Update on Barney Frank Panel

Readers, our post today will be a short one.

The appearance Tuesday evening by Fr. Bryan Hehir, cabinet Secretary for Social Services and Healthcare, on the panel with outgoing Rep. Barney Frank proceeded as planned.

US Representative Barney Frank took part in a forum last night with Robert Kuttner (center) and the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir. The men discussed whether truth in politics is possible.

Turns out the event was sold-out as of this past Sunday from previous advertising and promotion by the Jewish Community Center, so the BCI team was unable to attend the event live. From what we are told, those who contacted the office of the Vicar General were met with any of several reactions. Here is a sample:

  • One caller was asked by an administrative 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 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.”

After hearing this, BCI was feeling, well, rather outraged. So were other readers.  One commenter objectively observed:

“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).”

  • Another caller informs BCI they had a good, respectful conversation with the person they spoke to, and the issues raised will be looked into.  It was mentioned that the blogs were not a good way to communicate–they were causing problems.   Hmm.  There seems to be some confusion in the archdiocese about what is causing the problems.  In case it did not occur to folks at 66 Brooks, it is the officials in the archdiocese who are creating and causing the problems.  BCI and other blogs are merely reporting on the problems caused by the archdiocese.  If the archdiocese would like to cease the problem of blogs reporting on their wrongdoing, they should operate with integrity and in a manner that the Catholic Church should operate.
  • Others who sent email say they did not get any response.

Here is a report in the Boston Globe on the event, “Barney Frank laments political attacks.”

The only comment printed from Fr. Hehir is the following:

And Hehir urged voters and the news media to insist on accountability and honesty from elected officials.

“Telling the moral truth about how we make decisions is equally important for people whose faces we will never see, whose names we will never know, but who are touched by American power,’’ said Hehir. “It is a consequence of being an American.’’

BCI does not exactly understand the logic behind how Fr. Hehir would expect political figures such as Barney Frank to possibly tell the “moral truth” about their decisions that are fundamentally immoral, such as supporting abortion. We lack full context for the panel discussion, but from this excerpt, it appears that Fr. Hehir is letting Rep. Frank and others off the hook for their bad decisions, including those that support immoral acts, by merely asking them to be honest about how they make their decisions.  Not good.

In addition, we hope Fr. Hehir will at least carry his message about accountability and honesty back to the archdiocese, Chancellor, and one of the Boards of which Fr. Hehir is a member, Caritas Chriti, now owned by Steward Healthcare. They have more than a little bit of explaining to do about how they valued unfunded pensions for the transfer of Caritas to Steward in 2010.  But that is a story for another day.

23 Responses to Update on Barney Frank Panel

  1. John says:

    Strange that the person reported speaking to a female secretary and yet the Vicar’s secretary is a man. I am not sure how to connect these dots.

    • Mark Frances says:

      In many cases when it is known by an organization that a campaign has been instigated to obstruct, they will bring in trained psychological operatives to handle the situation. This woman appears to have been brought in just to counter the opposition. There are businesses whose sole purpose, such as in Catholic Hospital union busting, where their entire modus operandi is designed to destroy any opposition.

      • Carolyn says:

        You insinuate that they are overthinking this. My guess is that they aren’t thinking at all.

  2. Stephen says:

    Benedict in; Light of the World. “It is sad that there are what you might call professional Catholics who make a living on their Catholicism, but in whom the spring of faith flows only faintly, in a few scattered drops.”

    Both ‘church lady on the phone’ and the Harvard-professor (Fr.) Hehir certainly come to mind.

  3. Mark Frances says:

    The Archdiocese has an agenda which is diametrically opposed to what BCI stands for. They believe that they are right sociologically and that such as BCI will eventually come to a rightful train of thought using the right tactics.

  4. rf5580 says:

    When the secretery asked the caller if she could ask him a question, the caller should have immediately said no.

  5. rf5580 says:

    The employee who said that the blog was not a good way to communicate should have been asked why.

  6. Mack says:

    BCI is doing exactly what Fr Hehir is urging: to insist on accountability and honesty, but with this difference: not from elected officials, but from the pastors of the Church, especially the cardinal, who has a solemn mandate from Christ and the Church to do just that. So why not just do it?

  7. […] Notorious Fr. Hehir Joins Barney Frank on Panel on Politics – Boston Catholic Insider […]

  8. BobofNewtn says:

    Hi BCI – Not many comments and that is not surprising. I feel that many readers think it is may be a lapse of judgment for a priest to appear alongside Congressman Frank whereas most others probably yawn and think about more important events. I doubt that Father Hehir supports Congressman Frank’s abortion stance. However, it is refreshing to see someone from the RCAB participate in a discussion and get the Catholic position out on the airwaves. I would bet that Father Hehir comported himself well and it is good to see him exercise his right of free speech as an American. As far as Congressman Frank is concerned, I am a constituant and feel he has done a great job for those in his District. He may not espouse what I support in terms of fiscal matters, he mirrors the opinions of those he represents and I admire him for doing so. Let’s concentrate on those issues that are relevant and let’s not work to try to dictate what people should do, think or speak in these United States. As Catholics, we have, trust me, much more important things to worry about. Enjoy the rest of the week!

    • rf5580 says:

      Bob, you sound like a high school kid. Learn a litle more about Christian morality and logic, and then get back to us.

    • David S. says:

      Bob, You say thay you “…feel he (Barney Frank) has done a great job for those in his District.” You have to be kidding.

      Barney Frank supports abortion, partial birth abortion, and homosexual marriage. These acts are abominations in the eyes of God. Fr. Hehir had no business sitting on a panel with this guy unless it was to educate him and the audience as to the teachings of the Pope and Magisterium.

    • Bob, are you attempting a self-parody? Barney Frank hasn’t a clue about the difference between a vagina and a rectum. And “Father” Hehir gives credence to his perversion by appearing in a public forum with him. And the Faith-challenged O’Malley sees nothing wrong with Hehir and his ecumenical allies. O’Malley the Unni-fier. O’Malley the purveyor of perversion and of heresy.

      May the Good Lord restore the True Church in Boston. In the words of the Founder of O’Malley’s order, Va e ripara la mia Chiesa che come vedi è caduta tutta in rovina.

      It is a ruin, Cardinal O’Malley. Recognise it. Repair it. Are you the man for the job? If not, retire to a monastery and chant your way to salvation. You are a mere figurehead here.

      And Bob of Newton, Barney has done a great job for the distict? You don’t agree with him on fiscal matters? You admire him? Let’s not dictate? You are obviously not a Catholic. Your sympathies are with the Sanhedrin and you would willingly crucify Christ. Trust you? That is laughable.

      • Objective Observer says:


        Barney has spent more time before the Committee on Standards than any member of Congress in the history of Massachusetts. He’s a mess, and has NOT done a good job for this constituent — his office completely dropped the ball on a simple caseworker matter I sent them eight years ago… a guy named Gillis in his Newton office sat on the letter for two months. Barney has been neither ethical nor effective in fact.

        Mind you, Joe Kennedy was right up there with Barney for misbehavior and incompetence. But Barney lasted a lot longer, and had more time to inflict damage.

  9. Deidre says:

    I’m in Barney Franks’ district–he’s been a disaster on a moral basis and politically as far as I’m concerned.

    Are you unaware of the financial crisis and mortgage crisis he’s been at the center of? I’m disappointed BCI didn’t say anything about that. You need to read this Boston Globe column:

    “When the coming wave of foreclosures rolls through the inner city, which of today’s self-congratulating bankers, politicians, and regulators plans to take the credit?”

    Frank doesn’t. But his fingerprints are all over this fiasco. Time and time again, Frank insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were in good shape. Five years ago, for example, when the Bush administration proposed much tighter regulation of the two companies, Frank was adamant that “these two entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, are not facing any kind of financial crisis.” When the White House warned of “systemic risk for our financial system” unless the mortgage giants were curbed, Frank complained that the administration was more concerned about financial safety than about housing.

    Now that the bubble has burst and the “systemic risk” is apparent to all, Frank blithely declares: “The private sector got us into this mess.” Well, give the congressman points for gall. Wall Street and private lenders have plenty to answer for, but it was Washington and the political class that derailed this train. If Frank is looking for a culprit to blame, he can find one suspect in the nearest mirror.”

    That’s not a great job to me!!

    On a moral basis, do you not have a problem with his support for abortion on-demand and him supporting the partial delivery of a live late-term baby so the baby can be killed before the head comes out of the birth canal? Oh, now they’re doing it by injecting the baby with a toxic saline solution instead. You’re OK with that?

    Are you fine with Barney Frank having taken up with a gay prostitute who ran a sex-for-hire ring in Franks’ home?

    Exactly what “Catholic position” got out on the airwaves by Fr. Hehir? Name me the “Catholic position.” He sat on a panel and gave aircover and credibility to Frank just by his presence. That’s an atrocity!

  10. Michael says:

    Bob of Newton … the only lapse of judgment is yours for making such a ridiculous comment. Are you aware of how many thousands of people read this blog worldwide? … including Rome.

    What makes you think you can speak for the state of mind of “the many readers.” Just because I didn’t comment (before your nonsensical statement) didn’t mean I hadn’t’t read this or possess the state of mind you claim to know that the “many readers” possess.

    I think many readers don’t comment when the truth of what BCI states speaks for itself. What more is there to say, unless of course you are a know-it-all.

    Where’s your blog?

    Your propaganda filled comment was not subtle.

  11. Boston Catholic Insider says:

    It seems you have struck a raw nerve with a few readers. BCI would advise you to not presume you know what others are thinking–whether that means people who BCI criticizes in our posts or other BCI readers.

    As for your praise of Rep. Frank, you will not find support for him from BCI, and you will not likely see support for him in this forum. Pope John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae, said, “civil law must ensure that all members of society enjoy respect for certain fundamental rights which innately belong to the person, rights which every positive law must recognize and guarantee. First and fundamental among these is the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being.” Barney Frank has NOT been a supporter of the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being and has consistently voted against protection of the right to life for the unborn. While there may be other topics that are more interesting to you, there is no other issue that is more important than protecting the right to life.

    To the other readers who are criticizing BobofNewtn, BCI asks you to avoid personal attacks. You can disagree with the comments or the commenter, but please refrain from making judgment calls.

  12. Carolyn says:

    Did you notice that Barney’s thumb and hand are bandaged in the photo? Do you think it’s a repetitive stress injury from thumbing his nose at so many people?

  13. Jack O'Malley says:

    That is certainly one explanation of the symptomatology.

  14. […] week on the panel with Rep. Barney Frank which we complained about, Fr. Bryan Hehir was quoted as having “urged voters and the news […]

%d bloggers like this: