Boston Conference to Feature Backer of Pro-Abort Politician

Joe Sacerdo | August 24, 2010 at 8:09 am | Tags: Archdiocese of Boston, Bryan Hehir | Categories: Archdiocese of Boston, Bryan Hehir | URL:

We’re watching the attention over blocking the Boston Catholic Insider blog by the Boston Archdiocese with a combination of dismay over the Archdiocese’s response and amusement as our blog about dissent from Church teachings seems to be making its way through the archdiocesan Internet filters with flying colors. Today we’ll talk about the upcoming Archdiocesan Social Justice Conference featuring a backer of pro-abortion Gov. Sebelius for Health and Human Services Secretary, but first a brief comment about the bureaucratic-sounding response to Boston Catholic Insider.

When the archdiocese says they have “reached out to bloggers on numerous occasions to ask them to enter into a professional and  Christ-centered conversation with us” we assume that probably is referring at least to this blog, perhaps others.  There are two problems with their statement. First, their latest announcement about speakers for their upcoming Social Justice Conference further proves they don’t care the least about doing something about the problems we have raised.  (Remember, the objective of meeting with us from their perspective was “…to have a frank conversation about what is the best way to serve Christ and His Church, and to give you a broader frame of reference for future blog entries.”  (Nothing about acting on the issues we have raised–just lecturing us on how to blog in a friendlier, less critical way).  Secondly, the reference to “unfounded claims” sounds strikingly similar to their comments to us about posts considered “untrue” or “inaccurate.”  We asked several times in good faith for specific examples so we could correct them and never got a response.

Anyway, welcome to Fr. Bryan Hehir’s Social Justice Conference #3, “Charity and Justice in our Daily Lives.” taking place Saturday, October 9, 2010.

Join parishes from around the Archdiocese of Boston to learn more about Catholic Social Teaching, celebrate the work for justice already going on, and find out concrete ways to connect faith with action in the service of justice. Featuring:

  • Keynote Address by Fr. J. Bryan Hehir, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services for the Archdiocese of Boston
  • Introduction to Catholic Social Teaching by Fr. Thomas Massaro, SJ, Professor of Moral Theology, Boston College

Fr. Massaro, of course was one of 26 signatories to a letter supporting the nomination of pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services.  Just Google on “Fr. Thomas Massaro abortion” and here’s a sampling of what you get.

Catholic Professors Criticized for Supporting Pro-Abortion Sebelius for Health Post

The pro-abortion group Catholics United has started an organization to defend President Barack Obama’s pro-abortion health selection and has been criticized for spreading misinformation about Sebelius’ record. Now, the Cardinal Newman Society is concerned that half of the 26 Catholic activists, scholars and theologians who signed the CU statement are professors employed by Catholic universities.

These professors are giving comfort and aid to those whose stated goals are to advance policies directly opposed to Catholic teachings on life issues,” CNS president Patrick Reilly told Kathleen Sebelius vetoed pro-life legislation on four separate occasions as governor of Kansas,” Reilly said. “After she vetoed the pro-life Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act in April 2008, Bishop Joseph Naumann [said she should stop receiving communion.]”

Abortion, not resume, could dominate Sebelius confirmation (CNN)

Calling Sebelius an “enemy of the unborn,” Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the Kansas governor’s nomination is particularly disturbing…Sebelius’ support for abortion is so far off the charts that she has been publicly criticized by the last three archbishops of Kansas City.”

In May, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, said that Sebelius’ stance on abortion had “grave spiritual and moral consequences.” He asked that Sebelius no longer receive Communion until she repudiated her stance and made a “worthy sacramental confession.” Naumann was reacting to Sebelius’ veto of state Senate Bill 389 and the subsequent House version, titled the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act, either of which would have tightened abortion regulations in Kansas.

Do the choices of Fr. Massaro and Fr. Massaro reflect the best the Archdiocese can muster to talk about Catholic social teaching?  The notice about the conference and the speakers comes just months after Fr. Hehir spoke at BC about Catholic conscience exemptions and said, if “we do not choose well” on exempting Catholic medical workers from having to perform abortions is “we could harm the individual” who needs the abortion, and it also comes just months after he helped reinforce what USCCB president Cardinal George called a “wound to Catholic unity” by praising the Catholic Hospital Association’s leadership at their national conference shortly after they gave public support that was key to passage of the abortion-funding national healthcare legislation. Our posting of video and audio clips from those events was what evidently prompted Vicar General Erikson to complain to us about the blog, but apparently his statements that objectively undermined Church positions on these issues or that undermined the USCCB were not enough to keep him from keynoting the upcoming conference.

Anyway, does anyone besides us think the presence of certain speakers on the agenda for this Boston Archdiocese-backed conference makes some kind of statement about how seriously the archdiocese takes the cause of defending the unborn?  Does anyone out there think it also makes a pretty strong statement about how seriously they take the concerns we have raised since March?  We have just sent an email to the bloggers at Boston Catholic Insider suggesting there is no apparent reason to enter into a conversation with the leadership at the Boston Archdiocese until they make some acknowledgement of the legitimate concerns raised by taking some visible action to address them.

Frankly, we think it’s time for folks to visit our Take Action page and start making some phone calls and sending some faxes and  letters to Rome once again.  There’s a new prefect at the Congregation of Bishops, and he is no doubt looking forward to hearing from you.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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