LifeSite News has an excellent piece that adds more color to the issues with Jack Connors we brought up in our last post. As readers recall, BCI posted a response by the Boston Archdiocese to an Ethicspoint complaint about Connors’ fund-raising for President Obama (whose policies violate our religious freedoms and work against the Catholic Church), while Connors also serves on the Finance Council with responsibility for Institutional Advancement and raises money for Catholic schools.
As we know, an anonymous critic recently submitted a complaint to the archdiocese over Connors’ Obama fundraising on the whistleblower site, EthicsPoint, and the archdiocese responded that a Finance Council member’s support for a pro-abortion politician who is actively working to violate our religious freedom was not a problem for them.
“Finance Council members are not obligated to make public the rationale behind their decisions to support various organizations, programs, and persons. 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.
…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.
In Boston Catholics call on archdiocese to end relationship with Obama-backing multi-millionaire, LifeSite News took this a step further with additional revelations:
Among Connors’ philanthropic projects is the Connors Center for Women’s Health, which The Globe described as his favorite among Connors Family Foundation beneficiaries “closest to the family’s heart”: it was named after Connors’ mother, Mary Horrigan Connors, and is where his eight grandchildren were born.
At the helm of the Connors Center is its co-founder Paula A. Johnson, a former chairman of the board for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, who also served on the board for the Center for Reproductive Rights. When the HHS mandate for free birth control began this month, the Connors Center celebrated the news and Johnson appeared on local media as an expert touting the mandate’s benefits: Johnson herself was a member of the Institutes of Medicine Committee that recommended the contraception mandate to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in 2011.
Among the Connors Centers’ top goals is “training the next generation of leaders in the field of women’s health,” including future abortion providers: its Family Planning Fellowship, led by abortionist and Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) head researcher Alisa Goldberg, partners with PPLM to offer a nationally-recognized two-year program to “improve access to, and the quality of, pregnancy termination services through research and training.” The Center’s only other fellowship, the Global Women’s Health Fellowship, was expected to merge with the Family Planning Fellowship as of 2009.
Jack Connors has not always been a favorite with Boston’s Catholic hierarchy: the two experienced a falling-out involving the 2002 sex abuse scandal. When Cardinal O’Malley sought his help for the schools project three years later, Connors, in the Globe’s words, accepted on condition that he “use his ideas, not the Church’s.” Since then, Connors’ ideas have also surfaced in pastoral decisions: he joined condemnations of a Boston school that removed a third-grade student because his parents were lesbians, something the archdiocese also criticized. “I am disappointed that … this faith that I love seems to find new ways to shoot itself in the foot,” said Connors.
The Archdiocese of Boston declined a request for comment.
Judie Brown of the American Life League said that, whether or not Cardinal O’Malley intended it, keeping up appearances with Connors was a serious scandal for the Catholic faithful.
Brown faulted the archdiocese for overlooking Connors’ connections in favor of his financial prowess. “These things don’t happen in a vacuum. Someone is very aware of his interconectedness with the Culture of Death. There’s no way they could not be,” she said.
“The worst damage always happens to the Church from within.”
Judie Brown is correct. “Someone” needs to take responsibility for allowing this situation to continue, not just the amorphous “archdiocese.” The Tenth Crusade has a suggestion and specifically identifies who that someone would be.
Reader, “Angry Parish Council Member” also put it well in a comment on our last post.
The Archdiocese and Cardinal O’Malley are also speaking out of both sides of their mouth. In 2007, Cardinal O’Malley said:
“I think the Democratic Party, which has been in many parts of the country traditionally the party which Catholics have supported, has been extremely insensitive to the church’s position, on the gospel of life in particular, and on other moral issues,” O’Malley said.
Acknowledging that Catholic voters in Massachusetts generally support Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, O’Malley said, “I think that, at times, it borders on scandal as far as I’m concerned.”
“However, when I challenge people about this, they say, ‘Well, bishop, we’re not supporting [abortion rights],’ ” he continued. “I think there’s a need for people to very actively dissociate themselves from those unacceptable positions.”
I don’t get it. If Mr. Connors is tied to the Democratic party, which has been extremely insensitive to the Catholic church’s position on the gospel of life, and he’s raising money to support Obama’s reelection, when Obama has been very insensitive to the Catholic church’s position on life, why should Cardinal O’Malley trust Mr. Connor’s moral convictions?
If it “borders on scandal” for Catholics to vote for Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, how can a Finance Council member raise money for Obama, who favors abortion rights, and not bring about scandal? Is he bringing about something that “borders on scandal” but is not real scandal?
I guess it all depends on what the definition of “is” is.
BCI thinks it is time for Cardinal O’Malley and/or Vicar General Msgr. Deeley to have a private sit-down with Jack Connors. The purpose of this discussion is to thank Jack for his help with fundraising for the Catholic schools, and to educate him about the truths of abortion, the reality of how the Obama HHS mandate violates our religious freedoms and will harm Catholic institutions (including those Connors claims he supports), and the consequences of Connor’s actions on his own mortal soul, on the unborn, on the Catholic Church, and on society for generations to come. If there is no change of heart, conversion or commitment on the part of Jack to disassociate himself from the unacceptable positions his political fundraising and philanthropy are advancing, then BCI believes it is necessary for Cardinal O’Malley to disassociate the Boston Archdiocese from Jack. If you agree, then hit Share and send a copy of this email to Vicar_General(at)rcab.org.