Fortnight for Freedom: Town Hall Meeting with Cardinal O’Malley Mon. June 25

June 24, 2012

The USCCB-sponsored Fortnight for Freedom is underway. All should pray for religious freedom in the U.S. and we should also pray for a change of heart for those who would intentionally or unintentionally be working against religious freedom.

On Monday, June 25 at 8pm, Cardinal O’Malley is hosting a town hall meeting on CatholicTV.  The event will be simulcast on WQOM 1060 in Boston.

“Fortnight for Freedom” will be a lively, hour-long discussion on the challenges to our religious liberty. They will discuss the ways that Americans can promote and defend religious freedom. Join in the conversation at CatholicTV’s Twitter and Facebook pages. Comments and questions will be addressed during the event on CatholicTV’s Facebook page and viewers can also tweet @CatholicTV #Fortnight4Freedom.

We urge all Catholics to attend and participate.  If you want to ask a question, you will need to tweet it or post it to the CatholicTV Facebook page. That means you need to have a Twitter or Facebook account. (BCI is not in a position to guide you through getting on Facebook or Twitter. It is very easy – just ask an Internet-savvy friend or family member if you need help).

If you need any ideas for questions, here are a few BCI hopes will be asked and answered. Feel free to copy them and ask them on Monday.

  • To what extent would you encourage outright defiance of the Obama contraceptive coverage mandate on the basis of it being unconstitutional?
  • Rather than comply with the law or stop offering insurance, would you encourage Catholic institutions to simply defy the law and wait to see if the Obama administration tries to sue us?
  • Cardinal O’Malley, do you still believe, as you said in 2007, that it is bordering on scandal for Catholics to vote for pro-abortion politicians?
  • Cardinal O’Malley, perhaps we cannot see what is happening behind the scenes. What specifically are you doing to help change the hearts and minds of pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians in Massachusetts who also support these violations of religious freedom?  Is there evidence what you are doing is working?
  • Cardinal O’Malley, what can lay Catholics do to encourage you to take stronger action against pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians?  What prevents the Boston Archdiocese from asking pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians on an individual basis to voluntarily abstain from receiving Holy Communion until they change their positions?
  • What do you think of the Catholic Health Association and LCWR for having worked in support of Obamacare, which was in opposition at the time to the U.S. bishops? Have they fractured communion with the bishops? What is the best remedy for that?
  • Polls show 52% of Catholic voters in Massachusetts support physician-assisted suicide today. What is the tactical “ground game” plan for the next 4 months to sway Massachusetts voters to oppose physician assisted suicide in November?
  • Cardinal O’Malley, one your key fundraisers, Jack Connors, Jr, is hosting (or just finished hosting) a $40,000/person fundraiser for President Obama this afternoon.  How is it we can have a member of the Archdiocese of Boston Finance Council responsible for Institutional Advancement who is working against the Catholic Church by publicly fundraising for a politician who wants to violate our religious freedom?  Is that not scandalous?
  • What can lay Catholics do to encourage you to more effectively try to change the heart and mind of Mr. Connors, or if that fails, to ask him to resign from his roles on the Finance Council and with Catholic Schools?

Do attend the Town Hall Meeting–either on the radio, on TV, or via the Internet–and ask your questions.  At the same time, commit yourself to praying this prayer every day:

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty

O God our Creator,

Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,
a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome—
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,
and all who come after us—
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

There is a need for activism, and also a need for prayer. Let us keep our prayers steadfast on this issue.


Happy Fathers Day

June 17, 2012

Today we honor our fathers.

If your father is still alive and you have not yet spoken to him today, take one minute to read a few of the prayers below and then either pick up the phone and call him or hop in the car and go visit him in-person if distance permits. Stop reading BCI for today and send your father an eCard.

Now we offer a few short prayers we liked in honor of our fathers:

Father, it is Your Commandment that we should honor our fathers;
Hear the prayers we offer You for them.
Grant them many years on earth and keep them in health of mind and body.
Bless their word and all they do.
Give them back a hundred-fold whatever they have done for us.
Inspire them with Your love and help them to fulfill Your holy law.
One day, may we be their comfort and support,
So that having enjoyed their affection on earth
We may have the joy of being with them forever in Your home in Heaven.
Through Christ our Lord.

God, bless all the fathers in the world. Guide them to be good role models and loving to all their children.
Help them to be a father like You are. Give them grace and patience to handle situations in a loving way.

Thank you, Jesus,
For my father who loves me,
For my grandfather who cares for me,
And for God, your father and mine,
Who made me and is always with me.

God our Father,
In your wisdom and love you made all things.
Bless these men,
That they may be strengthened as Catholic fathers.
Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.
Grant that we, their sons and daughters,
May honor them always
With a spirit of profound respect.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Lord, I Thank you for my dad
Please take care of him
He is getting older,
But he is still brave and bold
Please take care of him

Fathers everywhere,
We honor you and wish to say
May God’s blessings be with you
May God’s blessings be with you
In a special way today!

Lord, please take care of our dads.
Though they are brave and protective,
They must also be frightened sometimes.
When money runs low and when we need things,
Lord, when their hearts break because they can’t do it all;
Please help us to let them know how much we love them.
And how much You love them.

Happy Fathers Day to all fathers. Have a blessed day!


Bishops told they must embrace new media for the new evangelization

June 14, 2012

Cardinal O’Malley has been in the news a few times this week, based on comments at the U.S.C.C.B. meeting in Atlanta.  We will get to the interview with the Globe about the Catholic nuns in our next post. First, we get to the embracing of new media for the new evangelization. Here are a few select comments from Cardinal O’Malley, and below is the full context:

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston told the assembly that the church and the Vatican do a poor job of “communicating around controversial topics.” He said a spokesperson would be welcome and would help frame information in light of church teaching rather than having it distorted by voices in the media.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The recent Vatican crackdown on the largest organization of U.S. nuns turned into a public relations “debacle” for the bishops, said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

He complained that the Vatican’s decision to put bishops in charge of rooting out “radical feminist” elements within the nuns’ group was linked in the secular media to unrelated events, such as the bishops’ investigation of the Girl Scouts, with negative consequences for the church’s image.

“Our church, both in the States and at the Holy See, does not do a good job of communicating around controversial topics,” O’Malley said. “We need more help and more sophistication in our messaging.”

Bishops told they must embrace new media for the new evangelization (Catholic News)

The new evangelization calls for using new forms of media to reach people in their everyday lives, said the chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Communications.

“We’ve got to figure out a way to be where the people are getting their news,” Bishop Wester said. “The advantage is the instantaneousness of it. Others are getting the news out there, and so if the church doesn’t get her message out there, than other messages are going to be sitting there … and then it’s settled in people minds.”

In a 20-minute presentation June 14 at the U.S. bishops’ spring meeting in Atlanta, Bishop Wester discussed a series of steps his committee is undertaking to build stronger relationships with millions of parishioners in American pews.

He said there are serious questions revolving around how to effectively communicate the church’s work while remaining true to authentic church teaching.

“We used to ask ourselves, ‘What do we need to tell the people?’ Now we have to ask ourselves, ‘What do people want to hear from us?’ he said.

The USCCB is developing a new business model that incorporates best practices for its communications work and takes into consideration the way people seek information today and how they might seek information in the future.

The USCCB will continue to depend on traditional print forms of communication such as diocesan newspapers, but also will utilize multimedia primarily through the Internet to reach new audiences and to draw non-practicing Catholics back to the church, he said.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, USCCB president, told the bishops that the effort will include the naming of a spokesperson for the conference who would be available around the clock to respond to media inquiries and to be pro-active in seeking to share church views and teaching.

That prospect drew broad support from the bishops.

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston told the assembly that the church and the Vatican do a poor job of “communicating around controversial topics.” He said a spokesperson would be welcome and would help frame information in light of church teaching rather than having it distorted by voices in the media.

“More than a few of us have raised the possibility of having a spokesperson who could respond to situations that appear,” said Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta. “I think that’s vital because we waste a second and a second could be vital.”

He also cautioned that the eventual spokesperson must have the full trust of the bishops so that he or she will have the confidence to know he or she “will not be shot down,” he said.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami urged that more emphasis be made on developing messages for the growing segment of Spanish-speaking Catholics.

Bishops also raised questions about the cost of a stronger communications effort, saying that the commitment to keep the effort going must be continuous and have the understanding such outreach is “well worth it.”

U.S. bishops plan PR campaign to soften image (Reuters)

ATLANTA | Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:34pm EDT

(Reuters) – U.S. Catholic bishops announced plans on Thursday for an ambitious public relations drive to soften and shape their image and reach out to the younger generation using social media.

In a lively session at their national conference in Atlanta, several bishops expressed dismay that they are slow to get their talking points across and are perceived as too confrontational.

The recent Vatican crackdown on the largest organization of U.S. nuns turned into a public relations “debacle” for the bishops, said Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston.

He complained that the Vatican’s decision to put bishops in charge of rooting out “radical feminist” elements within the nuns’ group was linked in the secular media to unrelated events, such as the bishops’ investigation of the Girl Scouts, with negative consequences for the church’s image.

The bishops are looking into concerns that the Girl Scouts sometimes work with groups that promote access to contraception. The U.S. church’s image also has been hurt sex abuse scandals.

“Our church, both in the States and at the Holy See, does not do a good job of communicating around controversial topics,” O’Malley said. “We need more help and more sophistication in our messaging.”

BCI has just two comments.

1) Do we really need bishops with a softer image?

2) We wholeheartedly support the Cardinal’s statement that “a spokesperson would be welcome and would help frame information in light of church teaching rather than having it distorted by voices in the media.”  BCI is very serious that we support the Cardinal on that point, assuming that spokesperson actually understands, agrees with, and enthusiastically embraces church doctrine and church teaching.  When can Boston get one of those?

What do you think?

Report on Religious Freedom Rallies

June 9, 2012

BCI believes public action to protest the government intrusion on our religious freedom is important, and we are pleased to share a few reports with you on how the Boston rallies went. These rallies took place in 160 cities across the U.S. on June 8, including on Capital Hill in Washington, DC.

On Cardinal Sean’s blog, he reports on the June 8 rally on Boston Common:


The rally was part of the nationwide effort to Stand Up For Religious Freedom.  In March, 145 cities including Boston each held rallies.  Even more cities participated this time including other local rallies in Worcester and Leominster.

Janet Benestad who is our cabinet secretary for faith formation and evangelization was representing me at the event and was one of the speakers, together with Father Tad Pacholczyk and Sister Olga Yaqob. Scot Landry and George Martell also represented the Archdiocese of Boston at today’s Boston rally.rally5

Other speakers included former Ambassador to the Vatican and Mayor  of Boston Raymond Flynn, Kris Mineau from the Massachusetts Family Institute, young adult Ann-Marie Warner, Herald columnist Don Feder, and Alexis Walkenstein from the Maximus Group.  We appreciate the more than 300 attendees who took a stand today in support of religious freedom on the Common.

These rallies confirm how anxious people are to begin to underscore the importance of religious freedom which is being threatened in so many different venues but particularly with this mandate that redefines Catholic institutions as those that serve exclusively Catholics or are entirely staffed and run by Catholics, in this way eliminating from that category many of our schools, hospitals and other social agencies like Catholic Charities.

The U.S. Bishops recently announced the “Fortnight for Freedom” initiative which will take place from June 21 through July 4.  This special period of prayer, study, catechesis and public action will emphasize both our Christian and American heritage of liberty.  Dioceses and parishes across the country have scheduled special events that support a great national campaign of teaching and witness for religious liberty.  One of the most significant ways we are marking the Fortnight in the Archdiocese of Boston is by holding an interactive live town hall meeting on Monday June 25 at 8pm on CatholicTV,, and 1060AM WQOM.  We will have some short presentations regarding the issues and what is at stake and then we will take questions from the studio audience and from the viewers who can submit questions via Facebook, Twitter and Email.  Please mark your calendars, join us and perhaps submit a question.

This is a nice report about the rally after the fact.It is unfortunate that more was not done by the archdiocese and Mass Catholic Conference to promote the rally before the event, since this issue should be of great importance for every one of the 300,000+ Mass-going Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese, and we would urge the archdiocese to use its PR and communications engine a bit more actively leading up to these kinds of events. In addition to the Boston rally, there was also one in West Roxbury. Lou reports here that the evening rally in West Roxbury drew nearly 150 people.

The Fortnight for Freedom is coming up soon, and The Pilot has an article about that initiative, as well as the upcoming June 25 town hall meeting with Cardinal O’Malley:

Angela Franks, who teaches at the Theological Institute for the New Evangelization, plans to appear as a panelist on the town hall meeting program. She said she is eager to defend the faith at the town hall meeting that will be broadcast nationally.

“It is important that the message be sent to congress and to the president that this is not an isolated case of a few people protesting, but that all Catholics all across the country recognize that this is a grave threat to the fundamental freedom of religious liberty,” she said.

She said it is important to present a unified voice between communities of Catholics in the United States throughout a network of local groups to dispel misconceptions.

“The mainstream media has tried to imply that the bishops do not have broad support, that this is a war against women, and that women are not supporting the Church and her position on this. So, it is very important for local Catholics to demonstrate that they do stand with the Church,” Franks said.

BCI suggests all readers take part in the town hall meeting and take advantage of this time to submit your questions to Cardinal O’Malley. Ironically, the town hall meeting with Cardinal O’Malley is on the same day when President Obama is in Boston for a series of campaign fundraisers, including one for $40,000/person at the home of Catholic Schools fundraiser and Finance Council member, Jack Connors Jr. (not exactly the presenting of a “unified voice” among Catholics, but that is a topic for another post).

Have a wonderful weekend!

Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rallys: June 8

June 8, 2012

As previously communicated here at BCI, the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society have announced that the next Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally are taking place today, Friday, June 8, in cities and towns across the United States.   There are two in the Boston area today–one at noontime in Boston and one at 6:30pm in West Roxbury.

The June 8 Stand Up Rally builds on the tremendous momentum created by the first Stand Up Rally on March 23.

On that day, over 63,000 Americans came out in 145 cities coast to coast pushed back against the new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that requires all employers provide free contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans, even in violation of their consciences.

The rally in Boston is taking place at 12pm on Boston Common, at Beacon Street and Park Street, just across from the State House.  If you can make it, please do try to attend. Click here for more information.

A Boston neighborhood Rally will also take place at 6:30 p.m. at Holy Name Rotary, 1689 Centre Street in West Roxbury.

It is important that Catholics exercise every means possible to prevent the trampling of our religious freedoms. Please do support these efforts and participate if you are able.


Go See “For Greater Glory”

June 6, 2012

BCI recently saw the movie, “For Greater Glory” and we highly recommend you see it in the next few days or this coming weekend, while it is still in theaters.  The film is based on the true story of the 1920s Cristero War in Mexico. The war resulted from Mexico’s atheist constitution of 1917, subsequent anti-religious legislation that violated religious freedoms and brutal anti-clerical persecution by the government of athiest President Calles, who came to power in 1924.

A number of Catholic bishops, including Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Chaput have offered high praise for the movie. Here is the trailer:

Most Rev. Charles J. Chaput, Archbishop of Philadelphia:

“To describe this film as stirring or powerful would do it a disservice. FOR GREATER GLORY is much more than an exercise in piety; it’s an extraordinary portrait of ordinary people struggling to defend their convictions. It’s among the most absorbing films by any director or movie studio that I’ve seen in the past few years.”

Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston:

“As a nation established on the principal of freedom for all people, FOR GREATER GLORY reminds us of the important values that we as Americans and Catholics share and must be willing to protect. This film helps us to understand the history surrounding the Cristero War and its importance in the Mexican Catholics’ efforts to fight for religious freedom and tolerance.  Those values are as relevant today as they were almost one hundred years ago.”

Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona

“It is not often that a film opens a window into the past that casts so much light on the present.”  FOR GREATER GLORY depicts a courageous struggle for religious freedom that was inspired by love of Christ and love of country. The Cristeros of Mexico have much to teach us today.”

By necessity of the subject matter, the movie portrays violence and for that reason is rated R, but BCI feels there is nothing in the movie that is objectionable and the R rating seems a bit unfair. For parents with younger children, we have checked around, and parents with children 10-17 have had no problem bringing children that age to see the movie.

Archbishop Chaput has written an excellent review of the movie you can find here:

“…since all good things are meant to be shared, I… enthusiastically recommend — a film that no Catholic should miss this summer.

The Catholic response to the Calles regime first took the form of non-violent petitions, suspended religious services and economic boycotts. But bloody popular resistance broke out in 1926. By 1929, 50,000 Cristero rebels were fighting the federal government. A small number of priests took up arms with their people. More than 90,000 persons died in the fighting. In the process, the authorities murdered thousands of Catholic laypeople and dozens of priests.

Blessed Miguel Pro, a Jesuit priest, was executed without trial in 1927. Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, age 14, was shot to death for refusing to deny his faith in 1928. In both cases, the martyrs’ last words were Viva Cristo Rey! (Long live Christ the King!) The Church has since honored dozens of other Mexican martyrs for their heroism during the Calles persecution.

“For Greater Glory” succeeds where so many similar films have failed. Led by Academy Award nominees Andy Garcia and Catalina Sandino Moreno, along with Oscar Isaac, Eva Longoria, Ruben Blades, Eduardo Verastegui and others, the cast is superb. And the writing gives them the kind of robust material they need to work with: strong dialogue, fully developed characters, vivid moral conflicts in a time of revolutionary violence and a compelling story that never lags, thanks to the skilled directing of Dean Wright.

One of the hymns Cristeros sang as they went into battle had these words:

The Virgin Mary is our protector and defender when there is something to fear,

She will defeat the demons, crying “Long live Christ the King!”

She will defeat the demons, crying “Long live Christ the King!”

Soldiers of Christ let us follow the flag that the Cross shows the army of God!

Let us follow the flag, crying “Long live Christ the King!”

We Americans in 2012 live in a different land in a different time. We’re blessed with freedoms the Cristeros could only imagine. But those freedoms depend on our willingness to defend them. Religious liberty is never guaranteed by anything but our own vigilance. Even in this country, contempt for religious faith, and especially the Catholic faith, is alive and well.

There are erie parallels between the contempt for religious faith in Mexico in the 1920s and the contempt for religious faith by the Obama administration today. BCI found the movie inspiring and powerful. It is not expected to stay in the theaters for very long, so we urge you to see it on the big screen before the end of the weekend.  If you have seen the movie, feel free to share your reactions via comments.

Help Wanted: Director of Pastoral Planning

June 2, 2012

The Boston Archdiocese has announced that a search is beginning for a new Director of Pastoral Planning. With changes expected in how parishes are organized and pastorally led that will impact the archdiocese for decades, this is a very important position. So, we hope the archdiocese pays attention to two important things to make sure they get a fantastic person in the role. A look at the announcement and job description give cause for concern already.

Here is an excerpt from The Pilot announcement about the position:

“This position will be critically important in coordinating the activities of pastoral planning on behalf of Cardinal Seán,” said Father Bryan Parrish, assistant vicar for administration and special assistant to the vicar general and moderator of the curia. “Cardinal Seán and Msgr. Deeley are encouraging clergy, religious and lay leaders, with experience and interest in the essential work of pastoral planning for evangelization, to express interest.”

According to the archdiocese, the principal objectives of the pastoral planning process are to strengthen the Church’s ability to evangelize and hand on the faith in all areas of the archdiocese by a better structuring and allocation of the Church’s personnel resources.

We looked at the job description, and it looked pretty good, except for what is not said.  Besides a typo in the second paragraph (“principle responsibilities” should be spelled with an “a” as “principal”), the thing that most struck us was the absence of any explicit requirement that the person be a practicing Catholic who also believes what the Catholic Church believes and teaches. Does that not matter?

Here are excerpts from the job description:

Parish Life and Leadership – Director of Pastoral Planning

posted 05/24/2012

As a key leadership role, the Director of Pastoral Planning is a member of Cardinal Seán O’Malley’s extended Cabinet and a key member of the leadership team of the Archdiocese of Boston.  As such, s/he will represent the Archdiocese in many ways as part of his/her normal duties.

Principle Responsibilities include implementing a new pastoral plan for the Archdiocese of Boston as one of Cardinal Seán’s top priorities.  After the completion of an extensive consultation period, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission (APPC) will submit a recommendation to Cardinal Seán for consideration and approval.  This key role is responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the approved plan, in close collaboration with the Vicar General, the Secretary for Parish Life and Leadership, the Regional Bishops and Vicars Forane, and other members of the Cabinet as appropriate.  The scope of work includes, but is not limited to:

  • Leading consultations and managing an ongoing process of consultation.
  • Assisting the APPC on the drafting of the recommendation of a Pastoral Plan for the Archdiocese
  • Project-managing the preparation phase and the implementation phase of the Pastoral Plan.
  • Managing the full-time, part-time and volunteer resources in the Pastoral Planning Office.
  • Communicating about the pastoral planning process to build alignment and positive momentum.
  • Executing the charges given to the Office of Pastoral Planning efficiently and effectively.
  • Serving as a staff resource for the Archbishop, Auxiliary Bishops, Vicar General and Vicars Forane on tasks related to the Archdiocese and our planning efforts.
  • Contributing to ongoing research in the area of Church planning and management.

S/he will interact heavily with the Archdiocese’s pastors, priests, parish staff and central administration leaders.

Must have a Master’s degree; advanced degree in Theology and/or the field of planning is strongly preferred.  One must be a creative and collaborative leader with a proven track record of organizing and managing implementation of major initiatives within a complex organization.  Must understand the Mission of the Church to “go and make disciples” and have in-dept familiarity with the Roman Catholic Church, its structure, teaching, beliefs and attitudes, with particular emphasis on the parish environment. Must be able to integrate and inspire those in the proposed pastoral collaboratives and pastoral service teams (PSTs) to advance this Mission locally.  Must embrace the opportunity to help Cardinal Sean lead the Archdiocese through this critical and challenging stage in its history to make a lasting impact on the Archdiocese and instill confidence and trust of those served by the Archdiocese and specifically the Pastoral Planning Office.  Specifically, this leader will display the following characteristics:

Functional Skills

  • Significant experience in explaining the structure, teaching, beliefs and attitudes of the Catholic Church, with particular emphasis on the parish environment

Personal Attributes

  • Strong knowledge of the Catholic Church, ideally within the Archdiocese of Boston.
  • Masters degree required; advanced degree in Theology and/or the field of planning is strongly preferred.
  • Unquestioned integrity and accountability.
  • A personal commitment to and passion for the mission of the Catholic Church. Ability to take a long-term perspective combined with the ability to set clear goals and the practical ability to get things done.

Call BCI a nit-picker if you wish, but this archdiocese already has had experience with people like the former Director of Human Resources, a proud ex-Catholic, who introduced yoga classes to the Pastoral Center this year among other concerns BCI has documented in the past.  We have Jack Connors, Jr, supposedly supporting Catholic Schools while he works against the Catholic Church by raising money for pro-abortion, anti-Catholic politicians.  Why is it not possible for the Boston Archdiocese to explicitly require that the person in this job be a practicing Catholic who believes what the Catholic Church believes?

Were we to ask so-called “practicing Catholics ” such as Jack Connors, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen.  John Kerry, and VP Joe Biden, about whether they “understand” the teachings and beliefs of the Catholic Church or “understand the Mission of the Church” they would likely say “yes.”  In public comments, they claim to be “practicing Catholics.” But do they accept and agree with the teachings of the Catholic Church as handed down by the Magisterium of the Church, and actually embrace, accept, and believe them?

It seems to BCI that the job requirements should say explicitly that a candidate must be a practicing Catholic in good standing who enthusiastically accepts and embraces authentic Catholic doctrine as entrusted and handed down by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.  Think of it like a version of a mandatum for key diocesan executives or key employees, where the candidate is asked to affirm that they agree with and will not dissent from Church teachings on the Holy Trinity, sin, salvation, celibate male priesthood, non-negotiable moral issues (eg. abortion, homosexual acts, marriage, euthanasia), role of the Pope as head of the Roman Catholic Church, and the Immaculate Conception. Candidates for the job should agree to refrain from representing in actions or words as Catholic teaching anything that is contrary to the Magisterium of the Church, and they should also agree to not give their support (e.g. jobs, hiring, endorsements, donations) to any individuals or organizations that advance positions contrary to the Magisterium of the Church.

Beyond the job description, it will be interesting to see who is on the search committee. As with almost every search that has taken place in recent years, BCI expects that the hand of Fr. Bryan Hehir will be present in this one.  Do not be surprised if at least one person on the search committee is currently on the Catholic Charities board or was on it in the past few years. Also look for the visible or invisible hand of Jack Connors. We wish that Vicar General Msgr. Deeley was given the freedom to choose the search committee members, but that is not how his boss and the bureaucracy works, and Fr. Bryan Hehir is still expected to wield influence, just as he did in the reconfiguration of 2004.

Our hope and prayer for Cardinal O’Malley and Vicar General Msgr. Deeley is that they at least insist all members of the search committee–along with the candidates and final hire–be practicing Catholics who enthusiastically embrace authentic Catholic doctrine as entrusted and handed down by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. The pastoral planning effort is a difficult enough one in the years ahead, and it would be a tremendous grace for the whole archdiocese to have a person in this key role who is a faithful Catholic and who believes what the Catholic Church believes.  Is that too much to ask?  What do you think?

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