Monday, March 02, 2009

So Happy Together

Against the backdrop of Kathleen Sebelius' nomination to HHS -- White House announcement set for 1pm -- the Boston Globe's Michael Paulson observes the degrees of warmth between Sox Nation's Cardinal Sean O'Malley and Mayor Tom Menino, whose pro-choice stance hasn't always made for the easiest bond with his bishop:
[The duo] have had some very rough patches - in 2005 Menino was so angered by how the archdiocese handled the closing of a parochial school in Oak Square that he staged an alternate graduation ceremony for the children at Faneuil Hall, and then O'Malley refused to attend a Catholic Charities dinner at which Menino was being honored, because Menino supports abortion rights. And, of course, there have been multiple parish and school closings in the city.

But at a ceremony on Tuesday to rededicate the Catholic Charities Teen Center at St. Peter's Parish in Dorchester, O'Malley described Menino as "my friend, and our wonderful mayor," and then Menino was effusive, praising O'Malley at least three times. At one point, he said: "Let me say, Cardinal Sean, thank you for your leadership over the years. I mean you've really done a tremendous job in our archdiocese. You took over, brought this archdiocese back, and a lot of great things are happening."

And then later, the mayor returned to O'Malley, but I started to wonder if he was actually reflecting on his own experience as well: "A lot of folks in this business of ours, when they're CEOs, there's a lot of people who criticize, it's easy to criticize, really, it's so easy, I tell you. But, to get the job done while you're getting criticized, tells you the quality of the individual."

Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, Bishop Joseph Martino has made headlines again in Scranton with a second letter to Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey repeating his earlier call on the Democrat to rescind his vote against an amendment to a children's health-care bill that would've reversed President Obama's removal of the Mexico City policy banning funds to overseas groups that perform or promote abortions, and accusing Casey's aides of "misrepresent[ing]" the senator's vote as a pro-life move.

Coupled with a recent "official notice" from the Scranton chancery on the worthy reception of Holy Communion, it's not too hard to see where this could be going.

Also in recent days, the upstate prelate likewise called for the closing of a local Catholic college's diversity program after it hosted and honored an openly gay speaker (and prominent Barack Obama supporter) last month; in the bishop's words, Misericordia University's Diversity Institute must ensure "that viewpoints that are in direct opposition to Catholic teaching should not be presented under the guise of 'diversity.'"

PHOTO: Suzanne Kreiter/Boston Globe