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Posts Tagged ‘Massachusetts Catholic Conference’

A week ago we posted about the murky message from the Massachusetts Catholic bishops on the mid-term elections.  The murky message never clearly stated Catholics should vote against pro-abortion politicians, and what happened?  A state that just 20 years ago counted 54% of the population as being Catholic and now is 38% Catholic voted largely for pro-abortion candidates for nearly every open office.   That’s why we feel the search for the new Exec. Director of the Mass Catholic Conference is so important.

Even as little as 3 years ago, Cardinal O’Malley spoke much more clearly on the issue of voting for pro-abortion politicians.  In this Globe article from November 2007, “O’Malley draws line with Democrats: backing abortion rights borders on scandal” he was quoted as saying:

“I think the Democratic Party, which has been in many parts of the country traditionally the party which Catholics have supported, has been extremely insensitive to the church’s position, on the gospel of life in particular, and on other moral issues.”

Acknowledging that Catholic voters in Massachusetts generally support Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, O’Malley said, “I think that, at times, it borders on scandal as far as I’m concerned.”

“However, when I challenge people about this, they say, ‘Well, bishop, we’re not supporting [abortion rights],’ ” he said. “I think there’s a need for people to very actively dissociate themselves from those unacceptable positions, and I think if they did that, then the party would have to change.”

With the Mass Catholic Conference’s Boston archdiocesan line of reporting under the control of Fr. Bryan Hehir now, there was zero mention about it being scandalous for Catholics to vote for pro-abortion politicians.  Here is what the statement said:

Certain moral and social issues are fundamentally important, since human rights are at stake and must be protected to help democracy to flourish in a way that benefits every citizen.  These include the defense of the sanctity of life, the family based on marriage between a man and a woman, religious freedom, and the well-being of the poor.  As shifts in societal challenges are inevitable, it is also vital to determine from election to election which human rights face the greatest threat at the time of voting.

Go to the polls on Election Day and, through your choices at the ballot, act on your vision of a better society.”

So, according to the Massachusetts biships, if your vision of a better society is built primarily on care for the poor, then it was perfectly OK for you to vote for a candidate who would take care of the today’s poor people, even as he or she supports aborting millions of the unborn each year who would be the next generation of society. 

This article talks about how “Catholic Voters Swung Election.”   Unfortunately, the problem in Massachusetts is that they swung it against Church teachings.  If the 38% of citizens who identify themselves as “Catholic” in Massachusetts had voted for pro-life candidates, we think it’s safe to say that a lot more pro-life candidates would have won and a lot more of pro-abortion politicians in office would be updating their resumes looking for new jobs.

Here’s a letter sent by a faithful Catholic to Vicar General Fr. Erikson right after the election:

Dear Fr. Erikson,
 
Yesterday the voters of Massachusetts went to the polls and in keeping with the Massachusetts Bishop’s Statement to Catholic voters they “…acted on their vision of a better society.” 
 
Unfortunately that vision was to elect staunchly pro-abortion Catholic politicians – even in those cases when a strong pro-life alternative was available.  As a result, each and every pro-life politician in Massachusetts was defeated.
 
I am extremely disappointed that the Massachusetts Bishops opted to draft such an ambiguous and cowardly statement to Catholic voters. 

Sincerely,

[Name]

As described by Operation Rescue, pro-lifers in MA who lost include State Senate candidates Sandi Martinez (3rd Middlesex) and Neal Heeren (Worcester-Middlesex); House candidates James Dixon (10th Middlesex), Dennis Gianatassio (28th Middlesex), and Paul Franco (13th Worcester). Mike Franco lost his race for the Governor’s Council (8th District). Pro-abortion and pro-gay pols like Martha Coakley and Barney Frank handily defeated Catholic candidates who were much more aligned with Catholic teachings on the life and family issues.

Thankfully, on a national level pro-life candidates fared well.  Shortly we will have a pro-life Catholic Speaker of the House and there were pro-life gains in the U.S. Senate. National Right to Life says there  were “very, very substantial” improvements in about 65 House seats.

“Either a hardcore pro-abortion candidate was defeated by a pro-life challenger, or someone with a mixed record, like on the health care bill, was replaced.”  The bulk of the candidates, about 40, were “hardcore pro-abortion people” who voted for pro-life legislation “seldom if ever.”

But here in Massachusetts it remains another story, with the executive, legislative, and judicial branches dominated by those who support agendas that include abortion on demand and gay rights. 
The Massachusetts bishops and and faithful Catholics need a new head of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference who believes what the Church believes on abortion, marriage, and other sanctity of life issues and who is committed to clearly putting the Church’s pro-life positions out in the public square.  That we still have 2 people on the search committee who have supported both pro-abortion politicians and others who publicly oppose Church teachings is scandalous!
 
If you are FedUp by what is happening in Massachusetts and have not yet signed our letter to the Massachusetts bishops and the Holy See to ask for the controversial committee members to be replaced, just click on our FedUp button and sign the letter.
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If you’ve been following the saga of the tainted search for the new head of the Mass Catholic Conference, you know by we still have two people on the committee with backgrounds of support for pro-abortion politicians and/or Catholics who publicly dissent from Church teachings.  That does not seem a good way to go about picking a new faithful Catholic head for the Catholic Conference to represent the Massachusetts bishops on Beacon Hill.

We ask you once again to let the Holy See and Massachusetts bishops know that you are FedUp.

Here’s the updated letter reflecting the latest on Sr. Annette McDermott.  As you may recall from our last post, a couple of years ago Sr. Annette wrote that she was inspired  in her religious experience by figures like Anthony Padovano, Mary Luke Tobin, Joan Chittister, Christina Vladimiroff, Teresa Kane, Elisabeth Schussler-Firorenza, and Pierre Theilard de Chardin.  We documented in our last post how those who inspired her are all a veritable “Who’s Who” of public dissidents including members of Call to Action, people reprimanded by the Vatican or U.S. bishops, and people like Anthony Padovano, Joan Chittister and others who have publicly dissented from Church teachings on such issues as women’s ordination, voting for pro-abortion Catholic politicians, doctrine of original sin, who should celebrate the Eucharist, and more. 

So, we have now updated our FedUp campaign message.  Whether you filled it out before or not, please give it another try.  Here’s the letter.  Just click on the FedUp button.

I am writing to ask that you intervene in the search process for the new Executive Director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference to remove two search committee members with backgrounds of support for pro-abortion politicians and Catholics who publicly dissent from Church teachings.

The search committee announced October 13 includes Sr. Annette McDermott, SSJ representing the Diocese of Springfield and Mr. James Brett representing the Archdiocese of Boston.

Sr. McDermott was a member of the George-Soros-funded Catholic Alliance for the Common Good, whose main purpose was convincing Catholics it was permissible to vote for pro-choice Democrats in the 2008 U.S. national elections. Cardinal Frederick George criticized the “fraud” of CACG’s “common good” approach and banned their materials from parishes. After the 2008 campaign, the Diocese of Kansas City newspaper reported CACG was an instrument of the Obama presidential campaign, and the CACG chair personally raised $350,000 for Obama. Sr. McDermott has also been a consultant to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which funded ACORN, an organization that supported pro-abortion and pro-gay causes. In 2005, she published an article describing how she has been inspired in her religious experience by “wisdom figures” including notorious Call to Action members and dissenters from the faith on matters such as ordination of women and voting for pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

Mr. Brett has personally contributed to pro-abortion politicians including Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Michael Capuano, and Rep. Edward Markey. As head of the New England Council, he presented the 2009 “New Englander of the Year” Award to Sen. John Kerry.

The search announcement says candidates must be “a faithful and committed Roman Catholic, in good standing with the Church.” Since Sr. McDermott and Mr. Brett have been involved supporting pro-abortion political candidates in recent years, their continuing presence on the committee risks discouraging faithful, committed Catholics from even applying.

Two individuals with such controversies in their backgrounds should not be on a committee to select a “faithful and committed Roman Catholic” to represent the public policy voice of the church.

Thank you for your immediate intervention to ensure that this search process and committee is not tainted from the start by this concern.

So folks, have at it.  Click the FedUp button, fill out the form, click submit letter, verify you have entered the correct info, click submit once more, and let the bishops and Holy See know how you feel.  

For extra credit, drop a dime to Bishop McConnell’s office in Springfield at 413- 732-3175.  Tell them you think Sr. Annette should be removed from the MCC search process because she was a part of a committee that pushed for Catholics to vote for pro-abortion Catholic politicians–and because she’s on the record as viewing as “wisdom figures” some of the Catholic Church’s most prominent dissenters from the teachings of the Church.  Ask them what Bishop McConnell is doing about this problem and tell them you’d like to call back on Monday afternoon to get an answer.

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Thank to everyone who has written to the Massachusetts bishops and Holy See via our latest FedUp campaign, “Take Action on Tainted Search for New Mass Catholic Conference Head.” We have gotten some feedback from the bishop’s staff and other channels that we want to share with you as the campaign continues, and we have more on committee member, Sr. Annette McDermott, SSJ that may leave some of you even more FedUp!

Feedback from Diocese of Fall River

A Bryan Hehir Exposed reader forwarded this response they got from the Diocese of Fall River’s Communications department:

At the outset of their decision to form a search committee for the selection of an Executive Director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the bishops of the four dioceses in the state agreed that each would appoint one person from his diocese to make up membership of that committee. Bishop Coleman agreed to chair it. Bishop Coleman then appointed as his delegate on the committee Father Michael McManus, who is chancellor here in the Fall River Diocese. The other members on the committee were appointed to it by his/her respective bishop, not Bishop Coleman.

In other words, we are told that Bishop Coleman just took whomever the other bishops put forward and did not feel as “Chairman” of the committee that leadership role called for any review of the background of the people before he went on the record saying, “I look forward to working with such a respected group to advise the bishops in selecting the next Executive Director for MCC.”  Thanks a lot, Bishop Coleman, for the value-added, er, leadership on this one, making sure the group you publicly said you respected you really did respect.

More on the Committee Members

We told you before that in view of the mission of the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good (giving air-cover to pro-abortion Democratic Catholic politicians) and their funding from George Soros, Sr. Annette McDermott’s membership in CACD should flat-out disqualify her from serving on the search committee for a faithful Catholic MCC leader.  But this is not the only reason we are calling for her removal from the committee.

We did not have time or space in the earlier posts to mention that in 2005 Sr. Annette wrote about contemplative prayer (or centering prayer a la Thomas Keating) as a grounding force in her life. Here’s a link to the piece, called “In the Quiet of the Morning.” She says she was inspired as a teen by a book by Antony Padovano, and her “search for a deeper relationship with God has also been strengthened by the wisdom figures that have graced my religious experience.”

I feel so privileged to have had the blessing of opportunity to experience and know of the works and lives of Mary Luke Tobin, Joan Chittister, Christina Vladimiroff, Teresa Kane, Mary Daniels, Helen Wright, Maria Reilly, Sandra Schneider, Elizabeth Johnson, Elisabeth Schussler-Firorenza.

She also names Pierre Theilard de Chardin.  A 10-minute session with Google gets you the following:

  • Anthony Padovano: banned from speaking in the Archdiocese of Detroit by Cardinal Maida, for theological views “clearly in opposition to the authoritative teaching of the church” including advocacy for the ordination of women and his view that the celebration of the Eucharist need not be limited to ordained ministry
  • Mary Luke Tobin: a former head of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and advisor to the Womens Ordination Conference
  • Joan Chittister: A supporter of Call to Action who promotes women priests. The Vatican asked her not to attend the 2000 Womens Ordination Conference but she went anyway.
  • Christina Vladimiroff: who received the Call to Action Leadership award in 2002 and defied a request from the Vatican to prohibit Sr. Joan Chittister from attending a dissident women’s ordination conference in Dublin
  • Elisabeth Schussler-Firorenza: feminist theologian and Call to Action national conference speaker.  Was on a panel with Fr. Bryan Hehir at Harvard where she complained about people who criticized Catholics that voted for pro-abortion politicians
  • Teresa Kane: best known for her 1979 speech to Pope John Paul II in which she asked for women priests.   The Holy Father responded negatively.  In 2009, she criticized the Vatican for their visitations to women’s religious communities saying: “Regarding the present interrogation, I think the male hierarchy is truly impotent, incapable of equality, co-responsibility in adult behavior…In the church today, we are experiencing a dictatorial mindset and spiritual violence.”
  • Pierre Theilard de Chardin: From Wikipedia, we see that he abandoned traditional interpretations of creation in the Book of Genesis in favor of a less strict interpretation. This displeased certain officials in the Roman Curia and in his own order who thought that it undermined the doctrine of original sin developed by Saint Augustine. Teilhard’s position was opposed by his Church superiors, and some of his work was denied publication during his lifetime by the Roman Holy Office

So, what we have is Sr. Annette saying that most of the people who represent “wisdom figures” for her are pretty much objectively “off the reservation” in terms of their public adherence to Church teachings.  Sr. Annette is on-the-record as being inspired by these people, of course along with being involved in the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good and the ACORN-funding Catholic Campaign for Human Development.  We are not criticizing Sr. Annette as a person–she may be very nice. But, should someone like her who feels these people are “wisdom figures” and who felt OK being involved in the CACG for whatever period of time she was a member really be on the search committee for a faithful Catholic leader of the public policy voice of the Massachusetts bishops? Can’t the Diocese of Springfield do better and find someone less controversial to serve on the committee?

We are updating our campaign letter to mention this. In the meantime, try dropping a dime to Bishop McConnell’s office in Springfield at 413 732-3175.  Tell them you think Sr. Annette should be removed from the MCC search process because she was a part of a committee that pushed for Catholics to vote for pro-abortion Catholic politicians–and because she’s on the record as viewing as “wisdom figures” some of the Catholic Church’s most prominent dissenters from the teachings of the Church.  Ask them what Bishop McConnell is doing about this problem.

Check back later today for the updated FedUp buttons this evening.

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Last week we told you that the search for the new leader of the public policy arm of the Mass Catholic Bishops  is tainted from the get-go by having two people on the search committee who have supported pro-abortion Catholic politicians. People have called and emailed Bishop George Coleman of the Fall River Diocese, who is heading the search.  Though the people answering the phone have been pleasant and have forwarded messages on to the Bishop, as far as we can tell, nothing has changed.  Today we raise the volume level up a couple of notches with our FedUp campaign. Click on the button now–it will take only 1 minute of your time.

Why would solid faithful Catholics want to even throw their name in the application process when you have 2 of 5 search committee members they’d have to meet who have opposed the Catholic Church by publicly supporting pro-abortion Catholic politicians?  This is absurd!!  If you’re FedUp, today is the day to ratchet-up the complaints to the Holy See by sending a letter via Fax or email to the Holy Father, Bishop Coleman, the Papal Nuncio, the prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, Cardinal O’Malley, and Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke (Congratulations to him!!)

Here is the letter we have prepared that you can sign and fax/email off with the push of a button.

I am writing to ask that you intervene in the search process for the new Executive Director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference to remove two search committee members with backgrounds of support for pro-abortion politicians.

The search committee announced on October 13 includes Sr. Annette McDermott, SSJ representing the Diocese of Springfield and Mr. James Brett, President and CEO of the New England Council representing the Archdiocese of Boston.

Sr. McDermott was a member of George-Soros-funded Catholic Alliance for the Common Good, whose main purpose was convincing Catholics it was permissible to vote for pro-choice Democrats in the 2008 U.S. national elections.  Cardinal Francis George criticized the “fraud” of CACG’s  “common good” approach and banned their materials from parishes.  It was led by former advisors to Senators John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. After the 2008 campaign, the Diocese of Kansas City newspaper reported that CACG was an instrument of the Obama presidential campaign, and that the board chair of CACG personally raised $350,000 for the Obama Campaign.  She has also been a consultant to the Catholic Campaign Human Development, which has been broadly criticized for funding ACORN, an organization which in has used portions of those Catholic funds to support pro-abortion and pro-gay causes.

Mr. Brett has personally donated funds to pro-abortion politicians including Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Michael Capuano, and Edward Markey.  As head of the New England Council, he presented the 2009 “New Englander of the Year” Award to Sen. John Kerry.

The announcement about the search says candidates must be “a faithful and committed Roman Catholic, in good standing with the Church.”  Since Sr. McDermott and Mr. Brett have personally been involved supporting pro-abortion political candidates in recent years, their continuing presence on the committee risks discouraging faithful, committed Catholics from even applying for the position.

It seems clear that two individuals who have supported political candidates who favor abortion should not be on a committee to select a “faithful and committed Roman Catholic” to represent the public policy voice of the church. 

Thank you for your immediate intervention to ensure that this search process and committee is not tainted from the start by this concern.

You can read all of the details about these two people in our last post on this issue, Mass Bishops Flubbing Search for Catholic Conference Director.  What’s not covered there are Brett’s political donations to pro-abortion politicians.  Although he voted pro-life while he was serving in the Massachusetts legislature and donated $250 to pro-life Rep.  Stephen Lynch in 2001, it’s the $1,800 in contributions to the likes of abortion supporters Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Michael Capauno, and Rep. Edward Markey and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (which funds other candidates) that remain troubling about him. (see FEC listing of political contributions to the right).  Plus, there are all of his associations with Jack Connors and Fr. Bryan Hehir documented last time.  We also see at another blog that he has connections to Chancellor Jim McDonough and the Hanover crowd, who are basically doing the will of Jack Connors.  Mr. Brett may have a fine record of community service, but that does not mean he is the right person to help select a faithful Catholic to be the voice of the Massachusetts bishops.

FedUp yet?  Just click on the FedUp button right now, fill in your name and address, verify your information is correct, and click submit one more time.  It will take only one minute. 

The Mass Catholic Conference is the public policy voice of the Massachusetts Bishops on a variety of concerns—the culture of life, family, and an array of social issues–and the head needs to be a faithful Catholic.  Period.  Since the head is to be a faithful Catholic, then all of the search committee members should be also, with nothing in their records that suggest otherwise.   Let’s not let them screw this one up!  

Do share this with friends and family members as well and encourage them to send the letter. And do encourage great people you know to apply for the job.  Instructions for applying can be found here.

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