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Folks, it’s official now.  The coup that we talked about
back in April is a fait accompli.  Today’s Pilot reports that Scot Landry will now be Secretary for Catholic Media, leaving his position as Secretary for Institutional Development.  Though it’s good that they kept an orthodox Catholic guy in the Cabinet, the expression “spinning a silk purse from a sow’s ear” comes immediately to mind about a role involving media & communications for this particular diocese.  That cannot be underestimated as a problem, but we don’t have more to say now.  Beyond that seemingly insurmountable problem, we learned that Neal Finnegan is on the board of Catholic TV.  Neal was chair of Catholic Charities when Bryan Hehir was president of CC, so they are long-time buddies. Neal is turning out to be more influential than many people may have realized, and it all seems to come back to extensions of the Bryan Hehir power-base.  Finnegan also led the search that hired Chancellor James McDonough (who was part of the coup), and Finnegan has given more than $12,000 since 2004 to pro-abortion, pro-gay political candidates like Joe Biden, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry.  How do folks with this history of supporting politicians who rabidly oppose the Catholic Church get named to key positions like that?  We wish Scot good luck in his new role–but how would you like to be in charge of Catholic media given the deeply ingrained institutional forces above and around you who spend personal funds and energies supporting politicians who oppose the Church?

What was published about the search committee for the new secretary of development is already grounds for concern–it will include Chancellor McDonough, the Vicar General, and unnamed members of the Catholic Foundation Board.  It is known that Chancellor McDonough had a role in the coup, so that is troublesome.  No evidence of strong leadership by the Vicar General has been reported since he took his role nearly 4 years ago.  And we don’t know who the Catholic Foundation Board members are.  Cardinal O’Malley should publish the names of everyone on the search committee for this position, there should be no one on the search committee who has a history of donating to politicians who have opposed the Church on abortion and marriage, and no candidate should even make a short-list of consideration (let alone get hired) who has donated to pro-abortion politicians.  In addition, no one from the Catholic Schools Foundation fundraising campaign who threw Fr. Rafferty under the bus and said they were disturbed about him legitimately rejecting the child of a lesbian couple should be even remotely under consideration for this role.

Keep reading our “Big Picture on the Catholic Schools Situation” blog post started yesterday.  The content is the first and only place you will see everything you need to know about this.

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Where are Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Fr. Bryan Hehir,
Catholic Charities President Tiziana Dearing, Mass Catholic Conference Head Ed Saunders, and the leadership of the Knights of Columbus when you really need them?

While the State of Massachusetts faces an unemployment rate of 9.3-9.5% and has cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget that was previously used to help serve the poor, mentally ill and elderly, the House of Representatives just passed $24 million in funding to the Departments of Education and Public Health for the 2011 state budget that could allocate millions of our tax dollars for gay school programs.  Two senior House leaders (Speaker Bob De Leo and Ways and Means Chair Charles Murphy)  who are members of the Knights of Columbus decided to include and approve this.  According to MassResistance, if it goes through, this would allow the homosexual lobby access to “an enormous stream of money to fund programs such as gay-straight alliance clubs, gay/transgender appreciation days, Youth Pride events, homosexual-themed library books, gay assemblies, off-campus homosexual events, and other activities in the full kindergarten-12th grade spectrum.” The funding legislation now goes to the State Senate for their approval. The Mass Catholic Conference falls under the responsibility of Fr. Bryan Hehir and he led the 2005 search committee that hired its current head, Ed Saunders.  What have Hehir’s Mass Catholic Conference, the Archdiocese of Boston and Massachusetts Bishops, and the K of C said about this and asked citizens to do about this?  Nothing.

Here are a few examples of how state budget cuts are hurting the needy.  Further below, you’ll find details on what you can do to try and break the “cone of silence” from our Catholic Church officials on this thing.

Elderly feel pinch of state budget (April 8, 2010)
“The Patrick administration has failed to follow through on key commitments to help older citizens avoid nursing homes and stay in their homes and communities, actions that could save the state significant money”

Women are especially hard hit by state budget cuts, report says (Jan 12, 2010)
“…cuts in state funding to programs that provide adult education, employment training, and child care subsidies are having a detrimental effect on women”

Budget cuts will imperil state’s poor (Nov. 19, 2009)
The state estimates that the children of 9,100 families with parents so severely disabled that they qualify for federal Supplemental Security Income benefits will lose their state cash assistance as a result of the $600 million in budget cuts that Governor Deval Patrick announced late last month.

Mental health liaisons laid off : Agency loses 100 case managers; more cuts feared (Jan. 8, 2009)
The state Department of Mental Health, facing a more than $9 million cut in its budget, yesterday laid off nearly one quarter of the case managers who supervise people with severe mental illness and make sure they get the services they need.

So what we have is the prospect of adding taxpayer funding for gay school education programs in the face of these massive cuts in aid to the needy.  Are Fr. Bryan Hehir, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, MCC Head Saunders, Tiziana Dearing and everyone else who cares about social justice these days comfortable with this? Why is no one speaking out or sending an email from the Church to citizens of the state asking them to call their legislators and try to stop this? When will someone from the hierarchy public denounce the moves by so-called “Catholic” Knights of Columbus and ask them to resign from the Knights or stop promoting themselves as members of the Knights? We sometimes have heard certain people involved with public policy say they are not taking a public stance on a key issue because “We don’t want to alienate our allies in the Legislature.”  To that perspective, the blogging team here would respond, “What allies in the Legislature?”

We received emails from John O’Gorman and MassResistance that further explain this.  See below for more:

Dear Concerned Parents, Catholics, K of C members,

MA House Speaker Bob DeLeo and Ways and Means Chair Charles Murphy support giving millions of taxpayers’ dollars for homosexual programs in schools.

(MassResistance Update, May 6, 2010, below)

Both Bob DeLeo and Charles Murphy are Knights of  Columbus members with top Planned Parenthood ratings.
The silence from K of C member Cardinal Sean O’Malley, K of C  State Deputy Bill Donovan and K of C State Chaplain Bishop Daniel  Reilly is deafening. Contact all of them. Make sure they hear your  outrage!

House Speaker Bob DeLeo, Robert.DeLeo@state.ma.us
PH: 617-722-2500

Ways and Means Chair Charles Murphy, Rep.CharlesMurphy@hwm.State.MA.US
PH:  617-722-2990

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Sdiago@RCAB.org
PH: 617-254-0100

K of C State Deputy Bill Donovan, WFDSR93KOFC@HOTMAIL.COM
PH: 781 551 0628

K of C State Chaplain Bishop Daniel Reilly
PH: 508 791 7171

Yours Faithfully,

John O’Gorman

By the way, here are descriptions of the actual legislation, as provided by MassResistance (their markings in bold).

Department of Education:

7010-0005 For the operation of the department of elementary and secondary education; provided, that not later than November 17, 2010, the department shall submit a progress report to the secretary of administration and finance, the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means and the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on education on efforts by the department to further define and advance the strategic vision of the department, along with a detailed implementation plan for realizing that vision; and provided further, that the department, in collaboration with the commission on gay and lesbian youth established by section 67 of chapter 3 of the General Laws, may allocate funds for programming to ensure public schools’ compliance with the board of elementary and secondary education’s recommendations which take into account the commission’s recommendations, for the support and safety of gay and lesbian students and the implementation of related suicide and violence prevention efforts and reduction of health disparities for GLBT youth”…………………………… $13,031,114

Department of Public Health:

4590-0250 For school health services and school-based health centers in public and non-public schools; provided, that the department may expend not more than 5 per cent of funds on administrative expenses; provided further, that services shall include, but not be limited to: (a) strengthening the infrastructure of school health services in the areas of personnel and policy development, programming and interdisciplinary collaboration; (b) developing linkages between school health services programs and community health providers; (c) incorporating health education programs, including tobacco prevention and cessation activities in school curricula and in the provision of school based health services; and (d) incorporating obesity prevention programs, including nutrition and wellness programs, in school curricula to address the nutrition and lifestyle habits needed for healthy development; and provided further, that the services shall meet standards and eligibility guidelines established by the department in consultation with the department of elementary and secondary education; and provided further, that funding shall be expended to address the recommendations of the commission on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, established in section 67 of chapter 3 of the General Laws, for the reduction of health disparities for gay, lesbian bisexual and transgendered youth”…………… $11,697,967

Beyond following the instructions above, if you are disturbed that the Catholic Conference and Massachusetts Bishops are not taking action on these matters, please use our Take Action page to complain even higher up on the hierarchical food-chain.

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Folks, we’re now in the homestretch on Fr. Bryan
Hehirs social justice convocations and speakers & sponsors he recruits who’ve shown anti-Catholic agendas. First-time readers may want to start with Fr. Hehirs 2006 Social Justice Conference (sponsored by the ACORN-funding Catholic Campaign for Human Development with a speaker who organized a churchs march in Boston’s Gay Pride parade). Also check-out 2009 Conference reports Part 1 and Part 2.

The final speaker at the 2009 Conference we’ll cover is Tiziana Dearing, President of Catholic Charities of Boston.  Its a six-figure job based on what other heads of regional Catholic Charities earn.  Oh and she was hand-picked by Bryan Hehir for the job and was a student of his, and he was also her spiritual director.  To be fair from her resume she looks to be a strong academic and professional background but at the same time some of her public statements and support for anti-Catholic causes, left-wing radical activisits and politicians are troubleing.  Here are a few highlights from her background we thought readers would be interested in knowing.  Lets see what the student apparently learned from the teacher…

Support for Pro-Abortion Politicians

Seems like you can only get hired by Fr. Bryan Hehir or put up as a speaker at an event if you’ve either given to a pro-abortion politician or supported some effort that works against the Church, and Ms. Dearing is no exception.

First of all, according to  Fundrace, in the 2004 election cycle, Dearing donated $300 to the U.S. presidential campaign of pro-abortion Sen. John Kerry.  Not a lot, some might say, but it still says something.

In 2003, she spoke on WBUR about “Politics and Family Relationships” to share the challenges of being a Hillary Clinton supporter in the face of her in-laws who were strongly conservative.  (You can find the roughly 4-minute segment  starting at about 44:45).  Ms. Dearing said in college she was “leaning left of left” when she and her future husband met. Now married and more mature, she complained in her narrative about having been lectured for more than a decade by her mother-in-law about Hillary and “the evils of a power-hungry woman with no respect for other women who care to raise their families.” For years Dearing said she:

remained puzzled and stunned by the ferocity of her [mother inlaw’s] dislike [for Clinton].  There was no reasoning, no looking at the pros and cons. No separating the policies from the person. Full-on contempt.

Puzzled and stunned, huh?  So, there would be no logical or reasonable basis whatsoever for someone to have a dislike for Hillary and Bill Clinton.  Gosh, where should I start in explaining this further?

Support Community Organizer & Obama Campaign Architect, Marshall Ganz

For those infamiliar with Marshall Ganz, allow me to share some background for a moment and then you’ll see the connectoin with Tiziana Dearing and Fr. Hehir.  Marshall Ganz is a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.  Ganz’s expertise is in community organizing and he teaches organizing for change. He is considered by some to be “a giant” in the field of community organizing, with seminal experience going back to the civil rights movement and working with Cesar Chavez’s United Farm Workers.   Ganz was an early architect of Voice of the Faithful, an organization whose motto is “Keep the Faith, Change the Church” and that called for radical restructuring of the Catholic church. As Catholic Culture put it, “He helped to organize this movement against the Catholic Church in which innocent faithful suffered harassment for doing nothing more than what Americans are promised in the U.S. Constitution, exercising their freedom to worship…This organization does not seek to encourage Catholics to proclaim and live their faith, but rather to take control of the Catholic Church and change its teaching and morality.”  Shortly after Cardinal Bernard Law resigned Ganz is reported to have said to a small gathering of Harvard colleagues working with him on Voice of the Faithful, “Congratulations, we have just brought down a Cardinal!”  He is also widely credited with devising the successful grassroots organizing model and training for Barack Obama’s winning 2008 presidential campaign.

Whats the tie-in with Ms. Dearing and Fr. Bryan Hehir?  Fr. Bryan Hehir and Marshall Ganz are both professors at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and here they both are under the umbrella of the Hauser Center on Nonprofit Organizations, which Tiziana Dearing ran as executive director before she became President of Catholic Charities.  And Ganz didn’t just have an affiliation with the Hauser Center—this April 2006 newsletter discusses a variety of courses and seminars he taught, as well as other events with Bryan Hehir and Catholic dissident Mary Jo Bane as panelists.  It also reveals how the Archdiocese further entwined itself with the Hauser Center by enlisted the Hauser Center’s Prof. Jack McCarthy to lead the Archdiocese’s efforts around financial transparency.

But I digress.  Here are  few examples of Tiziana Dearing and Marshall Ganz’s work: 

  • Tiziana Dearing as executive director helped Ganz propagate his left-wing Saul Allinsky-style organizing models and training to broader audiences.  Here’s Ganz’s gushing appreciation to Ms. Dearing for her help:

 I’d like to thank…for their creative, careful, and persistent work designing this website. Thanks to Tiziana Dearing, Executive Director of the Hauser Center for her vision and consistent support turning that vision into reality.

Organizers identify, recruit and develop leadership; build community around leadership; and build power out of community….Organizers work through campaigns…Campaigns polarize…

 Alinsky and Bobo offer some “how to’s” for organizing strategy and tactics.  Reference: Saul Alinsky, Reveille for Radicals

  •  Marshall Ganz on the Obama healthcare initiative that brings socialised medicine to 1/7 of the U.S. economy

…progressive health care activists need to take to the streets. I don’t know a single significant social change accomplished in this country that hasn’t involved civil disobedience.”  (October 2009 interview)

Ganz was reflecting on the Obama administration’s struggle to summon public support for healthcare reform. He believes Obama’s team forgot the Saul Alinsky maxim that good organizers have split personalities–they polarize audiences in order to mobilize for a cause, and after building power, they depolarize to settle for negotiated gains.  “You have to create the urgency and the need for action, which inherently involves a process of polarization,” Ganz explained, “but then, to actually settle anything, you have to shift and be able to negotiate….Returning to “Rules for Radicals,” Ganz added, “It’s like Alinsky once said, ‘The liberals need radicals.’… Unless you have that pressure out there, it’s not going to happen.” (The Nation, March 5, 2010)

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins–or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom–Lucifer.

Oh, by the way, did I forget to mention that Hillary Clinton’s college thesis was a tribute to Marxist Saul Alinsky?  As an article by HUMAN EVENTS Assistant Editor Amanda Carpenter makes clear, the study of Alinsky’s methods apparently created much of Sen. Clinton’s political persona, and formed the basis of her political methodology.

Hillary Clinton’s political methods were founded on the theories of a 1960s radical about whom she wrote her college thesis in 1969…She titled the paper, written to fulfill her Bachelor of Arts degree at Wellesley College, “There is Only the Fight.” It praises the work of radical activist Saul Alinsky, a man who epitomized a self-interested no-holds barred campaign style that Hillary has emulated in later years.  Clinton’s savvy-but-ruthless politics, including the “politics of personal destruction” she so often condemns but more often practices, seem rooted in Alinsky’s famous rules for radicals.  

According to MSNBC, in her thesis, Clinton wrote:

Much of what Alinsky professes does not sound ‘radical.’ His are the words used in our schools and churches, by our parents and their friends, by our peers. The difference is that Alinsky really believes in them and recognizes the necessity of changing the present structures of our lives in order to realize them.”

(So it all comes back to Hillary!)

Seriously, since Tiziana Dearing and Bryan Hehir are both obviously buddies with Marshall Ganz, why haven’t they asked him to focus his talents in community organizing towards things like vocations to the priesthood, where the shortage in the Archdiocese could lead to more parish closings?  Fr. Hehir and Ms Dearing, how’s about you introduce Marshall to Fr. Dan Hennessey over in the Vocations Office next week?  Or how about Ganz getting introduced to Fr Richard Clancy and the college campus ministry folks?  If you could organize some communities to raise money for them, they could focus on saving the souls of college students rather than going out and raise private funds to support the great work they’re doing.  How about community organizing to advance the agenda of the American Life League or Mass Citizens for Life, or for MassResistance, that’s fighting the gay agenda in schools and society, or for our own Catholic Appeal, or for Catholic Charities, or the Little Sisters of the Poor, or the Missionaries of Charity or Sisters of Life?  

Tiziana Dearing Criticism of Pro-Lifers

I was thinking maybe I should just stop at this point, but I thought this post would be incomplete without sharing one more public comment from Ms. Dearing. 

In this 2005 radio editorial, we hear how “Massachusetts resident Tiziana Dearing has been frustrated with the rhetoric she has heard from both sides of the recent debates over life issues.”  Listen starting at around 22:40.

The country has been talking a lot about life, and somehow the conversation seems so much cheaper than the real thing.  The Terry Schiavo case, death of the Pope..battles around appointing pro-life judges…All of these are serious issues, but all of these have been hijacked in one way or another by one side or the other—to promote what seems less about a culture of life and more about pure political agenda. One side has chosen fear-mongering.  They seem to argue that life is so fragile, its flutter so tenuous, that it has to be defended with a fierceness, a zealotry, a kind of meanness that seems to give no credence to life’s robust, nearly indestructible essence. And the other side seems so afraid to give ground to its opponents that it denies any fragility at all.  All questions of life at any stage seem to get treated cavalierly, as if any qualm any instinct to reach out a protecting hand is fundamentally  both ideological and traitorous. I don’t buy either side…I think  most of us understand better than we’re given credit for both sides of the stories we’re hearing…Life is not a wedge issue…It’s what we have in common with all its nuance.

Is life in the womb “robust” and “nearly indestructible”?  Ask the 52 million babies aborted in the past 37 years.  Does your colleague Marshall Ganz refrain from fear-mongering?  Are zealous, polarizing tactics OK when you’re trying to advance a Marxist or socialist agenda, but not OK when someone is trying to protect the life of the unborn against those who simply “won’t reach out a protecting hand” and instead advocate taking the life of an unborn person?

To Ms. Dearing, Fr. hehir, others identified in this blog, and all of the “social jusstice” advocates who take issue with the opinions in these posts,  I point you to Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exortation Christifideles Laici ON THE VOCATION AND THE MISSION OF THE LAY FAITHFUL IN THE CHURCH AND IN THE WORLD:

Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights-for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.

This concludes our 3-part blog series on the speakers and sponsors Fr. Bryan Hehir has featured at his two Archdiocesan Social Justice conferences.  I am hard pressed to understand why these programs with these speakers and sponsors would be run by any Catholic archdiocese and why the organizer of them would still be a position of leadership.  Can anyone in the Pastoral Center in Braintree offer an explanation for this?

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In view of it being Holy Week, I debated whether to post.  But the betrayal of Jesus brought to mind the betrayal of Catholic moral values that seem to have been encouraged by many of the speakers and sponsors Fr. Bryan Hehir recruits for his recent Social Justice Conferences so I thought I should share highlights. 

These conferences have been officially sponsored by the Archdiocese of Boston—with Fr. Hehir, of course, as keynote speaker and primary driver behind the scene.  The conference is called, “Moving Towards the Light” and their have been two in recent years.  In the same way that moths are attracted to light, these conferences seem to be magnets that draw an array of speakers and sponsors with controversial backgrounds and histories of supporting those who work against the Church.    

2006 Social Justice Conference .  This took place on March 19, 2006 and was funded by the Campaign for Human Development.  That would be the same USCCB-affliliated “Catholic” Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) which the American Life League reported on March 5th had a “scandalous relationship” with groups advocating for abortion and same-sex marriage.  The American Life League identified 15 organizations supported by CCHD who were promoting abortion and same-sex marriage, and another 31 who are partnered with the pro-abortion Center for Community Change.  For others not familiar with CCHD, its also the same organization that collects money from Catholics in the pews every year claiming it goes towards anti-poverty programs, while they were funding ACORN and a range of Saul Allinsky-modeled radical, left-wing political organizations. CCHD would be a series of columns all there own.  I refer you to the following excellent coverage.

     US Bishops Anti-Poverty Arm Defunds Accused Group (March 25, 2010)

     CCHD Pushes Pro-Abort Groups in Lent Stations of the Cross (March 2010)

     Green Bay bishop questions Catholic charities (March 2010)

     Time to Start Answering Questions about Catholic Campaign for Human Development (Feb. 2010)

     More Proof the Catholic Campaign for Human Development Should Be Eliminated (Sept 2009)

    The Bigger Scandal: Catholic Church Funding of ACORN (Sept 2009)

     Catholic Campaign for Human Development and ACORN – Rotten to the Core (Oct 2008)

Notice the flyer for the event (page 15-16), distributed to all parishes, was included in the handout/package for a quarterly meeting of the Cardinal Sean O’Malleys Archdiocesan Pastoral Council.  The first two sponsors listed—The Labor Guild and Catholic Charities—fell under Fr. Hehirs direct responsibility at the time.

Lest this post run too long, let’s just take a look at just the first presenter listed, Kate Carter.  TKate’s topic and area of expertise was Parish Social Justice Committees because she was running the social justice committee at Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton, MA.  (Credit to blog reader Diane from Newton for passing along this info!). By the way, for those not familiar with Our Ladys and their social justice committee, that would be the same group that sponsored Our Ladys’ participation in the annual Boston Gay Pride Parade.   The parish bulletin listing from May 25, 2005 reads in part:

One way to show your support is to join the Gay & Lesbian Faith Sharing Group and the Justice and Peace Committee in the Gay Pride Parade and Pride Interfaith Service on Saturday, June 11th. To participate and/or for further details, please contact Kate Carter at ext. 232”

I hate to be digging up what for many readers is no doubt old news (so please don’t complain in the comments you didn’t learn something new), but I mention this because Fr. Hehir was clearly well aware of this background when he put together his social justice event in early 2006.  Heres the Boston Globe’s coverage of the 2005 Gay Pride event, featuring a write-up about “newlywed” Rosa Buffone, who proudly marched in the parade as a member of Our Ladys Parish Council.  Why would the Archdiocese and Cardinal archbishop want to still have today as a senior cabinet secretary advising the archbishop, the man who as Cabinet Secretary for Social Services in 2006 was responsible for and who key-noted an official archdiocesan conference funded by the CCHD and featuring this speaker talking about how to form and run a parish social justice committee—a speaker coming from a parish where the pastor advocated for gay marriage to the parish and in written testimony to the Massachusetts legislature

Did Fr. Hehir somehow “not know” about the background described above and years of controvery about the organizations CCHD was funding?  Hehir’s  history, political acumen, connections, intellect, and well-documented Marxist leanings would  suggest otherwise.  Can someone in the Archdiocese or the Roman Catholic hierarchy explain via comments or email what Im missing and why Fr. Hehirs still around?

Lest this post get too lengthy, I’ll continue coverage by highliting detials of the 2009 Archdiocesan Social Justice Conference in a separate post.

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The psalm from today’s Mass struck me this morning.  “The Lord will guard us, as a shepherd guards his flock.” (Jeremiah 31:10, 11-12).  I love praying on that image of the shepherd guarding his flock, but the current situation in the Archdiocese of Boston feels more like the wolves have come and the shepherd has run off.  Two examples are what’s happening with Fr. Bryan Hehir’s involvement in Catholic hospitals (Caritas Christi) and his push to reorganize the Archdiocese’s cabinet leadership.

Catholic hospitals.  We learned this past Thursday that Caritas Christi is to be sold.  It may be that it’s a good arrangement financially for the hospitals, and we all hope that the Catholic identity and ethics can be maintained.  But, it also looks like wolves are involved in the decision-making and no shepherd in sight, as Fr. Bryan Hehir and business leaders with histories of supporting pro-abortion poiticians are on the Caritas board.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s delegate to the board of Caritas Christi is Fr. Hehir.  Supposedly 3 Board members represent the Catholic Church responsible for maintaining Catholic identity, and there’s little doubt that Fr. Hehir had a key role recommending Caritas Board members like past Chair of Catholic Charities of Boston, Neal F. Finnegan–who, by the way, has also given $19,000 to pro-abortion political candidates in recent years.

Finnegan was Chair of the Boston Catholic Charities board in 2003 when they rejected the request by then-apostolic administrator Bishop Lennon to turn down funds raised by the dissident group “Voice of the Faithful”  and he was still  board Chair when Fr. Hehir named president of Catholic Charities of Boston later that year.  In 2005 Fr. Hehir and Catholic Charities honored Finnegan for  his “commitment to our mission…the values which should animate our ministry every day — respect for the dignity of each person, the quest for greater social and economic justice  and a belief that meaning in life flows from service to others.”  I don’t quite understand how you can respect the dignity of each person while giving $$ to politicians who support taking the lives of the unborn but perhaps I’m missing something.

There’s more.  Chair of the Caritas Board, James Karam, quoted in Thursday’s Globe article, contributed more than $19,000 among the campaigns of President Barrack Obama; Hillary Clinton; US Sen. John Kerry; Gov. Deval Patrick; Congresmen Barney Frank, and others.  In total, 5 Caritas Board members have given $58,000 to pro-abortion political candidates.  (Thanks to  Catholic Action League for their research).

By the way, it was Finnegan, Karam and John Kaneb, who picked the President of Caritas Christi, Dr. Ralph de la Torre.  Mr. Kaneb is vice chair of the Archdiocesan Finance Council and came out in support of Notre Dame’s decision to honor pro-abortion President Obama at their 2009 commencement, referring to  Notre Dame as, “a beacon of adherence to its Catholic character.”   (Not!)  Turns out that it was Jack Connors who introduced Dr. de la Torre to the archdiocese search committee, so it all comes full circle.

But wait, there’s one more thing.  Today we learn that de la Torre, his wife and Caritas colleagues gave more than $34,000 to the pro-abortion U.S. Senate candidate, Martha Coakley.  Caritas president even hosted Coakely at a fund-raiser at his Newton home.  For those who forgot, Coakley said on the campaign trail that devout Catholics “probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.”

How can we preserve Catholic identity in decision-making when the Catholic Church-appointed delegates to the Board (including the likes of Fr. Hehir) have records of dissent and/or a history of making significant financial contributions to politicians who fervently oppose the Church?  The businessmen involved may be capable administrators or dealmakers, but in terms of adhernce to Catholic moral teachings, it feels like  a pack of wolves guarding the sheep. My open request to the Cardinal  is this: In the new arrangement for Caritas, can we immediately replace Fr. Hehir and the other so-called ‘Catholic’ board members of Caritas with people who are known to be faithful to Church teachings?

Plans to reorganize the Archdiocese’s cabinet leadership. I don’t know where this stands today, but reports at ThrowTheBumsOutIn2010 and persistent chatter suggest Fr. Hehir, Jack Connors, and others including Chancellor James P. McDonough are angling to push aside or push out the one orthodox person in the cabinet, who has been driving successful programs in fund-raisng and evangelization.  This latest scandal for the archdiocese is  happening as we speak and may already be beyond remedy.  I know something about Fr. Hehir and Jack Connors, but don’t know much about Chancellor McDonough.

We do know that the chair of the search committee that chose Chancellor McDonough is none other than Neal Finnegan.  Not that I’m trying to draw any parallels here or rush to judgement, as he may be very good in business matters unrelated to Church teachings.  That committee included “clergy from the archbishop’s administrative cabinet” (which, given the cabinet in 2006, can only mean you-know-who.  UPDATE/CORRECTION: Members of the search committee are named below by sully in the Comments section).  Anyway, if the guy responsible for assembling a committee to pick the chancellor feels good spending $19,000 of his own money to support pro-abortion candidates who actively oppose Church teachings, how much effort do we think he put into understanding if the Chancellor’s ideology was consistent with Church teachings? 

So, where are we at right now? Well, instead of the shepherd guarding the flock from the wolf, the current situation feels more like this passage from the Gospel of John:

A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.  This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep.”  (John 10:12)

It’s pretty clear to me who represents the wolf in this picture.  Can anyone get the shepherd to come back, exercise leadership for a change, and chase the wolf away before it’s too late and the sheep all scatter?

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I am blogging for the first time and want to make this an open blog/letter to Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston regarding the situation with Fr. Bryan Hehir.

After hearing the pitch for the 2010 Catholic Appeal last weekend, my wife said something about Fr. Hehir trying to influence the direction or organization of the Mens and Womens Conferences and also something about the structure or responsibilities of the cabinet.  Posts to this blog and elsewhere confirmed what the wife heard so I feel people should say and do something.  I would ask Cardinal Sean if I could speak with him the following question: After all of the scandal Fr. Hehir has helped bring upon the Church through his words and actions, is he still really in a position of responsibility and providing advice you listen to?

Cardinal Sean, I invite you to look at this article from Catholic Culture about Fr. Hehir from several years ago. Here are just a few highlights from the article and also what we have observed over time.  I have decided I will blog more details about these that I have researched and learned more about:

  • Fr. Hehir advocated that the Church be silent in the public square regarding contraception
  • His writings on contraception have been used by Catholics for a Free Choice to oppose a conscience clause for employees of Catholic  hospitals  that would exempt them from having to provide contraceptive products and services
  • His positions on communism, nuclear disarmament, and U.S. policy in Nicaragua have all proven to be wrong
  • He hired the current head of the Mass Catholic Conference, despite the person’s history of personal donations to politicians who rabidly opposed the Church on key issues
  • He honored the pro-abortion Mayor Tom Menino at a Catholic Charities fundraiser dinner.  I think you, Cardinal Sean, pulled out from the scandal and controversy if my memory serves me correct
  • His Social Justice conferences have featured speakers or representatives of organizations who publicly dissent from Church teachings, including a woman who led a Catholic church’s participation in Boston’s Gay Pride parade
  • He defended gay adoptions by Catholic Charities as a part of a need to “balance various goods”.  As we all know, the Vatican later ruled him wrong.
  • As your liaison to Caritas Christi to maintain the hospitals Catholic identity, he neglected to head-off the Centene fiasco and scandal last year over referring patients for abortions before it exploded publicly. He also helped pick many of the Caritas Board members who contributed to the scandalous decision in the first place.
  • He serves today as a Board member of several prominent University centers that sponsor speakers who publicly dissent from Church teaching.  He has also accepted honors and awards from organizations that publicly dissent from Church teachings
  • His speaking engagements include being keynote speaker with an advocate for gay priests, and featured talks with a lesbian feminist who advocates for women priests and at a gay-friendly church in a series with a gay activist who published a graphic guide to safe gay sex

The author of the Catholic Culture article wrote in conclusion, “the Church cannot regain her health until churchmen stop promoting those who are uncommitted to her teachings and values. When someone with questionable antecedents is finally identified as complicit in an intolerable evil, the chain of advancement needs to be traced back to those who had every reason to know better. Their records too must be regarded as blemished so that their future recommendations will be ignored. This is the first step to untangling the web of ecclesiastical promotion, which is also the key to straightening out nearly everything else.”

My wife and I have to ask the question: Cardinal Sean, are you accepting or are you ignoring Fr. Hehir’s recommendations today?  If you are still accepting his advice and recommendations, I humble ask and pray that you reconsider.

I feel the future of the Catholic Church in Boston hinges on your answer to the question.

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