Boston Catholics Demand Menino Disinvited by Deal W. Hudson
Window on November 30
Boston Catholics Demand Menino Disinvited
Deal W. Hudson
In a letter delivered today to Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston, close to 100 area Catholics -- many of them prominent business and grassroots leaders -- demanded that Catholic Charities disinvite Mayor Tom Menino as the honoree of their Christmas fundraising dinner.
The letter begins by commending the Archbishop for withdrawing from the dinner honoring a pro-abortion Catholic politician but asks him to take further action. "We request that you avoid further scandal and confusion to the faithful by insisting Catholic Charities disinvite Mayor Menino and find a suitable candidate to honor in his place on December 9."
In support of their request, the signers quote from a recent document published in 2004 by the U.S. bishops, which reads, "Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."
The letter also puts the responsibility for the Menino affair at the feet of Fr. Bryan Hehir, the head of Boston's Catholic Charities, "If the current leadership refuses to maintain communion with the Archbishop and the Roman Catholic Church by disinviting the mayor, we request that you appoint and install new leadership." Fr. Hehir was president of Catholic Charities USA until Archbishop O'Malley asked that he return to his home diocese to oversee local operations of the same organization.
Before being made aware of the letter, Mayor Menino labeled those who were calling for his withdrawal as being motivated by "animosity" and lacking "charity." Menino excused Archbishop O'Malley's withdrawal from the dinner as being necessitated by the U. S. Bishops’ Conference, and added, "I like O'Malley."
In a Boston Globe article, Menino responded to the pro-life Catholic activism by saying, "The church should teach to the faithful but should not interfere in issues that involve the civil rights of the entire population." He also said, "When the pope speaks on doctrine, that is absolute. I don't think choice and gay marriage are doctrine."
The two Catholic activists whose protest spurred the Archbishop's actions are C.J. Doyle of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts and Carol McKinley of Boston's Faithful Voice.
I asked Carol McKinley what she thought of the mayor's accusation that she was motivated by animosity. She replied, "We're not being hostile to the mayor personally. What he's actually objecting to is our hostility towards the immorality, violence, and murders he advocates to our children. The diocese is still not in compliance with the directive and it's a classic example of how pro-abort politicians use their ‘honors’ to trample mothers and fathers attempting to hold the Bishop accountable to the promises he makes."
C.J. Doyle said of Menino's comments that "you could cut the hypocrisy with a knife." Mayor Menino, he explained, "boycotted the St. Patrick's Day parade because it would not allow a militant gay activist group to march. Then he ordered all the shamrocks and Irish symbols off the city's fire equipment because they were symbols of 'tribalism.' Now he presumes to preach to the rest of us about inclusiveness."
It's clear that local Catholics like Doyle and McKinley are not going to rest until either Menino withdraws from the dinner or Fr. Hehir is removed from Catholic Charities. Their pressure will put additional pressure on Archbishop O'Malley to take action beyond simply not attending the dinner.
The letter signers realize that theirs is a "difficult request" but believe such steps are necessary "It is time to put 'Catholic' beliefs and teachings back into Catholic Charities of Boston."