Thank to everyone who has written to the Massachusetts bishops and Holy See via our latest FedUp campaign, “Take Action on Tainted Search for New Mass Catholic Conference Head.” We have gotten some feedback from the bishop’s staff and other channels that we want to share with you as the campaign continues, and we have more on committee member, Sr. Annette McDermott, SSJ that may leave some of you even more FedUp!
Feedback from Diocese of Fall River
A Bryan Hehir Exposed reader forwarded this response they got from the Diocese of Fall River’s Communications department:
At the outset of their decision to form a search committee for the selection of an Executive Director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the bishops of the four dioceses in the state agreed that each would appoint one person from his diocese to make up membership of that committee. Bishop Coleman agreed to chair it. Bishop Coleman then appointed as his delegate on the committee Father Michael McManus, who is chancellor here in the Fall River Diocese. The other members on the committee were appointed to it by his/her respective bishop, not Bishop Coleman.
In other words, we are told that Bishop Coleman just took whomever the other bishops put forward and did not feel as “Chairman” of the committee that leadership role called for any review of the background of the people before he went on the record saying, “I look forward to working with such a respected group to advise the bishops in selecting the next Executive Director for MCC.” Thanks a lot, Bishop Coleman, for the value-added, er, leadership on this one, making sure the group you publicly said you respected you really did respect.
More on the Committee Members
We told you before that in view of the mission of the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good (giving air-cover to pro-abortion Democratic Catholic politicians) and their funding from George Soros, Sr. Annette McDermott’s membership in CACD should flat-out disqualify her from serving on the search committee for a faithful Catholic MCC leader. But this is not the only reason we are calling for her removal from the committee.
We did not have time or space in the earlier posts to mention that in 2005 Sr. Annette wrote about contemplative prayer (or centering prayer a la Thomas Keating) as a grounding force in her life. Here’s a link to the piece, called “In the Quiet of the Morning.” She says she was inspired as a teen by a book by Antony Padovano, and her “search for a deeper relationship with God has also been strengthened by the wisdom figures that have graced my religious experience.”
I feel so privileged to have had the blessing of opportunity to experience and know of the works and lives of Mary Luke Tobin, Joan Chittister, Christina Vladimiroff, Teresa Kane, Mary Daniels, Helen Wright, Maria Reilly, Sandra Schneider, Elizabeth Johnson, Elisabeth Schussler-Firorenza.
She also names Pierre Theilard de Chardin. A 10-minute session with Google gets you the following:
- Anthony Padovano: banned from speaking in the Archdiocese of Detroit by Cardinal Maida, for theological views “clearly in opposition to the authoritative teaching of the church” including advocacy for the ordination of women and his view that the celebration of the Eucharist need not be limited to ordained ministry
- Mary Luke Tobin: a former head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and advisor to the Womens Ordination Conference
- Joan Chittister: A supporter of Call to Action who promotes women priests. The Vatican asked her not to attend the 2000 Womens Ordination Conference but she went anyway.
- Christina Vladimiroff: who received the Call to Action Leadership award in 2002 and defied a request from the Vatican to prohibit Sr. Joan Chittister from attending a dissident women’s ordination conference in Dublin
- Elisabeth Schussler-Firorenza: feminist theologian and Call to Action national conference speaker. Was on a panel with Fr. Bryan Hehir at Harvard where she complained about people who criticized Catholics that voted for pro-abortion politicians
- Teresa Kane: best known for her 1979 speech to Pope John Paul II in which she asked for women priests. The Holy Father responded negatively. In 2009, she criticized the Vatican for their visitations to women’s religious communities saying: “Regarding the present interrogation, I think the male hierarchy is truly impotent, incapable of equality, co-responsibility in adult behavior…In the church today, we are experiencing a dictatorial mindset and spiritual violence.”
- Pierre Theilard de Chardin: From Wikipedia, we see that he abandoned traditional interpretations of creation in the Book of Genesis in favor of a less strict interpretation. This displeased certain officials in the Roman Curia and in his own order who thought that it undermined the doctrine of original sin developed by Saint Augustine. Teilhard’s position was opposed by his Church superiors, and some of his work was denied publication during his lifetime by the Roman Holy Office
So, what we have is Sr. Annette saying that most of the people who represent “wisdom figures” for her are pretty much objectively “off the reservation” in terms of their public adherence to Church teachings. Sr. Annette is on-the-record as being inspired by these people, of course along with being involved in the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good and the ACORN-funding Catholic Campaign for Human Development. We are not criticizing Sr. Annette as a person–she may be very nice. But, should someone like her who feels these people are “wisdom figures” and who felt OK being involved in the CACG for whatever period of time she was a member really be on the search committee for a faithful Catholic leader of the public policy voice of the Massachusetts bishops? Can’t the Diocese of Springfield do better and find someone less controversial to serve on the committee?
We are updating our campaign letter to mention this. In the meantime, try dropping a dime to Bishop McConnell’s office in Springfield at 413 732-3175. Tell them you think Sr. Annette should be removed from the MCC search process because she was a part of a committee that pushed for Catholics to vote for pro-abortion Catholic politicians–and because she’s on the record as viewing as “wisdom figures” some of the Catholic Church’s most prominent dissenters from the teachings of the Church. Ask them what Bishop McConnell is doing about this problem.
Check back later today for the updated FedUp buttons this evening.