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Posts Tagged ‘United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’

The Boston Catholic Insider blog has launched a Red Alert” campaign asking the U.S. bishops who meet in Baltimore this weekend to NOT elect the lead candidate for the new national leader (current USCCB Vice President Bishop Gerald Kicanas, since he is known to have enabled a priest convicted of child sexual abuse who is now defrocked and jailed.

Boston Catholic Insider asked us for help with quickly staging their campaign, so we shared the approach and Web technology we used in the past.  Here is their blog post. 

In short, the lead candidate, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tuscon, was rector of a seminary in the 1990′s where he approved ordaining a seminarian even after receiving 3 allegations of sexual improprieties, including abuse of a minor.  After that ordained priest went on to abuse as many as 23 boys and was jailed and defrocked, in 2007 Bishop Kicanas looked back in hindsight and was quoted in the Chicago Sun Times as saying “It would have been grossly unfair not to have ordained him…There was a sense that his activity was part of the developmental process…I was more concerned about his drinking.”

Here is the letter they have posted at the website www.usccbelection.com

Your Excellency,

I am writing to respectfully ask that you vote for a candidate other than Bishop Gerald Kicanas for the new president of the USCCB.

Many bishops may not be aware that Bishop Kicanas was rector of Mundelein Seminary in 1992 when he approved ordaining a seminarian, Daniel McCormack, despite knowing about three cases of homosexual “sexual improprieties” including one with a minor. Fr. McCormack went on to abuse 23 children and was defrocked and jailed.

After McCormack’s history of child sexual abuse was known, in 2007 Bishop Kicanas was quoted in the Chicago Sun Times saying, “It would have been grossly unfair not to have ordained him. There was a sense that his activity was part of the developmental process and that he had learned from the experience. I was more concerned about his drinking. We sent him to counseling for that.”

In view of this information, I feel his comments and actions represent a moral, spiritual and pastoral disaster for souls under his care, people affected by sexual abuse, and the whole Catholic Church. Beyond that grave scandal, electing Bishop Kicanas as USCCB president would also seriously harm the credibility and fund-raising ability of the U.S. bishops and Catholic Church.

I respectfully request that you vote for as president a candidate who will be first and foremost a shepherd of souls in imitation of Christ, and that Bishop Kicanas also voluntarily withdraw his name from consideration.

Yours in Christ

According to this article, Bishop Kicanas was aware that McCormack abused 23 children–including the homosexual rape of a boy who he ordered to undress, take a shower and then bend over–and his observation in 2007 when he looked back retrospectively was that this was “part of the developmental process”!    This is scandalous!  If this is the judgment of Bishop Kicanas in 2007, five years into the sexual abuse crisis, then he should not be in charge of even a diocese, or a parish, let alone president of the U.S. Bishops Conference.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know what you have to do.  Click on the graphic to the right to get to the campaign web page, fill in the blanks with your name and contact information, click “send the letter,” confirm your information is correct, and then click submit.  It will take less than one minute.  For more information, see this Boston Catholic Insider post from yesterday or today.

Boston Catholic Insider urges you to also please forward this to friends and relatives, and also contact your local bishop and leave a message saying you want them to NOT vote for Bishop Kicanas. If  you do not know how to reach your local diocese, click here for a map and contact info.

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A quick read of this weekend’s edition of The Pilot
and a look at recent news from the Boston Archdiocese confirms the sad state of affairs for Boston Catholics.  The Cardinal Archbishop of Boston seems to have even less backbone than the traces of it we glimpsed earlier in his Boston tenure.  He is continuing to make questionable personnel decisions and let dissident cabinet members and advisors run amuck, and it’s becoming evident that he is failing in his episcopal responsibility to teach, sanctify, and govern.  (Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?)  Here are a handful of examples:

Fr. Bryan Hehir at the Catholic Health Association. Fr. Bryan Hehir spoke at the Catholic Health Association conference on June 13, where he heaped praise on Sr. Carol Keehan for her leadership of the organization, and separately said that “there was foundation for the different judgments made on the bill in the Catholic moral tradition.”  That is yet another Bryan Hehir fabrication. Shortly before Hehir’s talk, a video by President Obama also praised Sr. Keehan for her role in getting the bill passed.  The Pilot reported on Hehir’s talk and the Obama comments, but never covered that about the same time, the President of the U.S.C.C.B, Cardinal George was slamming Sr. Keehan for defying repeated attempts by the U.S. Catholic Bishops to get her to not endorse the abortion-funding Obama healthcare legislation.  We’ll have an in-depth blog post on this in another day or so.  It’s a mystery why The Pilot did not report the full story–do they want to avoid criticizing Fr. Hehir perhaps?  That Cardinal O’Malley keeps Fr. Hehir around has become an embarrassment and scandal to the Church.  The kindest explanation would be that it’s a reflection of Cardinal Sean’s ongoing poor judgment.  Is anyone in the Holy See paying attention to this?

Letters to the Editor of The Pilot. I’ve been reading The Pilot for a lot of years, and never would have imagined that the newspaper had such a strong gay and lesbian readership as the letters of the past 2-3 weeks suggest.  This week all 6 of the letters to the editor published were about Michael Pakaluk’s recent column that talked about the consequences of a Catholic schools admitting children of gay parents. 4 of the 6 were critical of The Pilot or of Pakaluk—one from a Catholic lesbian woman who expressed “hurt and betrayal” by the Pilot’s decision to publish Pakaluk’s column, one was from a gay man who also has a gay sister raising twins, one is from a “devout Roman Catholic” who was “appalled,” and another from someone who felt if children of gay couples were not admitted to Catholic schools, then why not also reject children of soldiers (thou shalt not kill) or a parent who had pre-marital sex.  The absence of good catechesis on the part of these writers is very clear.   Cardinal O’Malley merely issued a short statement in mid-May to placate everyone, and his trusted advisor, Bryan Hehir, forcefully delivered the message  a day later that they are moving forward with creating policies to admit children of gay parents. More than a month has passed, and the Cardinal has done zero teaching on this issue about the reasons why the Church sees homosexual relationships as immoral and disordered.  That lack of any public teaching by him on this issue since 2005 has led to this free-for-all of poorly-informed opinion-spouting.  His own cabinet team and many priests are following a very different direction than the Cardinal’s own 2005 letter.  It’s yet is another clear indication he is failing in his responsibility to teach, sanctify, and govern. He has the time every week to dictate or write the blog of his global travels and his networking with priests, religious, and laity, but apparently no time to teach or govern here in Boston.  Thankfully, two letters were published from lay people who helped set the record straight–one who said that Michael Pakaluk was “absolutely correct about the insidious nature of the gay agenda being implemented in schools with impressionable children,” and another who said, “the truth is, Mr. Pakaluk is just stating what the Bible states…he’s being vilified for accurately representing his religion.”  We are going to ask the Pilot to re-run the Cardinal’s 2005 letter on homosexuality next week.  Let’s see if they do it.

Cardinal O’Malley names Jack Connors, Jr.
to head Cabinet Secretary search.
While we are in the poor judgment department, here’s another example.  After power-broker, Jack Connors, played a key role in the ouster of Secretary of Institutional Advancement, Scot Landry, and after it was reported that Connors has also given a quarter of a million dollars to pro-abortion political candidates in recent years, who does the Cardinal put in charge of the search for his replacement?  Naturally, Jack Connors. Seems to me  that “like attracts like”  in this world.  So, if you want to build a leadership team that will help you evangelize the truths of the Catholic faith and preach the Gospel in-season and out of season, you’d probably start by having search committees for key roles headed by people who are comfortable with those same truths.  Not around Boston, where our Cardinal continues the pattern of acting in a way like he is unable to understand this–or worse still, he understands it and rejects that as important.  How much do you want to bet that whomever is picked for the position has also supported pro-abortion politicians or has dissented from Church teachings in some way?

Cardinal O’Malley praises Dean Garvey appointment as President of Catholic University. Much has been written about how the outgoing president of CUA helped solidify the Catholic identity of the university during his tenure.  On his blog, Cardinal writes, “Dean Garvey has been an important figure at Boston College and has done so much to strengthen the Catholic identity of Boston College.”  Your Eminence, could you give some examples? Um, as reported previously, how did Dean Garvey’s honoring pro-abortion politician Edward Markey in violation of the USCCB’s guidelines help solidify the Catholic identity of Boston College?  How did Dean Garvey giving $1,750 of his personal money over two years to the pro-abortion Sen. John Kerry help solidify the Catholic identity at BC?  How did his signing a statement touting BC Law School’s being “one of the first law schools in the country to include sexual orientation in its non-discrimination pledge…and reaffirming their commitment to being a welcome place…for LGBT students” help solidify the Catholic identity of BC?

Based on what he writes on his blog, the Cardinal seems to relish traveling all over the country and around the world schmoozing with people and networking, while we hear next to nothing about him teaching or governing in Boston. Even when the Cardinal blogs something important, it’s often overshadowed by his failure to lead according to what he writes.  For example, he writes about attending the Mass for the anniversary of married couples, and he wrote:

It’s always a wonderful event and an opportunity for us to showcase the centrality of the Sacrament of Marriage in the life of the Church in today’s world, a world where more people are postponing marriage or foregoing marriage, where marriage is under attack because of the divorce mentality, the prevalence of cohabitation and even attempts to redefine what marriage is. The Church must be a very clear voice in defending traditional marriage and holding this up as an ideal for our people, which for us is a sacrament, a sign of the love and the unity that unites Christ and His Church, His bride.

Sounds great, but HELLO!?!  How can the Church have a clear voice defending traditional marriage and hold that up as an ideal for our people in the face of attempts to redefine marriage, while you, Mary Grassa O’Neill, Jack Connors, Fr. Bryan Hehir, and the rest of your administration are holding-up “gay marriages” or gay partnerships as an ideal for Catholic school children making them look equivalent to traditional marriage?

Folks, stay tuned for our detailed post about Bryan Hehir’s CHA talk.  Also, keep reading for additional news from the archdiocese this coming week, including sad news word due any day now about significant Pastoral Center staff layoffs and the naming of new auxiliary bishops.

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If you havent yet read it, please take a few minutes 
to read yesterday’s post about Fr. Bryan Hehir keynoting a conference on April 30 along with a known advocate for gay priests. But, we’ll delay Part 2 of the report.  APRIL 15 and APRIL 19 UPDATES:  we previously posted that Fr. Hehir had apparently succeeded with efforts to push out the strongest faithful Catholic in the Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s cabinet staff (and probably the only faithful lay Catholic),  Secretary of Development, Scot Landry, brother of Fall River diocesian priest Fr. Roger Landry.  Based on a blog comment from  “Come off the ledge“, a colleague of Scots and subsequent information received we are correcting and updating our previous post and apologizing for any errors.
As said earlier, Scot is part of a group that started the successful Boston Catholic Mens and Womens Conferences, his office ran the Archdiocesan pilgrimage to see Pope Benedict XVI in New York, hes been involved with Legatus, the organizatin of Catholic business leaders, and he had sometihng to do with the Wednesday night confessions during Lent. In other words amidst a pack of wolves generally running amuck, he is one of the few  good guys.  That is still accurate.

When Bryan hehir was bought in to run Catholic Charities of Boston, the dissidents from Voice of the Faithful said his coming back to Boston was an “extraordinary coup for the archdiocese.” They were basically right–but its actually a coup OF the archdiocese by Hehir and his chronies that has been and still is underway.  That is still accurate.

It appears that a group of people in the Chancery, including James McDonough (Chancellor), and outside the Chancery, including Jack Connors, has put the squeeze on Mr. Landry’s position as Secretary of Development.  Why would they do that?  Well, since the Sec. of development has been sucessful hitting their fundraising goals year after year in the worst economic climate in a whole generation and those funds pay all of the salaries of people in the chancery among other important programs, it actually makes no sense.  Mr. Landry is so good  at what hes been doing and has such high integrity and strong orthodoxy that he has been able to attract good people to his office, build solid relationships with donors, and hit the fundraising goals,  while hes also running programs that evangelise the faith in his spare time.  Why not just let the guy keep doing great work?  Is it about power?  I dunno.  But we have been told by multiple sources over the past month that Scot is being squeezed out of the develpment role while at the same time their is not necessarily another position available to use his capabilities and skills.   This situation appears to be comiing to a head.  So if he does not have the development role any more and their is not another good job for him soon with resources available to succeed he could be squeezed entirely out.  So we were wrong previously, the final squeeze has not happened yet and there is some chance he may still be saved.  We hope he stays, and apologize for that incorrect information.  As readers hopefully see we document everything and try to maintain the highest journlistic standards.

Here at BryanhehirExposed, we don’t know Mr. McDonough.  But we do know that the search team that hired him was led by Neal Finnegan, who is an old chrony of Fr. Hehir from Catholic Charities.  And we know that the people who are, lets say, pulling the strings in the archdiocese with the most influence these days are McDonnough, Fr. Hehir, and the likes of Fr. Hehir’s buddy Jack Connors from Catholic Charities. (See Cardinal Sean’s blog for just one example of the Hehir/Connors association).   Connors is now remaking parochial schools and involved in all of the education stuff,  and the new Pope John Paul II academy is sending their fund-raisers who seems to have missed a bunch of their goals to now take over fundraising for the archdiocese and replace the guy who was actually hitting his goals.

Lest readers think Jack Connors is merely a humble philanthropist with strong Catholic values, quietly giving away his fortune to the poor and needy, look again.  In the Boston Globe’s 2007 article The Invisible Hand of Jack he is described as a “Boston power broker” who sits on a $500 million fortune.”

I am not selfless. I have fancy houses. I am not giving it all away.

The article says “Connors remains a man with his hand still firmly on the levers of power” and he is “digging in again at the Catholic Church…Connors was chosen by Cardinal Sean O’Malley to restructure the archdiocese’s school system and turn around its finances. The plan is to reverse years of declining enrollment by building new schools, refurbishing others, and putting the schools in the right places.”  When the Globe article was written Connors was planning to raise millions for rebuilding two Brockton schools.  It’s not clear though if Connors is actually giving any of his own money to the Church.  The article says the biggests gifts of the $7 million in annual Connors Family Foundation donations go “to places closest to the family’s heart: Boston College, Mass. General, Brigham and Women’s, Harvard Medical School, and  the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women’s.”  How many of these institutions really need millions more in $$?  Hey Jack, how about giving some to Archdiocesan Campus Ministry, or the Little Sisters of the Poor, or the Poor Clares,  the Sisters of Life, Daughters of St. Paul, Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s order), Brotherhood of Hope, Cor Unum or Sancta Maria House in Boston?

Bottom line is the Chancellor, Secretary of Social Services, and Jack Connors weild most of the power in this palace coup.  If Mr. McDnnough, Fr. Hehir, or Mr. Connors or someone else with a logical explanation are reading this and can explain why they are pushing out a solid Catholic with a record of success from his role as Sec. of Development, please feel free to share it and we will be more than delighted to publish it.

If Cardinal O’Malley is permitting or cooperating in this squeezola and it continues as it has been, that has a very good chance of leaving Fr. Bryan Hehir, chancellor McDonough, Jack Connors, and the gang of Fr. Hehir’s chronies running everything.  (Hehir is definitely one of, if not the most influential advisor to Cardinal O’Malley,  who advises the Cardinal on public policy, the  Catholic schools system, hospitals, has pro-life education under him for some reason, and he is also primary troubleshooter for O’Malley.  Hehir has been quoted as saying of his role, “the amount of things that I’ve been doing had been growing on an ad hoc basis.“).  There is little doubt who is behind the curtain pulling the strings of the puppet so to speak.

We think that is an accurate picture of the current situation.  If anyone disagrees or thinks we have something inaccurate please let us know and we will correct.  Still most importantly, if you have issues with this situation or with any of the activities of Fr. Bryan hehir we have documented,  drop a couple of dimes and faxes to object to this situation and ask that Fr. Bryan Hehir be removed immediately:

Most Reverend Pietro Sambi
Apostolic Nunciature
3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008-3610
Phone: (202)333-7121
Fax: (202) 337-4036

Begin letters or faxes with “Dear Archbishop Sambi”

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect
Palazzo della Congregazioni, 00193
Roma, Piazza Pio XII, 10
Telephone: 06.69.88.42.17
Fax from U.S: 011.39.06.69.88.53.03

(note, 011 gets out of the U.S. , 39 is Italy’s country code, 06 is Rome)

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley
66 Brooks Drive
Braintree MA 02184-3839
Phone: 617-782-2544
Fax: 617-746-5762

Email

Write your own letter and please be respectful but direct, and if its helpful consider attaching the Bryan Hehir chronology page or other posts from this site. Though you will not get a response from writing or calling the Papal Nuncio and Congregation of Bishops, it is the best way to get attention to matters where the bishop is failing to exercise his responsibility to teach, sanctify, and govern. (Decree concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops, Christus Dominus, section 11)

The Boston Catholic Men’s Conference is Saturday, April 17, including EWTN’s Crossing the Goal team (Curtis Martin, Danny Abromowitz, Peter Herbeck and Brian Patrick) and Mass celebrated by Cardinal O’Malley.  It should be an outstanding event!  Anyone reading this blog planning to attend who is upset about the situation in the archdiocese should feel free to voice their concerns directly to the Cardinal, his staff, or  any of the above at the conference.

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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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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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