Newsflash: Archdiocesan Official on Panel with Barney Frank

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.

8 Responses to Newsflash: Archdiocesan Official on Panel with Barney Frank

  1. David S. says:

    This is an outrage and gives legitimacy by a high ranking official of the Archdiocese of Boston to the moral agenda of Barney Frank.

    In addition to sending an email to Monsignor Deeley as suggested by BCI, it would be great if everyone reading this blog could call Monsignor Deeley’s Office today and leave a message with his secretary.

    The phone number for his office is (617) 746-5619.

  2. David S. says:

    I called the Vicar General’s Office this morning. His secretary very politely listened to my concerns and then asked if I would mind if she asked me a question. She asked how many children I had. I told her 3. She then asked what were their ages, so I told her 11, 9 and 7. She then asked if I loved my children unconditionally.

    I knew where this line of questioning was going and I said this is not the same thing. The issue of Fr. Hehir sitting on a panel with Barney Frank was scandalous and gives a certain legitimacy by a senior member of the Archdiocese of Boston to the moral positions held by Mr. Frank.

    • Objective Observer says:

      According to the RCAB website, the “executive assistant” to the the VG is a man named Vincent. So to whom did you speak?

      One can unconditionally love one’s children, and still discharge the duty to speak out against the child’s behavior. To do otherwise is to abdicate one’s vocation as a parent.

      The unmitigated gall and lack of professionalism of a chancery employee to ask you about your children when you called to state a concern and ask for recourse to the VG, has no place in the Church’s discourse. If a person calls with a legitimate concern, and is gracious but firm, the person receiving the call needs to listen, take a message and follow through by giving the VG the message with any request that the call be returned.

      Msgr. Deeley, heads up. Someone taking your calls is overstepping her role and making you look like a lightweight. (The same would be true if the person who answered the phone were male, obviously.)

  3. Mark Frances says:

    If you read Malachi Martin, this is very understandable. The American Church feels that it has to reach out to gays. This what got the Archdiocese of Boston in big trouble in the first place with Geoghan and Shanley. This was the enlightened idea of Cardinal Medeiros from which it has still not recovered. Contrary to popular belief, Cardinal Law was sent in from the Midwest to put a cap on the problems created by Medeiros. The belief at that time was that wayward priests could be changed through counseling. Now, we know that it has the feel of an addiction.

  4. Alice Slattery says:

    Can we hope that Fr. Bryan Hehir will make up for his lost opportunity to ask the pro-abortion panel member at the discussion tonight to explain his beliefs about the information described in the Boston Globe article:”Shots assist in aborting fetuses;Lethal injections offer legal shield” by Carey Goldberg,Aug. 10,2007? It is time that a representative of the Boston Archdiocese addressed this horrific practice. In a panel discussion reported as “Clashes of Conscience” by David Reich in the Spring 2010 Boston College Magazine,p.p.7-9, Fr. Hehir discussed conscience issues with Dr. Michael F. Greene. Never once did Fr. Hehir ask about the conscience issues involved in the decision made by Dr. Greene, a professor at Harvard Medical School and chief of obstetrics at Mass. General Hospital about the “new standard operating procedure”. The issue involves the” new standard operating procedure for abortions beginning at around 20 weeks’ gestation, said Dr. Michael F. Greene,director of obstetrics at Mass. General.” “Medical staff inject either the heart drug digoxin or potassium chloride.a potentially poisonous salt used in state executions.” The reason that Dr. Greene approves of this procedure is “to avoid any chance of partially delivering a live fetus.” “In response to the Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, many abortion providers in Boston and around the country have adopted a defensive tactic.”
    Will Fr. Bryan Hehir have the courage to ask Rep, Barney Frank if he agrees or disagrees with Dr. Michael F. Greene that these injections should be receiving the approval of hospital ethics boards where this practice is implemented and please give an explanation for his answer. Both Barney Frank and Fr. Hehir should have to answer this question. It’s time the practice was addressed.

  5. Michael says:

    Seriously, after Kennedy’s funeral, why is anyone surprised? We have lost not only the culture war but the Church. It’s all now one big joke. Barney Frank speaking about “truth.” Right.

    God is the Truth, Barney … Bryan … Msgr. Deeley.

    Time to start telling the truth and end the mockery.

  6. […] assistant who answered the phone about whether he had children and loved them.  Here is the comment, which the person by name verified to BCI. We are not making this up: “I called the Vicar […]

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