We the undersigned — comprising Catholic and non-Catholic individuals — address this statement to the Catholic bishops of Massachusetts, most especially to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston and Metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Boston.
To publicly criticize bishops is not something that we do lightly, but the weight of this matter requires a commensurately strong statement. All of the signatories have been actively involved in pro-life efforts. As such, we value and need the support of the bishops.
Unfortunately, in recent years a disturbing trend has emerged. While there is still rhetorical and material support for the pro-life cause from Catholic prelates, too many of their actions belie their words, to the detriment of the Gospel of Life.
A recent such action is the ban on signature gathering on Church property, just as another effort to end state abortion funding gets underway. [October 26, 2017: Cardinal O’Malley rescinded ban for Boston Archdiocese. Bishop McManus did the same for Worcester on October 30, 2017.]
The bishops claim that an “overwhelming” number of parishioners opposed the collection of signatures, presumably during the 2015 signature drive on the same issue. But compared to the 28,891 people who signed the petitions, which number is really overwhelming? Do those who complain about relatively rare pro-life petitions represent truly Catholic thinking, and should their objections be the basis of Church policy?
Adding to the gravity of this new policy is the context in which it resides: it follows upon the many occasions that Catholic prelates, most especially Cardinal O’Malley, have violated their own polices as set forth in the 2004 document from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholics in Political Life, which says, “The Catholic community and 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.”
From 2014 to the present, there have been at least nineteen occasions in Massachusetts at which honors or platforms were given to notorious supporters of abortion by Catholic institutions with either the personal participation of or authorization by Catholic bishops.
Many other examples could be given. An extensive list is contained in the Special Report of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts.
On repeated occasions, Cardinal O’Malley has been not merely amicable, but laudatory to those who promote abortion. This is corrosive to pro-life work and disheartening to those involved.
If it is a strategy aimed at conversion, it is a failed strategy. All of the movement among politicians in Massachusetts on the abortion issue has been in one direction — from pro-life to pro-abortion. No one can identify a member of the congressional delegation, the legislature, the Boston City Council, or a constitutional officer who has changed from pro-abortion to pro-life.
On the contrary, some have been emboldened to embrace even more extreme positions in favor of abortion. For example, when Mayor Walsh names a square after abortionist Kenneth Edelin, or says he wants to make Boston a sanctuary city for abortion, he knows, absolutely, that there will be no push-back from the Archdiocese of Boston.
Furthermore, the cardinal’s overtures to abortion advocates:
The purpose of this statement is to implore Cardinal O’Malley, and other Massachusetts Catholic prelates:
President, Operation Rescue:Boston
Other first signers:
Executive Director, Mass Resistance
Dr. David F. Constantine
Former Governor’s Councillor
C. Joseph Doyle
Executive Director, Catholic Action League of Massachusetts
M. M. Finn
WCCA-TV Host, Close to Home
Jean B. Healey
Attorney at Law
Philip F. Lawler
Editor, Catholic World News
Jerry & Colbe Mazzarella
Former U.S. Attorney, District of Massachusetts
Louis L. Murray
President & Executive Producer, Life Matters TV
Roy and Anne Scarpato