“Boston Catholic Tea Party” Against Upcoming Catholic Conference

We’ve had it with the Archdiocese of Boston’s

response to the dissent from Church teachings being permitted that continues to scandalize the faithful. An upcoming Boston conference is still featuring a backer of a pro-abortion politician. If you’re fed up also and want to let the Vatican know, we’ve made it really easy for you.  This is the first move of what we’re calling the “Boston Catholic Tea Party.”  The good news is that we now have a green light from the Boston Archdiocese to take our complaints to the Holy See!

On October 9, the archdiocese is sponsoring another Social Justice Conference, this time featuring Fr. Thomas Massaro, SJ from Boston College along with Fr. Bryan Hehir. Fr. Massaro, was one of 26 signatories to a public letter supporting the nomination of pro-abortion former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama administration.  Three archbishops in Kansas City (see below for references) have rebuked her for her pro-abortion views that ran contrary to Church teachings, with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann asking her to no longer receive Communion until she repudiated her stance and make a “worthy sacramental confession.”   Our complaints about Fr. Hehir go back 40 years, including his presiding over Catholic Charities of Boston when they brokered adoptions to gay couples and when they honored the pro-abort/pro-gay marriage Mayor of Boston, and his undermining Catholic teachings on abortion, Catholic conscience exemptions, women priests, and voting for pro-abortion politicians.

This blog reported about the scandal of this conference on August 24 and sent an email to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson,  and the Cardinal’s two priest secretaries on September 3 asking to have the two speakers removed from the agenda. (This was also a formal response to Fr. Erikson’s request to meet with us in-person so he could tell us how to blog in a kinder and gentler way).  We let them know if we did not hear back by September 8, we would conclude that the recipients felt the  speakers were “acceptable for an archdiocesan-sponsored conference” and we would also “assume that you are comfortable with our taking these concerns to the Holy See as a next step.”  We received no response, meaning the Cardinal and Vicar General have given us the green light to take this to the Papal Nuncio, Congregation for Bishops, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Holy Father.   We’ve set-up a simple form you can complete to send emails and faxes to those people, so just click here to go straight to the form or click on the “Fed Up” graphic above.

Below is our email to Cardinal O’Malley and Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson. (Those new to the blog can jump directly to the 4th paragraph, but regular visitors might want to read the whole message).

From: Bryan Hehir Exposed

To:      Cardinal Sean O’Malley
Fr. Richard Erikson
Terry Donilon

Date:  September 3, 2010
To Cardinal O’Malley, Fr. Erikson, and Mr. Donilon,

We continue to be dismayed by the Archdiocese of Boston’s response to our Catholic blog, Bryan Hehir Exposed.  Although we appreciated Fr. Erikson’s outreach to us and invitation to have a face-to-face conversation, after much prayerful consideration and public commentary on our blog (see also comments on this post) which we are sure you’ve seen–and after reading the Archdiocese’s statement about the Catholic bloggers last week–we have decided to decline that invitation.

As you know, for several months we sent emails to Cardinal O’Malley and cabinet officials asking you to address the well-documented ongoing public dissent from Church teachings by Fr. Hehir.  The Vicar General then invited us to have a one-way conversation. (That invitation came right after we posted a recording of Fr. Hehir commending the Catholic Health Association for their outstanding leadership following the passage of Obamacare–which the CHA played a key role in passing, despite objections by the U.S. bishops due to its allowing of federal funding for abortion).  We also have posted recordings of Fr. Hehir publicly contradicting Cardinal O’Malley, Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and church teachings on topics including education for children of gay parents in Catholic schools, Catholic conscience exemptions, women priests, and voting for pro-abortion politicians.  Fr. Erikson said there was much on the blog that was “untrue” and last week’s statement from the archdiocese referred to “unfounded claims,” but when we have asked multiple times for examples, none were ever provided. The meeting objective as described by Fr. Erikson was to discuss “the best way to serve Christ and His Church…and give you a broader frame of reference for future blog entries.”  In other words, the goal was not for the archdiocese to share an action plan for addressing the legitimate concerns—it was to lecture the bloggers on how to blog in a friendlier, less critical way.  Furthermore, no one was to be present with the authority or proven track record of controlling Fr. Hehir or acting on these concerns, so there is no point in spending the time to meet.

The communications from Fr. Erikson and the statement from the Archdiocese accused the Catholic blogs of doing harm to individuals and the community.  Why does the Archdiocese fail to acknowledge and deal with the harm that’s a result of dissent from Church teaching? How can the Archdiocese honestly claim to be dedicated to “building unity in Christ” when what that really seems to mean is a toning down of orthodox critics while condoning the advance of false teachings and/or allowing people such as Fr. Hehir to continue undermining Church teachings?  Fr. Hehir, the trusted “strategic advisor” to Cardinal O’Malley who brings “fidelity to the work of the Church” and ”clarity to our message and mission” backed the organization that was critical to passing the abortion-funding healthcare overhaul legislation opposed by the U.S. Bishops, and the bloggers who expose and complain about this are the ones criticized by the Archdiocese. In Boston, “building unity in Christ” apparently means that Catholic bloggers who promote and defend the Magisterial teaching of the Church are accused of harming individuals and the community.  (See our post, Catholic Bloggers faithful to the Magisterium causing harm to the community?)

If the archdiocese cares about building the Body of Christ and preaching the Truths of our faith and a culture of life, why does your upcoming Social Justice Conference feature Fr. Thomas Massaro, from Boston College, a speaker who publicly backed the pro-abortion Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for HHS Secretary?  What message does that send?  Why is Fr. Hehir featured, when his track record of undermining and confusing the teachings of the Church is so well documented and proven?  Has the list of speakers been personally approved by the Cardinal and by Fr. Gaspar, whose name is listed on the archdiocese’s website as a key contact for the event?

In Courage to Be Catholic, author George Weigel said, “Bishops who think of themselves primarily as managers — or worse, bishops who think of themselves as discussion-group moderators whose primary responsibility is to keep everyone “in play” — are going to be unlikely to act like apostles when the crunch comes.”

The crunch is upon us.  Cardinal Sean, do you see yourself as a discussion group moderator whose main job is to travel, make event appearances, blog about your travels, and keep everyone “in play,” or are you an icon of Jesus Christ capable of the sort of bold leadership Boston needs, as seen in Matthew 21:12?  Do you want to be Archbishop of Boston, with the responsibilities of teaching, sanctifying, and governing that are associated with the job, or is being away from the responsibililties of Boston now of greater interest to you?

Please see our recent post on the matter of the upcoming Social Justice Conference.  Based on the widespread promotion of this conference in parish bulletins happening today, it would appear that these controversial speakers are officially approved by the Cardinal and Archdiocese.  To avoid scandal to the Church and to the faithful, we believe both speakers should be removed from the speaking agenda for the reasons listed above, below (ref. blog post), and in our blog since March.  We would appreciate the courtesy of a response regarding removal of these speakers from the agenda by Wednesday, September 8.  If we do not hear back from you, we will assume that you maintain these speakers are acceptable for an archdiocesan-sponsored conference, and we also will assume that you are comfortable with our taking these concerns to the Holy See as a next step.

Thank you for your continuing consideration of our requests that the Archdiocese act on the faithful Catholics’ concerns we have documented.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The bloggers at Bryan Hehir Exposed

We’re not the only ones who have complained to the Archdiocese of Boston about this upcoming event and asked for something to be done.  Both speakers are still listed on the event website.  There’s a meeting of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council with Cardinal O’Malley tonight, Wednesday, September 29 and we’re asking the APC to take up this urgent matter.

Cardinal O’Malley and Vicar General Fr. Erikson are telling us by silence and inaction that they approve of both speakers and it’s OK with them for us to take this to the Holy See.  Frankly, we’re fed up with the archdiocese thumbing their noses at these long-standing complaints.  In addition, Fr. Hehir is scheduled to speak at a Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace’s symposium in Rome, October 15-16.

The Holy Father recently warned 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.

So we’re asking you to join the “Boston Catholic Tea Party” and help rid these upcoming conferences from “negative attitudes of the world” such as those the Holy Father alluded to.  Today’s the day to start firing away!  Just click on the “Fed Up” graphic

to get to a form where you can fill in your name and address to send an email or fax to Cardinal O’Malley, the Papal Nuncio, Prefect for the Congregation for Bishops, Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Holy Father. (your email address is optional, just if you want to be kept posted on the results of the campaign).   We urge people to use your real name, but you can also enter a different name.  After you fill out the form, just click “Submit,” verify the info is correct, and it’s done.

Please spread the word to your friends and family members.  We’d like to see at least 200 people complete this by the end of the day today if possible and get 500 by the end of the week.  We’ll let you know when we hear more about any action the archdiocese or Holy See takes.

About abyssum

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