Report on Religious Freedom Rally in Boston

In follow-up of our most recent post, BCI has received several reports that the Boston “Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally” was a success, with about 300 people attending.  Rallies were held at 140 different locations across the country, including Philadelphia, where about 2,000 people attended, and New York, where an estimated 1,000 people attended.

At noon on Friday, March 23, the rally was held at the Boston Common directly across from the Massachusetts State House. The speakers included:

  • Massachusetts State Representative Jim Lyons
  • Fr Jeremy Paulin OMV; Director of Vocations
  • Clarivel Marin de Dragas, Mother, Wife and American Citizen
  • Edwin J. Shanahan, Executive Director of Massachusetts Citizens for Life
  • C.J. Doyle, Executive Director Catholic Action League of Massachusetts
  • Scot Landry, WQOM (1060 AM) and Boston Archdiocese Secretary for Catholic Media

The event had been previously planned, canceled earlier this week, and then rescheduled with only about 24-48 hours advance notice, so getting about 300 people or more with literally zero advance publicity was pretty good. BCI was asked for speaker suggestions and we were pleased to see that a few made it to the event. No reports about the rally have been published in the mainstream media, so we are pleased to share with you several photos below.

State Rep. Jim Lyons with wife, Bernadette

Here is a report from the National Catholic Register on the rallies across the country, including Boston:

At Scores of Rallies, Thousands Hear Calls to Restore Constitutional Right to Religious Liberty
Stand Up for Religious Freedom marks second anniversary of Obamacare with peaceful, impassioned demonstrations against HHS contraceptive mandate.


– Matthew A. Rarey

From the halls of government in the nation’s capital to the hills of San Francisco, thousands of Americans turned out today across the country to voice their opposition to what they perceive as serious encroachments on religious liberty.

Sponsored by an organization called Stand Up for Religious Freedom, the rallies were held in 140 locations, including the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington.

That is the office that issued a regulation earlier this year requiring most private employers to provide co-pay-free contraceptive and sterilization coverage in health-care plans. The mandate provides only a narrow religious exemption, leading the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other organizations to protest it as an infringement on religious liberty.

Philadelphia and Boston

In cities closely related to the fight for independence in 1776, protesters like Philadelphia Catholic radio talk-show host Dom Giordano recalled that the rallies were taking place on the anniversary of Patrick Henry stating, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

About 2,000 people gathered outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia, waving American flags and holding signs saying things like “Obama persecutes the Church” and “The First Amendment Rules.”

Steven Bozza of the Respect Life Ministry of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said, “The Catholic Church in the U.S. is not going to back down. The bishops are not going to back down. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is not going to back down.”

“In my heart I believe we’re going to prevail,” Bozza said. “This rally is just the beginning.”

Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council said, “I’m an American. I’m a Roman Catholic. And today I stand before you as a conscientious objector. I refuse to play the victim of a phony war on women.”

In Boston, it had been announced early this week that the rally was “canceled” because the proper permits had not been obtained. But organizers mobilized to hold the rally on Boston Common, in the area of the park that is directly across the street from the Massachusetts Statehouse.

Several hundred people gathered with many signs, including “HHS: HANDS OFF.” There were half a dozen speakers who stood on the steps and used a bullhorn to address the crowd, including Scot Landry, the Boston Archdiocese’s secretary for Catholic media. Landry noted that contraception is “ubiquitous and inexpensive.” Rather, he said, the issue is about the Obama administration putting free contraception before first freedoms.

Here is a link to the HHS Mandate Fact Sheet [PDF].

So, that about summarizes things on the rally to Stand Up for Religious Freedom.

Meanwhile, a Boston College priest who publicly endorsed Kathleen Sebelius  for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services–the department pushing the mandate that violates our religious freedoms–is still speaking at a Boston parish on Monday evening on the topic of Catholics, Politics, and Conscience: the 2012 Election.

As we reported previously, Fr. Thomas Massaro 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.” is publicly calling for Fr. Massaro and his colleagues to either disown Sebelius or disown Catholicism.

We are aware that people have complained to Cardinal O’Malley about the talk, and apparently both the Cardinal and Msgr. Garrity, pastor at St. Catherine of Siena which is sponsoring the talk, are both comfortable having this speaker deliver an ambiguous message to faithful Catholics about what it means to vote consistent with Catholic beliefs and moral teachings. You can assume he will neither disown Sebelius or Catholicism on Monday evening. Most likely, the message will be that opposition to abortion is one of many moral teachings in the infamous “seamless garment” of Catholic social teaching, and Catholic voters should form their own consciences by considering the full range of issues, including  immigration, war and peace, economic welfare, blah blah blah.

30 Responses to Report on Religious Freedom Rally in Boston

  1. Stephen says:

    Hey BCI,
    Tell me again, I forget, who invented the “Seamless Garment”?

    • Stephen, Thanks for your comment. Last BCI heard, it was woven in a joint effort by the late Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago and our own Secretary for Social Services and Healthcare, Fr. Bryan Hehir.

      • Michael says:

        Is that the same Cardinal Bernadin whom Barrack Obama spoke highly of during his commencement speech at Notre Dame?

  2. Tom says:

    Non-believing Socialists taking roles as Catholic clergy in order to have a comfortable life of leisure funded by the working and faithful laity.

    • Stephen says:

      They are not trying to cheat the system, they are trying to destroy the system and reform it into a new vision.

  3. Justyn Tyme says:

    I would like to invite the readers of BCI to meet Bishop Rene H. Gracida, Retired Bishop of Corpus Christi, Tx, a true Bishop and Patriot. Very interesting and insightful. Read his biography first then the variety of topics of interest to you. An Exceptional Bishop, we need more of him!!!

  4. Warren Goddard says:

    Foster’s Daily Democrat Friday March 9, 2012

    An assault

    To the editor: The die is cast! Given that the Obama administration has mandated that Catholic institutions materially cooperate with the intrinsically evil act of contraception and that Senator Shaheen is for it; then, voting to re-elect President Obama or Senator Shaheen is an assault on Christ and His Church.

    Warren Goddard

  5. Jonathan of the Cross says:

    So it’s ok for you to pick and choose what you think is the real Catholic moral position and reject others? Your blaa blaa addition to your rejection of other crucial moral issues the bishop’s think are of great importance, are not that impotant to you? Pick and choose, that’s real faithful. Right, we shouldn’t pay for contraception, but it’s OK to pay for bombs and promote capital punishment. You aren’t pro life at all. Your just anti abortion. PLease don’t pretend your all pro life, it;s just NOT true. Pick and choose..and you have the nerve to criticize the bishops and who is the real one and who is not. Shame on you pretending you have a Catholic moral theology

    • Tom says:

      There are many logical issues with this post Jonathan. Has anyone mentioned the issue of abortion or Just War Theory here? You make false assumptions about the people who post here and you treat the political maneuverings of the effete and heterodox clergy (who seek to tear down the Church) as Church doctrine. You wrongly assume that to take issue with the proclamations of the heterodox clergy is to be a cafeteria Catholic who picks and chooses those aspects most convenient for their lifestyle.

      Based on your objection, I have to assume you are not such a Catholic and accept all the Church’s unambiguous teaching that homosexual sex is always sinful, that the use of contraception is likewise sinful, that use of violence is permissible in just wars, that the death penalty is appropriate in certain conditions…The Church has also been extremely clear that Socialism is incompatible with Catholicism. Are you good with that?

    • Stephen says:

      Dear Jonathan of the crotch,

      “You aren’t pro life at all. Your just anti abortion.”
      False dichotomy –

      “Shame on you”
      Claim victory and the higher moral ground –

    • Mack says:

      Jonathan, your comments aren’t helpful when you make such wide generalizations like “you aren’t pro life at all.”
      As far as the bishops go, there have been many good ones in the history of the Church. But there have also been quite a few cases when the bishops were the ones leading people astray (like the ones who were Arians and persecuted St Athanasius, like the hierarchy of England that capitulated to Henry VIII, etc.) The sad reality is that today we live in a confusing age when many bishops have seemed quite wishy-washy, apparently afraid to offend those who disagree with Catholic teaching. But fortunately that seems to be changing under the great leadership of Cardinal Dolan.

      • Juan says:

        “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of erring priests, with bishops as their signposts.” ~ St. John Chrysostom
        “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” ~ St. Athanasius

        “The road to hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.” ~ Saint John Eudes

  6. bostoncatholicinsider says:

    Jonathan of the Cross,

    Let us start from very consistent Vatican teachings that say the right to life is a fundamental a non-negotiable moral issue. Here are two examples:

    “To be actively pro-life is to contribute to the renewal of society through the promotion of the common good. It is impossible to further the common good without acknowledging and defending the right to life, upon which all the other inalienable rights of individuals are founded and from which they develop.” ~ Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life, n.101.

    John Paul II, in The Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and the World writes, “The common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination.”

    We are not picking and choosing here. We accept the teaching authority of the Church, the Magisterium, and unambiguous teaching that abortion is always wrong, euthanasia is morally wrong, gay marriage is wrong, embryonic stem cell research is wrong, human cloning is wrong, homosexual sex is always sinful, and the use of contraception is sinful. On those points, the teaching authority of the Church is clear there is only one moral position. There should be no disputes or questions there.

    BCI does not understand how Fr. Massaro justified his decision to endorse a Catholic politician who was clearly pro-abortion and had actively opposed the Catholic Church on abortion for many years. Now that politician is seeking to interfere with our Constitutionally-guaranteed right to religious freedom. Take the U.S. bishops’ position on the HHS mandate out of the picture if you wish. That Fr. Massaro is ambiguous on whether he thinks the Catholic Church should violate our consciences and obey the mandate should trouble everyone for whom faith and constitutional rights are important. It does not take a Catholic bishop–or even a Catholic for that matter–to be troubled by the mandate as an interference on our right to practice our religious as we see fit.

    If you think the right-to-life is not the most basic and fundamental, the HHS mandate is OK–and letting an endorsement for Kathleen Sebelius stand despite her pro-abortion positions prior to the endorsement and attack on the rights of Catholics to freely practice our religion since then–you are probably in the wrong place commenting on this blog, and we suggest you may find a better venue for your viewpoints elsewhere.

  7. Mary Reilly says:

    I think people need to read both posts including the America piece by Fr. Massaro to get the full picture. How any self-respecting Catholic can write an opinion piece in a national magazine that calls itself “Catholic” and not voice outrage over the HHS mandate is telling. If he’s got no strong opinion on whether Catholic churches should acquiesce to the mandate, then he shouldn’t be out there talking to Catholics about voting!!

    BCI seems to have missed Fr. Massaro’s involvement as a member on the Cambridge Peace Commission, which has given several annual awards to GLBT activists. I wonder how he explains that tonight in Norwood along with the Catholics for Sebelius thing.

    I hope BCI will get back to the pastoral planning problems soon. Our local meeting was a disaster!!

  8. Jonathan of the Cross says:

    Tom, You assume to many things about me. Maybe judge whould be a better word.
    Time for me to move on. There are about 20 people here who all talking to each other. Who else is listening?

    • Michael says:

      What motive would you have to try to undermine this blog? Are you trying to undermine it for the other 19? Or are you trying to undermine it for the other 499,999? No need to undermine a blog for only 19 … right?

    • Jonathan of the Cross,
      You would no doubt be very surprised to know that a lot more than 20 people are listening. We have presented logical arguments and objective information about Catholic Church teachings that explain the basis for our posts, and as you surely know, your comments have reflected mostly emotion. When presented with the logical arguments again via comments, you did not respond to them. Good luck to you, and God bless.

    • Stephen says:

      No! Please don’t leave!
      Don’t abandoned us!
      We need your approval wicked bad.
      If you leave that will mean you don’t love us.
      How could you be so hurtful, so judgmental,
      so uncaring?
      Please Jonathan help us!
      Don’t you care?
      Why don’t you care about your fellow human beings?
      You are so cold.
      We will remember you Jonathan,
      God speed.

  9. CB says:

    I attended Fr. Massaro’s conference in Norwood last evening. You could have written his script….seamless garment, including capital punishment, gun control, war, environment,etc. He mentioned nothing of Sec.Sebelius, but praised his friendship with Fr. Bryan Hehir. He spoke of Faith informing conscience, and that we have serious issues. Last time he spoke on this was 4 years ago.He said he was here to “help you to understand how to vote”, and reflected heavily on the Bishops’ document for 2011 with heavy emphasis on pp.10 and 11 with most important paragraphs #31 thru #36.

    He emphasized 3 church documents (Veritatis Splendor, Gaudium et Spes, and Dignitatis Humanae – emphasizing ‘the moral freedom of individuals’) No mention of Humanae Vitae!

    He suggested compromise when voting, taking into account not only the abortion issue but to consider also peoples’ suffering: refugees, genocide, healthcare, among other things.

    Some verbatims: “We have values in common”; “There are uncharitable comments on the blogisphere – a lot of incivility lately.”; “I am not an answering machine”; We live in a “world of faith and civic duty”, “If its an important moral issue – push it!”:

    No mention of sin; it sounded like phrases such as ‘intrinsic evil’ now replaces ‘mortal sin’. And when considering “intrinsic evil”, one must look at: Circumstances, Intention, and the Act itself.

    Fr. Massaro was most charismatic, and distributed an outline of the topics he discussed to the 80-100 people in attendance.

  10. Alice Slattery says:

    If Fr. Massaro emphasized the encyclical Veritatis Splendor(The Splendor of Truth) in his talk, he must have left out all of the warnings contained in the encyclical from p. 43 to p.104 devoted to the fallacies of those moral theologians who have been advocating the belief that there is no objective truth and that” the teleological ethical theories(proportionalism,consequentialism),while acknowledging that moral values are indicated by reason and by revelation,maintain that it is never possible to formulate an absolute prohibition of particular kinds of behavior which would be in conflict in every circumstance and in every culture,with these values.”(p.95)
    Fr. Massaro and a number of theologians at Boston College who teach in the Theology Dept.(e.g. Fr. David Hollenback S.J., and John “Harry” McDargh(openly practicing same-sex sex and in a same-sex “marriage”), and Fr. James F. Keenan,S.J., a moral theologian at B.C. who on Apr. 28,2003, advocated for same-sex marriage before the Mass. State Legislature, to name a few theologians teaching at Boston College, justify what they are teaching by using these false theories. On p.97 of The Splendor of Truth,it states: “These theories cannot claim to be grounded in the Catholic moral tradition.” And on p. 104:”we must no be content merely to warn the faithful about the errors and dangers of certain ethical theories. We must first of all show the inviting splendor of that truth which is Jesus Christ himself.”
    Fr. Massaro certainly did not emphasize the major sections of this encyclical from “The Church and the Discernment of certain Tendencies in Present-Day Moral Theology”(p.43) up through “Lest the Cross of Christ Be Emptied of Its Power” (p.105).

  11. JRBreton says:

    I attended Fr. Massaro’s talk at St. Catherine’s and found it less than helpful. A sizeable group attended the meeting. Your prediction that he would suggest the seamless garment tack proved correct.
    After the talk I asked him to explain the Sibelius recommendation. Fr. asserted that at the time he had not met or even known her. He was making a statement on the religious exclusion principle, that is, answering critics who claimed Sibelius should not be appointed because she was a Catholic.
    In summary, let me suggest we pray for Fr. Massaro. He seems sincere, but so superficial. With prayer he may still escape being anchored in past dissent.

    • bostoncatholicinsider says:

      CB and JRBreton,

      Thank you very much for your reports on the event last evening. It is about as we would expected. Just for the benefit of our readers, here is a link to the statement Fr. Massaro signed in 2009 endorsing Kathleen Sebelius:

      A read of the statement and analysis by CatholicVote and Lifenews shows that it was about a lot more than Fr. Massaro acknowledged last night.

      As reported at CatholicVote:
      “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.”

      Here is what Lifenews reported about the letter at the time:

      The statement claims Sebelius has engaged in “successful efforts at reducing abortion in Kansas” even though she has done nothing to abortions.

      “As faithful Catholics we proudly offer our support to Governor Kathleen Sebelius,” the statement goes on to say. “We believe Governor Sebelius’ record of … significantly reducing the abortion rate in Kansas makes her an excellent candidate for HHS Secretary.”

      In fact, the Kansas health department showed a 6.5 percent increase in abortions from 2005 to 2006. Sebelius repeatedly vetoed legislation that has proven in other states to reduce abortions in large numbers.

      In the statement backing Sebelius, Catholics United not only downplays how Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City called on her to stop receiving communion until she disowned her support for the “serious moral evil” of abortion, but makes it appear Naumann didn’t call her to task on her pro-abortion stance.

      “The governor has had disagreements over public policy with leaders in her Church. Yet their disagreement has never been over the morality of abortion, but over what prudential policy is best in dealing with abortion in Kansas,” the group claimed.

      Catholic League president Bill Donohue has made it clear where Sebelius stands in the face of Catholic pro-life teachings.

      “Sebelius’ support for abortion is so far off-the-charts that she has been publicly criticized by the last three archbishops of Kansas City,” he explained in a statement sent to

      “In 1992, when Sebelius was a state legislator, Archbishop Ignatius Strecker rebuked her for leading what he dubbed a ‘death-march of the unborn,’” he explained. “When Sebelius became governor in 2003, Archbishop James Keleher, citing her abortion record, asked her to move her inauguration interfaith service from Topeka’s Assumption Catholic Church. She refused.”

      We do need to pray for Fr. Massaro. Good suggestion.

  12. Jack O'Malley says:

    I have come to have a new respect for Martin Luther.

  13. Michael says:

    I wish I were cultured enough to understand what that means? Martin Luther … the reformation … uh for us slower folk, please elaborate.

    • Jack O'Malley says:


      I was thinking of Luther’s sojourn in Rome and the venality, irreverence, infidelity, apostasy and heresy that he witnessed there. Were he alive today, he could find all of that here in Boston.

      The Massaro scandal is just another instance of the downward spiral of the Church into the cesspit of hell.

  14. Stephen says:

    When Luther rejected church teaching he at least had the courtesy to leave.

  15. Jack O'Malley says:

    The problem is obvious. A half century of masonic heresy in the Church, evisceration of the Mass, queers in the “presbyterate”, feminist soviets running the parishes, lay “ministers” pawing the Body and Blood of the Lord with their filthy unconsecrated hands, “social justice” heretics spewing their socialist propaganda for the Democratic Party, epicene sodomite-loving poltroons like Wuerl being made archbishops and even cardinals, and our own O’Malley playing kissy-face with the atheist Obama at the abortionist Kennedy’s obsequies, the facultative ex-ordinary Bernard Law rewarded with his Roman sinecure after having promoted such deviance that no normal man would countenance, etc., etc.

    As for the solution, forget the “teams” (what a risible term). Close down the non-performers and amass the collections from the complacent suburbanites who have no problem funding O’Neill and Donilon and the rest of the Sanhedrin. Crucify Him again and His Blood be upon you. Oh wait. Nostra Aetate will absolve you.

    The Ecumenical Patriarch has just busted two bishops back into the ranks. Does Joe Ratzinger have the balls to do that to Wuerl, O’Malley, Dolan?

    Yes, Dolan. Look it up.

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