The Connors Conundrum (and Facts about Jack)

The article in Wednesday’s Boston Globe about Peter Meade leaving his job leading the Sen. Edward M. Kennedy Institute had a detail we did not get to mention in our last post—namely, how Jack Connors, Jr. is raising $125 million to fund the new Kennedy Institute.

That brings us back to the conundrum over powerbroker, Jack Connors, and his ongoing involvement in the Archdiocese of Boston.  At the end of this Opinion piece, you will find an interactive poll for audience participation, so you may want to keep reading, or just jump to the end of the post for the poll.

In the interest of balance, you can see from articles in the Boston Globe and Boston Magazine that Jack Connors does much good around Boston.  But those civic good works are different from the nature of his involvement in the Archdiocese of Boston and Catholic Church, where different questions need to be asked.

In the context of the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Boston, the more one looks at the actions by Connors, the more one cannot help but ask if he has objectively disqualified himself from serving on a key archdiocesan body like the Finance Council. We ask the question. You will have a chance to weigh-in on the answer in a few moments.

Anyway, according to the Globe article about the Kennedy Institute, Jack has almost hit the $125 million fundraising goal. This is the same Jack Connors who is supposed to have raised $70 million for the Campaign for Catholic Schools “2010 Initiative”—which was supposed to have ended December 31, 2010. Yet here we sit two months later, and the new archdiocesan fundraising group announced under the pretense of enabling more “accountability and transparency” has yet to account for what they raised by their deadline. One can only assume that they missed the goal and are still scrambling to raise the money.

A number of BCI readers have asked how Jack can be raising $70 million for the Catholic schools—a part of the Catholic Church, which we all know opposes abortion–while at the same time he is raising even more money, and apparently more prodigiously, to fund an institute commemorating a man who publicly supported abortion on demand. If we knew how to reach Jack via email, we would invite his reaction, but we just cannot seem to find his email address anywhere.

Beyond this matter of his conflicting fund-raising priorities, an even more important question to ask is the following:

Based on the guidelines for membership on the Archdiocese of Boston Finance Council, has Jack Connors, Jr.–by virtue of his public actions and public advocacy for certain politicians–objectively disqualified himself from membership on the Finance Council?

We are not commenting on Jack as a person or his values.  We are simply sharing objectively verifiable facts and public actions and asking the question.  Below we share the requirements for membership, definitions of key terms, and the “Facts about Jack” that call into question whether he has made himself ineligible for membership.

REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERSHIP ON FINANCE COUNCIL

Beyond business/financial expertise, there are two requirements to serve on the Archdiocesan Finance Council we would like to highlight:

  1. The Code of Canon Law (Can. 492 §1.) says that Finance Council members must “outstanding in integrity.”
  2. The Archdiocese of Boston’s Finance Council Charter also says that members should be “Catholics in good standing.”

DEFINITIONS OF KEY TERMS

  1. Integrity: Here is the definition of “integrity” from Dictionary.com: “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.”
  2. Catholic in good standing: There is no dictionary definition for “Catholic in good standing,” or even one in the Catechism, so we turned to Google instead and grabbed what several Church leaders have said on the topic:

Archbishop of Milwaukee, Jerome Listeki, speaking about a group that promoted use of contraception and abortion among Catholic youth said the following: using media advertising the group is, says the Archbishop-Designate, “attempting to convey the message that Catholics can disregard Church teaching regarding contraception, abortion and human sexuality in general and remain Catholics in good standing.” However, “Nothing could be further from the truth.'”

Archbishop of St. Louis, Robert Carlson wrote the following in the St. Louis Review:  it is “clear and unambiguous” that Catholics who want to remain in good standing with the Church can’t support abortion….Since the first century, the Church has addressed the moral evil of abortion and the killing of a defenseless baby in the womb…”You cannot be ‘pro-choice’ (pro-abortion) and remain a Catholic in good standing.”

Fr. Roger Landry of Fall River after the funeral of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy wrote in The Anchor about how the bishops’ “educating” policy has not converted any politician or made any politician less pro-abortion: “Jesus spoke of a different way in the Gospel (Mt 18:15-18). It involves not merely general educational statements that we hope offenders will apply to themselves in conscience, but the type of one-on-one instruction traditionally called fraternal correction. If that fails, and fails repeatedly, Jesus enjoined us to regard the offender as someone who no longer belongs to the community, who is no longer a member in good standing.”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, in a 2007 interview with the Boston Globe: acknowledging that Catholic voters in Massachusetts generally support Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, O’Malley said, “I think that, at times, it borders on scandal as far as I’m concerned.”

FACTS ABOUT JACK

Now, here are some objective facts which are not in dispute. In other words, regardless of ideology, we believe that no one can disagree with these pieces of information:

  1. Jack was chair of the “sham search” to select a new Secretary of Development for the Archdiocese of Boston–announced to every Catholic in the archdiocese with great fanfare in June of 2010–while Jack, Chancellor Jim McDonough and others closely involved knew knew before the committee was formed that Kathleen Driscoll was slotted for the job.  There was never the intention to conduct an open search. Committee members were told they were selecting a new person, but the committee never met to interview candidates, no ads were ever placed in philanthropic journals to try and find the best candidate, and the committee was told in October of 2010 that their services were no longer needed since Kathleen had been chosen independent of them. BCI detailed the situation in multiple posts, including “Diocesan Deception and Coverup?” and “Diocesan Deception and Coverup: The Archdiocesan Response.” We repeatedly asked the archdiocese to respond to the issue of the sham search and they never did. [Issue: Integrity]
  2. Jack is Chairman of Partners Healthcare, whose Brigham and Women’s Hospital profits from performing 4,300 abortions every year (3,600 first-trimester and 570 second-trimester).  The only data we can readily find on number of abortions per state  annually (which is likely incomplete), suggests Brigham and Women’s handles about 18% of the 24,128 abortions performed annually in Massachusetts. [Issue: Catholic in good standing]
  3. Jack was the Co-Chair of the 2004 Democratic National Convention that nominated Sen. John Kerry for president. Sen. Kerry is pro-abortion in his voting record. [Issue: Catholic in good standing]
  4. Jack publicly endorsed Martha Coakley for U.S. Senate. Martha Coakely is pro-abortion in her political record. In a January 2010 radio interview, when asked about conscience rights and religious freedom for Catholic healthcare workers who believe what the Pope teaches, Coakley responded, “You can have religious freedom but you probably shouldn’t work in the emergency room.” [Issue: Catholic in good standing]

THE CONNORS CONUNDRUM

So now we return to the Connors Conundrum.

To be a member of the Finance Council, someone must be “outstanding in integrity” and a “Catholic in good standing.”  We make no judgment calls on Jack Connors’ character, motivations, political views or the state of his heart and soul.  We simply look at the factual information–words and actions that can be objectively observed, and pose a question.

Based on the guidelines for membership on the Archdiocese of Boston Finance Council, has Jack Connors, Jr.–by virtue of his public actions and advocacy for certain politicians–objectively disqualified himself from membership on the Finance Council?

Since the archdiocese is doing a survey to get input on the “relegation to profane status” of closed church buildings, we thought it would be timely for us to do a survey on the Jack Connors Conundrum.  Here is the one question:

We will keep the poll open through the weekend until Monday, so let other friends and family members know.  Only one vote per person.

What do you think?  Please keep any comments to just the topic of this post and free from personal attacks.

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14 Responses to The Connors Conundrum (and Facts about Jack)

  1. David S. says:

    Cardinal O’Malley says that Massachusetts Catholic voter support of Democratic pro-abortion candidates “borders on scandal.”

    But what Massachusetts pro-abortion Catholic politicians who are neither excommunicated by this Archdiocese nor denied access to receiving Holy Communion?

    Doesn’t this border on scandal as well?

  2. Canon Law Student says:

    If the archdiocese is to enforce Canon Law, Jack’s role in the Driscoll search deception constitutes a sufficient lapse of integrity that it should disqualify him from membership. I wonder who else on the Finance Council is equally culpable?

    • Carolyn says:

      Jack Connors has breached his fiduciary duty so flagrantly that civil law would take him out — and fraud statutes might give criminal law a crack. But, no worries, with his pet rock Martha as AG, Jack can allegedly do no wrong.

  3. Little Red Hen says:

    It does not *border* on scandal, it *is* scandal and our Cardinal Archbishop tolerates it.

  4. anna says:

    Why wouldn’t Jack Connors put more effort into fundraising for a shrine to Ted Kennedy?

    He knows the Archdiocese will underfund pensions of their employees to give money to Jack Connors diocescan pet projects whenever Connors asks.

  5. [...] The Connors Conundrum (and Facts about Jack) – Boston Catholic Insider [...]

  6. Gabriel Austin says:

    Another example of why bishops are not to be trusted. They may perform their episcopal duties [confirmations, ordinations] but their morality leaves much to be desired.

  7. Warren Goddard says:

    Jack Conners is as much a hypocrite as Cdl O’Malley.

  8. John Cronin says:

    This raises a question with me…If Mr. Connors is a man of integrity, shouldn’t he be asking himself if he should resign his postitions in the Archidocese of Boston?

  9. Eagle1981 says:

    Mr. Connors humbly moved his “family office” to the top of the Hancock Tower so that he can look out over the city that Jack built. He can be reached at
    connorsfamilyoffice[dot]com.

    This is an interesting post. Who is more at fault for Mr. Connors being on the Finance Council after his scandalous statements, views and actions?

    (a) Connors: He’s smart enough to know the Church’s positions and street-smart enough to know to keep his mouth shut to not reveal his differences with the Church. Is his ego that big that he thinks he’s right and the Pope and 2000-years of Church tradition is wrong? Is he seemingly that arrogant to undermine the Church publicly with his statements?

    (b) The enablers: Boston College, Archdiocesan officials, Cardinals and Catholic friends. Does anyone who cares about Mr. Connors’ soul challenge him on these views and actions, or are they too intimidated by him? Given his public views of dissent, if he is still encouraged to get further involved at Catholic organizations, is he getting the subtle message that he’s not in the wrong?

    One other point. A friend recently was nominated for service on a Catholic school board and the Archdiocesan nomination form asked the nominator if the person had ever promoted ideas not in accord with Catholic teaching. If anyone has a copy of that form, share with BCI. It is likely the language there should disqualify Mr. Connors from any Archdiocesan board – unless he recants his dissenting views.

  10. Chris says:

    2009 MA DPH Abortion stats at Partners Healthcare — Jack Connors in charge:
    MGH…. 63
    BWH….471

  11. [...] this year, infuriating watchdog groups who insist the project should be privately funded.”  Jack Connors has been leading the efforts for the Kennedy Institute to raise $125 million in private [...]

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