Pro-life groups in Massachusetts demand that Archbishop of Boston stop publicly betraying pro-life principles.
Message from Catholics to Archbishop: “Stop the Betrayals.” Obey your own rules!
Urging all pro-lifers (including non-Catholics) to sign their online statement.
September 15, 2017
UPDATED: September 17, 2017
Pro-life leaders in Massachusetts have decided they can’t stay silent any longer.
A coalition of outraged Catholic pro-life organizations along with major Catholic and non-Catholic activists has issued a public statement calling upon Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, and the other Catholic bishops of Massachusetts, to stop their blatant public betrayals of the pro-life movement.
The statement cites nineteen blatant violations of official Catholic pro-life policy in the last three years, involving Catholic Bishops in Massachusetts.
The statement was written by a committee led by Bill Cotter, president of Boston’s Operation Rescue, and C.J. Doyle of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, along with pro-life activists Brendan O’Connell, Robert Joyce, Brian Camenker of MassResistance, and others. It was released to the public on Wednesday, Sept. 13. The online version for the public to sign was posted soon after.
This may be the first time in the United States that lay Catholics (and pro-life allies) have publicly confronted the Bishops for their actions that clearly contradict official Catholic teaching and policy. But serious Catholics have been deeply troubled and distraught over this for years.
Official Catholic policy is very clear: In its 2004 document Catholics in Political Life, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops specifically prohibited Catholic institutions from giving awards, honors, or platforms to political figures who support legal abortion.
But they seem to do this all the time.
Among the incidences cited in the statement:
- Earlier this year Cardinal O'Malley attended the “Profiles in Courage” Award ceremony at the Kennedy Library honoring former President Barack Obama, whose administration was sued by the Little Sisters of the Poor over the Obamacare contraceptive mandate.
- In 2014 the Missionary Society of St James – whose president is Cardinal O'Malley – presented an Award to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a longtime proponent of legal abortion. Walsh was the recipient of the 2016 Men of Choice Award from NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. He went on to defend the public funding of Planned Parenthood. He named a square in Boston after abortionist Kenneth Edelin. And Mayor Walsh recently called for Boston to become a sanctuary city for abortions, should Roe v. Wade be overturned.
- Also in, 2014, Cardinal O’Malley participated in a ceremony in Boston College (a Catholic university) conferred an honorary degree on U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who was also the commencement speaker. Kerry had a 100% pro-abortion record as a U.S. Senator. In 2004, while running for president, Kerry attacked Pope John Paul II, accusing the Pontiff of “an inappropriate crossing of the line” for urging Catholics in public life to defend traditional marriage. O’Malley—who was appointed by John Paul II—gave the benediction, was photographed smiling and shaking hands with Kerry, and then posed for another photograph with him.
- On September 1, 2017, Cardinal O’Malley co-authored an article in the Boston Globe on immigration with the notorious Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Healey has received a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood and also $1.6 million in campaign support from them. She has vowed to shut down pro-life pregnancy counseling centers. Healey is also an aggressive lesbian activist. Earlier this year, her office issued a statement that Massachusetts churches could be prosecuted for not allowing “transgender” bathrooms.
The final straw: The Cardinal’s signature ban
This year, a Catholic pro-life group announced a state-wide signature effort for an initiative petition for a Constitutional Amendment to ban tax-funded abortions in Massachusetts. Almost immediately after that announcement, Cardinal O’Malley imposed a ban on signature gathering on all Church properties. They claimed that many parishioners opposed the collection of signatures at Catholic churches, which was traditionally a mainstay for “culture war” statewide efforts. But pro-life and pro-marriage people say it was always very popular.
This inexplicable act was the final straw, in the minds of many faithful Catholics, that led to the creation of this public statement.
“Repeated and ongoing scandals and betrayals”
The statement does not mince words. It characterizes the Bishops' behavior as a series of "repeated, ongoing and worsening scandals and betrayals, which demoralize faithful Catholics, marginalize the pro-life community, and send a message of confusion and contradiction to secular society."
Boston Operation Rescue President Bill Cotter said it best in a statement to the press:
All we are asking of our prelates is that they uphold their own professed principles and abide by their own stated policies. The disconnect in the Catholic hierarchy between rhetoric and reality on the issue of abortion must come to an end.
The bishops expose themselves to the reproach of hypocrisy when they urge Catholics to support the right to life, but then give awards and platforms to public officials who work to keep abortion legal, unrestricted and publicly funded.
No rational person can reasonably be expected to take seriously Catholic opposition to abortion when Catholic bishops and cardinals honor and extol, at public events, even in their own institutions, political figures who are opponents of the right to life, and allies of Planned Parenthood. The bishops must stop these betrayals.
A shock: Many Mass. pro-life groups and activists decline to sign
Probably the biggest shock to all of us was the number of staunch pro-life organizations and individual activists – all of whom are Catholic – who have declined to sign the statement.
This is what, sadly, reveals the corruption, cowardliness, and faithlessness in today’s pro-life movement.
In every case the individuals we spoke with did not have a religious problem with signing it, and said they “personally” agreed with the statement. The reasons were basically political and financial. Some told us it was because the Cardinal occasionally shows up at their events, and they didn’t want to antagonize him or the Archdiocese. Others said that publicly signing the statement might hurt their fundraising. One or two signature gatherers for the referendum said that if they didn’t antagonize the Cardinal, maybe their pastors might encourage their parishioners to sign their sheets. (Not likely, actually).
It’s all completely shameful. Many of these same activists excoriate Catholic politicians for being “personally” pro-life but voting for anti-life bills because it’s politically expedient.
But positive reaction by conservative Catholic media
On the other hand, the reaction to the statement by the conservative Catholic media (i.e., not affiliated with the Bishops) has been overwhelmingly positive. It was initially promoted on Christian News Wire. Since then, members of the coalition have spoken personally with several conservative media figures. There will likely be a lot of positive press on this around the country (though not in the mainstream media, of course). This is exciting news, we were told. As of this writing, LifeSiteNews, The Remnant,ChurchMilitantTV, New Boston Post, and about a dozen prominent blogs have done articles, and Catholic World News and several others have articles being prepared.
A fight worth fighting everywhere
This fight is not new, and it’s certainly not confined to the United States – or the Catholic Church. For years, MassResistance activists in the United Kingdom have been part of an effort there to stop the Church of England’s horrible descent into apostasy. They have relentlessly confronted church leaders both publicly and privately. In addition, earlier this summer when the Church announced it would be including “transgenderism” in its liturgy, Texas-MassResistance leader Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez personally travelled to the UK at the invitation of UK activists and addressed the national Anglican General Synod on July 8.
Don’t be left behind. Every pro-life person of good will should stand with this coalition and send this message!