Sunday, May 06, 2007

Hillary Clinton's Comin'! Lord Have Mercy on the Mercy Home

You would think that after the stink created by Archbishop Raymond Burke blasting Sheryl Crow's appearance at a Catholic children's hospital benefit, that promoters would think twice before scheduling a pro-abortion politician to speak at a Catholic children's institution. But that's because YOU are an orthodox Catholic and the souls in charge of said institutions are not.

Not that Mercy Home for Boys and Girls cares about a little (but mighty!) blog like Fighting Irish Thomas, but to me it is just preposterous that a place that bills itself, "A Catholic institution ... that encourages support programs (for troubled youth) that would enable healing," would hire Hillary Clinton, the most notorious pro-abort candidate running for the president of the United States, to raise money. As expected, the pro-life people are pretty much in agreement with FIT. Their comments range from the utterly serious, “The contradiction of the world’s foremost abortion promoter visiting a Catholic children's home called ‘Mercy’ is beyond words. Mrs. Clinton’s visit is a scandal of immense proportions for the local church, but it is also sadly typical of church leaders’ unwillingness to draw the line between good and evil in order to protect people’s faith,” (Father Tom Euteneuer, president, Human Life International)—to the silly/ridiculous, "I would attend ... if there was a dunk tank for Hillary and the tank was filled with saline solution," (Curt Jester)—to a combination of the two, "It may take a village to raise a child, but it doesn't take a pro-abortion senator from New York," (Joe Scheidler, president, Pro-Life Action League).

Meanwhile, Mercy Home (a long-term residence house for troubled/needy youth age 11-21) is saying all the right stuff ... sort of. "We are not endorsing her (presidential) candidacy ... we support the Catholic Church's stand on abortion ... Ms. Clinton is not speaking on abortion, but education," babbled Mercy Home spokesman Mark Schmeltzer in a stream of "politically correct speech." And yet, as political as it sounded, it was NOT correct. When asked about how her appearance contradicts the 2004 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' document, Catholics in Political Life, which forbids Catholic institutions from permitting pro-abortion speakers, Schmeltzer stammered, "I'm not familiar with it ... I'm not sure if it was discussed ..."

Well, Mark, without further ado, here's what Catholics in Political Life states; "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honour those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honours or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

So now the real question becomes not whether you know about the U.S. CCB policy, but whether you will continue to oppose it. Part of the frustration of pro-lifers comes from the fact, as Joe Scheidler states, "We've spoken to the powers to be, and apparently nothing can be done to drop her." And who are these powers? Fr. Scott Donahue, president of Mercy Home, was not even informed of Hillary's booking by its board of directors and apparently did not even hear about it until Scheidler told him. Fr. Scott's bishop, Cardinal Francis George, also heard about Hillary through the grapevine, and "expressed misgivings ... and wanted to be assured it was not a political stop." Meanwhile Beth Kaveny, the Mercy Home leaders' councilwoman who allegedly arranged Ms. Clinton's $150 a plate luncheon (meet-and-greet opportunities with Hillary range from $10,000 to $25,000) remained unavailable for questioning. But her original comment that she was "overjoyed to get such a high-profile speaker for Mercy Home" speaks volumes about how she believes Clinton's policies are cooler than those of a bunch of old bishops, and why the clueless Donahue or the curious George (who being a bishop, not only is aware of but helped write the policy) appear powerless to stop her.

What Donahue should do (besides resign as Mercy Home's president) is open for debate. As for Cardinal George, pro-life folks ask me why he did not take more of a vocal stand a la Archbishop Burke. First of all, Burke was the chairman of the board of SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, and certainly this forced his hand a little more than Francis'. Secondly, many people who ask this question do not realize that despite Burke's profound protest, the Crow concert took place as planned—and it's promoters called the event "a great success." Personally, I'd like nothing better than 70-year-old polio-victim Cardinal George, who also recently broke his hip, to defy doctor's orders, drag his walker up Mercy Home's stairs, and personally bar Clinton's entrance. Unfortunately, this orthodox but aging shepherd has learned to pick his fights, and the ones he chooses are fewer and fewer.

The real problem is that more and more lapsed (Catholic) lay people or irreligious religious are making their way into positions of power, from the parish level on up. Morally bankrupt fundraising is nothing new; the bingo games, heavily liquored casino nights, or sleazy fashion shows were (are) hardly a holy way to raise parish money. And, although bingo night is largely a thing of the past (praise God!), legalized abortion (not to mention euthanasia and same-sex marriage) has upped the ante considerably, and thus the orthodoxy of lay members on Catholic boards across America is now more important that ever. As for the Clinton "Mercy" appearance scandal, you are welcome to join Joe and his Pro-Life Action League picket-protest outside the luncheon at Chicago Hilton and Towers on South Michigan on Monday, May 7, 11 a.m. (or visit their website at or call 773-777-2900 for details), or if you are outside the Chicago area, feel free to contact Mercy Home (e-mail: or call 312-738-7560) to register your "concern."

As for myself, I, like Cardinal George, am getting older, and I think I am finally ready to compromise my position. In fact, I will endorse, and even attend the Clinton fundraising extravaganza as long as they agree to my one condition.

Bring the dunk tank!

Fighting Irish Thomas: Catholicism, Politics, Saints, and Notre Dame


Pristinus Sapienter said...

You know, of our poor catechesis over the last too-many decades, one of the biggest failings has been in giving the eternal picture short shrift and no emphasis. It is of the eternal picture, to life unto life, which must take priority for this life's gifts from God of our 'last things'. (In justice, even hell is a gift.) So many discount the eternal in contrast to and exercise of the temporal. It is just so strange!

Pristinus Sapienter said...

Wait - WAIT!

Did I read that last paragraph right?

You're willing to have the Cardinal catch you and Hillary in a compromising position in the dunk tank?

JimAroo said...

My friend P S hits the eternal nail on the head. In Archbishop Burke's statement about the Crow affair, it was clear that his motivation was the eternal salvation of his flock. Christian charity demands no less.

If you love your family, your friends, and all of humanity, you weep in the night for the lost souls. That is what is important.

St John Bosco said: "Give me souls and you can have the rest!"