We shift back to Boston, to share with you today an explanation from the Boston Archdiocese about how they justify keeping Jack Connors on the Finance Council, despite his public fundraising for political figures who oppose the Catholic Church.
BCI has posted a number of times about Connors in the past. In Stop the Scandal in 2011, we raised the concern that Conners was publicly supporting and raising money for pro-abortion politicians (ie. President Obama) at the same time he is raising money for Catholic schools, has Finance Council oversight for archdiocesan fundraising and is influencing the direction of Catholic education. Nothing happened. This past June in our post on Fortnight for Freedom, we raised the concern again–this time, when Connors hosted a $40,000/person fundraiser for President Obama this afternoon. We asked, 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? It seemed to BCI that was scandalous.
Well, an alert BCI reader apparently agreed and filed a complaint via Ethicpoint, the anonymous whistleblower program set-up for reporting violations of the archdiocesan Code of Conduct. The archdiocese was obliged to respond. The complaint says that these public actions by Connors violated the archdiocesan Code of Conduct policy, which says Church personnel should ensure their behavior “promotes the welfare of the archdiocese” and “exemplifies the moral traditions of the Church.” Below is the original complaint, the response by the archdiocese, and a response by the complainant, to which the archdiocese never responded.
Report Submission Date
Reported Company/Branch Information
|Public square and in mainstream media|
|Braintree, MA, U.S.|
|Misconduct or Inappropriate Behavior|
|Please identify the person(s) engaged in this behavior:|
|Jack Connors – Archdiocesan Finance Council, Chair, Campaign for Catholic Schools|
|Do you suspect or know that a supervisor or management is involved?|
|Do Not Know / Do Not Wish To Disclose|
|If yes, then who?|
|Is management aware of this problem?|
|Do Not Know / Do Not Wish To Disclose|
|What is the general nature of this matter?|
|The Code of Conduct says that church personnel will ensure their behavior “promotes the welfare of the archdiocese” and “exemplifies the moral traditions of the Church.” Jack Connors has just done the opposite. On the same day when Cardinal O’Malley hosted a town hall forum to rally support for religious freedom and opposition to the Obama administration’s mandate that Catholic institutions pay for contraception coverage, Mr. Connors very publicly raised $1 million for the campaign of President Obama, who is leading the charge to violate our religious freedom:
Church personnel raising money for a politician whose policies serve to undermine the welfare of the archdiocese sounds like a violation of the code of conduct. It says “Church personnal will conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as enunciated by the Holy Father and the Bishops in communion with him; more specifically, Church Personnel shall, in all such matters, accept, rely upon and defer to the teaching authority of the Archbishop in all matters of faith and morals.
|Where did this incident or violation occur?|
|June 25, 2012|
|Please provide the specific or approximate time this incident occurred:|
|How long do you think this problem has been going on?|
|More than a year|
|How did you become aware of this violation?|
|If other, how?|
|4pm fundraiser on Monday, June 25 for President Obama.
“Obama spent more than an hour inside Hamersley’s Bistro, whose front windows were covered, while hundreds of people waited on Tremont Street for a glimpse of him. Boston’s police commissioner, Ed Davis, joined the heavy-security team of city police, State Police, and Secret Service on Clarendon Street, where the president’s limousine was parked. At the restaurant, 25 supporters, hosted by Boston advertising executive Jack Connors, paid $40,000 each to attend.”
Obama will first attend an intimate campaign roundtable at Hamersley’s Bistro in the South End with 25 supporters who paid $40,000 each to attend, said a campaign official. The afternoon gathering will be hosted by Boston advertising magnate Jack Connors, who last spring held a $17,900-a-head dinner at his Brookline home for the president.
There are no additional notes for this report.
RESPONSE FROM THE BOSTON ARCHDIOCESE:
Jul 10, 2012, 9:43 AM
Comment: Members of the Archdiocese of Boston Finance Council provide the Archdiocese of Boston with their well-established business acumen and experience in productive, fiscally stable organizations. As they do so, these individuals donate generously of their time and talent. The Archdiocese of Boston asks these individuals to serve in this and other capacities with full confidence that they adhere faithfully to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, act in a manner which is fully in accordance with the Archdiocesan Code of Conduct, and conduct themselves as all Catholics are called to—with care, concern and compassion for others,
especially those who are in need.
In their support of organizations apart from the Archdiocese, Finance Council members find themselves immersed in diverse settings, replete with the full variety of moral beliefs and human behaviors. As free and private citizens, Finance Council members are at liberty to invest their time and energy in any manner they deem fit and to support those programs and policies, and at times individuals, which they have determined contribute to the common good and the well-being of society. The Archdiocese believes that the support of these programs, policies, and/or individuals reflects the Finance Council members’ own understanding of the human condition, the moral responsibility of each individual, and the collective responsibilities of the populace.
As individuals who value their privacy, Finance Council members are not obligated to make public the rationale behind their decisions to support various organizations, programs, and persons. The Church respects the right of the individual to personal conscience formation. The reality of this personal moral and ethical worldview informs Cardinal O’Malley’s solicitation of the Finance Council members’ service to the Archdiocese and, at times, acceptance of their generous financial assistance. That a Finance Council member may offer his/her backing to a politician or political candidate who is in support of pro-choice policies does not define or exhaust a Finance Council member’s position on issues pertaining to respect for life. Instead, it objectively speaks to the Finance Council member’s willingness to engage with and find value and merit in the opinions, ideals, and visions of individuals with a wide variety of moral stances, which at various times are more or less in line with the teachings of the Church. Furthermore, though he/she may provide his/her time and support to certain institutions which allow for individuals to elect to participate in activities that do not respect the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of life, no current Finance Council member has publicly advocated abortions as suitable moral options for these individuals. To assume that a Finance Council member is pro-choice and actively in support of abortions because of his/her political affiliations and/or institutional support is an unfair assumption and not one the Archdiocese is willing to use in judging candidates for the Council.
Turning to political activities specifically, the support of a pro-choice politician by a Catholic has been addressed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States (2007). In this document, the Bishops state,
“A Catholic cannot vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or racism, if the voter’s intent is to support that position. In such cases a Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in grave evil. At the same time, a voter should not use a candidate’s opposition to an intrinsic evil to justify indifference or inattentiveness to other important moral issues involving human life and dignity. There may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. […] In the end, this is a decision to be made by each Catholic guided by a conscience formed by Catholic moral teaching.”
In Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship, the Bishops recognize that the political field is not one characterized by ideal candidates who at all times and in all cases uphold the full array of Catholic moral truths. Consequently, Catholic voters are tasked with examining imperfect candidates according to Catholic teaching on matters “affecting human life and dignity as well as issues of justice and peace” and “consider[ing] candidates’ integrity, philosophy, and performance.” The whole of Catholic social teaching should be considered when a Catholic makes a valuation of a given political candidate. Although the principles articulated in the USCCB statement can find expression in differing concrete political choices by individual Catholics, one should presume that the choices have been made conscientiously and in good faith.
Through their dedicated service, the members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council have repeatedly shown their love for the Church and their desire to see it flourish and provide the framework by which the people of the Archdiocese of Boston may be nourished physically, intellectually, and spiritually. Cardinal O’Malley trusts that the moral convictions of the Finance Council members are firmly rooted in Catholic social teaching and are designed to uphold the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. The Archdiocese believes that the decisions the Finance Council members make as citizens and as Catholics, although opposed by some, are neither in violation of Catholic teaching nor do they bring about scandal. Rather, the Archdiocese feels they are a reflection of the difficult decisions which must be made in a less than perfect world, one which the Finance Council members actively and tirelessly seek to improve through their faithful service to Christ and His Church.
RESPONSE FROM THE PERSON WHO FILED THE COMPLAINT
Jul 12, 2012, 6:15 AM
Reply: Thank you for your response–however I’m a bit confused by it. I didn’t say anything about abortion and your whole response is about a Finance Council member’s support for pro-choice politicians. My complaint was about Jack Connors’ support for Obama while he is actively working to take away our religious freedom. Now that I’ve read your response, I have several follow-up points and questions.
i) Specifically what sort of positions or actions would constitute “scandal” for a Finance Council member to give their support to? For example, if the politician supported by a Finance Council member advocated for ethnic cleansing, would that still be permissible without creating scandal? If the politician advocated for legalization of premeditated murder, child pornography, or sex between adults and young children, is it still OK for the Finance Council to publicly support the politician and this does not create scandal, because the person has the right to form their own conscience?
ii) The Code of Conduct says that church personnel will ensure their behavior “promotes the welfare of the archdiocese” and “exemplifies the moral traditions of the Church.” Since President Obama and his administration opposes the freedom of religion for this Catholic archdiocese which harms the Catholic Church and could impose substantial financial penalties on us, how exactly can Mr. Connors’ fund-raising to re-elect President Obama promote the welfare of the archdiocese? How does fund-raising for the most pro-abortion, pro-gay, anti-traditional marriage, anti-Catholic and anti-religious freedom President this country has ever had–in opposition to the moral teachings of the Church– “exemplify the moral traditions of the Church”? I don’t understand your rationale. Can you explain further?
3) In your response, you said, “Cardinal O’Malley trusts that the moral convictions of the Finance Council members are firmly rooted in Catholic social teaching and are designed to uphold the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. The Archdiocese believes that the decisions the Finance Council members make as citizens and as Catholics, although opposed by some, are neither in violation of Catholic teaching nor do they bring about scandal.”
Has Cardinal O’Malley actually asked Finance Council members if their moral convictions are in keeping with Catholic moral teaching and support protection of human life from conception to natural death, as well as marriage between one man and one woman, and religious freedom from government interference? Is that specifically a prerequisite for becoming a member of the Finance Council? If not, why not? What if you asked and found a Finance Council member answering honestly said they did not agree with Catholic doctrine and moral teachings? Then what?
This report has been closed.
The organization sent these questions or comments before report was closed. You cannot respond.
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BCI finds the response from the Boston Archdiocese to be most revealing. At last we have some explanation for how the Boston Archdiocese justifies keeping Jack around. As long as the money is green, it does not matter what he does in his “private” life, even if those actions publicly harm the Catholic Church. Matthew 6:24 comes to mind, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon.”
What do you think?