Monday, May 9, 2011

Speaking of Catholic Charities....

California Catholic Daily published an article on May 9 (written by us) on a May 2 column in the National Catholic Reporter by CCCYO Ex-Executive Director Brian Cahill:

"Clumsy, heavy-handed, ineffective”
Former head of San Francisco Catholic Charities blasts faithful bishops, condemns what he calls the ‘Official Church’

On May 2, the National Catholic Reporter published a column by Brian Cahill, ex-executive director of Catholic Charities of San Francisco, titled “Why let bishops drive us from church we love?” In the piece, Cahill excoriated a number of bishops, including two from California.

It was under Mr. Cahill’s leadership that Catholic Charities embarked on the ill-advised “partnership” with Family Builders by Adoption -- “the gayest adoption agency in the country.” That three-year partnership, which came to an end in 2009, united Catholic Charities with an organization that thought it was a good idea to advertise for gay adoptive “dads” on the “leather” and porn” pages of San Francisco’s two homosexual-oriented newspapers. The ad campaign, exposed by CalCatholic, was so outrageous that even the city government of San Francisco realized it had to shut it down.

Mr. Cahill’s column began, “Well-informed U.S. Catholics are acutely aware of the arrogance, paternalism, flawed logic, inflammatory rhetoric, failure of personal accountability, and lack of pastoral sensitivity of many of our church leaders. The U.S. bishops have set the tone with their continued denial of the wholesale rejection of church teaching on contraception; their clumsy, heavy-handed, ineffective attempt to influence national health care legislation; their opposition to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians; and their condemnation of the work of theologian St. Joseph Sr. Elizabeth Johnson without even meeting with her.”

Mr. Cahill then lambasted by name a number of cardinals and bishops, beginning with Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, “the latest U.S. poster boy for our church’s continued failure to confront the molestation scandal.” He then turned his pen against two of the finest thinkers in the Church today, Cardinal Raymond Burke and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver. Cardinal Burke and other unnamed bishops, Cahill said, were “shortsighted” because they favor “the Eucharist as a sanction against public officials.” Archbishop Chaput, said Cahill, “tried to tell us not to vote for presidential candidate Barack Obama.”

Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington got it because, in Cahill’s words, he “referred to a Vatican pronouncement that equated child molestation and women’s ordination as a ‘welcome statement.’" Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix got the thumbs down from Cahill for “excommunicating a dedicated Mercy nun” just because she facilitated an abortion.

Cahill then criticized Bishop Robert Vasa of Santa Rosa because he “had forced a loyalty oath on all church employees in his former diocese.” Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of Oakland got it because he “trashed President Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown for not defending heterosexual marriage and for ignoring the will of the people.”

Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who leads the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, earned Cahill’s displeasure for his defense of “the Roman church’s” teaching on natural marriage.

Cahill then gave a short list of those bishops who met his standards, or whom he simply knew and liked personally, since they were all from the Archdiocese of San Francisco. He began by lauding Robert McElroy, San Francisco’s newest auxiliary bishop, who sits on the Advisory Board of the University of San Francisco’s notorious Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought. Bishop McElroy was one of the two moral theologians who gave Catholic Charities, under Cahill’s leadership, the green light to form the partnership with Family Builders by Adoption.

Cahill also gave his OK to ex-Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco, “who continues his advocacy for the reform of the papacy.” It was Archbishop Quinn who began the slide at San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer Church by appointing Fr. Anthony McGuire as pastor in 1982. According to Fr. Donal Godfrey, this was the beginning of the archbishop’s warm relationship with the parish: “In fact Quinn came frequently and loved his visits to MHR.” Mr. Cahill is also a fan of MHR; he was the featured speaker at the church’s 2008 Ash Wednesday vespers service.

Cahill praised Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, a former Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco, “a priest of deep compassion who has led the U.S. bishops in their advocacy for the needs of immigrants,” and current San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer, “whose first response to an issue is always pastoral.

Cahill’s criterion for good bishop/bad bishop seems selective with regard to Archbishop Niederauer since the archbishop was instrumental in accomplishing the very thing Cahill criticizes Bishop Cordileone for: the defense of natural marriage in California. At the instigation of MHR pastoral council member Matt Dorsey, Archbishop Niederauer received the 2009 “Pink Brick” award by the organizers of the Gay Pride Parade, dishonoring the archbishop for allegedly causing “significant harm to the LGBT community.”

Cahill recently had another column published in Communion, the monthly newsletter of “Catholics for Equality,” in which he supported same-sex “marriage.” Like other Catholics for Equality writers and similar dissidents, Cahill condemns “the official church.” That term seems to be replacing the formerly preferred “institutional church.” The change of wording is significant. Dissidents and pro-homosexual activists no longer object to “the institutional church,” since they have begun to develop institutions of their own. Now the objection is more honest: it is to “the official church,” the Church of Rome, of the popes, and, for orthodox Catholics, of Jesus Himself.

Cahill served as executive director of San Francisco Catholic Charities from 2000-2008. In a March opinion piece published by the San Francisco Chronicle, Cahill revealed that he voted against Proposition 8 and gave $1000 to the unsuccessful campaign to defeat it. Under Cahill’s leadership, Catholic Charities merged with the archdiocese’s Catholic Youth Organization in 2003 to become Catholic Charities CYO, the name it still uses today.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

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