Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fr. Rafferty Speaks

Fr. Rafferty distributed a letter to parents of St. Paul's School articulating his reasons for declining to enroll the lesbian mom's child.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Fr. Rafferty was doing what a priest does - holding a screening interview to see how to bring families separated from the Sacraments into the fullness of the Church when it became apparent that this was not going to work for mother, the child and the other children, parents, teachers at St. Paul's:

May 20, 2010

Dear Parents:
I write to address further the controversy concerning one of our recent admission decisions, while continuing to respect the privacy of the family involved.

As you may know, our enrollment process for all prospective students includes discussions with their families to ascertain if our school can meet the educational and spiritual needs of each individual child.  We want you to know that, in this instance, we believe our decision was made in the best interests of the child based upon our discernment that in our Catholic environment, with its teaching on marriage as a covenant relationship between a man and a woman, a child from a same sex family might feel discomfort, frustration or confusion.  Additionally, in our small school, without support services, we were concerned whether we could help a child of this age reconcile an inherent conflict between our teachings and his home life.  This does not mean that we have made the right decision.  Only God in His wisdom can determine the answer to that question.

I do not want this matter to be a source of division and I ask that we continue to pray for one another.  The Archdiocesan School Office has taken an important step in announcing that it will develop a policy to assist in the resolution of these types of issues.  We welcome this development and we hope that the Archdiocese involves many pastors, principals and parents in open discussions.
May God bless us all with a renewed outpouring of grace from the Holy Spirit this Pentecost weekend.
Sincerely yours in Christ,Rev. James F. Rafferty,

He evidently has not heard Bryan Hehir's explanation that he was able to make this pastoral decision because no policy was in place to stop him but they are busy now creating that policy.

Permit me to quote Fr. Hehir:

"I think Fr. Rafferty has said his own judgement was the child would be hearing about questions of marriage and  family and he thought as I understood him, it would be confusing.  But, on a deeper level, we need to be sure admission is not dependent on the child's background.   There are many complicated family situations in our highly pluralistic society.  We want to accept all children and their families who want to come...BUT with our new policy, we'll give BETTER guidance to pastors and principals...

As Joe Sadcerdo points out at Bryan Hehir Exposed, this completely contradicts the Cardinal's spin in his statement and in the Pilot:

Cardinal calls for study of policies on children of gay couples in Catholic schools

Again, the Cardinal's clear as mud statement and the story in the Pilot was spun to make it look like there's some kind of study going on to find out what to do in the future to prevent the chaos created when a a gay mother showed up in Hingham and went on record she wants the teachings of the Church be silenced.

What does a Bishop do with a "category of pluralistic people" who would make Catholic schools a place where the faith can't be taught to the next generation of children?

As Hehir pointed out in the WBUR interview:
"Are we doing it already?  Yes.   And we intend to do it as the Cardinal indicated, with formal policies!"

Let's talk, once again, about changing Catholic schools from a place where the teachings of the faith can be taught in an environment where teachers feel safe to proclaim them, shall we?

I'm going to break out these thoughts further, but for now, let me just say this:

Aside from falling short on how Cardinal's story about the child of the prostitute is irrelevant to the story of two women who demand the teachings of the Church be excluded from the curriculum, what we don't see in the Cardinal's story is him moseying on over to the whore house to explain the teachings of the Church.

He stayed in his comfort zone, didn't he?  In a place where he knew it was safe to teach the teachings of the Church.

And why wouldn't he take a stroll over to the brothel and discuss the tenets of the faith relating to prostitution?

Because he would been chased out of the brothel by people hostile to our teachings.

So, how "safe" it is now to teach the teachings of the Church in Catholic schools with this Cardinal in charge?   (Or, should I more accurately say, his dissident donors in charge?)

The Archdiocese has just made it perfectly clear that any private conversations between priests and a sinner will be fodder to claim they are bigots.   The Archdiocese has further made it perfectly clear that they will cut off the money  to anyone who has such conversations or makes any pastoral decisions about a particular soul and family.

These things were not disputed by the Cardinal in his clear as mud statement that they were going to impose restrictions on accepting students that would make it impossible to teach without being persecuted.  

I'm here to remind you of these salient facts about the new policy being created by Cardinal O'Malley's crew of anti-Catholic thugs.

It isn't safe at all.

I'm going to leave you with Joe Sacerdo's spectacular letter that was circulated to Boston Catholics yesterday:

Catholic Colleagues,
An interview with Fr. Bryan Hehir on WBUR yesterday reveals a disturbing deception in how the Boston Archdiocese is treating the matter of admitting children of gay couples to Catholic schools. A blog post on this topic can be found below and at.
In Christ,
Boston Archdiocese's Deception on Catholic Schools for Gay Couples's kids
The big news is that it seems we have deception of monumental impact for the future of Catholic education in this country underway in the Archdiocese of Boston.  Fr. Bryan Hehir appeared on WBUR Thursday talking about the situation of the lesbian parents whose son was denied admission to a Catholic school, and he directly contradicted Wednesday's nuanced message from Cardinal Sean O'Malley.  Readers, this is going to be a "progressive" blog--the content will progress as the day goes on. 
The first con is what Cardinal Sean, Bryan Hehir, and everyone speaking for the Archdiocese have characterized as the purpose of Catholic education in Boston, namely, to educate everyone, including "unconventional households."  We are curious as to where exactly this came from as an underlying assuption in the first place.  In contrast, Archbishop Chaput said, "The main purpose of Catholic schools is religious; in other words, to form students in Catholic faith, Catholic morality and Catholic social values.  One  reader just sent us the following: "A Catholic school has no business in pandering to "diverse, often unconventional households" who subvert at home what the child learns at school.  Isn't that what a public school is for, not a private school?  The Cardinal points out that the question must be the best interest of the children. But the real question that needs to be answered here is: which children?  Unlike a public school, the Catholic school's mission is not to educate every child in the Boston area, including the children of  this lesbian couple. Its mission is much more unique: educating a child in the Catholic faith. A Catholic school's mission needs to be much more focused than that of a public school. It's mission is to educate young minds in the treasures of the faith, not to find ways to provide an education to the children of  every unconventional family.
Hehir's bottom line message was that Catholic schools in this archdiocese have been and will remain wide open to children of gay couples.  He said, "Are we doing it already?  Yes.   And we intend to do it as the Cardinal indicated, with formal policies!"
This leads us to the second part of the con-job--namely what the actual status of addressing this scandal is. Compare what Fr. Hehir said about doing it already and continuing to do it vs the headline in today's Pilot:
Cardinal calls for study of policies on children of gay couples in Catholic schools
Cardinal Se├ín P. O’Malley said the Archdiocese of Boston should look to the precedent set by another American archdiocese that has already grappled with this issue.
The Archdiocese of Denver has formulated a policy that calls into question the appropriateness of admitting the children of same-sex couples. It is clear that all of their school policies are intended to foster the welfare of the children and fidelity to the mission of the Church,” Cardinal O’Malley said in a rare mid-week blog post. “Their positions and rationale must be seriously considered.
What did Bryan Hehir say about the Denver situation on WBUR?
I think you need to take the cardinal’s statement at face value.  His judgment is that the good of the child is most important and we do not exclude children based on family background. I think the Cardinal’s point about Denver, it is always understood that each diocese is under the control and direction of the bishop, and bishops do not move across diocesan policies when they differ from one another.  At times, the Catholic bishops conference as a whole makes policy decisions that bind the  whole conference.  But I think it’s understandable that Cardinal O’Malley is not going to be talking about what other bishops do, this is a very complicated case. We’re talking about what will happen in Boston.
With all due respect to Cardinal Sean and Fr. Hehir, someone is deceiving us.  Either a decision has already been made and the thinking from Denver is not impacting the Boston Archdiocese's plans--in which case the Cardinal's message was deceptive.  Or, Fr. Hehir spoke incorrectly, in which case he is deceiving us. 
In either case, when a senior cabinet secretary and influential advisor contradicts the Cardinal a day after the leader of the archdiocese makes a very significant public position statement, we have a big problem.  Between outside power-broker Jack Connors rearranging the Cardinal's cabinet leadership team under his nose and this now, it feels more and more like we have a crisis of episcopal leadership and don't know who is running the Boston Archdiocese any more. 
We are asking all readers who care about the future of the Archdiocese of Boston and Catholic education in this country to visit our Take Action page and start firing off faxes, emails, and calls to all of the officials named.  Yes folks, that includes the Holy Father, his chief of staff, the Papal Nuncio, the prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, the head of the Congregation of Religions Education, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Yes, all of them.  You can even send faxes to Rome at no charge by following the links on that page.
The message is simple.  We need you to intervene in Boston to address a crisis of episcopal leadership and ensure that the moral values, true teachings, and doctrines of the Catholic Church are be taught without limitation in Catholic schools, and first and foremost for children of Catholics to form their faith.

Have a fantastic day.

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