Rev. Bryan Hehir

Bryan Hehir Panel Discussion with Rep. Barney Frank
by Joe Sacerdo

Fr. Bryan Hehir, Archdiocese of Boston’s Secretary for Social Services–who has served on panels with partial-birth abortionists and gay/lesbian activists and who lectured for a Socialist, pro-Communist think-tank back in the 1980’s, now adds to his portfolio by participating in a panel discussion on Wednesday, January 3, 2011 with Rep. Barney Frank in Newton, MA.  Here’s the listing in the Boston Globe:

Frank talk During his long career, US Representative Barney Frank has been nothing if not outspoken. We imagine his impending exit from Washington won’t change that. See for yourself at Truth, Lies and Politics, a panel discussion featuring Frank, journalist Robert Kuttner, and Father J. Bryan Hehir. Author Leonard Fein moderates the program exploring the relationship (or lack thereof) between politicians and truth-telling. Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. $15, $12 students and seniors. Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center, 333 Nahanton St., Newton. 617-965-5226,

Robert Kuttner is the co-founder and current co-editor of The American Prospect, which was created in 1990 as “an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas.”    To give you a sense for Kuttner’s ideology, here’s a column he wrote in June 2010, “Gay-Marriage Envy.”
Sometimes I wish my personal overriding cause were gay rights. Then I could get up in the morning and feel that my side was making real progress.

It is thrilling to see how a movement for human decency has made immense gains. Executive leadership married to millions of acts of personal courage in a strong grass-roots movement can be transformative. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is the hero of the hour for using all his political skills to move just enough Republicans in the New York Legislature into the Yes column on same sex marriage.

It’s a joy to see progress on same-sex marriage and the broader acceptance of sexual difference, a fight that is far from over.

Barney Frank, openly gay, opposed Catholic Church positions on every moral issue under the sun–he supports gay marriage, is rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a solid pro-abortion voting record (he voted “no” on banning partial-birth abortion).
Does anyone imagine for a second that Bryan Hehir’s going to use this as an opportunity to try and catechize Barney Frank and Mr. Kuttner and put forward Catholic teachings?  Not if the past is any indication.

The Bryan Hehir Exposed blog  told you how in April 2010 how Bryan Hehir keynoted a Catholic conference along with a priest who advocated for “gay priests.”
On marriage and so-called “gay rights,” Fr. Hehir has never once said publicly that he opposes “gay marriage.”  But he did serve on a panel at Regis College with  lesbian feminist theologian, Mary Hunt, where he was quoted as follows:
…in twentieth-century Catholicism, teachings on sexuality have been “a chronically afflicted area,” and there are issues that need to be examined and re-examined…dissent is an expected part of the theological tradition of which we are a part…He ceded to Dr. Hunt discussion of any perception of the influence and role of women…

In 2010, Bryan Hehir also spoke at Boston College on a panel with a partial-birth abortionist about Catholic Conscience exemptions, and never even mentioned the word “abortion.”  Here’s what he said.
“If you think of the conscience clause protecting the professional, then you have to think about access to service on the part of clients of various kinds, patients, or clients of social service agencies.

Just to be clear, this “access to service” described by Fr. Hehir meant abortion, but he never stated that.  Instead, this senior Archdiocesan official said Catholics should “have to think” about how the woman will get access to abortion services.
Unless we choose well on this, we could harm the profession, the social system. And clearly, if we don’t choose well, we could harm the individual who needs precisely the service.

Once again, “service” meant abortions.  Was Fr. Hehir concerned about harming the woman who needs the abortion service to have her unborn baby killed?  Or was he concerned about harming the baby who needs the service to be aborted?  He emphasizes the possible harm to the profession, the pluralism of actors in the social system and the individual who needs the abortion service, but says nothing about the risk to the individual conscience of the medical professional.

Near the conclusion we got Fr. Hehir’s own redefinition of the conscience clause. A conclusion of a talk is usually what the speaker wants to drive home, to have the audience remember most.  His takeaway, summed up in the bottom line:
My basic position is, conscience clauses provide an essential political legal component to adjudicate deeply held convictions and positions in this pluralistic society.  I think the resolution requires defining the issues broadly.  You’ve got to pay attention to all the actors, their beliefs, their interests, and the duties involved and recognize that conscience clauses will limit the rights of others to some degree.

Then there’s Fr. Hehir’s past involvement with the Marxist-oriented, gay-agenda-supportive Washington, DC think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies.  Fr. Hehir gave multiple talks there in the 1980s, including speaking in their Washington School series, “Matthew, Marx, Luke, and John” in October of 1983.
As you’ll see by this content on Religious Left Exposed, during the 1980s, the IPS served as a base of operations for those opposed to President Ronald Reagan’s anti-communist foreign policy. It was dedicated to the establishment of revolutionary Marxist and anti-American regimes in Central and Latin America and elsewhere and describes itself as the nation’s oldest progressive multi-issue think-tank. A

New York Times Magazine article from April of 2001 exposes IPS as founded on radical, revolutionary and Marxist principles, talking about one contingent described by the IPS director as coming almost completely from a Marxist or liberation basis. One IPS journal has featured “articles celebrating Communist victories in Laos and Angola.”

Here’s the Washington School series he spoke in (see p. 2).
Matthew, Marx, Luke and John: Theology of the Oppressed
Worldwide poverty and exploitation have brought religious ideological support for conservatism to a crisis.  Liberation theologies—particularly black, feminist and Latin American—provide an ideological counterthrust on behalf of the insurgent resistance.  This course, while focusing on the present through the prism of Vatican II, will discuss ancient and medieval precedents of peasant insurgency and rebellion, together with the practical and ideological leadership provided by priests and lay Christians who, basing themselves in the Bible, defined and ideology for the oppression, not the oppressors.  Topics will include:
…ancient and medieval theology: practice and theory
parallels in feminist and Latin American theology
the Catholic Bishops’ Letter on War and Peace
the future of the Christian alliance with Marxism

For attending that series, participants got a free pass to their series on liberation theology. Among the other speakers in the 1983 series was the radical lesbian feminist theologian, Mary Hunt.  This wasn’t just a one-off talk; Fr. Hehir spoke at the IPS more than once. He also received their Letelier-Moffitt award, named after a Marxist-Leninist. Here is a short  IPS slide presentation from Religious Left Exposed that highlights a number of troubling revelations we barely have time to share. There’s more–in 1984 they hosted “Sister Boom-Boom” of the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence,” a group of “Queer Nuns” who mocked the Catholic Church.  The history of the IPS on their website proudly conveys how “Rita Mae Brown wrote and published her path-breaking lesbian coming-of-age novel Rubyfruit Jungle while on the staff in the 1970s.”

When I complained and others complained about Bryan Hehir in 2010, eventually, the result was that the Vicar General at the time scolded us for criticizing his friend, Bryan Hehir.   I’m sure they’ll just go ahead and let him speak on the panel with Barney Frank and Mr. Kuttner and have this senior archdiocesan official and trusted advisor to Cardinal O’Malley give credibility to the speakers and their agenda.  No problema.

Joe Sacerdo | January 2, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Categories: Archdiocese of Boston, Gay/Lesbian Related | URL:


Newsflash: Archdiocesan Official on Panel with Barney Frank

by bostoncatholicinsider

Amidst the media tour of Cardinal Sean reflecting on his experiences dealing with the problem of child sexual abuse, including this Boston Globe article today,  the Globe announced yesterday that Fr. Bryan Hehir, Cabinet Secretary for Social Services and Healthcare, is speaking on a panel with Rep. Barney Frank tonight entitled, “Truth, Lies, and Politics.”  Emails and blog posts are flying around about the little problem with the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston giving credibility to the notorious anti-Catholic agenda of Rep. Frank.  Here is the Globe notice:

Frank talk During his long career, US Representative Barney Frank has been nothing if not outspoken. We imagine his impending exit from Washington won’t change that. See for yourself at Truth, Lies and Politics, a panel discussion featuring Frank, journalist Robert Kuttner, and Father J. Bryan Hehir. Author Leonard Fein moderates the program exploring the relationship (or lack thereof) between politicians and truth-telling. Jan. 3, 7:30 p.m. $15, $12 students and seniors. Leventhal-Sidman Jewish Community Center, 333 Nahanton St., Newton. 617-965-5226,

Somehow, BCI missed the calendar notice about this in The Boston Pilot and the advance plug in Cardinal Sean’s blog.  Here is an overview at the Jewish Community Center site:

Public perception of politics and its practitioners has tumbled to an ominously low estate, as growing numbers of citizens have the sense that much of what we hear is spin—or worse. And if it is, can it be fixed?  Or is there something inherent in the realm of politics–or in the character of people who go into politics–that keeps the truth at bay? Veteran observers and practitioners attempt to sort these matters out.

BCI normally does not go into matters of politics covered on other blogs, this one just seems pretty straightforward to us.  Rep. Frank has a well-established record of voting against the Catholic Church positions on issues such as abortion, among others. What exactly do the Archbishop of Boston and Boston Archdiocese wish to formally contribute on behalf of the Catholic Church to a discussion about “Truth, Lies, and Politics.”

Are the folks at 66 Brooks somehow pretending this falls into the category of “inter-religious dialogue” and there is some pretense that Fr. Hehir will be evangelizing the Catholic faith to people who are not Catholic and have long documented histories of publicly opposing the Catholic Church on key moral issues like abortion and gay marriage?  Does Fr. Hehir not have anything better to do with his time, such as instead booking travel reservations so he could (perhaps for the first time?), attend the March for Life in Washington, DC later this month?

BCI could not help but notice how in the Globe article today, Cardinal O’Malley said, “he listens to his advisers, and to God, for help in his job.”  A year ago, in our post, “Tone-Deaf Cardinal?”  we questioned the featuring of Fr. Hehir in a talk about Catholic Identity in Catholic Schools.  As we noted a year ago, Cardinal O’Malley had previously blogged about Fr. Hehir that he saw him as a highly trusted “strategic advisor” who brings “fidelity to the work of the Church” and ”clarity to our message and mission.”

Does anyone see a good reason why the Archdiocese of Boston should be participating in this session where Barney Frank will regale the audience with political yarns?  How exactly does the Boston Archdiocese going out of its way to give public credibility to the agendas of anti-Catholic politicians advance the fidelity of the “work of the Church” and “clarify our message and mission”?

If anyone else thinks this is wrong, drop the Vicar General, Msgr. Deeley, an email at and let him know your opinion–today.

bostoncatholicinsider | January 3, 2012 at 7:18 am | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

About abyssum

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

2 Responses to THE BOSTON VIRUS, NO. 87

  1. Ignatius Martinus says:

    So long as this person continues to pander to the advocates of gay “rights”, you will not hear me refer to him as “father”. Sure, some bishop may have conferred Holy Orders on him, but the priests I know do not ally themselves or involve themselves with their own enemies. This person has involved himself with His master’s own enemies. What does that make him?

  2. Curt Stoller says:

    Reading this article I sense the ghost of the late Cardinal Bernardin.

    Can you imagine our Lord calling his apostles together and saying: “You know, this Gospel message is proving to be offensive to many well meaning Pharisees, Sadducees, Priests, Levites, Zealots and to John the Baptists’ followers. So I’ve decided to stop teaching with authority. Such authoritative teaching marginalizes us, ghettoizes us. From now on we shall seek common ground with these various groups and constructive dialogue. Maybe I could tone done the message of my Father in Heaven so we could be on the same page with all these other groups. We could build bridges between what the will of my Father in Heaven is and what the Pharisees want and synthesize the various viewpoints into a consistent teaching that everyone could agree on, a seamless moral and teleological garment. I could tone down some of my harsher sayings. I could acknowledge that even hypocrisy preserves certain values. I could make it plain to the Sadducess that if we could reach some common ground perhaps I could allow them a little space for dissent on the issue of the resurrection. Perhaps we could work together to come up with a seamless garment of beliefs with Pontius Pilate, Herod and even Caesar. To win their hearts perhaps I could keep silent about their ethic of total self-indulgence and debauchery.

    Now if Jesus was Cardinal Bernardin, I suppose you could imagine such a bizarre scenario. But Jesus is Jesus. He did not come to bring the good news of the welfare state. And he did not teach that his followers should pick up machine guns and machetes to bring about the Kingdom of God. He did not tell his followers to live like Roman hedonists and give themselves over to every possible kind of debauchery. I have read the Gospels many times. And never once have I come away with the idea that Jesus is preaching a sexual revolution. Never once have I come away with the idea that Jesus advocates class warfare. Never once have I come away with the idea that Jesus came to earth to find common ground with the Pharisees, Sadducess, Priests, Levites or Zealots. I cannot recall a single instant where Jesus sought appeasement with the enemies of His Father.

    One could imagine a similar situation in Nazi Germany. Imagine if the German bishops of the time decided that instead of condemning the Holocaust they would simply place the issue of the Holocaust in the broader category of all issues connected to life: social welfare in the Reich, education of youth and so on. I mean almost anything can be connected to life. High speeds on the autobaun. Okay, that’s a life issue.

    A theologian once told me: “You know, if you make everything sacred, then the word itself loses its meaning. . . then even going to the bathroom is sacred.” The concept of sacred requires the concept of profane. By making all moral issues equally important as anti-abortion legislation, you trivialize abortion. People killing babies become morally equivalent to changing the technical requirements for obtaining food stamp cards or the issue of whether low income housing should or should not have carpeting. Should all HUD buildings use cheap evaporate coolers or the more expensive air conditioners? That affects people’s lives. It’s a life issue. By making abortion just one more life issue in the seamless garment of life issues, you trivialize it into oblivion. It would be like saying: Hitler brought about mass genocide but he also brought value back to the Deutchmark, ended unmployment, improved schools and highways. But those things are not equivalent.!

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