Monday, November 28, 2005

Boston Globe and Herald: More Catholic Than the Archbishop?

It's hilarious that the Boston Globe and Boston Herald think their editorial pages have a role in the Catholic argument over Mayor Menino's invitation to the Catholic Charities dinner, and the Archbishop's decision not to attend. They charge that the Archbishop doesn't see the big picture! The Globe editorial states:

By snubbing the annual Christmas dinner for Catholic Charities, Archbishop Sean O'Malley seems to be saying that believers like himself must sometimes turn their backs on the common good if there is conflict with the church's strict religious tenets. Such a narrow, polarizing view could hardly serve the city well and is especially disappointing during a season associated with tolerance and good will. [emphasis added]

So the Archbishop is the one with the "narrow, polarizing view"?! As we see it, it is the faithful Catholics have the broad view and get the big picture. There's more to be concerned about than hunger, poverty, and material well-being. Of course those issues are important. But equally important are the Church's moral teachings on life and sexuality. Combine all these issues, and you get the real big picture.

Who's the most Catholic here? The Globe and Herald Editorial boards, or the Archibishop? Now if some non-Catholic group wants to honor Menino for feeding the poor, fine. But true Catholics have to look at the whole package. And Menino is one ugly package.

A column by Frank Mazzaglia in the Metrowest Daily News ("Rein in rebellious Catholic Charities") yesterday provides some balance:

The problem, in a nutshell, is this: Catholic Charities exists as an arm of the Archdiocese of Boston. Somehow, its governing body seems to have reached the pompous point where it now believes that the Archdiocese is an arm of Catholic Charities. It has an agenda which is not always in harmony with the Roman Catholic faith.

The latest flap is the strange decision to invite Mayor Thomas Menino to be guest speaker at an important fund-raising event. Menino likes to begin his most controversial public policy positions by claiming to be a Catholic. He then launches into his own version of faith by contradicting some of the most basic precepts of Catholic doctrine including, but not limited to, his support for abortion and same-sex marriage.

For weeks, leaders of the Catholic Action League and Faithful Voice pleaded with Catholic Charities to re-think their invitation to Menino. They might as well have been talking to a brick wall. Finally, Archbishop Sean O'Malley had no choice but to step away from the event.

This is hardly the first time that Catholic Charities has deliberately placed the Archdiocese in an awkward position. So what's to be done?

The Board of Directors of Catholic Charities reads like a virtual Who's Who. All of them hold distinguished reputations for public service. However, it is now clear that the majority of the governing body of Catholic Charities does not care one whit about the doctrines of the church to which it is connected.

Surely then, there is a choice to be made. If the members of the governing body of Catholic Charities cannot be loyal to the Archdiocese, there must be other ways that these wonderful people could continue to perform their good works outside of their participation as members of the governing body of Catholic Charities. In such a strongly Catholic Boston Archdiocese, there must be equally successful men and women who could replace them. The difference being that the replacements would be expected to remain loyal to central precepts of the Catholic Church in matters of faith and morals....

The Archdiocese is reluctant to take on Catholic Charities directly. It's not because of the money, but rather because of the good that money can do for the desperately poor.

Sooner or later, Catholic Charities is a problem that cries out for resolution. Let's hope it's sooner.