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, www.bostonjcc.org
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know your opinion–today.