Archive for the ‘Social Justice Conference’ Category

Before reading today’s post, you’ll want to read the previous post about How People from the Archdiocese React to Your Emails.

A priest who serves on the Presbyteral Council and who also works at the Chancery on an important initiative responded back to our email/fax campaign (“Catholics Ask Holy See to Intervene in Boston Archdiocese“) over the Catholic Schools policy to admit children of gay parents and complained about getting “spammed” by our emails.

In How People from the Archdiocese React to Your Emails, he sent us a short email asking to be removed from the emails. Since he’s a member of the Presbyteral Council who apparently approved this ill-conceived policy, we asked him a few questions:

  • Are you OK with the use of the Holy Father’s quote out of context at the beginning of the policy, which has the intended effect of deceiving readers into believing the Holy Father approves of such a policy?
  • When a gay or lesbian couple becomes chair of a fund-raising or parent committee, how exactly will the school avoid implicitly or explicitly giving recognition to the validity of their relationship?
  • When a five-year-old asks their parents why Johnny has two daddies, how does this avoid corrupting the innocence of the young mind of that child?
  • Is there some process for how individual Catholics should communicate directly with the Presbyteral Council members?

He responded back, but never answered the questions about the deception or the problems with the inherently flawed policy.  That’s probably because he had no credible answers for them. He conveniently skipped those, and only commented on how he personally would like to receive communications.

Communications from the faithful to him need to be neat and not bothersome.  If a lot of people have the same thing to say, we should go to the effort of aggregating all of the input in one petition with all of the signatures, so he is not troubled by multiple emails.

He feels people should each go to the effort of writing their own personal messages, rather than signing a pre-written letter, even though the Cardinal and his leadership team have such a well-established practice of ignoring personal correspondence from faithful Catholics, that people just don’t want to waste the time any more composing personal letters they know will end up going nowhere.

Our method of communicating didn’t help him understand how we came to our conclusions.  Isn’t this one-page letter with six points pretty much self-explanatory about the rationale?

Here’s his email back to Joe, and then you’ll see Joe’s response back to him, slightly edited to not reveal the identity of the priest:

From: Reverend___@rcab.org
To:     Joe Sacerdo <joesacerdo@gmail.com
Date:  Tue, Feb 15, 2011 at 8:51pm
Subj: RE:  Stop sending copies

Mr. Sacerdo:

I am very interested in hearing the voices of Catholics and their opinions. It is important that Catholics share their ideas and concerns with their priests and bishops. It helps our dialogue and helps us to know the “sensus fidelium.” Normally, priests and pastors get these perspectives in personal conversations with their people or at their parish pastoral councils. They bring those concerns to Presbyteral Council meetings on a regular basis.

If your group, using the same words, had decided to send one petition with numerous signatures that would have been instructive and helpful.

If your group had instructed members to send their individual perspectives to me, in their own words but with similar thoughts, that too would have been instructive. I would have been happy to receive all of them.

What I got today was the same message in my email box…over and over again, with only the signature changed. Thus, my comment that, after one, I understood the issue and the concern.

The method you used was not helpful in making sense of how your group arrived at its conclusions. It gave no background. It did feel like “spamming,” even if that were not your intention.

I want to hear important ideas, strong convictions, deeply held beliefs, as long as they are expressed without calumny or detraction and are spoken with true charity.

I have met and spoken with the members of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council on several occasions. I have found them to be dedicated and hardworking members of the Church, men and women who love the Church very much. I would not characterize them and have no reason to believe that this “organization is corrupted.” To characterize this fine group of people in such a way saddens me. I believe it to be an unfair and unjustified accusation, based on what came through today.

Thank you for contacting me. I hope we can continue to find actions that build up the Body of Christ and continue the Cardinal’s mission of recovery, trust and evangelization.

God bless,

Fr. ____

From: Joe Sacerdo
To: “Reverend___@rcab.org”
Date: Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 6:47 PM
Subj: Re: Stop sending copies


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts back in the detailed message.  Much of what you outlined would make sense and would work in the means you outlined–if the actions by the archdiocese weren’t rooted in deception and were rooted in the teachings of the Church.

I think we may differ on much, but on this we should agree–the Catholic Schools admission policy and it’s means of coming about were rooted in deception. Cardinal Sean put out his statement last May saying the Denver policy would be carefully studied and considered, but Fr. Bryan Hehir said a day later on WBUR that the Denver policy didn’t matter at all to the Cardinal–the Boston Archdiocese was already admitting children of gay parents and would continue doing so, just with a formal policy.  One of the these two gentlemen was lying.  Based on the outcome policy, it would appear that it was the Cardinal.  The policy released says that “we are guided by the words of the Holy Father, by Canon Law, and the USCCB.”  We both know that is also a lie.  Mary Grassa O’Neill is on the record in September saying the archdiocese had two options in which way they went with the policy, and an internal decision was made to not discriminate, then the policy was written around that decision.  There was no guidance by the words of the Holy Father, whose quote talked about all students being able to access Catholic education without regard to financial limitation.  The reality is that the decision was made internally to “not discriminate”, apparently based on some combination of the Cardinal’s own belief, Bryan Hehir’s input or pressure from Jack Connors and other donors–and then people went out and found quotes that could be used in some way to back that position. If they read Canon law, they’d know that the Code of Canon Law: Canon 22: prohibits the canonization of civil laws that are “contrary to divine law.” Because same-sex “marriages” or civil unions and mutatis mutandis adoptions are contrary to divine law; it is arguable that the civil law allowing them cannot be regarded by the Church as valid. Admission of the children to Catholic schools would certainly give the impression that the status of the parents is comparable to parents united in the bonds of Holy Matrimony. Furthermore, the principle of subsidiarity would require decisions be made at the pastor level, not by the archdiocese.

What should faithful Catholics make of the objective reality that the Cardinal, the Presbyteral Council and APC all let this through with an intentionally deceptive use of the quote by the Holy Father opening the policy and an outright lie that the archdiocese was guided by the words of the Holy Father?

The policy was created in secret. There was no opportunity for input by rank-and-file Catholics.We tried providing input and it was completely ignored.


APC members were asked to not share drafts with anyone. After the fact, are people supposed to go to their pastor, who might be on the Presbyteral Council, or their local APC member, and politely ask afterwards, “Why did you allow this deception? Could you try to have more integrity in the future?”

Start with deception, you’re going to get angry people when it’s clear what’s happened.

How to communicate with you and others? Ideally, it would be nice if everyone composed their own thoughtful message; however, we have well-established precedents where organizations offer a pre-written letter to sign online in order to weigh-in on issues with Congress or other representative organizations. They operate almost exactly as we created ours… We could consider an approach where the signatures are queued up and one petition with many names is submitted. However, since the Cardinal has established a precedent where he ignores letters and emails sent to him by both lay Catholics and clergy, an individual letter even with many signatures would never be noticed. Perhaps if you can ask him to start responding to letters, as his precedessor did, more people would be willing to take the time to write individual letters. But since he ignores all letters, faithful Catholics no longer want to waste the time composing their thoughts individually so a form-letter is the best solution.

As for the APC, yes, they’re hard-working and many are dedicated to the Church. But they let the Schools Policy go through with no comments about the deception referenced above and they let the archdiocese sponsor a conference featuring Fr. Thomas Massaro, who had a record of supporting a pro-abortion politician excommunicated by her bishop. I know you are quite familiar with that conference. From what I read in another email sent to us, the APC recording secretary obviously has an agenda and it’s not necessarily advancing the teachings of the Church. And she’s now on the Pastoral Planning Commission to plan the future of the archdiocese. More orthodox Catholics from the APC could have no doubt been chosen for this commission, but instead we have a woman who, as evidenced by the email I received, seems to be manipulating the minutes of APC meetings to highlight feedback that goes against Church teachings and minimizing feedback that supports church teachings. That sounds corrupt to me. Previous Social Justice Conferences also backed by the APC had similarly controversial speakers.

I hope this helps explain what got us to this point, and I hope and pray that you and other priests will stand-up and defend Church teachings on the important issues embodied in this policy and other matters.

God bless,

#   #   #   #

The priest didn’t respond to this email.

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For everyone following the situation of the Boston Archdiocesean Social Justice Conference that took place on Saturday, we’re pleased to give you a recap on what happened.

As blog followers know by now, this conference featured Fr. Bryan Hehir and Fr. Thomas Massaro, SJ of BC, who publicly supported the pro-abort Gov. Sebellius for Health and Human Services Secretary in the Obama administration.  Several hundred people sent faxes and emails to the Holy See and Cardinal O’Malley protesting the conference.  Though the event still went on, your efforts made a huge difference to minimize the potential harm to the Body of Christ!

Several Bryan Hehir Exosed readers attended the conference and shared details.  Attendance was only about 100 people, including archdiocesan staff, so the ruckus raised apparently helped keep people away.  We’re not sure why a Boston police officer was stationed at the front door early in the day.  Either the archdiocese was worried about this blog trying to disrupt their festive gathering,  or perhaps they thought the social justice people who are used to protesting things would form a protest to commemorate the day. 

Both Fr. Hehir and Fr. Massaro still spoke, and they avoided saying anything in their talks that was nearly as egregious as what we have documented  here on the blog.   

Fr. Hehir talked on the topic of “Charity of Justice.”  He said “to be Catholic is to be scriptural, sacramental, and social,” and his 4 themes were around life, dignity, work, and vocation.  He said in the Church’s public ministry we must be a voice for  the defense and promotion of life at every stage of life, and then said the bishops of the U.S. over the past 2 decades have said we must cultivate a ”consistent ethic of life” across the entire spectrum of life.  (Of course, as we know, the “consistent ethic of life” is an equivalent way of saying “seamless garment, ”  which is the way of having abortion be considered no more important than other issues like poverty, pornography, and capital punishment). 

One reader told us they cannot understand how Fr. Hehir has become so adept at failing to match his words and deeds.  Fr. Hehir reminded this audience that October is “Pro-Life Month” and acknowledged we need to protect life at all stages from conception to natural death, yet at a BC forum earlier this year, he said he was concerned that conscience exemptions for Catholic healthcare workers could harm the ability of a woman to get abortion services.  How can we protect life starting at conception if you are concerned about how women will get abortions that end the life before the baby is born?  And this is the second year when the Boston Archdiocese has stalled and stone-walled volunteers looking for just a modest top-level endorsement from Fr. Hehir’s secretariat  in  support of  the “40 Days for Life”  initiative supported by dozens of other dioceses.  Fr. Hehir, what gives?  When all eyes are on you, you find a way of saying the right words, but when you are not being watched closely or the rubber hits the road with actions that happen behind closed doors, it’s a different story.

Fr. Massaro’s talk  on Catholic Social Teaching never mentioned abortion specifically.  Here’s Fr Marraro’s handout.  Near the end of his talk, he briefly discussed 9 fundamental themes of Catholic social teaching,  starting with the “Dignity of Every Person and Human Rights” (see page 2 of his handout, bottom of the page).   He verbally referenced protection of life at every phase of life under the “dignity of every person” section and claimed the Vatican documents Pacem in Terris, Centessimum Arrus, and Gaudium et Spes were references for that, but our read of all 3 documents found their focus is not at all about protecting life from conception to natural death.  And Fr. Massaro, the nationally-recognied expert on Catholic social justice made the exact same mistake that Fr. Bryan Hehir made back in 1975, saying that  Pope Paul VI’s Octogesima Adveniens is also known as “A Call toAction .”  In fact, “Call to Action” is merely the title of the 4th section of the Pope Paul VI’s letter, not the name of it. 

Most of the other breakout session speakers at the event had nothing as overtly controversial in their backgrounds as those in past years, so it’s clear the Boston Archdiocese was being more careful this time around to avoid additional criticism.  Nonetheless, two names still jumped out at us—both habitless religious sisters.

Sr. Margaret (Peggy) Cummins, of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) , which helped to pass the abortion-funding Obamacare, was there, speaking on Human Trafficking.  And Sr. Honora Nolty, OP, of RENEW International was there to speak on  faith sharing.   Sr. Nolty is from the Dominican sisters of Amityville, NY.  Here’s their vision:

As prophetic witnesses in collaboration with others, we will call ourselves, the Church and society to credibility. We will be responsible members of the universe. We will promote the dignity of marginalized persons. We will reject violence in ourselves and in society in order that all Generations will grow and cherish life.  With the world as our frontier, we are open to the Spirit.

Whichever reader is the first person to find “God” in the vision statement gets a free copy of the ARISE workbook, courtesy of Bryan Hehir Exposed.   Sr. Nolty was also quoted in a NY Times article in 2005 that talked about how the sisters had to have a ‘tag sale” at the Long Island estate they owned and sold for $35 million:

In recent years, the order held non-denomination retreats and events run by a variety of organizations, but could not raise enough funds to pay the maintenance costs for the building and the grounds….Sr. Margaret said, “We walk away now trusting in the creative power of the universe to create the next thing.”

Perhaps if they had tried holding Catholic retreats there, or maybe they had replaced the “the bronze statue of a Lakota Indian woman carrying a peace pipe”–which stood outside the entrance to the Hakamé house used by the order for art classes—with a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, they would have found more success. As for “trusting in the creative powers of the universe,” we are at a loss for words.

Major appreciation to the hundreds of people who signed the letter to Cardinal O’Malley, the Papal Nuncio, and to the Vatican.  Our message got through loud and clear, and it’s obvious that they cleaned-up their act for this event to ensure that the speakers didn’t  say anything heretical or scandalous. 

But, as long as certain people are still in influential roles, there are yet more important battles ahead.

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For everyone following the “Boston Catholic Tea Party”
protest against the dissident Catholic speakers slotted for the Boston Archdiocese’s Social Justice Conference this Saturday, we are in the homestretch and need you all to help keep the pressure up today.

As of 8:30am Friday, we will have updated our letter to the Holy Father, Papal Nuncio, Cardinal O’Malley, and others, and are asking everyone who is FedUp with the Archdiocese of Boston to click the FedUp button now and send the new letter. (If you signed it once before, please go ahead and sign the new one again!).

Two priests speaking at Saturday’s conference, Fr. James Massaro, SJ and Fr. Bryan Hehir, have records that include supporting pro-abortion politicians, supporting those who advance the gay agenda, or spreading false teachings in ways that can lead people from salvation and harm unity in Christ.

Why is this important for those in other parts of the country as well as Boston?  Because as Boston, MA goes, so goes the country.

It’s been happening since they first dumped the tea.  Now in the 21st Century, it’s continuing but it’s a mirror image – as the angels of darkness pretend to be angels of light. Boston’s a hub for higher education, with the Marxist/socialist ideas long promoted at Harvard and elsewhere  propagating across the country via Boston-educated leaders who have fanned out into government/politics, education, the Catholic Church, and business. 

Massachusetts gave the country gay “marriage.” A federal judge in Massachusetts ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.  Boston’s Catholic Charities caved into the gay agenda, and now Boston Catholic schools have as well.   As this blog has documented, Fr. Bryan Hehir is a linchpin in Saturday’s conference, and  more importantly in propagation of a brand of “Kennedy Catholicism” and so-called “Catholic social justice” that’s often at odds with the teachings handed down by the Magisterium. 

For the sake of the unborn that are killed every day and for the sake of the Body of Christ, we can’t let this continue!

To summarize the case against them and this conference, here are our Top 10 Reasons to Protest Boston’s Social Justice Conference.

  1. Fr. Massaro signed a widely-publicized statement supporting the pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services Secretary in the Obama administration. (Sebelius had vetoed pro-life legislation multiple times, and Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann asked her to not receive Communion until she repudiated her stance on abortion and make a “worthy sacramental confession.”  She refused).
  2. Fr. Massaro is co-chair of the Cambridge Peace Commission that gave annual awards to two gay activists in recent years for their work spreading the GLBT agenda in elementary schools and society
  3. Fr. Hehir spoke at a pro-Communist think-tank in a series “Matthew, Marx, Luke, John” and also accepted an award named after a Chilean communist
  4. Fr. Hehir made “substantive contributions” to a socialist-themed program that corrupted Catholic social doctrine and led to the 1976 “Call to Action” conference
  5. Fr. Hehir was a key architect of the “seamless garment” concept that has downplayed the importance of abortion by the Catholic Church and has given air-cover to pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians such as the Kennedys for decades.  He also was a reviewer of Mario Cuomo’s intellecually mischievous 1984 Notre Dame speech (“I’m personally opposed, but I can’t impose my views on a pluralistic society”), which the Hehir/Bernadin “seamless garment” concept helped validate politically
  6. Fr. Hehir honored the pro-abortion, pro-gay-marriage Mayor of Boston at a Catholic Charities fundraiser
  7. Fr. Hehir was President of Catholic Charities when they were brokering adoptions to gay couples, even though the Vatican said this was doing violence to the child by depriving them of an environment conducive to their full human development.
  8. Fr. Hehir publicly contradicted and criticized Cardinal Ratzinger’s 2004 statement regarding voting for pro-abortion politicians
  9. Fr. Hehir told a Boston College forum this spring he was concerned that Catholic conscience rights for healthcare workers opposed to abortion could harm the woman who “needs” abortion services.
  10. Fr. Hehir praised the “intelligent and courageous leadership” of the Catholic Health Association at their 2010 conference immediately after they helped pass the Obama-backed healthcare legislation that was actively opposed by the U.S.C.C.B. because it allowed funding for abortions. USCCB President, Cardinal George, called the CHA’s actions a “wound to Catholic unity.”

We are frankly FedUp with the Boston Archdiocese and so are thousands of other Catholics.  Among the concerned Catholics who have  written to the Archdiocese, here is one who pleaded,

for the sake of the unborn children who are murdered every day thanks (in part) to the support that abortionists receive from those who call themselves ‘Catholic, ‘please intervene and ask the Cardinal to withdraw the invitation to Fr. Massaro.”

He received no response.

The leadership of the Boston Archdiocese is continuing to thumb their noses at faithful Catholics like you and me.  They seem to be very comfortable protecting and promoting speakers with documented histories of breaking unity with Christ, undermining the faith and leading souls away from salvation with false teachings–rather than halting the dissent and instead making sure those they put on a podium have a history of spreading the saving gospel of Jesus Christ and the true teachings of the Church via all of their words and deeds.  

This affects everyone in the country.  Are you FedUp?

Sign the letter today by hitting the FedUp button to send an email or fax message to the Holy See and Cardinal O’Malley about this ongoing travesty.

After you send the fax, drop a dime to the Papal Nuncio in Washington, DC, His Excellency Pietro Sambi at  (202)333-7121. Tell the woman who answers that you sent a fax and email asking for him to intervene and remove these two speakers from the Boston conference agenda (along with whomever approved those speakers), and also ask her if she can report to you on how specifically His Excellency is handling this situation. 

If you have time to drop a second dime, call Cardinal O’Malley’s office at 617-782-2544 and tell them the same thing.

And please, spread word to at least 5 other friends and family members today, and ask them to do the same. 

The visibility you are helping generate in the Holy See to the Boston problems–which also affect the rest of the country–is unprecedented and will only help build a stronger Catholic Church ahead!

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Revelations about the featured speakers at the
Boston Archdiocese’s Social Justice conference this coming Saturday are getting worse every day, and more and more Catholics from across the country are sounding the alarm bells as part of our “Boston Catholic Tea Party” protest.  Today we hear more about support for gay activism and Marxism by the two featured speakers, Fr. James Massaro and Fr. Bryan Hehir, respectively. Yes, we said Marxism. Read on to see details of Fr. Hehir’s infamous talk in the “Matthew, Marx, Luke, and John” series at the left-leaning, Marxist-oriented Institute for Policy Studies.  Could the Boston Archdiocese possibly pick two worse speakers to place on the speaking podium?  Click on the FedUp button now to sign out letter of complaint to the Holy See.

By now, many people know that on October 9, the archdiocese is sponsoring a Social Justice Conference, featuring Fr. Thomas Massaro, SJ from Boston College along with Fr. Bryan Hehir. We told you how 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.  Her position opposing the Church on partial birth abortion resulted in Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann asking her to not receive Communion until she repudiated her stance and make a “worthy sacramental confession.”

Marxism and Fr. Bryan Hehir

We’ll get to more on the GLBT agenda supported by the commission Fr. Massaro co-chairs, but first, the Marxism angle and Fr. Bryan Hehir.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know about Fr. Bryan Hehir’s undermining Church teaching for nearly 40 years, and thus helping lead souls from salvation–including his presiding over Catholic Charities of Boston when they brokered adoptions to gay couples and when they honored the pro-abortion/pro-gay mayor of Boston, and his undermining Catholic teachings on abortion, Catholic conscience exemptions, women priests, and voting for pro-abortion politicians.

What you may not have known is Fr. Hehir’s past involvement with the Marxist-oriented, gay-agenda-supportive Washington, DC think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies.  Fr. Hehir gave multiple talks there in the 1980s, including speaking in their Washington School series, “Matthew, Marx, Luke, and John” in October of 1983.

As you’ll see by this content on Religious Left Exposed, during the 1980s, the IPS served as a base of operations for those opposed to President Ronald Reagan’s anti-communist foreign policy. It was dedicated to the establishment of revolutionary Marxist and anti-American regimes in Central and Latin America and elsewhere and describes itself as the nation’s oldest progressive multi-issue think-tank. A New York Times Magazine article from April of 2001 exposes IPS as founded on radical, revolutionary and Marxist principles, talking about one contingent described by the IPS director as coming from a Marxist of almost completely comes from a Marxist or liberation basis. One IPS journal has featured “articles celebrating Communist victories in Laos and Angola.”

Anyway, so we were going through the Bryan Hehir archives and found this information about the Washington School series he spoke in (see p. 2).

Matthew, Marx, Luke and John: Theology of the Oppressed

Worldwide poverty and exploitation have brought religious ideological support for conservatism to a crisis.  Liberation theologies—particularly black, feminist and Latin American—provide an ideological counterthrust on behalf of the insurgent resistance.  This course, while focusing on the present through the prism of Vatican II, will discuss ancient and medieval precedents of peasant insurgency and rebellion, together with the practical and ideological leadership provided by priests and lay Christians who, basing themselves in the Bible, defined and ideology for the oppression, not the oppressors.  Topics will include:

  • …ancient and medieval theology: practice and theory
  • parallels in feminist and Latin American theology
  • the Catholic Bishops’ Letter on War and Peace
  • the future of the Christian alliance with Marxism

For attending that series, participants got a free pass to their series on liberation theology. Among the other speakers in the 1983 series was the radical lesbian feminist theologian, Mary Hunt.  Hehir also spoke with her on a panel in a 2002 program at Regis College, where he said, “in 20th century Catholicism, teachings on sexuality have been “a chronically afflicted area.”  You can read more about that program and Mary Hunt here.

In case you think this is just a matter of “guilt by association,” this was not just a one-off talk; Fr. Hehir spoke at the IPS more than once.  We could go on and on about the IPS’s involvement with Marxist and Communist causes and activism.  Here is a short  IPS slide presentation from Religious Left Exposed that highlights a number of troubling revelations we barely have time to share.

As you can see, the IPS was involved in a wide range of left-wing activities. In 1984 they hosted “Sister Boom-Boom” of the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” a group of “Queer Nuns” who mocked the Catholic Church.  The history of the IPS on their website proudly conveys how “Rita Mae Brown wrote and published her path-breaking lesbian coming-of-age novel Rubyfruit Jungle while on the staff in the 1970s.”

Cardinal O’Malley, we know you see Fr. Hehir as a “trusted advisor” and Vicar General, Fr. Erikson, we know you recently described Fr. Hehir as a “good friend.”  Is the background reported here not sufficient to disqualify him as a speaker at the upcoming conference?  Or do we need to remind you about how he told a Boston College forum this spring he was concerned Catholic conscience rights could harm the freedom of women to get abortions?  And do we need to remind you of how he praised the “intelligent and courageous leadership” of the Catholic Health Association at their conference immediately after they helped pass the Obama-backed healthcare legislation that was actively opposed by the U.S.C.C.B. because it allowed funding for abortions?

GLBT Agenda and Cambridge Peace Commission where Fr. Massaro is Co-Chair

If that isn’t enough to disqualify Fr. Hehir from speaking, and if Fr. Massaro’s support for the pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius wasn’t enough to disqualify Massaro from speaking at an archdiocesan-sponsored forum, here’s more.  In our last post we covered Fr. Massaro’s service as co-chair, of the Cambridge Peace Commission, an organization linked with the GLBT agenda which has honored several gay activists in recent years. Fr. Massaro joined the commission in 2003, and in 2006, they gave an award to Emma Howe, who “planted ‘seeds’ of diversity in Cambridge for school families and GLBT communities.” An alert reader noted that Ms. Howe played a key role introducing a GLBT curriculum to school children from kindergarten on up in a Lexington’s elementary school.

Does Fr. Massaro advocate what Emmy Howe achieved when she implemented the curriculum “Making Room in the Circle” into the Estabrook Elementary School in Lexington? Read the Bay Windows article: “Show and Tell” by Ethan Jacobs (6/22/2006 ) to see exactly what she achieved. Read the Glossary of the curriculum “Making Room in the Circle” to see how the children have been indoctrinated into the LGBT way of life! In the Bay Windows article it states: ”She praised Lexington’s efforts at creating an inclusive classroom and said schools need to accept that whatever the feelings of individual parents, same-sex marriage is the law of the land.” Emmy Howe also teaches courses in how to implement the GLBT curriculum for teaches taking courses at Wheelock College.

Fed up yet?  This past May the Cambridge Peace Commission held its 12th Cambridge Peace and Justice Awards and an award was given to Sarav Chidambaram of the Cambridge GLBT Commission “for his work as an advocate and activist within the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community.”  Blogger Paul Melanson asks, “Did Father Massaro vote to award Mr. Chidambaram for his pro-homosexual activism? If so, how does he reconcile such an action with being a Roman Catholic priest who is supposed to demonstrate a submission of mind and will to the Magisterium of the Church (Lumen Gentium, No. 25).

Faithful Catholics are Fed Up with how the Archdiocese of Boston is ignoring objections and allowing this conference to proceed with these two speakers, whose history is one of dissenting from or undermining Church teachings, breaking unity with the Body of Christ, and thereby helping lead souls away from salvation.  Both speakers should be removed from the agenda and whomever invited and approved Fr. Massaro as a speaker should be removed from their position.

Hit the FedUp button to send a message to the Holy See and Cardinal O’Malley about this ongoing travesty. After you send the fax, we also suggest that readers drop a dime to the Papal Nuncio in Washington, DC, His Excellency Pietro Sambi at  (202)333-7121. When the nice woman, Sr. Mary, picks up the phone,  let her know that you sent a fax, and ask her if she can report to you on how specifically His Excellency is handling this situation.

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Momentum is building in our protest against the Boston Archdiocese’s upcoming Social Justice conference, that is still featuring a backer of a pro-abortion politician who is also co-chair of an organization closely linked with the GLBT agenda.  (Keep reading). If you or your friends have not let the Vatican know you are fed up with the Boston Archdiocese, click the “Fed Up” picture to take action immediately. 

We already told you how on October 9, the archdiocese is sponsoring yet another Social Justice Conference, this time featuring Fr. Thomas Massaro, SJ from Boston College along with Fr. Bryan Hehir. We told you how 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.  And we told you how 3 archbishops in Kansas City rebuked her for pro-abortion views that ran contrary to Church teachings, with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann asking her to not receive Communion until she repudiated her stance and make a “worthy sacramental confession.”   And we’ve already shared our complaints about Fr. Hehir’s undermining Church teaching for nearly 40 years, and thus helping lead souls from salvation–including his presiding over Catholic Charities of Boston when they brokered adoptions to gay couples and when they honored the pro-abortion/pro-gay mayor of Boston, and his undermining Catholic teachings on abortion, Catholic conscience exemptions, women priests, and voting for pro-abortion politicians. Are you mad as hell and fed up yet?  Hit the Fed Up graphic and sign the letter to the Papal Nuncio, Cardinal O’Malley, other Vatican officials. But wait, there’s more.

What we only learned a few days ago from Paul Melanson over at LaSalette Journey is that Fr. Massaro is a member, and actually co-chair, of the Cambridge Peace Commission, an organization linked with the GLBT agenda. Paul writes:

this past May the Cambridge Peace Commission held its 12th Cambridge Peace and Justice Awards and an award was given to Sarav Chidambaram of the Cambridge GLBT Commission.  Mr. Chidambaram “was chosen for his work as an advocate and activist within the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community.”  In a recent interview, Mr. Chidambaram said, “The kind of work I do is considered very controversial within our communities and I hardly get any acknowledgement for the work I do.”  If he thinks his work isn’t acknowledged, he should try defending the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church.  Such a task virtually guarantees pariah status.  He continues, “..I accept [this award] as a pat on the back and an inspiration to do more.”  There you have it.  The Cambridge Peace Commission award has inspired Mr. Chidambaram to continue working to undermine marriage and family life within our communities.  Beautiful huh?  See the full interview here.

Just to repeat, Fr. Massaro is co-chair of the commission that made that award a few months ago.  Fed up yet?  He  joined the commission in 2003, not long after the Cambridge Lavender Alliance honored Cathy Hoffman, long-time Director of the Cambridge Peace Commission for her “exemplary activism,”  and not long after Hoffman was also recognized by the City of Cambridge for her GLBT activism

Cathy Hoffman was a member of the filmmaking collective that made the groundbreaking “Pink Triangles,” and she was a leader of the Boston Gay and Lesbian Speakers Bureau.  In particular, she is known and loved for her dedicated work and leadership in … the Gay and Lesbian Defense Committee, an organization dedicated to the overturning of the Dukakis administration’s anti-gay foster care policy.  For all this work on behalf of justice, peace and equality for all, we honor and appreciate Cathy Hoffman; now therefore it be

RESOLVED:  That the City of Cambridge does hereby recognize Saturday, June 9, 2001, as the official Cambridge Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Day, and urges the citizens of Cambridge to recognize this special tribute by joining in the activities of the day and continuing their support for this critical part of our community; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the City Clerk be and hereby is requested to prepare a suitably engrossed copy of this resolution for presentation to the Cambridge Lavender Alliance and Cathy Hoffman.

Fr. Massaro was also on the commission in 2006 when they honored Emmy Howe, who “planted ‘seeds’ of diversity in Cambridge for school families and GLBT communities” and worked in Cambridge “as the first liaison for GLBT families.”

Fr. Massaro is scheduled to speak on “Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching” on October 9.  Is “How to give a clear message to society about the Church’s opposition to abortion and homosexual activity by your words and deeds” a part of his talk?   

When a lay Catholic asked Cardinal O’Malley a few days ago how Massaro got approved, according to several people present the Cardinal responded that he was unaware of objections to Fr. Massaro.  Unaware?   That sounds kinda like how Fr. Bryan Hehir’s Catholic Charities responded to complaints about their honoring Mayor Menino of Boston a few years back. (“The people at Catholic Charities were not aware of the statements against Church policy from the mayor”).  How about the email we sent on September 3 to the Cardinal the Vicar General, the Cardinal’s two priest secretaries, and Communications Secretary, Terry Donilon.  Didn’t anyone show that to him?  How about the broadly-distributed email sent to the Cardinal’s delegate for religious, Sr. Marian Batho, by a lay Catholic leader who said:

I hope you bring my concern to His Eminence and tell him that this lineup makes a mockery of Catholic teaching and is why many Catholics, both practicing and non-practicing, are confused.

Did Sr. Marian not share this with the Cardinal?  How’s about the 4 posts we wrote and emailed the archdiocese about speakers at Fr. Hehir’s last two social justice conferences, including the 2006 Social Justice Conference sponsored by the ACORN-funding Catholic Campaign for Human Development with a speaker who organized a church’s march in Boston’s Gay Pride parade.

Someone suggested via email that we should start referring to Cardinal O’Malley as either “Cardinal O’Malleable” or “Cardinal O’Blivious” but we have sufficient respect for the office of the Cardinal Archbishop that we’re uncomfortable doing that, at least for now.  We did send him, the Vicar General, and the two priest secretaries yet another note letting them know our perspective.  We wrote:

The continued defending of the choices of Fr. Massaro and Fr. Hehir as speakers for this conference send a rather clear message that this archdiocese values  dissent from Church teachings that harms the Body of Christ and leads souls astray over the true teachings of the Church that lead people to salvation in Christ.

Fed up now?  The best way for Cardinal O’Malley and the Vicar General to get the message is for their bosses in the Holy See to tell them their judgment might be a little off the mark.  Click on the “FedUp” graphic to the right, fill in a short form, click “Sign the Letter,” make sure your information is accurate, and then click “Submit.”   This will automatically send a fax or email to the Holy Father, U.S. Papal Nuncio, Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal O’Malley.

And please tell 5 friends to do the same.  If this isn’t enough for you to be mad as hell over, just wait until next week.

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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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These social justice conferences are really the gift archdiocese of boston bryan hehir
that just keeps giving!  If you have not yet read 2009 Social Justice Conference: Part 1 posted yesterday, please do check that out, as well as last weeks post on the 2006 Social Justice Conference.  Now, on to our next speaker, Sr. Terry Rickard of RENEW International.

RENEW’s 3-year “ARISE:  Together in Christ” program was brought to the Boston Archdiocese to help “enliven parishes and build small Christian communities. ”  RENEW International, based in New Jersey, was founded by a group of Call to Action people who wanted to remake the Church, but lets talk about Sr. Terry first, and we’ll get to RENEW in a few moments.  You may want to grab a strong cup of coffee before continuing.

Sister Terry Rickard, OP, is a Dominican sister who doesn’t wear a habit from the Dominican Sisters of Blauvelt.  I assume of course that Bryan Hehir first invited the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Sisters of Life, the Missionaries of Charity, and the Daughters of St. Paul but they were all busy that day so thats why they ended up with a representative from an order associated with both the liberal Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the liberal social justice group, NETWORK (who the  USCCB’s head, Cardinal Francis George just slammed for their position on the abortion-funding national healthcare legislation).   The website of the Dominican Sisters talks about their social justice work and “Creation of a Blauvelt Dominican Land Ethic based on the belief that the earth is the primary sustainer of life.”  Their links of interest have nothing going to the Vatican or USCCB or a diocese, but instead go to organizations like American Friends Service Committee (a Quaker organization with an extensive  LGBT rights and recognitation program who opposed the Federal marriage amendment and supports gay marriage), and United for Peace and Justice, (which has a working group focused on attacks on human/civil rights including those of women, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered [LGBT] people, people of color, and ethnic and religious minorities).  But I digress…

Sr. Terry earned a Masters of Divinity at the multi-denominiational Union Theological Seminary (“with roots firmly planted in the Protestant, Reformed tradition, the Seminary continues to reform itself in response to the changing needs of the world and an evolving understanding of what it means to be faithful”).  She also is a graduate of Aquinas Institute of St. Louis, which, according to CatholicCulture.org is “a hotbed of Dominican dissidents in America, whose previous president openly defended ‘gay’ priests and seminarians. The Aquinas Institute is affiliated with St. Louis University, a ‘Jesuit University’ which was one of the first to abdicate itself to lay leadership in the “spirit of Vatican II” in 1967.”  Nice.

To Cardinal Sean (who opened the conference with morning prayer and opening comments) and officials of the Archdiocese and the Vatican, is this really the kind of background for a speaker want at an official Catholic archdiocesen-sponsored event?

But thats just Sr. Terry.  Lets talk about RENEW.  When I heard Cardinal Sean was bringing RENEW’s program to Boston, I wanted to believe this was a different RENEW than the one I knew of back in the late ’70s and ’80s, and I assumed the Cardinal had thoroughly checked them out, and they had cleaned-up their act.  Maybe they have, as some reports would indicate, but I am just not so sure so we’ll share the information out their for you to digest yourselves as educated readers and observers.  In the interest of time, I will simply offer some references, and you can reach your own conclusions about them.

What’s Wrong With RENEW?

Renew International was founded by a coalition of Call to Action AmChurch types bent on remaking the Church in their own image. This can be seen from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops Critique of the Original Renew Program (the original Renew Program was produced in 1986), as well as from the background check of Renew 2000 contributors that came out with the subsequent program: Background Check of Renew 2000 Contributors Reveals Renew 2000 Texts Laced with Call to Action Names. An index of links critical of the heterodoxy of Renew 2000 can be found at Revealing the Truth about Renew 2000, and Dr. Regis Martin, S.T.D., Professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville (who was one of this year’s speakers at Lenoir-Rhyne College’s annual Aquinas-Luther Conference), in a review of one of the leader’s manuals, concludes that it is “seriously impaired in its content, and in its tone or spirit, alien to the ancient and Catholic faith we profess in the Creed.” First, he says, it fastidiously avoids mention of the Fatherhood of God. Second, there is a persistent tendency to divorce the Christological significance from the historical Jesus, so that the ‘Christ of faith’ has nothing to do with the ‘Jesus of history.’ Third, there is no mention of Original Sin and its treatment of the whole subject of human sinfulness is woefully inadequate. And much more (see Renew 2000 Commentary by Regis Martin, S.T.D.).

About RENEW’s Why Catholic? Program

designed by revisionists whose devious aim is to use their small group approach to refract ecclesial focus, to undermine magisterial authority, to democratize the Catholic message, to continue the AmChurch decentralization of Catholic Church in America, to continue the process of protestantizing and revising the Church and detaching her from the only moorings she has in her own traditions…

But one could argue that “ARISE: Together in Christ” is different.  Its roots are in small group faith-sharing around scripture, and it was pioneered by people from our own Boston Archdiocese’s Office for Spiritual Development.  So, what could possibly be wrong with small group faith-sharing and small Christian communities?   I don’t honestly know if ARISE is good or bad.  Read on and reach your own conclusions…

A New Experience of the Church?

What is to be made of Small Christian Communities? Do they serve or threaten the Church?  Their history presents cause for concern. Small Christian Communities (SCCs) are known, among Latin American Marxists, as “base” or “basic” communities: comunidades des base. They were fostered as vehicles of “conscientization” in liberation theology. In their book, Dangerous Memories, Bernard Lee and Michael Cowan write: “The strongest support for this movement [of SCCs] came from the Medellín conference of Latin American bishops in 1968, which faced the Church in the direction of liberation theology and basic Christian communities.”

Programs such as RENEW were also designed to be seedbeds of SCCs. The original RENEW program was developed a generation ago under the auspices of Archbishop Peter Gerety of Newark, New Jersey, one of the initial Call to Action organizers. Implemented in 1978 (soon after the initial 1976 Call to Action Conference in Detroit) it called for formation of “small communities in worship, prayer, study, evangelization and apostolic service.”

The US bishops conference examined the RENEW program in 1986 and found several areas in which the program gave cause for concern. The bishops’ report said it contained, “a definite bias toward the community model of Church,” resulting in “an imbalance which can be doctrinally misleading.”

Although the program was revamped, many of its echoes of liberation theology remained. Social action and evangelization are deliberately confused with one another. “Truth” is understood as a product of a “conscientized” people. Judgments are derived, according to RENEW’s literature, “from the collective wisdom of the group as consensus emerges from their sharing. This wisdom obviously involves the wisdom of the Spirit, alive in the community members.”

Liberationism for North America

The first step is to form base communities, which is simply the regrouping of a larger structure into smaller sections. While such restructuring may serve many useful and legitimate purposes (bible study, fellowship, prayer support, etc.), such base communities encouraged by Alinskyian organizing isolate its Catholic members from their parishes, replacing their loyalties with loyalties to the group. The group can be led toward a preset conclusion by the discussion leader/organizer. There are dangers for any such group that severs itself from the full and unequivocal teaching of the Church — as is frequently, though subtly, encouraged in the various facilitator manuals made available to small Christian communities through USCCB publications (such as RENEW) or USCCB associated organizations (such as CCHD or MACC). If the members are not well educated in their faith, they can easily be led to misinterpretations of Catholic teaching.

Compilation on Small Christian Communities

That tightly structured training and implementation of a program closely identified with notable dissidents sparked a brushfire of concern. Parish leaders conversant with national “We Are Church” demands and methodologies were alert to those same dissident themes and tactics embedded in RENEW 2000 materials. It has been pointed out that “small faith communities” (SFCs) are the strategic hallmark of Call to Action and its satellite groups, which adapted the format from socialist political agitator Saul Alinsky and his liberation-theology-style “ecclesial base communities” (see “Inside Call to Action”). The small faith community format was also used by Marxists to subvert the Church in Latin America.

Paulists RENEW 2000 is just a front for Call to Action

RENEW provides additional resources

RENEW International discussion on Catholic Answers forum

So folks there it is for now on Sr. Terry Rickard and RENEW.  I have never met her or attended a RENEW program so Sr. Terry may be a very nice and competent person.  ARISE: Together in Christ might be fine program, though I know pastors who have decided to not offer it in their parishes for some reason.  (If any pastors/priests are reading this and want to comments on RENEW, feel free to).  I am sure I will get flack from supporters of RENEW and if I am wrong, I’ll come out and admit it.  All I can say is that Sr. Terry’s own background, that of her religious order and of RENEW just don’t feel all that solid to me.  Can’t a Catholic archdiocese responsible for sharing the gospel and evangelizing society find speakers with less controversial background for a conference they officially sponsor?  Or, is this just another example of the kind of folks and organizations attracted to the “light” of Fr. Bryan hehir?  Stay tuned for more on the third speaker tomorrow.

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