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Posts Tagged ‘massachusetts citizens for life’

Can anyone tell us what’s going on at Massachusetts Citizens for Life (MCFL) lately?  Years ago, when MCFL endorsed a political candidate you  could be very confident the candidate was 100% pro-life and supportive of marriage between a man and woman.  And when they held an event, you could be certain all of the speakers had Catholic/Christian values consistent with life, family, and the teachings of the Church. Neither of those are true any more, as exemplified by MCFL’s plans to have the frequently anti-Catholic columnist, Howie Carr, as featured speaker at their January Assembly for Life event.

Under MCFL President, Anne Fox, now we never know what to expect from MCFL.  Are Fr. Bryan Hehir’s tentacles of relativism somehow extending beyond the Archdiocese of Boston to MCFL?

  • MCFL’s PAC endorsed pro-abortion candidate, Tim Cahill for Governor, saying, “Tim Cahill will be an outstanding advocate for the unborn,” despite the minor matter of fact that Cahill was on the record saying, “I believe in and support a woman’s right to choose.  I also believe that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.”  Huh?  Here’s a links to the RedMassGroup that shows where that statement had appeared on his website until shortly before MCFL came out with their endorsement, when it was mysteriously scrubbed.  Later, when MCFL had to clarify the endorsement under pressure from pro-lifers, they acknowledged Cahill was not totally on-the-mark, but was simply better than the other pro-abortion candidates, Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker.  Why did MCFL feel they HAD to endorse someone?  And if they felt they HAD to, why did they mislead people at first?  Why didn’t they say he was at best, OK on a couple of issues, in the wrong place on other important issues, and overall, just nominally better than the others who were totally against pro-life, pro-family positions?
  • Strong pro-life Catholics like Phil Moran and Marie Sturgis have apparently been pushed out by President Anne Fox, or they quit on their own.  Stalwart defender of life, Phil Moran, is now off the Board of Directors.  Marie Sturgis was the long-time executive director of MCFL and she’s gone. In 2002 and 2005, she had no problem publicly questioning Gov. Mitt Romney’s supposed “pro-life” credentials and saying MCFL saw him as a supporter of abortion who was “not pro-life and does not meet their requirements” for an endorsement.  In 2005 in this Boston Globe article, Marie publicly questioned Fr. Bryan Hehir’s appointment of Ed Saunders to head the Mass Catholic Conference because of Saunders’ past donations to pro-abort and pro-gay politicians:
Marie Sturgis, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, said the group is ”investigating” Saunders’s background. ”I realize lobbyists do what they have to do, but we’re talking about principles here, and strong beliefs in some fundamental human rights,” she said. ”There’s a side of me that wonders, if there are personal contributions given to lawmakers or political candidates who are not in synch with what the church teaches, then doesn’t that call into serious question the motives of this individual?”
  • Fr. Bryan Hehir has responsibility over Pro-Life Ministries in the Archdiocese of Boston, and those ministries are headed by Marianne Luthin, whose husband, Henry Luthin, is Chairman of the Board of MCFL. Whatever Marianne says and does in her official role in the archdiocese needs to comply with what Fr. Hehir wants to do.  So, if Fr. Hehir is opposed to a program like the 40 Days for Life running in the Archdiocese of Boston or if he were to stonewall moving ahead with it, Marianne would be in the awkward position of having to acquiesce to Hehir’s opposition.  Everything we hear about Marianne and Henry says they are very solid pro-life Catholics.  We’re not into conspiracy theories here and don’t know if Hehir’s influence over Marianne is extending to influence her husband Henry as well.  So what’s up with Henry allowing the absurdity of what Anne is doing at MCFL and allowing his good name to be sullied?
Below is the letter from C.J. Doyle at the Catholic Action League to Anne Fox regarding the planned appearance by Howie Carr.  Although we find Howie’s criticism of corruption in government worthwhile and his criticism of liberal Democratic politicians often amusing, his slams against Catholics, ethnic minorities, and those less fortunate in society are offensive, intolerable and not consistent with the values MCFL should be promoting.

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December 17, 2010

Anne Fox, President
Massachusetts Citizens For Life
The Schrafft Center
529 Main Street
Charlestown, MA 02129

Dear Anne,

We were astonished to learn that Howie Carr will be featured at MCFL’s Annual Assembly For Life on January 16th.  Carr is a notorious Catholic-basher with a long record of vicious and gratuitous attacks on the Catholic Religion.

On April 8, 1998 — Wednesday in Holy Week — in response to a decision by the Red Sox to forgo alcohol sales in Fenway Park because Opening Day would fall on Good Friday, Carr hosted a segment on his program in which he invited listeners to comment on selling “Catholic Eucharists for $3.49 a bag” as a substitute for beer.  The result was a half hour of offensive slurs profaning the Blessed Sacrament.

In one particularly vile episode later in 1998, in a conversation between Carr and his producer Doug Goudie evidently intended to disparage Arabs, it was asserted that shepherds in the Middle East had unnatural relations with the animals in their flocks.  Into this depraved subject the name of Saint Joseph — the Virgin Spouse of the Virgin Mother of God — was introduced.  Saint Joseph was then misidentified as a shepherd.

In an interview with Malachy McCourt, Carr laughed and snickered over McCourt’s assertion that the late Francis Cardinal Spellman was not only a homosexual but a pedophile.  Carr went on to recount a story alleging that an episcopal ring was found by police in a homosexual brothel, implying that the ring belonged to Spellman.

In January, 2002, Carr hosted a segment in which he asked his listeners ” Are you ashamed to be a Catholic?”, during which he boasted that he never went to Mass.  All throughout the molestation crisis of 2002, Carr contemptuously referred to the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston as “Bernie Law”, and on November 29th of that year the Boston Herald published a column by Carr in which he described the Cardinal as “a Bulger bum kisser.”

Hispanic Catholics, with their large families and culture of life, are the future of the Church and the Pro-Life movement in America.  Howie Carr however, is not only an anti-Catholic but a crude nativist.  One of the recurring themes of his program is the attempt to link illegal immigrants to crime.  A particularly offensive gimmick is his habit of playing Mexican music while reading the names of criminal suspects with Hispanic surnames.  This hostility to Hispanics and immigrants places Cardinal O’Malley, or whoever represents him from the Archdiocese of Boston, in the embarrassing position of sharing a stage with someone who boorishly castigates some of the neediest members of his flock.

In a Catholic community which has a significant number of Eastern Rite Catholics of Lebanese and Syrian descent (the Melkite Cathedral is in West Roxbury) it is unimaginable that MCFL would actually provide a platform to a rabble rousing shock jock who has described Arabs in the past as “towelheads”.

Inviting Howie Carr to address the Assembly for Life is an act of monumental ingratitude to elected officials who defended the right to life and came to the aid of MCFL in difficult times.  Men such as William Bulger, Ray Flynn, Thomas Finneran, and the late Jim Craven have been the victims of vulgar insults, venomous denunciations, and malevolent diatribes by this spiteful demagogue.

A larger issue here is why an organization with a predominantly Christian membership would want to showcase a public figure whose life and career embody such a cynical negation of Christian values.  Howie Carr is infamous for his uncharitableness of speech, his lack of compassion, and his sneering contempt for the objects of his scorn.  He preys upon the vulnerable, exploits the misfortunes of others, incites rancor and envy, and has grown rich by his indifference to the Eighth Commandment.  He mocks the Church, derides the poor, maligns men who have more integrity than he does, and has ridiculed the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Inviting such a miserable creature to address an organization dedicated to the sanctity and dignity of human life is an affront to the Christian religion and everything the Pro-Life movement professes to uphold.

We urge you to reconsider this improvident decision and cancel the invitation to this inappropriate choice for a speaker.

Sincerely,

Daniel T. Flatley                                  C. J. Doyle
Chairman Emeritus                           Executive Director

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We are totally supportive of Mass Citizens for Life’s mission: “to promote respect for human life and to defend the right to life of all human beings, born and preborn.”  They have a lot of great, hard-working solid pro-life people involved in the organization. But they’re losing site of that mission and losing supporters by a series of ill-conceived decisions lately that reek of the kind of relativism that characterizes Bryan Hehir’s approach to Church teachings and public policy.
We hope the Board at MCFL does something about both this event, and what seems like the increasingly misguided leadership of President Anne Fox.  The credibility of the organization amongst Massachusetts pro-lifers and their ability to accomplish their mission are dropping like a rock.

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