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Archive for the ‘Social Justice Conference’ Category

Belated Happy Easter to all.  Christ is Risen. Alleluia!bryan hehir no

In my last post, I talked about the betrayal of Catholic moral values encouraged by sponsors and speakers Fr. Bryan Hehir featured at his first Social Justice Conference in Boston in 2006.   In this multi-part post (due to length of material), we will cover the second conference that happened about six months ago in late 2009.

For those starting with this post, the conference is called, “Moving Towards the Light.”  Sponsors and speakers with histories of supporting those who work against the Church have been drawn to Fr. Hehir’s conferences just like flies are attracted to…um, er, well let’s just leave it at that.

The most recent conference, promoted under the auspices of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Countil, took place on October 17, 2009.  Prayer and opening remarks were by Cardinal Seán O’Malley,  so all of this was happening right in front of the Archbishop of Boston, and Fr. Bryan Hehir was once again the keynote speaker. At this conference, among those Fr. Hehir invited as panelists and speakers were Catholic Relief Services, RENEW International, and Tiziana Dearing (President of Catholic Charities of Boston).

Let’s start with Catholic Relief Services.  They are the “official international Catholic relief and development agency of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”  Their mission is to, “assist impoverished and disadvantaged people overseas, working in the spirit of Catholic Social Teaching to promote the sacredness of human life and the dignity of the human person.”  Sounds great until you consider some of the actions of the organization and their people.

How can Fr. Hehir explain why he feels good about an organization speaking at an official archdiocesan function given the following situations:

Catholic Relief Services personnel support Obama, Emily’s List

Turns out that all of the eight people from Catholic Relief Services who donated personal funds to a presidential campaign in 2008 made their contributions to the pro-abortion candidate Sen. Barack Obama.  According to this analysis published in Catholic Culture, federal election records showed that Jennifer Nazaire – Catholic Relief Services’ representative in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, and Equatorial Guinea – has donated $1,100 to Emily’s List since 2005. Emily’s List’s sole purpose is to elect candidates who support legalized abortion to office. Most prominent among the Catholic Relief Services donors to Obama is Mark Palmer, executive vice President and CFO of the $597-million agency.

Can someone explain to me how you can promote the sacredness of human life out of one side of your mouth, when you’re donating personal funds to a pro-abortion political candidate from your wallet?

Catholic Relief Services promotes condom use, moral theologian alleges

Prominent moral theologian and philosopher Germain Grisez asked the United States Catholic bishops to investigate policies of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) which he says surreptitiously promote condom use as part of the charitable agency’s overseas activities.

Grisez, Professor of Christian Ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, wrote in the April 2008 issue of Catholic World Report that CRS distributes “educational” materials to its partners in Africa and other countries that explicitly encourage condom use to prevent the spread of HIV.

The materials include a “how-to” guide to condoms aimed at African populations. In his essay “The Church Betrayed?” Grisez examines documents distributed by CRS to its overseas partners.  He found that, although the documents acknowledge Catholic teaching about abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage, they also describe a CRS policy of “providing full and accurate information” about the use and benefits of condoms in the prevention of HIV.

The documents reveal an apparent policy of deception, specifying that the CRS name and logo must not be included in materials promoting condom use “due to the potential sensitivity of the information contained in these materials among Church partners.

Catholic Relief Services Backs Pro-Abortion March

On June 25, 2000, the National Catholic Register reported that Catholic Relief Services was scheduled to participate in the controversial March of Women 2000 – an international anti-poverty coalition that supports abortion-on-demand and homosexual rights.  Moria Byrne, a communications officer at Catholic Relief Services headquarters in Baltimore, confirmed that the Catholic charity was sponsoring the March of Women.  The only other nominally Catholic group signed on to the march in the United States was Catholics For a Free Choice, a pro-abortion group repudiated by the U.S. bishops and financed in part by Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Playboy Foundation.

As a result of the publicity and associated uproar, CRS responded by disavowing the march shortly after the Register article appeared and denying they had ever supported it. To give credit where credit is due, Bishop John Ricard of Pensacola-Tallahassee, then-President and Chairman of the Board for Catholic Relief Services and the bishops in charge of CRS were quick to dissassociate the agency from the march after the Register story appeared.

CRS Distances Itself From Pro-Abortion March

The bishops statement at the time said, “Catholic Relief Services remains faithful to its position of respecting life in all stages from the moment of conception to natural death.” Nonetheless, information disclosed to the Register at the time also indicated that a CRS staff official had endorsed the March of Women, in writing, as early as June 1997. Other information indicated that CRS staff failed to publicly distance the organization from the march after its sister organization in Canada asked Catholic Relief Services earlier that year to clarify if it was supporting the march.

You’ll have to read the whole story for the details. No one is suggesting CRS’s mission is not a worthwhile one or that the agency is not doing good work to serve the poor. We’re just sharing and exposing this information to the light of day so you can reach your own informed conclusions.

That’s all I have time to share about just one of the organizations that presented at Fr. Bryan Hehir’s 2009 Social Justice Conference.  Stay tuned for more on two other speakers/organizations next post.

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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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