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.
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.