Friday, March 30, 2007

The Fr. Foley Scandal

The Hartford Courant this week exposed the scandal that the Rev. Stephen Foley--a former police chaplain whom the Archdiocese banned from public ministry 14 years ago due to suspected sexual abuse of young boys--was still driving a black Crown Victoria equipped with emergency lights and similar police car-type accessories. The Crown Victoria is the official car of the state police and Foley's accusers say it was how he lured his victims. The Archdiocese paid $850,000 to one of Foley's accusers in 2002 and settled 43 abuse cases--2 of which involved accusations against Foley--for 22 million dollars in 2005. But until the Courant ran its stories this week Foley was still driving that car while living at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield.

To read the Courant's full coverage go here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Official Pre-Primary Presidential Endorsement

I'd like to officially endorse Senator Sam Brownback as my pre-primary candidate for president in 2008. This guy is the most solid candidate on family and pro-life issues. A catholic convert, he braved the cold in January at the annual March For Life in Washington DC. He, and his supporters, were everywhere, including the National Catholic Cathedral. Senator Brownback and his wife Mary have five children. The most out of any candidate in the race so far! He is a former FFA state president. For those of you who don't know, that is Future Farmers of America! Here is what his website states to his Catholic Coalition supporters:

Senator Brownback, a Catholic, believes that we must build a culture of life where the inherent dignity of every human person is respected. His vision of human dignity is a holistic vision, reflected in his unwavering support for the unborn child, his work for the poor in Africa who are at constant risk of violence or famine, and his advocacy for political dissidents in repressive nations such as North Korea or Cuba.

Senator Brownback was honored and deeply moved by the opportunity to meet two giants of human history, the late Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II. It is their same vision of human rights, freedom, and respect for life that illuminates Senator Brownback's work on daily basis. Senator Brownback authored the bills that granted both of these great saints the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award granted by the United States Congress.

Senator Brownback needs our support. Even though we are the Siberia of presidential politics - nobody cares about us. And that can be a good thing considering how deep blue our state has become. But, this candidate needs Catholic mo-jo. Please visit his website and consider supporting his candidacy, through prayers, water-cooler chit-chat, and donations.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Desperately seeking . . .

young faithful families to attend Catholic Concerns Day!

This year on March 22. If you have any interest in the state of our State in Hartford, I strongly encourage you to bring your family and a friend to Catholic Concerns Day at the Capitol. If you have any interest in the state of your diocese, I also encourage you to attend. Let the bishops see who they represent at the Capitol.

Catholic Concerns Day starts with a Mass at the very fire-retardant St. Joseph's Cathedral, then a march to the Capital to meet legislators and generally show our numbers. In years past, we would collect outside the Capitol Building, but based on the date for this year - I expect we will be inside the Legislative Office Building. It is a family-friendly* opportunity to express our views on school choice, the earned income tax credit, capital punishment, affordable housing and, oh ya, Plan B, gay "marriage", abortion, and stem cell research.

In addition to attending Catholic Concerns Day, please, contact your legislator and let them know that you were there, and how you feel about these important issues. Please don't be concerned about the language, how articulate or persuasive you are. What matters is that you contact them.

*Full disclosure, that in the past, I have heard that there are a handful of protesters along the marching route. I have never seen or noticed them, but use your best judgment on attending.

First, do no harm

I don't think that that's what Catholic healthcare should be about.
Jon O'Brien, President
Catholics for a Free Choice

That was the new president of "Catholics" for a Free Choice on March 8, 2007 with Colin & Friends complaining about the Connecticut Bishops' decision to require a negative ovulation test before providing an abortafacient to rape victims in CT Catholic hospitals. Because . . . didn't you know, Catholic health care should be about convenience not "doing no harm."

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Fr. Borino Removed While "Financial Irregularities" Probed

WATERBURY - The Rev. David J. Borino, pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Church, has been removed from the parish during an investigation of "financial
irregularities," according to the Rev. John Gatzak, director of communications
for the Archdiocese of Hartford.

--Waterbury Republican-American, 3/6/07

OLO Mt. Carmel parish is known locally for having run the previous pastor out of a town on a rail. When the poor guy tried to restore the original beauty of the church--because, he said, an earlier renovation in the 1970's had Protestantized it--parishioners published a steady stream of letters in the local newspaper tearing him to pieces. They felt they had not been adequately consulted and that the church's present condition was just fine. They also objected to what they perceived to be the pastor's derogatory use of the word "Protestant." I can't recall another instance where parishioners lit off after their own priest in as public a manner as the Mt. Carmel crowd did a few years back.

As for Fr. Borino, well, even blogging under a pseudonym I think it proper to leave out the rumors I'm hearing and just limit this post to what I know for sure. I can tell you that a few years ago he asked the Sisters Minor of Mary Immaculate--at the time, one of the most dynamic religious orders in the Archdiocese--to leave OLO Mt Carmel parish. The reason? Financial strain.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Idle Hands Are the Devil's Tools

Fr. Joe Donnelly, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Southbury, will replace recently deceased priestly dynamo Fr. Philip Cascia as chairman of the board of directors for Waterbury's St. Vincent DePaul Society:

Cascia founded the local St. Vincent agency in 1978. It operates the
largest homeless shelter in the state, a soup kitchen and food pantry, a thrift
store and low income housing.
Donnelly said he will continue Cascia's vision
to help the city's less fortunate.

Fr. Joe is one of the two or three most liberal priests in the entire Archdiocese of Hartford. If he were put in charge of, say, liturgical norms for the Archdiocese, it would not be a cause for celebration. But St. Vincent DePaul seems like a good fit for him. And who knows? Perhaps it will leave him less time to encourage his parishioners to join Voice of the Faithful. Up to now parishes under his authority have coincidentally become local focal points for the dissident front group.

(Article & photo from the 3/4/07 Sunday Republican.)

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Things to make them go hmmmm . . . .

Them legislators, that is. We must shake up their notions of who their constituency is. Let them know about you and the issues you care about. A mentor told me once that if you don't tell someone about how they are bugging you, then it is YOUR problem, not theirs. Let's make it their problem.

To start, find your legislator. Then, contact your legislator in a personal way. Inviting them to dinner, is a perfectly fine way to interact. It is done all the time. Across Connecticut each night, hungry, tired legislators show up on the steps of their constituents to be refreshed and enlightened about everyday people. They are not 3-headed beasts (usually), and even then, they don't eat much. It doesn't have to be fancy or formal. Just extending the invitation will, how shall I say . . . raise your profile with the selected legislator. Wouldn't it for you?

Another very fine way to approach your legislator, a method I prefer, is to send a hand-written note from the heart. These people have largely heard the technical and objective pro and con of every argument. Hand written notes provide them with props to wave on the chamber floor, when they vote against same-sex marriage, cloning-to-kill, Plan B mandates, etc. They love them, they carry them around, they show them to their colleagues, they make a difference. Don't even think of sending an e-mail or a typed letter. Drag out the stationery your Aunt Kathy gave you at your Sweet 16, and send a one-pager, in blood. NO, wait, pen is better, and tell them what you think. Keep it simple and secular. Please, by all means, mention that you are Catholic, but don't get yourself marginalized by overdoing it. Even Jesus, in Matthew 10:16-17 said, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, . . ."

If you want a shared experience, you have an opportunity on March 22, 2007 to attend Catholic Concerns Day at the State Capitol in Hartford. We'll be there! Now, to the issues . . .


At some point this session, thanks to a small, hardy group of pro-life activists, the Connecticut General Assembly's Select Committee on Children will be having an Information Forum on Parental Notification. Just to get the legislature talking about abortion, and to hold a formal meeting to discuss issues surrounding abortion, is a success! Please write to your legislator and ask them to support any legislation that prevents our minor children from being victimized in the name of sexual freedom.

Plan B
See my post on this weighty issue. On the bright side, it is fun to hear liberal legislators debate whether life begins at conception or implantation.

I know, it seems silly, but yes, FATHERHOOD
Our legislators need to know that you think fathers matter. Senate Bill 858 sponsored by Senator Gary Lebeau, and Representatives Marie Lopez Kirkley-Bey and Douglas McCrory is a start. It asks the legislature to fund a study to review the connection between fatherlessness and poverty. From here, we will have a basis to ask the legislature to permit abstinence programs in Connecticut. We remain a state that refuses to accept federal money to subsidize these programs.

Again, how does this affect us? With the increasing absence of God in our culture, the State has become the standard by which many people determine truth. It is a powerful teacher. Licensing marriages by the State, minus a gender, institutionalizes and sanctions raising children without fathers. Obviously, after gay "marriage" I will continue to know that mommies and daddies are very much needed, that a happy marriage with a mom and dad is best for my children. Hopefully, my daughter will also be instilled with that sensibility. But, what about my future son-in-law? Growing up in a world were a marriage can be anything you want, will he place the same value on his contribution? The state already, on many levels, ameliorates the importance of fathers for society. Gay "marriage" will continue and increase that trend.

So, with humility, with love, with courage, and with the knowledge that the Holy Spirit can only work if you do, please contact your legislators.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Archbishop Blesses His Critics

This is a photo of Archbishop Mansell blessing the Hartford Catholic Workers who were at the Cathedral of St. Joseph on Ash Wednesday to protest "what members perceive as the church's failure to speak out against the torture of detainees in the war on terrorism." It ran in the Courant the following day.