There are two parts to this post.
Part 1: Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally, Friday March 23 at 12pm in Boston (intersection of Park St and Beacon Street)
The Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom is being held Friday, March 23 at noon in 140 locations across the country– outside federal buildings, Congressional offices and historic sites across the country. The theme for the Rally is “Stand Up for Religious Freedom—Stop the HHS Mandate!”
It is expected that thousands of Americans of all faiths will be participating in these peaceful rallies across the country, organized by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society to oppose the new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that requires all employers provide free contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans, even in violation of their consciences.
Cardinal O’Malley has criticized the Obama administration ruling, saying:
In its ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty.
In Boston, the rally is taking place just outside the State House on Boston Common, at the intersection of Park Street and Beacon Street, from 12pm-2pm. We do not know who the speakers will be, but wanted to pass along word of the event to those who might be able to swing by during their lunch hour. People of all faiths should oppose the Obama administation ruling for this unconscionable mandate.
Part 2: Priest who Endorsed HHS Secretary Speaking at St. Catherine of Siena in Norwood
Given that the Boston Archdiocese feels comfortable offering yoga in the Pastoral Center to employees despite Vatican warnings of the dangers of the practice, it should come as no surprise that they also feel comfortable that a priest who publicly endorsed Kathleen Sebelius for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services is speaking at a Boston parish on the topic of Catholics, Politics, and Conscience: the 2012 Election.
Fr. Thomas Massaro, of Boston College, was one of 26 Catholics who signed a statement endorsing the pro-abortion politician Kathleen Sebelius for HHS Secretary in 2009. She had been admonished by more than one bishop to not receive Communion for her “30-year history of advocating and acting in support of legalized abortion.” CatholicVote.org is publicly calling for Fr. Massaro and his colleagues to either disown Sebelius or Catholicism:
Nearly 3 years ago, 26 liberal Catholics still crowing over their successful campaign to elect Obama actually felt the urgent need to form a group “Catholics for Sebelius”to support the nomination of that rabidly pro-abortion woman for HHS Secretary. They not only supported her, they called her a model pro-lifer who “lived and acted according to” her agreement with Church teaching against abortion.
It was a false claim even then. Now that Sebelius has finalized her rule forcing religious organizations to fund abortifacient drugs, contraception and sterilization, including drugs that kill embryos, it is a shameless lie. And their letter openly advocated that Sebelius pass and implement Obamacare, which is the instrument of her attack on religious freedom.
But these 26 “Catholics for Sebelius,” to this day, remain prominently listed on their open letter supporting the anti-Catholic HHS Secretary.
So the honorable choice for these persons is simple.
Take your names off that letter, or take Catholic off your names.
It will be interesting to hear on Monday night how Fr. Massaro feels about his endorsement of Sebelius and the public call for him to renounce his endorsement for her.
His recent piece in America magazine, “Time to Cool Down” suggests the sort of approach he will discuss on Monday evening in Norwood:
I have no novel opinion or particular expertise to share on the divisive topic of whether Catholic institutions should accept the Obama administration’s compromise on conscience clause provisions. I wish simply to relate my fear that we as a religious community are choosing to walk the wrong path. I am addressing not the outcome of the policy debate, but the regrettable style of our recent engagement of this issue.…
A superior option would be to trade the culture warrior agenda for one of diplomacy…De-escalate the overblown rhetoric that paints opponents with the brush of idiocy, poor judgment or willful deception….Invite others into civil conversations that emphasize mutual respect and a willingness to listen, even when that proves uncomfortable.…
Whatever policy outcomes unfold this year or next or further down the line, those of us lucky enough to be given a longer span of life by our Creator will find ourselves sharing the Eucharist (and much else) with thousands of those with whom we are not currently seeing eye to eye. Should our future sharing of the bread of salvation be compromised by our current failure to share a modicum of civility?
The problem with his arguments is that moral teachings such as abortion and contraception are “non-negotiable.” That he has “no opinion” on whether the Catholic Church should accept the Obama administration contraception mandate says it all. As one commenter to his column wrote:
“The “polarization” in the Church is due to the view that it’s OK for Catholics to decide for themselves what is right and wrong and ignore the dictates of Conscience-which is exactly the power that the Devil tempted Adam and Eve with, the power to decide for themselves what is good and evil.”
With writings and opinions like Fr. Massaro has expressed, BCI would suggest that he does not appear to be an appropriate speaker about Catholics, Conscience, Politics and the 2012 election–nor is he likely to advise people to stand up for our constitutionally guaranteed religious freedom, as the U.S. Catholic bishops and Pope Benedict XVI have rightly urged us to do.