The Tenth Crusade and The Deacons Bench are posting about a Catholic News Agency interview with Cardinal Sean O’Malley, in which he said some great things about the need for true Catholics in politics and media. The words are fantastic! If this is the direction we want to go in, we should all be behind it. The problem is that the walk does not really match the talk.
Here is what Cardinal O’Malley is quoted by Catholic News Agency as saying:
Rome, Italy, Dec 17, 2012 / 02:10 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston says the Church needs more and better prepared Catholic politicians and journalists who can bring the faith into the public square.
“We need to be much more proactive to prepare our laity and help them understand what a crucial role they have in public life and in the media where they’re forming public opinion and educating people through different means that have a great impact in society,” Cardinal O’Malley told CNA on Dec. 13.
He added, “if we’re going to evangelize the culture, we need to have evangelizers in those areas.”
During the last day of the Dec. 9-12 “Ecclesia in America” congress at the Vatican, Cardinal O’Malley said he believes things are “only going to get worse because Catholics themselves don’t worry about defending the unborn or teaching the true meaning of life.”
“There are just not enough legislators who favor life,” he said…
BCI commends the Cardinal for these comments! But, unfortunately, this is not what the Boston Archdiocese under Cardinal O’Malley is doing. The Tenth Crusade writes:
Amen to that. I know the Cardinal sincerely believes this needs to happen. What then is the problem with its execution? Do you think they know how to roll out that plan? Maybe they really don’t know why their machines are spitting out apostates? I’m dead serious.
The chief fundraiser for Catholic schools happens to be a chief fundraiser for electing pro-choice politicians and training physicians to abort the unborn, and was the Chairman for the largest provider of abortions in the state. The diocesan PR firm is staffed largely by former aides or fundraisers for pro-abortion politicians. The Secretary for Communications used to work for a pro-abortion politician. The HR Executive Director is a proud ex-Catholic. How can the Cardinal possibly prepare the laity to evangelize a culture of life when a good number of those close to the Cardinal are working in opposition to that, or have in the past?
Cardinal O’Malley is correct–things are only going to get worse. So, what should he do, and what should we do? BCI is ready and willing to help! Here are a few ideas for starters:
- As suggested by The Tenth Crusade, the Cardinal needs to appoint a cabinet and advisors who, in their public and private lives, are evangelizing the true meaning of the sanctity of life in politics and journalism. That means flushing the cabinet and advisors of people who work against the true sanctity of life and/or marriage between a man and woman, who do not believe in those moral principles, and are not willing to work to advance those moral principles in society. BCI would be glad to help with identifying exactly who should be moved out, writing job descriptions for the vacant positions and in phone-screening candidates.
- In education, draft mandatums and ask adminisrators and teachers to sign and execute them. Fire teachers and administrators if they are unwilling to sign a mandatum. He should also implement Ex Corde Ecclesia.
- In hiring for diocesan positions, draft a statement of Catholic beliefs, similar to a mandatum, and require that all key employees sign it.
Despite our enthusiasm for most of the Cardinal’s words, there was one comment that we think is telling–and which suggests he does not fully grasp what it takes to execute against his words. He said:
The cardinal mentioned the late Colombian Cardinal López Trujillo as an example to follow, since he brought pro-life politicians from the Americas together when he was in charge of the Pontifical Council for the Family.
“It was an opportunity for them to have ongoing formation in social teachings of the Church and to feel each other’s support in their faith and vocation,” Cardinal O’Malley recalled.
That is nice. But the problem is not that pro-life politicians need more formation. They are already pro-life! The problem is that a huge number of so-called “Catholic” politicians are pro-abortion. And the Cardinal does not seem willing to confront that.
It is the so-called “Catholic” politicians who need the formation in the social teachings of the Catholic Church on life and marriage. Where is the plan? Where is the action? Where is the walk behind the talk?
…one of the reasons why Kennedy’s example was so injurious to the Church was because the pastors of the Church, for the most part, made the imprudent call to do little or nothing about it beyond general teaching statements that they hoped offending politicians would apply to themselves. There were no real consequences, and as a result, Senator Kennedy, scores of other Catholic politicians, and millions of American Catholic lay people concluded that the Church’s teachings in defense of human life cannot be that important if those who publicly and repeatedly act in violation of it do so with impunity. It would be very hard for an abortion-supporting Catholic politician to have watched Senator Kennedy’s very public and panegyrical funeral rites and not have concluded that the Church’s teachings on life are, in the end, a very small matter indeed. It would have been even harder for such a politician or others who support the evil of abortion to have been inspired toward conversion.
This leads to one of the most important lessons that pastors in the United States need to draw from the history of the Church’s interactions with Senator Kennedy for its future engagement of other pro-abortion Catholic politicians. Despite the good intentions to try to engage him, teach him, and help bring him to conversion, the strategy failed. There were many words given at the Senator’s exequies about his “private faith,” but private faith is not enough. “Faith without deeds is dead,” as St. James poignantly reminds us. The Church has a responsibility to help bring people from “private faith” to see the consequences of it in public actions, and, in the Senator’s case, we didn’t succeed.
When excerpts of his July letter to Pope Benedict were read at his committal at Arlington National Cemetery, those hoping for some sign of repentance for his formal cooperation in the blood of millions of unborn children were left disappointed: “I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic,” he wrote, “and though I have fallen short through human failings, I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings.”
If we take him at his word as we re-read his many past statements and work in favor of abortion, same-sex marriage, and other evils — in which he showed a total material disrespect and disregard for the Church’s teachings — it’s impossible not to conclude that after almost 35 years of patiently pastoral pedagogy, he still failed to grasp that abortion and marriage are “fundamental teachings” of the Church to which every faithful Catholic must adhere in public and private. The pastors of the Church obviously need to come up with a more effective way to get politicians to grasp the importance of the Church’s teaching than the failed strategy that was employed with Senator Kennedy.
As we Catholics pray for Senator Kennedy, that the Lord will remember the good he has done and forgive him his sins, we also pray that God will strengthen all faithful Catholics with the courage and wisdom needed more effectively to bring to conversion those who follow, promote and celebrate the enduring, lamentable parts of the Senator’s legacy.
Beyond the points above, BCI humbly suggests that Cardinal O’Malley use his position as Archbishop of Boston and his role as Chairman of the USCCB Pro-Life Committee to convene all Massachusetts “Catholic” legislators and all U.S. House and Senate “Catholic” legislators for a catechesis on Catholic Church social teachings regarding life and marriage. This should include a discussion of the consequences of their continued advocacy for immoral positions–the consequences for the unborn, for society, for the salvation of their souls, and for them continuing to present themselves to receive the Holy Eucharist.
BCI applauds the words, and prays the Cardinal develops the courage to walk the talk. What do you think?