.  He said the picture to the right should be titled, “The Pope Learns about Fr. Bryan Hehir.”

OK, now back to serious stuff.  In our last post we gave some fairly heavy food for thought about Marxism and flawed theology in the discussion book that Fr. Hehir played a key role creating for the U.S. bishops when he was Director of the U.S.C.C’s Division of Justice and Peace.  That discussion program was rolled out across the country as a tool for Catholics to prepare for the U.S. bicentennial in 1776 and provide input back to the U.S. bishops.  Rather than get you bogged down with heavy theology this time, we thought we would just give you a few selected excerpts of the high-level theological, moral, and social drivel you will find in the discussion book.

Note, the first name recognized in the Acknowledgments on page 7 is Fr. Bryan Hehir. “The substantive contribution of Fr. J. Bryan Hehir, Director of the USCC Division of Justice and Peace deserves particular thanks.”  That means he played a significant role in the program.

In the Liberty and Justice for All Introduction by Fr. Hehir (p. 7), he writes

work to transform the world toward a more just Society” has “a place of equal standing with the preaching of the Gospel and the celebration of the sacraments in the Church.”

That’s simply wrong.  The theology is so bad, it is almost painful.

Hehir writes:

Pope Paul VI in his letter, A Call to Action recognized the limitations of social teaching taken by itself.”

He got the name of the apostolic letter wrong–“A Call to Action” was merely the name of the 4th chapter in Pope Paul’s apostolic letter “Octogesima Adveniens, on the eightieth  anniversary of Rerum Novarum

Hehir writes:

The process of forming a community with a conscience is not accomplished by a “top-down”approach to the complex issues which make up the agenda of the bicentennial observance program. While initiative and leadership on the part of the Episcopal magisterium are essential and imperative, the equallyessential role of dialogue between the bishops and the wider Catholic community must be given its necessaryscope and weight.”

So, in forming conscience, dialogue between the bishops and the people is of equal importance to the Episcopal magisterium?!  That is flat out wrong.

Then we get into Part 2, Discussion Series. It was authored by Dr. Dale Olen and Sr. Francis Borgia Rothleubber, O.S.F., but remember, Fr. Hehir made “substantive contributions” to the whole program and he authored the Introduction to the whole guide, which means he would have approved of the entire contents.

They say:

As we know the United States is considered a democratic government and a capitalist economic structure; the Soviet Union is considered a totalitarian state and a socialist economic structure; Chile before the coup in 1973 was considered a democratic government and a socialist economic structure. Assuming that all of these concrete systems as lived out have strengths and weaknesses.

  • What kind of political and economic theories do you feel fit best the principle of liberty and justice for all?
  • Why?

Oh, so Fr. Hehir and his collaborators consider democracy to be on par with a socialist economic structure?

They write:

Every year about 200 billion dollars are spent on military weapons by nations around the world. Most evenings we view nations fighting against nation on television.  Would you yourself support a violent revolution to attain a higher level of freedom or social justice?

  • In light of this discussion, what specific issues would you like the 1976 Bicentennial Conference to consider?

Naturally, I’d like the U.S. Bishops’s Bicentennial Conference and  the Catholic Church to support a violent revolution  to bring about more freedom.  Wouldn’t you  have answered  that way?

They write:

The Catholic Church has spoken out strongly on many concerns, abortion to name one. The Church has even imposed the sanction of excommunication for those participating in an abortion.

  • Do you feel the Church should speak and act as strongly in opposing prejudice and discrimination against ethnic and racial groups?
  • What would be your feelings and response if the Church excommunicated people for their expressed prejudicial and discriminatory actions?

So the authors are using the questions to suggest that prejudice and discrimination against ethnic and racial groups are on equal footing with taking the lives of the unborn.

They write:

Imagine that the term “woman” is the generic term for humanity. Imagine that “man” is obviously included when mention is made of “women.” When we use the word “women” in this imaginary scene we often mean men also. Imagine that everything you have ever read and heard all your life uses female pronouns — she, her — meaning both women and men. You have no men senators in Washington. Women are the leaders of the nation and of its institutions. The man’s place is in the home and the woman’s place is to be the bread winner, provider and protector of the family.

  • How do you feel about this imaginary scene?
  • Do you think the language we use in relation to women and men makes any difference. If so, how?
  • How have traditional roles promoted personal growth for men and women?
  • How have those roles blocked that growth?

I’m imagining it now. Even at the time when the Equal Rights Amendment was a hot topic, it is astonishing that Fr. Hehir and the U.S. bishops would publish this.

They write:

In the last seven years two issues have dominated our thinking about the respect for life movement.They are the Vietnam War and abortion. Many people have supported or opposed both.

  • What are the similarities between these two issues? What are the differences?
  • Are there other issues besides Vietnam and abortion that should be considered part of respect for life? What are they?
  • They were already thinking about “seamless garment” back in 1976.

    They write:

    Given the high cost of health-care today, many people cannot receive the kind of health attention they need.

  • Do you believe that health-care is a right that can be demanded or a service that should be paid for?
  • Education is a right Americans have. For much of it the government pays. Is health as much a right as education? Should the government pay for health as it does for education?
  • Socialized healthcare.  How prophetic.  Now we have Obama-care with federal funds for abortion, backed by the Catholic Health Association whose leadership Fr. Hehir recently praised for their efforts.

    The document was “intended to help the leadership of the Church to listen to the voices of people expressing their ideas about freedom and justice in American life, and to plan an effective response to those voices.”

    Good Lord.  If Bryan Hehir’s document really served that purpose, one can only imagine what kinds of voices would have been listened to?   Actually, those voices were heard in their national input sessions, and they came through loudly and clearly at the 1976 Call to Action Conference asking for 1) Divorced, remarried couples to receive Holy Communion while still living in adulterous unions. 2) Ordained women priests and bishops. 3) Women given the power to preach the Gospel with authority. 4) A reversal on the doctrine of artificial birth control. 5) A mitigation of the doctrine on abortion. 6) A teaching approving Marxism, Socialism and pacifism as doctrinally true and morally good practice. 7) A denial of the right to property and to reasonable profit. 8) The creation of a new Church, democratic, non-hierarchical in structure, a classless church.

    Frankly, many of these themes and voices are still coming through today from Fr. Hehir, as we have documented on this blog. We understand there is a meeting of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council this coming week with Cardinal O’Malley.  Maybe a few members should print this out, hand it to Cardinal O’Malley and ask him why the person responsible for publishing the drivel above is still his Secretary for Healthcare and Social Services and “highly trusted advisor.”  What more would the Cardinal need to see about Fr. Hehir in order to relieve him of his archdiocesan responsibilities and let him just work full-time at Harvard with the other intellectual elites there?

    Read Full Post »

    For those of you finding the trip down “Memory Lane” with Fr. Bryan Hehir to be enlightening, hopefully you’ll find our latest foray into our Bryan Hehir archives as interesting as recent ones.  As we share writings and reports of Fr. Hehir’s record during the period from the mid-1970’s to mid-80’s, you’ll note the words “socialism” and Marxism” occasionally come up in materials describing the product of his work, among other words. No inferences are intended to be made by this blog in that regard. But if you’re not yet convinced that what we have posted about Fr. Hehir for a while is true or if you’re not yet outraged over his record documented here, just keep reading for more information and you may change your mind soon.

    Many of you may be familiar with the dissident organization, Call to Action.  Well, they grew out of an effort and conference in 1976 where Fr. Bryan Hehir played a key role while working at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB).  Today we’ll look at what preceded that infamous “Call to Action” Conference that took place in Detroit in October of 1976.  One writer called the whole thing “the virus of social Modernism.”

    Not being sure of the age of our readers, let’s just go back a little ways.  It was 1976, the year of the Bicentennial in the U.S.  The U.S. Bishops wanted to do something special across the Catholic Church in the U.S. to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the country.  So, they created a program that would be the “principal mode for Catholics to participate in the bicentennial of our country.”  They would send people out across the country soliciting input from “rank-and-file” Catholics on what “Liberty and Justice for All” meant to them.  They created a discussion guide to help stimulate input from Catholics, they would  feed input from some 700,000 Catholics into a computer and compile and analyze the results,  they would hold a national “Liberty and Justice for All” conference in Detroit that was the culmination of this process and then craft a 5-year social action plan from the input gathered and from the conference to “implement the policy of social justice.” 

    The Justice and Peace Division of the NCCB coordinated the whole effort.  Its director was Fr. Bryan Hehir. He made “substantial contributions” to the widely distributed discussion guide. We’ll get to the guide in one moment, but first, here are some of the demands that came out of this process and what has come to be known as the 1976 “Call to Action” Conference.  This is a report by Fr. Vincent Micelli, SJ. in Homiletic and Pastoral Review, March 1977 in an article entitled, “Detroit: A Call to Revolution in the Church.”

    The following are some of the conference’s mad demands which the Catholic Church simply cannot grant without ceasing immediately to be the true Church of Christ. If she granted them, she would become a Church of the world, a snake pit of radicals. She would become a center of doctrinal, moral, chaotic disorder and psychoneurotic distress. The radicals demanded: 1) Divorced, remarried couples to receive Holy Communion while still living in adulterous unions. 2) Ordained women priests and bishops. 3) Women given the power to preach the Gospel with authority. 4) A reversal on the doctrine of artificial birth control. 5) A mitigation of the doctrine on abortion. 6) A teaching approving Marxism, Socialism and pacifism as doctrinally true and morally good practice. 7) A denial of the right to property and to reasonable profit. 8) The creation of a new Church, democratic, non-hierarchical in structure, a classless church.

    OK, if you just can’t wait any longer to read more about the conference itself, check out the link above or Paul Melanson’s coverage of Fr. Micelli’s report at LaSalette Journey. But, before we dive deeper into the conference here, we want to share with you a little bit about the discussion guide, for which Fr. Hehir made “substantial contributions.”   Here’s just a few pages from our version of “Liberty and Justice for All” we dusted off from the Bryan Hehir archives.  (Just look at the second page of the .pdf a couple of paragraphs down and you’ll see the theological contortion jump right out at you).  The introduction is written by Fr. Hehir, and he is credited with having made “substantial contributions” to the guide.  Here’s is an excerpt from one of several Wanderer articles “Social Justice of Social Modernism,” written about the guide and program. 


    Rev. J. Bryan Hehir bears mention for his “substantive contribution” to “Liberty and Justice for All”: his influential position as director of the Justice and Peace Division USCC…

    In his introduction to “Liberty and Justice for All,” Fr. Hehir displays an amazing ineptness for one who has emerged as the Catholic spokesman on social justice.  He erroneously equates freedom and equality, disdains papal social doctrine prior to John XXIII, and shows an incredible flakiness on the cardinal principles of the social teachings.  He also places “working toward a more just society” on an equal footing “with the preaching of the Gospel and the celebration of the sacraments in the Church”—something the church does not teach.  And why does Fr. Hehir persist in referring to Pope Paul’s apostolic letter “Octogesima Adveniens, on the eightieth  anniversary of Rerum Novarum” as “A Call to Action”?  Surely he knows this is the title of Chapter IV, not the title of the apostolic letter.

    “Liberty and Justice for All” raises more questions than it answers.  The handling of the social teachings is totally inadequate.  It is a disservice to the laity and ill services our Bishops.”

    The virus of social Modernism appears to have subverted what otherwise should have been a commendable program).  (by Laurene K. Conner)

    Want more?  Here’s a review of “Liberty and Justice for All” from another 1976 Wanderer article, “Counting on Ignorance.”

    The Church’s social doctrine has got to be one of the most neglected and least understood areas of Catholic teaching. Otherwise how else to explain the aberrations in the name of social justice emanating from the USCC Justice and Peace Division that go unchallenged by Catholic laity. And this in spite of the constant petitions in social encyclicals and the Vatican II mandate to them “to take up their responsibilities more conscientiously…to take upon  themselves as their own special duty this task of reconstructing the world..to acquaint themselves with this social teaching, its basic ideas above all.. ” (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, 6, 7, 31).

    The Bishops’ discussion guide “Liberty and Justice for All” which reflects the influence and attitudes of the Justice and Peace Division does not begin to explain the “basic ideas” of Catholic social teaching, Rev. J. Bryan Hehir to the contrary notwithstanding. In addition, “Liberty and Justice for All” reflects Justice and Peace opinions that are not only a corruption of Catholic social doctrine but constitute a danger of infecting American Catholics with the errors of social Modernism condemned by Pope Pius XI.

    When Justice and Peace claims the dictum “to each according to his need; from each according to his ability” was said by Karl Marx and Vatican II and justifies its claim with a reference to Vatican II document Church in the Modern World (30), is this not the kind of error Pius XI condemned? In truth, paragraph 30 states: “Justice and charity increasingly demand that each of us should, within the limits of our capacities and of others ‘ needs, concern ourselves with the common good.” There is a wealth of Catholic philosophy and theology as well as the economy of salvation behind this Vatican II statement, while only conspiratorial atheistic materialism stands behind the Marxian slogan, “from each according …” Are our Bishops aware that this falsification appears under the aegis of their own US Catholic Conference?

    When Justice and Peace claims as false the premise “for Christians , capitalism IS the best system ” and justifies its claim with a reference to Populorum Progressio (26 ) when in truth Pope Paul IS speaking of “unchecked” liberal capitalism, is this not a deceptive tactic?

    When Justice and Peace claims as true the proposition ” Communism and Christianity both see the need for world government” and justifies its claim with a reference to Populorum Progresslo (78), is not a question of integrity involved? Pope Paul echoing Pius XII and John XXIII had in paragraph 76 made the point that peace is the work of justice, that peace is built on “an order intended by God which implies a more perfect form of justice among men.“ In paragraph 77 he describes the need for collaboration among nations as “milestones on the road to development that leads to peace.” Then, and only after these stipulations, the Holy Father in paragraph 78 calls for the establishment of a public authority to bring about this “order of justice” which is to be “universally recognized .” It is this “order of justice” which is to be “universally recognized.” It is this “order of justice” intended by God which will require “a worldwide authority capable of acting effectively on the juridical and political plane. ” It should be noted: Pope Paul does not include the legislative plane in his proposal nor does he negate Pope John’s application of the principle of subsidiarity at the internationaI level . Both of these preclude world government. Paragraph 78 is not a call for world government.

    Is intellectual honesty too much to ask of persons who set themselves up as spokesmen for justice and peace?  

    This excursion into subterfuge does, however, establish a common bond between the Justice and Peace Division , USCC, and the World Peace Foundation which has also read into paragraph 78 a papal call for world government. And it raises several related questions

    • Does this affinity constitute the basis for a working arrangement with the World Peace Foundation which is credited with contributing ” in many ways to the overall effort” in ” Liberty and Justice for all”?
    • Is the World Peace Foundation to act as a consultant In evaluating the “Liberty and Justice for All” computerized “feedback” data in formulating the “5- year plan” of social action?
    • Is the computerized data to be made available to the World Peace Foundation to further its research on the progress of rank-and-file Catholic support for world government via the United Nations?
    • Were the U.S. Catholic Bishops told the World Peace Foundation was to be brought into their social action program?
    • Were the Catholic Bishops told that Msgr John J Egan, chairman of the Catholic Committee on Urban Ministry who also contributed “In many ways to the overall effort of  ‘Liberty and Justice for All’ “had connections with the radical People’s Bicentennial Commission which holds views “far closer to those of Castro and Mao than to our founding fathers” according to a recent Senate report?
    • With “Liberty and Justice for All”  giving Catholics a superficial understanding of the social teachings at best and confronting them with hypothetical questions (“Would you yourself support a violent revolution to obtain a higher level of freedom or social justice?”), how reliable will be the data fed the computers as a reflection of Catholic social thinking?

    Perhaps our U S Catholic Bishops should consider the possibility the Justice and Peace Division, USCC, in counting on ignorance, is placing the Bishops themselves in the untenable position of promoting the “contagion of errors” Pope Pius XI condemned in the encyclical Ubi Arcano. And all wrapped up in their own social program “Liberty and Justice for All “

    Folks, this is not all. There’s more.  We’ll save that for another day. 

    By the way, for those who may have forgotten from earlier who made the “significant contributions” to this program book, that was “you know who”–Fr. Bryan Hehir, Secretary for Healthcare and Social Services in the Archdiocese of Boston today.  When we started complaining about him earlier this year, Cardinal Sean O’Malley posted on his blog that Fr. Hehir “has brought a vast understanding of the important place our Church has in society and inspires us with his compassion, vision and fidelity to the work of the Church. His voice brings clarity to our message and mission in serving the Catholic community.”  He is still speaking at the upcoming Social Justice Conference on October 9, 2010. 

    Anyone feeling like you’ve had enough of this already, and it’s time for our own “call to action”?  Stay tuned for more on that shortly.

    Read Full Post »

    Feedback on our last post, “Fr. Bryan Hehir: Early Influences and “Private Morality” has been so positive–one commenter said it was “one of the best and most informative posts this blog has ever had”–that we’d like to build on it by today covering the infamous “consistent ethic of life” (aka “seamless garment”) ideology that Fr. Hehir helped establish.  It occurs to us now that perhaps we should have started the blog in March with even more of the historical context, but as they say, “better late than never.”  You will see the close tie-in with the effects of John Courtney Murray’s writings and the “consistent ethic of life” that has given air-cover to a generation of pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians in just a few paragraphs.

    We’ll start with another excerpt from the chapter on Fr. Hehir from the 2001 book, “Religious Leaders and Faith-Based Politics” where Fr. Hehir and other observers of his work were interviewed, but we’ll end with something more recent from Cardinal O’Malley.

    The chapter mentions Hehir’s “considerable” role played while at the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in changing the public policy focus for U.S. bishops starting in 1983.  Fr. Hehir’s influence moved the bishops from an almost exclusive focus on opposing abortion to a broader “consistent ethic of life” approach where abortion was dealt with in conjunction with other threats to life and human well-being like poverty and nuclear war:

    Shortly after Roe v Wade a major rift developed within the U.S. [Catholic] hierarchy.  It was split over whether the fight against abortion ought to serve as the principal overarching focal point of its agenda or whether the issue should be addressed in conjunction with other threats to life and human well-being such as poverty and nuclear war.  This disagreement continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s, with “conservative” bishops like Cardinal Law, Cardinal O’Connor, and bishop James McHugh of Camden supporting the former approach and progressives like Cardinal Bernadin embracing the latter posture.  As one would expect, Hehir sided with the progressive camp…

    Shortly after the pastoral on war and peace had been issued. and no doubt trying to take advantage of the momentum it bad generated within the hierarchy. Cardinal Bernardin undertook another major initiative intended to broaden the bishops’ pro-life agenda beyond abortion. On 6 December 1983. he delivered a lecture at Fordham University entitled “The Consistent Ethic of Life: An American-Catholic Dialogue.” In it, he argued that the contemporary world confronts us with a whole range of threats to human life and well-being for which it is necessary to formulate a consistent and comprehensive response, By way of illustration, he linked the bishops’ opposition to abortion to their recent statement on nuclear weapons and went on to draw a further connection with their rejection of capital punishment.  Without equating them,  he suggested that the bishops’ stands on all three issues reflected a commitment to the support and defense of human life-what he called “a consistent ethic of life:’ Bernardin would deliver several more addresses in this vein over the course of the next few years, expanding the range of issues encompassed  within this “consistent life ethic”. He included opposition to euthanasia and pornography as well as support for greater governmental efforts to fight poverty and provide health care to the poor. The result of his effort was quite novel: an expansive vision of what it means to be truly pro-life and a broad social agenda that cuts across the dominant ideolological stances of the Right and the Left on the U.S. political spectrum.

    As one would expect, in undertaking this initiative Bernardin received the invaluable assistance of Bryan Hehir. Indeed it is fair to say that this initiative was chiefly the product of their long collaboration. After working together over the years, the two men had become close friends. According to John Langan, who knew both men well, it is impossible to say which of them actually came up with the idea of the consistent ethic, though the basic substance of the idea was something they had long shared. What is clear. however, is that it was Hehir who was responsible for developing the idea in a systematic fashion.  The addresses that Bernardin gave on the subject were thus largely Hehir’s work and heavily reflect his thinking . For although it is true that abortion, war, the death penalty, and so on are life-related issues, the logical connection among them is far from strict. For example, according to Church teaching, abortion entails the taking of an innocent human life: the death penalty, on the other hand involves the execution by the state of someone guilty of a capital crime. It is not self-evident that opposition to the one should automatically demand opposition to the other. Accordingly. it was necessary that Bernardin receive assistance in order to formulate his conception of the consistent ethic in a rigorous and systematic fashion. Hehir supplied this.

    Predictably, Bernardin’s initiative proved controversial. Leading opponents of abortion within the hierarchy such as O’Connor and Law feared it would weaken the bishops’ commitment to fight abortion. They also feared that pro-choice Catholic politicians would point to their support for other elements of the Church’s social agenda as a way of deflecting criticism of their pro-choice position — a fear that, as it turned out, proved well founded.

    Beyond that problem, part of Hehir’s rationale for the “seamless garment” approach—namely his belief that the credibility and effectiveness of the Church’s teaching on abortion would actually be “enhanced rather than diminished by placing it in the context of a broader social agenda”—was also proven wrong.  The book acknowledges (p. 215) that the effect of Fr. Hehir’s recommendations on public policy had “proved quite minimal,”  and as of the time of the book’s publishing, the ‘consistent ethic of life’ had not yet succeeded in diminishing public support for abortion.   Moreover, this chapter also notes Fr. Hehir’s “crucially important” and “principal influence” roles in the Bishops’ peace and economic pastorals.  Both of them were intended to make a significant impact on public policy.  In the end, the impact is described as “utterly negligible.”

    So we got no positive impact from the “seamless garment” and instead it gave decades of pro-abortion politicians air-cover for their positions.  Thanks a lot.  Fortunately, the “seamless garment” went underground for a decade from 1998 to 2008, but then it was dusted off in the 2008 presidential campaign, and in 2009 when President Obama spoke at Notre Dame, as George Weigel described in this National Review piece Obama and the ‘Real’ Catholics last year:

    What was surprising, and ought to be disturbing to anyone who cares about religious freedom in these United States, was the president’s decision to insert himself into the ongoing Catholic debate over the boundaries of Catholic identity and the applicability of settled Catholic conviction in the public square. Obama did this by suggesting, not altogether subtly, who the real Catholics in America are. The real Catholics, you see, are those like the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, who are “congenial and gentle” in persuasion, men and women who are “always trying to bring people together,” Catholics who are “always trying to find the common ground.” The fact that Cardinal Bernardin’s undoubted geniality and gentility in bringing people together to find the common ground invariably ended with a “consensus” that matched the liberal or progressive position of the moment went unremarked — because, for a good postmodern liberal like President Obama, that progressive “consensus” is so self-evidently true that one can afford to be generous in acknowledging that others, less enlightened but arguably sincere, have different views.

    And whatever Bernardin’s intentions in formulating what came to be known popularly as the “seamless garment” approach to public policy, the net effect of the consistent ethic of life was to validate politically the intellectual mischief of Mario Cuomo’s notorious 1984 Notre Dame speech (“I’m personally opposed, but I can’t impose my views on a pluralistic society”), and to give two generations of Catholic politicians a virtual pass on the abortion question by allowing them to argue that, hey, I’m batting .667 on the consistent ethic of life.

    Hold that thought.  Now fast-forward just a few months after that Notre Dame speech to the fracas over the funeral for Sen. Ted Kennedy to see traces of the “consistent ethic of life” resurrected. We have already covered what Fr. Bryan Hehir said about the Kennedy funeral in our post Fr. Hehir and Ted Kennedy: False Teaching ‘Emboldens’ Greater Evil. Here is a short quote from him once again in the Boston Globe on August 28, 2009.

    If you look back over his long career, most of his life was taken up with domestic social policy and social welfare issues, and on those issues the church had a lot of overlap with him,’’

    And from Cardinal Sean O’Malley about the funeral:

    Needless to say, the Senator’s wake and Catholic funeral were controversial because of the fact that he did not publicly support Catholic teaching and advocacy on behalf of the unborn. ­­­Given the profound effect of Catholic social teaching on so many of the programs and policies espoused by Senator Kennedy and the millions who benefitted from them, there is a tragic sense of lost opportunity in his lack of support for the unborn. To me and many Catholics it was a great disappointment because, had he placed the issue of life at the centerpiece of the Social Gospel where it belongs, he could have multiplied the immensely valuable work he accomplished.

    Hopefully, this trip down “memory lane” is enlightening for you, as we have lots more to come there.  In the meantime, we are clearly still suffering from the effects of Fr. Bryan Hehir’s “seamless garment” in 2010, and are not sure how making the issue of life the “centerpiece of the Social Gospel” is fulfilled by the Archdiocese of Boston continuing to feature a speaker at Bryan Hehir’s upcoming Social Justice Conference who publicly backed the pro-abortion politician, Kathleen Sebelius, for Health and Human Services Secretary.  We have not said our last on that topic.

    Read Full Post »

    We have long wrestled with how to cover the more recent and timely revelations about Fr. Bryan Hehir while also giving you important context from his early history.  As we work on putting the remaining pieces in-place to take our “Catholicism of Resistance” up a notch, we hope you will be able to follow a little jumping back and forth between early history and recent goings on. The 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s famous Houston speech (given Sept. 12, 1960) on faith and politics is an appropriate time for this reflection.  (Don’t worry, the heat will still be increasing very shortly)

    Joseph Bryan Hehir was born in Lowell, MA on August 22, 1940 to Mr. and Mrs. John Hehir. He grew up in Chelmsford and even as a boy was well focused: as a Little League pitcher, his nickname was “Hawkeye.

    In the chapter of the book, “Religious Leaders and Faith-Based Politics” on Fr. Hehir for which he was interviewed, Fr. Hehir said, “I wanted to go into politics before I went into the ministry.  I was sure I wanted to study diplomacy before I knew I wanted to study theology.”  Eventually Hehir decided to become a priest.

    Fr. Hehir entered St. John’s Seminary and was ordained in Boston on May 26, 1966. Here is a picture with members of his ordination class from a May 1966 issue of The Pilot (bottom right picture).  Note the caption tells us that Fr. Richard P. McBrien preached at Fr. Hehir’s first Mass on Sunday, May 29.  McBrien has gone on to become well-known as a dissident priest and professor of theology at Notre Dame, whose writings have been criticized by the U.S. bishops.

    Fr. Hehir often cites Fr. John Courtney Murray in his talks, and he acknowledged the influence of Murray in the book cited above.   We learn that Hehir came under the influence of many Catholic thinkers while in the seminary, but the “dominant figure” was the Jesuit, John Courtney Murray.  Of course, Murray was silenced by the Vatican for a few years before then reappearing at Vatican II.  Murray is widely regarded as a principal architect of Vatican II’s “Declaration on Religious Liberty,” and with having demonstrated the compatibility of Catholicism and U.S. democracy.  He is also widely considered to have driven the whole concept of it being OK to maintain private morality while not publicly legislating those morals.  Hang on—we’ll come back to that shortly.

    We are told that Murray influenced Hehir in two important ways.  The first was in his choice of graduate study.  Murray told him “go someplace where you get the international relations first because your theology will be too rigid if you form it all ahead of time…Go to a place that has a broad-based conception of international relations and social science.” Hehir went to the Harvard Divinity School.

    Murray was also cited as the “principal methological influence on Hehir’s thinking”:

    Murray’s method has always made the most sense to me: to take the world on its own ground, with all its complexity…the content of his theology and the meaning of his life remain an abiding reality for me.  He once said that to be a theologian in the Catholic tradition is to stand on the growing edge of tradition.”

    I am no scholar of John Courtney Murray, but intentional or not, Murray’s standing on the “growing edge of tradition” sure feels like it set the stage for a generation of pro-abortion  Catholic politicians and decades of dissent from Church teachings by “you know who.”

    In the Wall Street Journal’s,  How Support for Abortion Became Kennedy Dogma, we see Fr. Murray’s name mentioned as a key influence, along with the likes of the late Fr. Drinan:

    In some cases, church leaders actually started providing “cover” for Catholic pro-choice politicians who wanted to vote in favor of abortion rights. At a meeting at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport, Mass., on a hot summer day in 1964, the Kennedy family and its advisers and allies were coached by leading theologians and Catholic college professors on how to accept and promote abortion with a “clear conscience.”

    The former Jesuit priest Albert Jonsen, emeritus professor of ethics at the University of Washington, recalls the meeting in his book “The Birth of Bioethics” (Oxford, 2003). He writes about how he joined with the Rev. Joseph Fuchs, a Catholic moral theologian; the Rev. Robert Drinan, then dean of Boston College Law School; and three academic theologians, the Revs. Giles Milhaven, Richard McCormick and Charles Curran, to enable the Kennedy family to redefine support for abortion.

    Mr. Jonsen writes that the Hyannisport colloquium was influenced by the position of another Jesuit, the Rev. John Courtney Murray, a position that “distinguished between the moral aspects of an issue and the feasibility of enacting legislation about that issue.” It was the consensus at the Hyannisport conclave that Catholic politicians “might tolerate legislation that would permit abortion under certain circumstances if political efforts to repress this moral error led to greater perils to social peace and order.”

    Father Milhaven later recalled the Hyannisport meeting during a 1984 breakfast briefing of Catholics for a Free Choice: “The theologians worked for a day and a half among ourselves at a nearby hotel. In the evening we answered questions from the Kennedys and the Shrivers. Though the theologians disagreed on many a point, they all concurred on certain basics . . . and that was that a Catholic politician could in good conscience vote in favor of abortion.”

    This article at Ratzinger Fan Club entitled “John Courtney Murray, Contraception, and the “Liberal Catholic” Justification for Abortion” sheds additional color and  asks the question, “But what is the source for the liberal Catholic employment of Murray?”

    In “Catholics and Civic Engagement in the United States”, John T. McGreevy of the University of Notre Dame chronicles how Catholic debate over contraception in the 1960’s inevitably led to the push for relaxation of restrictions against abortion, and ultimately its decriminalization. He specifically mentions how John Courtney Murray’s discussion of religious liberty and the relationship between moral/civil law influenced this process (whether intended by Murray or not). Here, then, is his brief history of the process:

    When Paul VI announced the formation of a papal commission to study the matter in that year, dissent became far more widespread and public. A parallel development, even among those favoring the traditional teaching on birth control, was a new set of distinctions between what was permissible in the public realm and what was permissible within the confessional. Jesuit John Courtney Murray famously persuaded the bishops assembled at the Second Vatican Council to stand for religious freedom. At precisely the same time Murray was advising Boston’s Cardinal Cushing to permit a relaxation of the Massachusetts birth control laws. Murray explained that “It is not the function of a civil law to prescribe everything that is morally right and to forbid everything that is morally wrong,” Specifically on the matter of birth control, Murray emphasized that “It is difficult to see how the state can forbid, as contrary to public morality, a practice that numerous religious leaders approve as morally right…By reason of its nature and purpose, as the instrument of order in society, the scope of law is limited to the maintenance and protection of public morality. Matters of private morality lie beyond the scope of law; they are left to the personal conscience.” [bloggers emphasis]

    One can hardly imagine a less propitious beginning for Catholic opposition to the relaxation of restrictions against abortion. Catholic recalcitrance on the matter of birth control in the Connecticut state legislature had prompted Estelle Griswold to appeal to the courts in the 1950s, eventually leading to the landmark 1965 decision, Griswold v. Connecticut that first enunciated “privacy” as a basic right, and set the stage for Roe v. Wade (1973). The most divisive moment in American Catholic history occurred in the aftermath of Humanae Vitae (Pope Paul VI, 1968), and the teaching on contraception, and its all-male source, instantly made Catholic discussion of sexuality less credible for many believers and in the public mind. Finally, the long intra-Catholic discussion of birth control had also culminated in a widespread belief that no single religious group should impose its own moral vision in a diverse society. Advocates of abortion on demand immediately seized upon this point, and peppered the early state and congressional hearings on the subject with attacks on Catholic lobbying. Harvard’s Lawrence Tribe saw Catholic opposition to abortion as potentially unconstitutional, since no “universal agreement in terms of values [existed] that do not divide the society religiously.” 3

    Murray was also invited to provide edits to John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 Houston speech.  Archbishop Chaput recently reflected on that speech and called it, ‘sincere’ but ‘wrong’.  Even Murray himself was apparently not thrilled with Kennedy’s attempt to sever any connections between one’s religious and political creeds. “To make religion merely a private matter,” Murray argued, “was idiocy.” Despite his view on public vs private morality, Murray himself was upset that handlers ignored his advice to stress in the Houston speech Church hierarchy should always be free to instruct Catholics from the pulpit as to the Church’s teachings on moral issues debated in the public square.

    Anyway, whether Murray intended the consequences of his writings or not, let’s look at what happened later.

    In 1974, Fr. Hehir, as associate secretary for the International Justice and Peace office and a key policy advisor for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged the Vatican and Catholic bishops that the Church can “regard contraceptive practice as an issue of private morality that the church continues to teach for its members, but not an issue of public morality on which it seeks to affect public policy” (Theological Studies, March 1974). The Holy See, at this time, was rallying Third World countries against population control mandates urged by the Henry Kissinger’s National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200).Hehir’s position became the basis for the Holy See’s position at the UN Population Conference in Budapest.

    On April 19, 1999,  pro-abortion group, Catholics for a Free Choice, cited Fr. Hehir’s earlier statements on contraception to support their position that Catholic hospitals should not be exempt from having to offer contraceptive coverage. “Father Bryan Hehir, a high-ranking official of the United States Catholic Conference at the time, noted in 1974 that the church could ‘regard contraceptive practice as an issue of private morality that the church continues to teach for its members but not an issue of public morality on which it seeks to affect public policy’

    In the 2004 election, we saw bishops like Archbishop Burke and the minority of bishops vocally condemn the scandal presented by pro-abortion politicians receiving communion.  Though John Kerry never quoted Murray directly, the author of the Ratzinger Fan Club article said, “judging by the following examples one might find where he is obtaining his “talking points” on this issue:

    • Fr. Richard McBrien, responding to St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke’s denial of communion to Senator Kerry, castigated the Archbishop for his ignorance of Murray and Thomistic political philosophy:  “What these prelates do not seem ever to have learned is the distinction that the late Jesuit theologian, John Courtney Murray, and others had made between the moral law and the civil law. To have made the moral argument against abortion, for example, is not necessarily to have made the legal argument as well.”
    • In a letter to Cardinal McCarrick on May 10, 2004, 48 Democratic congressman reminded the American Catholic hierarchy that “Church leaders must recognize, as did the great Catholic theologian and scholar John Courtney Murray, that in public life distinctions must be made between public and private morality. Because we represent all of our constituents we must, at times, separate our public actions from our personal beliefs.”
    • Defending his continued adoption of a pro-choice stance against the explicit directives of Bishop Burke (at that time bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin), Congressman David Obey described their dispute: “the basic problem is that I remain a John Courtney Murray kind of Catholic, while Archbishop Burke is not.” 2

    So there you have it folks. Apologies for the length, but we thought you might enjoy this trip down memory lane and getting some sense in his own words for what helped influence Fr. Bryan Hehir’s views and helped shape him into the person he is today.  Maybe the title of the blog post should not really be “Early influences set foundation for 40 years of dissent.”  We are working on some explosive additional revelations from the 1970s and 80s as we speak.  Stay tuned for a return to current events Wednesday or Thursday.

    Read Full Post »

    Forgive us for the intervals between posts.  We have just received some long-awaited material we are trying to digest that has potentially explosive implications.  In case you have not seen these two outstanding posts from elsewhere that reflect the spirit of what we are trying to do here on Bryan Hehir Exposed, we hope you enjoy them.  Think of this as the “Tale of Two Capucian Archbishops.”

    From Archbishop Charles Chaput, Archbishop of Denver’s recent talk he gave for the Canon Law Association of Slovakia, as reported by Deacon Keith Fournier at Catholic Online:

    “We live in a time when the Church is called to be a believing community of resistance. We need to call things by their true names. We need to fight the evils we see. And most importantly, we must not delude ourselves into thinking that by going along with the voices of secularism and de-Christianization we can somehow mitigate or change things.”

    Wow!  We have tried to call things by their true names about Fr. Bryan Hehir and hope we have succeeded.   Catholic News Agency reported these excerpts from Archbishop Chaput’s talk:

    Recalling the historical experience of the Slovakian Church under Communism, Archbishop Chaput told the assembly of Central European bishops and canon lawyers that Christians are being called today to defend the Church’s own rights, and the rights of all people, against the “civil religion” of relativism. [BHE comment: Anyone wonder how Archbishop Chaput would dialogue with Fr. Bryan Hehir on relativism?]

    Like Communism, he explained, today’s secularist ideology envisions “a society apart from God” where “men and women might live wholly sufficient unto themselves,” sharing no higher guiding principle than “satisfying their needs and desires.”

    This seemingly benign vision, he warned, leaves no place for the Church’s work of evangelism, teaching, and activism.

    Jumping back to Deacon Fournier, he continued in his post to share his personal experience and exposure to the Archdiocese of Denver and Archbishop Chaput’s leadership of that diocese:

    His leadership of the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado is evidence of his leadership gifts.  I had the privilege of participating in their “Living the Catholic Faith” Conference in 2010. I found a Diocese which is a shining example of the “New Evangelization”.  The seminaries are full, the parishes are growing (in fidelity and number) and the ecclesial movements are flocking to find a missionary outpost. The Catholic Church is being demonstrated to be what she is, the continued presence of the Risen Christ in our midst. I left that Conference filled with hope for the Catholic Church in the United States. I am not naive, I am well aware of the challenges we face both within and without. What I experienced in Denver reminded me that Jesus Christ truly lives and His Church is His Plan!

    Now let’s briefly compare that Capucian to Cardinal Sean O’Malley in Boston.  Cardinal O’Malley just celebrated 40 years in the priesthood, an admirable accomplishment for which we join in celebrating him.  Here is what Paul Melanson at La Salette Journey had to say regarding the Cardinal’s comments on hitting that milestone in the priesthood:

    In his Post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Pastores gregis, No. 28, Pope John Paul II, recalling the Rite of Ordination of a Bishop and most especially the imposition of the Book of the Gospels on the head of the Bishop-elect during the Prayer of Consecration, has this to say, “This gesture indicates, on the one hand, that the Word embraces and watches over the Bishop’s ministry and, on the other, that the Bishop’s life is to be completely submitted to the Word of God in his daily commitment of preaching the Gospel in all patience and sound doctrine (cf. 2 Timothy 4).”

    Being “completely submitted” to the Word of God, whether Sacred Scripture or Tradition, the Bishop must be firmly committed to sound preaching and to the right of the faithful to Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity.

    When a Bishop fails to uphold this right of the faithful to sound doctrine, he is responsible for what amounts to an act of violence against the faithful. Which is what we are witnessing in the Boston Archdiocese.

    At his Blog, His Eminence Sean Cardinal O’Malley writes, “I am so grateful for priestly vocation. It is not something we deserve or merit, it is something that God in His goodness calls us to do. It calls us to be part of something bigger than ourselves. It is not our priesthood, it is the ministry of Jesus Christ. In the Church, the priesthood is so important because we are a Eucharistic people. It is through the priesthood that Christ has chosen to give us the sacraments.”

    A word of congratulation is in order. As well as a word of thanks to His Eminence for responding to God’s call to serve the Church. Indeed, His Eminence is correct in saying that the priesthood calls men to be part of “something bigger” than themselves. That something is the Word of God, which the priest is called to proclaim with fidelity to those who are entrusted with its true interpretation (Dei Verbum, No. 10). In other words, the Church’s Magisterium. “The task of priests,” as Vatican II teaches in Presbyterorum Ordinis, No. 4, “is not to teach their own wisdom but God’s Word.”

    This task belongs to the priest no less than his task of offering the Eucharistic Sacrifice. It is significant, for me, that Cardinal O’Malley neglects this point in his summary of why the priesthood is important. Because both tasks are inseparably linked. Origen wrote, “You know, you who are accustomed to assist at the divine mysteries, with what religious care, when you receive the Lord’s body, you watch to see that not the smallest particle may fall…You would feel guilty, and rightly so, if that were to happen by your neglect. Then,…how should it be a less grave fault to neglect the word of God than to neglect his body?” (In Exod., hom. 13.3).

    The task of safeguarding the Word of God is very important. And when dissent arises in the Church, “the Church’s Pastors have the duty to act in conformity with their apostolic mission” and to insist “that the right of the faithful to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected.” (Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, No. 113).

    Paul closed his blog by asking the question, “Knowing this, one must ask: Your Eminence, why have you not addressed dissent within the Archdiocese of Boston?”  Given what we have exposed here on this blog since March, we are wondering the answer to that same question. How do you really feel about the need for Catholics to be a “community of resistance” and to fight the evils that we see?  Or should we simply delude ourselves into thinking that if we keep going along with the voices of secularism and de-Christianization, we can somehow mitigate or change things?

    Read Full Post »

    LifeNews and Thomas Peters at CatholicVoteAction.org have both reported extensively in the past couple of days on how Notre Dame’s long-time Associate Vice President for Residence Life, Bill Kirk was recently let go.  Kirk was the only senior official in the administration who supported the pro-life rally held to protest Notre Dame’s selection of President Obama as commencement speaker last year.  The story as also told by a Notre Dame prof in  “So Long Captain Kirk” is a sad one on its own, but there’s something important which none of the publications covering the story were aware of—namely the time spent in Boston by the person who fired Kirk, Fr. Tom Doyle, Notre Dame’s new Vice President for Student Affairs.   Fr. Tom lived at Our Lady Help of Christians in the rectory with Fr. Walter Cuenin for 3 years while he was at Harvard Business School.  Bishop Rene Gracida on Abyssum has coined the expression “Boston Virus” to describe the goings on in Boston, and this is no exception.  First, we’ll recap the main news, and then the rather disturbing Boston angle.

    LifeNews and CatholicVoteAction both referenced a piece at National Review Online by Jack Fowler.  Obama at Notre Dame: Golden Dome Bosses Serve a Cold Dish of Revenge Here’s a quick summary.

    Notre Dame philosophy professor David Solomon posted a devastating analysis on his “Ethics and Culture in the News” blog on a troubling campus development: the sacking of long-time ND staffer Bill Kirk, the only man from the university administration who joined an on-campus pro-life “NDResponse” rally last year (also attended by South Bend Bishop John D’Arcy) protesting the selection of Barack Obama as the commencement speaker.

    Kirk and his wife Elizabeth are prominent campus abortion foes (she was assistant director of one of the few institutes on campus that is avowedly pro-life and orthodox). Now their voices have been silenced, and by the same people who gnash their teeth and pluck their beards about living wages, unionization, fair treatment of employees, and the rest of the Catholic Left’s lobbying agenda. One can hear the college brass channeling Henry II: Will no one rid us of this troublesome pro-life Associate Vice-President for Residence Life?’

    Catholic Vote Action says, “The decision to fire Bill Kirk was made by Father Tom Doyle, ND’s new VP for Student Affairs. I think it’s appropriate to email Fr. Doyle a brief note asking him to explain why he fired Bill Kirk. Fr. Doyle’s email is Thomas.P.Doyle.22@nd.edu.”

    You can just follow the links above to get more of the story about the Kirks, so now we’ll cut to the chase on Fr. Doyle.  He studied at Harvard Business School from 2001-2003 and spent another year there writing case studies, including one on financial reporting in the Catholic Church.   While he was in Boston for 3 years from 2001-2004, he opted to live in the rectory at Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Newton, where the pastor was noted gay rights activist, Fr. Walter Cuenin.

    This 2002 Boston Globe article reported, “After arriving at Our Lady in 1993, Cuenin rejuvenated the parish with a spirit of openness that appealed to Catholics of a liberal ilk. He openly questioned polices on gays and women, and told Globe West in 2001 that Our Lady welcomes “people who are very devout Catholics and people who are hanging on by their fingernails.”

    In April of 2002, Cuenin submitted testimony to the Massachusetts  Legislature in opposition to a bill that would have banned gay marriage.  Cuenin and Our Ladys  church were well known as being gay-friendly, and the Boston Globe cited the church in October 2003 as “one that welcomes gays and lesbians, and hosts a gay and lesbian faith sharing group.”  The parish even marched several years in a row at the annual Gay Pride parade in Boston.  Cuenin helped found the dissident group, Voice of the Faithful, in 2002.  He was one of the founders of the Priests Forum, and he was led a group of priests who called for the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law.  This article from September 2, 2002 issue of The New Yorker magazine entitled “The Reformer” describes Cuenin in elaborate detail:

    Father Cuenin was bothered by the Cardinal’s unyielding allegiance to the dictates of Rome….Our Lady Help of Christians is widely considered an excellent parish. Nonetheless, Father Cuenin’s pastorate has not escaped the chancery’s scrutiny. He hadn’t been long in the job when calls started coming in, from the Cardinal himself or from his subordinates, reprimanding him for, among other things, using translations of scripture that replaced such words as “man” with gender-neutral terms, and for giving a non-Catholic—specifically, the Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts—the Eucharist.

    [After attending a Voice of the Faithful meeting in 2002] Cuenin said “But what they need and what we need”—he was referring to the Priests’ Forum—”is a community organizer like Saul Alinsky. Some way to put pressure on the hierarchy for change.   We covered Our Ladys and Fr. Cuenin previously on this blog, and Fr. Cuenin’s ill-informed preaching on salvagion also discussed in our post “What I Believe” is Unbelievable.

    Beyond Fr. Tom Doyle’s having lived at Our Ladys with Walter Cuenin, we do not know a lot about him.  When he graduated from Harvard Business School in 2003, he was honored for leadership with a Deans Award.  Some of our Newton readers who went to Mass at Our Ladys during the period of time when Fr. Tom was there sent us emails over the weekend with recollections of Fr. Tom as being youthful and energetic and giving homilies that were down-to-earth–but he also typically wore athletic attire under his vestments (ie short pants and sneakers in warm weather) when saying daily or weekend Masses.  He started at University of Portland in 2004 as executive assistant to the President and advanced to Executive VP, and was apparently well-liked and popular during his six years there from 2004-2010.  At Notre Dame, the 2010-2011 “Guide to Student Life” published by Fr. Tom’s office tells how “Student Affairs strives to create an inclusive, diverse, vibrant environment,” describing the “Spirit of Inclusion” and “Resources for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Questioning Students” (p.46) in a similar manner to the same guides of previous years with no mention of Church teaching in this area,  so if he were bringing any new Catholic orthodoxy to Notre Dame, it is not apparent in the student handbook.

    Fr. Tom’s choices to live at Our Ladys and to explicitly mention living at Our Ladys in his Univ. of Portland biography are curious ones that might cause anyone to ask a few questions.  Priests faithful to Church teachings  tend to prefer living in rectories with like-minded priests.  And vice versa.   There are a lot of churches within just a few miles driving distance from the Harvard Business School.  The reputation of Fr. Cuenin and Our Ladys was well-established before Fr. Tom arrived in Boston and chose his living accommodations.  Reasonable readers of this blog might ask the question, exactly what was it about Our Ladys and a known dissident like Fr. Cuenin that made Fr. Tom decide to live at that particular parish?  If you were a priest faithful to Church teachings and lived in a rectory with a pastor who gave testimony opposing the Church’s teachings on marriage to the state legislature, would you want to keep living there when plenty of other rectories were nearby with space available?  Given the range of Fr. Cuenin’s actions that undermined the Church during that time when Fr. Tom was living there, was there nothing that made Fr. Tom say, “I’m outta here”?  If Fr. Tom was comfortable staying at Our Ladys which was permeated by Fr. Cuenin’s unorthodox ideology and sufficiently proud of being there that he mentioned it in his bio, through what sort of lens does Fr. Tom judge orthodox Catholics?

    Oh, we nearly forgot to mention the Bryan Hehir connection.  Next month, October 17-20, Fr. Hehir and Fr. Doyle are both scheduled to speak at Notre Dame’s “Program on Mission-based Leadership and Organization Development.That’s just a week after Fr. Bryan Hehir is scheduled to keynote yet another Boston Social Justice Conference, this one featuring a BC prof as a speaker who publicly supported a pro-abortion politician as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.  The “Boston Virus” continues…

    Read Full Post »

    About a month ago we shared examples of the
    Dismantling of Catholic Identity at Caritas Christi,” and a few days ago we told you how Caritas was planning to acquire the secular Landmark Hospital and leave the acquired hospital free to do procedures that violated Catholic Religious and Ethical Directives.  Local Catholic bloggers sounded the alarm bells along with folks like CJ Doyle, Deal Hudson, John O’Gorman and Ray Neary, and though it’s nice that Cardinal O’Malley and the Caritas CEO issued their statement Wednesday saying the soon-to-be-acquired hospital will abide by Catholic moral directives after all, it still feels like a wrecking ball is continuing to hit Catholic healthcare in Boston.

    Today we’ll briefly revisit the current situation with Caritas/Landmark/Cerberus, but we mostly want to take you on a short tour of how the Catholic identity of Caritas has gradually been dismantled over the past two years.  It is particularly noticeable since “you know who” arrived on the Caritas board.First, do read the post over at ThrowtheBumsOutin2010 for a humorous retelling of the Landmark story. 

    On Sept. 1 the archdiocese released a statement saying that Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley “was concerned about public statements that Landmark would not be operated as a Catholic hospital if acquired by Caritas”…Another shining example of letting people go unsupervised until you read what they’re doing in the newspaper.  We’re making progress though. [The Cardinal] was Johnny on the spot responding to the criticism, there was no attempt to call us ‘people doing a disservice to the Church,’ and they skipped the charade of calling in the National Catholic Bioethics Center and thanking them for their opinion without releasing that opinion publicly…The details of the arrangement are hermetically sealed in an envelope and are to remain secret until the deal gets the go-ahead from the judge. But trust them, it is all as Catholic as the Pope.”

    As we said in our earlier post, when the original Caritas/Cerberus deal was announced, we saw Caritas, the Cardinal, Fr. Bryan Hehir and anyone else quoted in the press saying the Catholic identity would be preserved forever:

    We announced yesterday that an agreement has been reached with Cerberus that ensures the Catholic identity of the Caritas Christi hospitals. The sale is still pending as the Attorney General has to review it, but this stewardship agreement was a key component for us because it will preserve the Catholic identity of Caritas.  (Cardinal Sean’s  May 7, 2010 blog)

    This is a substantive and structural commitment by the archdiocese and Steward to operate this hospital system by the religious and moral directives of the Catholic Church.” (Fr. Bryan Hehir, Secretary for Healthcare and Social Services, quoted in The Pilot, May 14, 2010)

    Those statements of course have been proven to be short-lived, as the deal isn’t even yet signed and Caritas was already planning to violate the directives with a new acquisition until those annoying bloggers and faithful Catholics started complaining.  Who is the one person on their Board today charged with maintaining the Catholic identity?  You guessed it.  Fr. Bryan Hehir. 

    Let’s look now at a brief timeline of what’s happened with what we can publicly see of Caritas’ Catholic identity since Fr. Hehir arrived on the scene.

    March 14, 2008. Caritas Christi announces new governance model. Fr. Hehir named as Cardinal O’Malley’s delegate to revamped Caritas Christi hospital board. Archdiocese of Boston involvement to be limited to “matters pertaining to Catholic identity, mission and the implementation of the religious and ethical directives of the USCCB.”  Hehir’s title expanded to Secretary of Healthcare and Social Services.

    At that time, Caritas’ logo prominently depicted a cross.   The website description of Caritas’ mission said they were a “Catholic Health Care System” committed to serving those in need “in accordance with the principles of the Catholic Church.”  9 months later it was another story. 

    December 2008, Caritas rebranded themselves.  They dropped the prominent Catholic cross from their logo, and in the new version of the logo, the cross is so subdued as to be almost unnoticeable.  They also dropped the statement about being a “Catholic” healthcare system operating in accord with the principles of the Catholic Church from their mission as well.  See below for the before and after:

     January 2008
    Logo and Mission
    (click here)

    Today (and as of December 2008)
    Logo and Mission
    (click here)


    Caritas Christi is a Catholic Health Care System rooted in the history of the Archdiocese of Boston. As a community of health care providers, we affirm Christ’s healing ministry, foster excellence in care, and commit ourselves to those in need in accordance with the principles of the Catholic Church.

    Caritas Christi healthcare, rooted in the healing ministry of Jesus, is committed to serving the physical and spiritual needs of our community by delivering the highest quality care with compassion and respect. Our cover values are Compassion, Accountability, Respect, Excellence (CARE).

    As described in The Patriot Ledger in March of 2009, Caritas launched what they described as a major marketing push whose theme was “Quality to the People.”  It depicted a raised fist (or clenched fist) holding a stethoscope.  According to Wikipedia, “The raised fist (also known as the clenched fist) is a salute and logo most often used by left-wing activists, such as: Marxists, anarchists, socialists, communists, pacifists, trade unionists, and black nationalists…It dates back to the salute of Rotfrontkämpferbund, a paramilitary organization of the Communist Party of Germany before the WWII.

    The advertising firm that developed the campaign was The Boathouse Group in Waltham, MA.  Guess who runs that advertising firm?  C’mon, guess. OK, I’ll give you a hint.  The last name rhymes with “Goners.” You guessed it.  It’s John Connors III, son of powerbroker Jack Connors, Jr. the founder of Hill Holliday, head of the Catholic Schools Campaign, rearranger of the archdiocesan cabinet, Finance Council member, Partners Chair, former Chair of Boston College, and lots more. 

    Yes folks, 9 months after Fr. Bryan Hehir joined the Caritas board to help maintain their “Catholic identity”,  Jack Connors’ son’s firm rebranded Caritas Christi, they dropped the prominent Catholic symbolism from the logo, dropped “Catholic” healthcare system and the commitment to serve in accord with Catholic moral principles from their mission statement, and launched a marketing campaign with a central graphic that symbolizes Marxism/socialism.

    Then in late February of 2009, less than one year after Fr. Hehir joined the Board, Caritas announced a financial joint venture with Centene Corp.  After faithful Catholics and Mass Citizens for Life complained the joint venture included provisions for referring patients to abortion providers, Cardinal O’Malley first responded by saying anyone who suggested Caritas might have entered such an arrangement was “doing a great disservice to the Catholic Church.”  But then he asked the National Catholic Bioethics Center to study the deal, and after their report came back, Cardinal O’Malley instructed Caritas Christi to withdraw from its part ownership of CeltiCare to avoid any questions about whether Caritas would profit from the deal.  Even though the financial venture was abandoned, the 6 Caritas Christi hospitals would remain in the CeltiCare plan as providers of services.  And under the plan, Caritas Christi is still obliged to refer women for abortions. CeltiCare lists 3 Planned Parenthood abortion locations in Massachusetts.

    Who was and is still responsible for the Catholic identity of Caritas and ensuring the healthcare network’s compliance with Catholic religious and moral directives?  Fr. Bryan Hehir.

    In July we reported how symbols of the Catholic faith were already being removed from public places at the hospital. (The front desk receptionist explained it to an inquiring visitor as because “the business had been sold.”). Today, if you look at the latest Caritas flyer or St_Elizabeth’s Hospital brochure, you will see the word “Catholic” is nowhere to be found.  Nor do the mission or values of Caritas on their website mention “Catholic.”  Some people have commented on this blog they believe Caritas may be providing “emergency contraception” at Caritas Christi hospitals.   Just last Friday we heard Caritas was planning to acquire a secular hospital and let them operate in violation of Catholic religious and ethical directives–and the only reason that plan was altered was because the statement about their plans appeared in the newspapers and a bunch of annoying bloggers and activists complained about it. 

    When will the Archbishop of Boston ever acknowledge that having Fr. Bryan Hehir responsible for the Catholic identity of our hospitals is like making the fox responsible for guarding the chicken coop?

    Read Full Post »