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Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Charities’

During his address on Tuesday, June 29, 2010, the
feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Holy Father asserted that the “greatest danger” to the Church is not external persecution, but the “negative attitudes” of the world that can pollute and “infect the Christian community” from within.  This idea of internal pollution brings to mind the situation of Fr. Bryan Hehir and his actions and words here in Boston. This will be the first of several posts, culminating in our final response to Fr. Richard Erikson, Vicar General, regarding the prospect of meeting to discuss the blog.  Read on for one of several jaw-dropping examples that could meet Pope Benedict’s definition of “internal pollution,” but you can be the judge.

First, here are some passages from Pope Benedict’s homily, given to 38 metropolitan archbishops upon whom he bestowed the pallium after delivering his homily

Speaking on Christ’s promise in the Gospel that the “powers of hell shall not prevail” on the Church, the Pontiff explained that this not only “includes the historical experience of persecution suffered by Peter and Paul and other witnesses of the Gospel, but it goes further, wanting to protect especially against threats of a spiritual order.”

Indeed, if we think of the two millennia of Church history, we can see that – as the Lord Jesus had announced, Christians have never been lacking in trials, which in some periods and places have assumed the character of real persecution. “These, however, despite the suffering they cause, are not the greatest danger for the Church. In fact, it suffers greatest damage from what pollutes the Christian faith and life of its members and its communities, eroding the integrity of the Mystical Body, weakening its ability to prophesy and witness, tarnishing the beauty of its face.”

Reflecting on the Scripture readings, the Pope explained that the “Second Letter to Timothy – of which we heard an excerpt – speaks about the dangers of the ‘last days,’ identifying them with negative attitudes that belong to the world and can infect the Christian community: selfishness, vanity, pride, love of money, etc.”

Now, the Bryan Hehir connection.  Back in December of 2005, Fr. Bryan Hehir and Catholic Charities of Boston under his leadership honored Boston Mayor Tom Menino (who backs gay marriage and abortion)  at Catholic Charities’ holiday fundraiser dinner.  This scandal may seem like ancient history, but almost no one is aware of Fr. Hehir’s almost incredulous explanation for why this scandal occurred.  And his actions in 2005 are very relevant to what we have been seeing and exposing in 2010.

By 2005, Mayor Menino’s public record of advocacy for gay rights and other issues opposed to Church teachings was well known by most people in society—Catholic or non-Catholics. He led the Gay Pride parade every year, sponsored a gay prom for teenagers at Boston’s City Hall, flew the gay rainbow flag over City Hall, maintained at public expense a gay/lesbian liaison office at Boston City Hall, appointed pro-abortion members of the Boston school committee, and much more you can read here. Most importantly, he was a highly visible advocate for gay marriage in 2004-2005 in the heat of the Church’s battle against same-sex marriage.  The issue made headlines on almost a daily basis in the mainstream media. (We’ll share some examples in subsequent updates to this post).  At one point, Menino planned to authorize marrying couples from out-of-state in defiance of the governor, and Menino welcomed 99 gay couples to City Hall for champagne and a wedding cake reception on May 17, 2004, the first day that gays were able to get marriage certificates for these so-called “marriages.” Here are some articles that describe the whole affair. About a year later, Menino declared June 3, 2005 to be Queer Eye Day in the City of Boston.  One would have had to essentially live on another planet to miss this.

Fast forward.  In November 2005, Bryan Hehir’s Catholic Charities announced plans to honor Menino, in direct opposition to the USCCB’s Catholics in Political Life, which states:

The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.

A massive outcry by Boston-area Catholics immediately followed, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley pulled out, however Catholic Charities proceeded with honoring Menino at the event.  Here’s the kicker.  At the December 1, 2005 meeting of the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council, then-Archbishop Sean O’Malley commented on why this situation occurred in the first place.  Are you sitting down?  Here is what the Archbishop of Boston said, as documented in the minutes of that Dec. 1 meeting (p.6):

Re: the Catholic Charities Dinner: Honoring a special public figure can be advantageous to the fund-raising event. He met with Bryan Hehir,  The people at Catholic Charities were not away [sic, aware] of the statements against Church policy from the mayor.  Generally, the USCCB guideline is to not honor politicians as a prudent move.  The Archbishop decided to respect the office of the Mayor and not cancel the event, but he [the Archbishop] wouldn’t go. 

Was Fr. Bryan Hehir really asking the Archbishop and Catholics of Boston to believe that he was not aware of the statements against Church policy from the mayor?  Is this the same Fr. Bryan Hehir, who received a “genius” MacArthur fellowship?  Is this the same Fr. Bryan Hehir who was called “a brilliant, brilliant student of politics–especially the geopolitical scene” by the former general secretary of the U.S. Catholic Conference ?  Is this the same Fr. Hehir who Cardinal Sean recently recognized as highly trusted “strategic advisor” who brings “fidelity to the work of the Church” and ”clarity to our message and mission”?  Fr. Hehir’s claim that he and his staff were unaware of Menino’s history is troubling and difficult to believe.  If Bryan Hehir was somehow naively unaware of Mayor Menino’s opposition to the Catholic Church on a host of issues, then Fr. Hehir bears responsibility for his own negligence and has no business being Cabinet Secretary of anything in this archdiocese.  And if he was aware but lied to the archbishop and presbyterate of Boston, then he should have been fired then and should still be fired now because this strongly suggests that what he says and does simply cannot be trusted–let alone trusted to align with Church teachings.

Fr. Hehir’s action honoring a political figure who rabidly opposed the Catholic Church on one of the core teachings of the Church and biggest social/moral issues of our time—marriage between a man and woman, and the foundation of how we order family and society—is but one example of his long history of dissent and undermining the teachings of the Church.   

Do you believe that Fr. Hehir is an example of an “internal pollutant”?   With this as just one example in a long history of similar situations, we must ask Cardinal Sean and Vicar General Fr. Erikson a simple question: Why is Fr. Hehir still in a position of decision-making authority over any public policy, staffing, education, or social issue in this Archdiocese? 

Authors and readers of this blog remain open to the possibility of a face-to-face dialogue with the Vicar General and Cardinal under appropriate conditions.  However, if the archdiocese does not agree that Fr. Bryan Hehir’s behavior and actions in this situation were objectively wrong, in conflict with the USCCB’s guidelines, scandalous, and damaging to the Catholic Church, then it seems we may not have any basis for conversation with the Vicar General or anyone in the archdiocesan hierarchy.

Enjoy the holiday weekend!

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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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Welcome back for the next part in our series
describing events where Fr. Bryan Hehir is the featured speaker along with gay activists and proponents of the gay culture. In our last post, we shared how Fr. Hehir was featured in a speaker series at a gay-friendly church (that participates in the Gay Pride parade) along with a gay activist whose organization published and distributed a graphic guide to safe gay sex. Today we cover his joint appearance with a “Catholic” lesbian feminist theologian who supports women priests.  We previously discussed Fr. Hehir keynoting a conference April 30-May 1 along with a proponent of gay priests who wants everyone to “stretch the imagination” by watching gay-themed movies and reading gay novels.

Lets cut to the chase.  Fr. Hehirs judgments on where he speaks and who he implicitly endorses in his roles as President of Catholic Charities and Archdiocese Secretary for Healthcare and Social Services, leave many people with more questions than answers. To be up front with readers, I am not what you would call the brighest shining bulb in the chandelier when it comes to theology, so you will need to discount what I write appropriately.  But after you read the two links above and this post, you can reach your own conclusions.

It was the thick of the sexual abuse crisis in the church.  On October 2, 2002, Fr. Hehir was featured along with lesbian feminist theologian Mary E. Hunt at a Regis College symposium, “Women, Church and Society: The Heart of the Matter” as part of a discussion series in response to the sexual abuse crisis.  Here’s a report on the event and some excerpts.

Hehir and Hunt established the terms of dialogue. The intellectual context for the symposium was set forth in the October 3 position papers presented by Father Bryan Hehir and theologian Mary E. Hunt. Hehir spoke on “The Consequences of the Crisis: Defining the Issues.”

…in twentieth-century Catholicism, teachings on sexuality have been “a chronically afflicted area,” and there are issues that need to be examined and re-examined…dissent is an expected part of the theological tradition of which we are a part…He ceded to Dr. Hunt discussion of any perception of the influence and role of women (Fr. Hehir)

There’s the matter of calling Catholic teachings on sexuality “chronically afflicted” but let’s put that aside for now.  We repeat for clarity, Fr. Bryan Hehir “ceded to Dr. Hunt discussion of any perception of the influence and role of women. “ Who is Mary Hunt?  Surely, she must be of the reputation  and level of orthodox Catholicism of, say,  someone like a Harvard Prof. Mary Ann Glendon or a Prof. Mary Shivananden for Fr. Hehir to unconditionally cede discussion of the womens’ perspective on the Church to her, right?  Nope.

Hunt is a Catholic lesbian feminist theologian who is Co-director of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER) and is an advocate for women priests.  This biography says she served on the national board of the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry, is an LGBT Religious Archives Network advisory board member, and member of CLOUT (Christian Lesbians Out) and of Dignity.  By the way, Bryan Hehir did not just bump into Mary Hunt at this program unaware of her background.  She, like Fr. Hehir, was trained at the Harvard Divinity School.  More importantly, Bryan Hehir co-presented with her in 1983 in their 6-week lecture series called “Matthew, Marx, Luke, and John” at the Marxist-leaning Institute for Policy Studies’ Washington School for progressive activists in Washington, DC, but that is a whole ‘nother story.  Anyhow, hiere is how Hunt described herself at a talk in 2005 on “Eradicating the Sin of Heterosexim“:

I am a Catholic feminist theologian who is a lesbian, living happily for more than twenty-five years with a wonderful woman. We adopted a daughter, who is now four years old from China on December 12, 2001…For some people, we look like a new model of the Catholic Family of the Year. For others, of course, we are the epitome of everything that is evil.

Hunt and her lesbian partner Diann Neu  were winners in 1988 of the Paulist Center’s Isacc Hecker Award.

For being catalysts of women’s religious speech and creativity. Mary Hunt and Diann Neu co-founded the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual. Based in Maryland, WATER is a feminist educational center offering women the resources to develop their spiritual nature and assume leadership roles in their faith communities.

Hunt is downright prolific, so you can find literally hundreds of citations for her out there.  Here are a few more.

From Hunt’s chapter, “Lovingly Lesbian: Toward a Feminist Theory of Friendship” in the 1995 book “Sexuality and the Sacred: Sources for Theological Reflection”

The cost of heterosexism has been so high as to erase the lives and loves of many lesbians from history….the ultimate ephiteph for any woman, regardless of her sexual preference, is lesbian….The idea…is that all women take friendly their friendships with women, and the only word we have to indicate this revolutionary reality is lesbian.”

From The Wanderer, October 16, 1997, reporting on a woman priest movement gathering in Oakland CA

Critical Mass: Women Celebrating Eucharist,” held in Oakland on Oct.5th, was supposed to be a turning point in the history of women in the Catholic Church. The ritual presented in Bishop Begin Plaza in downtown Oakland, two years in the organizing by the stars of the feminist theology set, was to inspire women to throw off the chains of patriarchy, wrest control of the priesthood from men, and begin functioning as self-proclaimed, self-ordained priests. “Some of us are called to the priesthood,” said the liturgy’s emcee….About 250 to 300 people attended – they were mostly women, nearly all white, a mixture of aging, rich housewives; young, angry lesbians; and Church bureaucrats…

While the celebration was described as “the Mass as we know it with the Mass we can only imagine . . . a mixture of liturgy and theater,” the ritual bore no resemblance to a Catholic liturgy.

The stars of the show were introduced (feminist bigwigs like Mary Hunt and her partner Diane Neu, with representatives from the Women’s Ordination Conference, Woman Church Convergence, WATER, and the Women’s Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago – most of them aging matriarchs), followed by a demonstration of the gestures to be used in the ritual (viewed from the back, this spectacle looked rather like an army of kindergarten teachers doing the “itsy bitsy spider” song).

Here’s a Dec. 6, 1999 Article entitled “Witchcraft infiltrates Christendom” (or at the original source “Wicca Infiltrates the Churches”)

When Kathleen Ward Atchason left Wicca, or witchcraft, to join the Roman Catholic Church she never dreamed she would encounter witchcraft within the walls of Christendom. …Concerned that such programs encouraging goddess worship were incompatible with the Bible, Sylvia Dooling, wife of a Presbyterian pastor, founded Voices for Orthodox Women, or VOW. Its goal is to try and influence the Presbyterian Church to be more orthodox through the proper channels of the church. “We have grown from twelve members two years ago to 1,000 members today,” Dooling tells Insight. “Presbyterian women are concerned about this.”

Mary Hunt is a feminist who does not share Dooling’s concern and is pleased with the growth of feminist philosophy in the Christian church. Hunt is a Roman Catholic and codirector of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, or WATER. An editorial on the front page of Waterwheel, WATER’s quarterly newsletter, reads, “Starhawk gets it right in her new introduction to the twentieth-anniversary edition of The Spiral Dance, the book that launched Goddess religion into the contemporary mainstream. ‘How do I learn this… how do I pass this on?’ ” Hunt tells Insight that while her newsletter quotes Starhawk, a Wiccan high priestess, that she and codirector Diann Neu consider themselves to be Catholic, although WATER is not affiliated officially with the Roman Catholic Church. “We seek to influence it however and receive funding from some Catholic bishops,” she says.

One issue of the newsletter features a liturgy for All Saint’s Day, honoring the gracious Mother Goddess, “Wisdom-Sophia,” written by Neu. Participation of a young woman, a middle-aged woman and a crone are required. “This liturgy is a resource for others to use on their own or in their denomination. We are not promoting Wicca,” says Hunt, “but it is certainly something that is a help.” Hunt and Neu hope to transform the church by inducing it to have a more feminist agenda. They hold workshops and sponsor events on such issues as spirituality, sexuality and anti-racism. Yet the church to which they profess to belong does not agree. “The Catholic catechism forbids divination, sorcery and magic as a mortal sin against the first commandment-and that includes Wicca,” explains the Rev. Mitch Pacwa, a Roman Catholic professor at the University of Dallas and author of Catholics and the New Age.

Sorry for the repetition here readers.  In case it was not clear to you, Fr. Hehir “ceded to Dr. Mary Hunt discussion of any perception of the influence and role of women.”

From Feminist Theo-Ethics: Queering Imagination and Action, Mary E. Hunt, Lancaster Seminary, Lancaster PA, November 9, 2006.

I am delighted to participate in “Imagining a Queer World.” My focus is on “Feminist Theo-ethics: Queering Imagination and Action” which I approach in three moves. (1) First, I look at the context and moral framework in which we find ourselves and explain why I think a new approach is necessary. (2) Second, I suggest that we begin to act accordingly by changing the default conversation among us from homosexuality to
heterosexism. (3) Finally, I draw out some of the implications for strategic actions for justice that accrue from such a change.
Feminist biblical scholar Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza has called these unjust structures “kyriarchy” or interlocking structures of lordship. She relies on the Greek word for “lord” used so loftily within the Christian tradition to underscore that the “lording over” is the problem. Kyriarchy helps to explain what is not ever a single, individual problem, but always a structured, socialized injustice.

This is “queering” which means bringing insights from those who have been marginalized for transgressing sex/gender boundaries—including those who are lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender and our friends—so as to rethink moral questions. Queering involves more than sexuality—it is deliberately transgressive of the many structures of oppression that reinforce the structures of heterosexist lordship.
Queering is an effort to reshape our context into one that reflects respect, dignity, and the means for all to flourish. My goal is to build communities of ethical concern and action. Thus, engaging and involving “the rest of us” is crucial.

To be fair, Mary Hunt may be a fine, intellectually bright person.  We don’t mean to sound judgmental.  But at this point, it almost doesn’t matter what Mary E. Hunt had to say about the crisis in the church from a woman’s perspective.  That Fr. Bryan Hehir, then President of Catholic Charities USA and a year later Secretary of Social Services for the Archdiocese of Boston judged this the right person to author position papers with on the situation of the Catholic Church and be featured with on the panel and to “cede discussion of any perception of the influence and role of women” to, raises some serious questions.  Lets combine that with him speaking at the gay-friendly Paulist Center in a series with a gay activisit, and his plans to speak this Friday, April 30 with a gay priests and gay culture proponent and one cant help but at least minimally question his judgment to be a cabinet secretary and senior advisor to the Cardinal archbishop.  If you’re troubled by all of this, visit our Take Action page and voice your concerns to the right people.

But don’t let us sway you.  You make up your own mind.

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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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