Not restoring the people's trust in the Archdiocese.
Not banning diocesan sex ed.
Not increasing vocations.
Not lifting the silencing of Fr. David Mullen.
Not opening and funding Catholic schools.
Not defining the role of a Catholic college to Boston College, Holy Cross, St. Michael's College or any other school in New England.
What is more important than addressing these serious problems?
Improving Catholic- Jewish relations.
Now a cynical person would say why? We have already gifted Brandeis University with Fr. Walter Cuenin. How could you possibly improve on that?! And the very cynical answer is that this IS about fundraising.
I found this article about Cardinal Law's support of Jewish interests in the Archdiocese.
Bette Wineblatt Keva writing for the Jewish Journal spoke of Cardinal Law and the sex abuse crisis has this quote:
In his 18 years in Boston, Law became close to Leonard Zakim, the late executive director of the Anti-Defamation League of New England. In 1986, Zakim, Kitty Dukakis, wife of the governor, and Sonia Weitz, co-founder of the North Shore Holocaust Center of Peabody, joined Law and a contingent of high ranking Catholics in a pilgrimage to Poland. They traveled to Auschwitz and Birkenau.
James Rudolph, past chairman of the Anti-Defamation League Executive Committee for New England and Chair of the North Shore Advisory Committee, says Law "used to joke about working for the archdiocese six days and the ADL on the seventh."
And then the quid pro quo spelled out:
Mark Jaffe, past chairman of the North Shore Advisory Committee for the ADL, with his wife, Marsha Glassman-Jaffe, went with Law on a pilgrimage to Israel and Rome in 1999.
"The feeling we got from Cardinal Law was that Jewish people are close relatives to Catholics and we want to be treated as family. I just don't believe that was taught 30 years ago. Under Law's tutelage, anti-Semitism is just not accepted," said Jaffe.
Jaffe said he recently attended a Catholic Charities fund raiser at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem. "I've gone three of the past four years and I'm not the only Jewish person there," he said explaining that working to improve interfaith ties goes both ways. [emphasis mine]
Now in the process who gets thrown under the bus?
O'Malley says the following:
''The Catholic Church comes out of the Jewish religion; the church is the daughter of the synagogue," he said. ''The Mass, which is the center of our spiritual life, is basically a synagogue service and a Seder meal brought together. . . . Christianity and Catholicism can be understood only in light of our Hebrew roots."[emphasis mine]
The Mass is basically a synagogue service and a Seder meal brought together???? Can you say antiquarianism? And Our Lord who gave his life on the cross? Superfluous. Unnecessary. Pre-Vatican II sentimentality.
And if that wasn't enough of a divorce from reality how about this?
In the 1930s and 1940s, anti-Semitic priests like the Rev. Charles E. Coughlin and the Rev. Leonard J. Feeney were wildly popular here and tolerated by the church. But that changed radically under Cushing, whose censure of Feeney led to the priest's excommunication in the 1950s.
Now Fr. Feeney was excommunicated for... anti-Semitism. Wow. At Christmastime Fr. Feeney was guilty of a hate crime because according to the Globe he was the type of person who would say, "Merry Christmas" and now he was excommunicated for anti-semitism. According to Mark Twain there are three kinds of lies- lies, damn lies and statistics. I think we can safely assign this to the "damn lies" category.
A good summary on the case of Fr. Feeney is here. And while I am tempted to say this isn't about Fr. Feeney, what it is about is salvation and that was the real issue that certain people have with Fr. Feeney.
How is salvation gained? Is it through the sacrifice of Our Lord on the cross or is it through a seder meal and a synagogue service? What is at the pernicious root of these "improved relations" is that everyone is saved. Contribute to the fundraising efforts of the Archdiocese, be a good person, love everyone, don't torture small animals and soon we will all be smiling and holding hands in heaven.