credit where credit is due

By Diogenes (articles ) | Feb 05, 2010

John Carr, the veteran justice-and-peace staff director for the US bishops' conference, has been under fire recently because of his ties with a leftist group that promotes legal abortion and same-sex marriage. It's a messy and complicated debate. Does Carr have close ties with leftist groups? Yes. Do leftist groups generally support abortion and same-sex marriage? Yes. Does Carr? No. Is he responsible for the initiatives taken by a group with which he has in the past been closely associated? That's the debate topic. The same topic has been under debate, off and on, since the first days of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), which leads the league in ties with leftist groups. It's not mere coincidence that the group whose board Carr once chaired, the Center for Community Change, has a cozy long-term relationship with the CCHD.

Still the staff of the US bishops' conference is rallying around Carr. Thomas Grenchik, the executive director of the bishops' pro-life secretariat, reminds us that Carr "worked diligently to keep abortion out of the many recent health care reform efforts." Grenchik goes on:

Were it not for his efforts and those of others, our country would now be funding abortion and health plans that provide abortion, on a massive scale.

For months, the US bishops' conference, with Carr heading the staff effort, has been engaged in a puzzling push-pull effort on the health-care issue-- pushing for passage of the bill, pulling back when it appears that the legislation will include abortion coverage, pushing again when the abortion dispute stalls progress toward Congressional approval. The net impact of the USCCB lobbying was never entirely clear, and the fate of the health-care reform bill was very much in doubt until January 19.

We'll credit John Carr with good will in "his efforts" to spare us from a bill that enthroned abortion subsidies. But unless he was in Massachusetts early in January, campaigning for Scott Brown, it was "those of others" that finally made the difference.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 9 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Feb. 08, 2010 7:22 PM ET USA

    I have no doubt that we have many good an faithful bishops, all of whom are members of the USCCB. However, it should come as a surprise to no one that the USCCB staff is far and long ago in need of a house cleaning. And when faithful Catholics challenge what has been going on in their own organization, what do we see? "Rally 'round the flag, boys! Those &^%$& conservative Catholics are attacking us again!" Can anyone say Clericalism?

  • Posted by: annedanielson4099 - Feb. 06, 2010 12:14 PM ET USA

    It is important to note that there are many Faithful members of the USCCB, who need our Prayers and support.

  • Posted by: lschwarzenberger6939 - Feb. 06, 2010 1:02 AM ET USA

    It's a little puzzling that the USCCB was so pro-life in regards to the health care bill. And yet, we've been funding abortion in our country and other countries as well, with taxpayer money, through Planned parenthood, etc. They should be more outspoken about that.

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 05, 2010 8:43 PM ET USA

    No one is attacking John Carr for his personal beliefs. But, if he is helping organizations that advocate for abortion and homosexuality, then he has no place in the USCCB organization. Even more disturbing than Carr's associations is the apparent lack of oversight of the USCCB by the bishops and their willingness to defend the questionable actions of their employees. I predict a rough future for USCCB and declining credibility unless they show that they are truly engaged in the work of Christ.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 05, 2010 7:51 PM ET USA

    This is like saying Mussolini was okay, because at least he made the trains run on time. I have no respect for the USCCB. How in God's name could they, year-in and year-out, lie, deceive, and collect millions of dollars from the laity to support groups in total opposition to the Church's teachings?! Listen to and the American Life League (ALL) to learn the truth. The USCCB, if they had any decency at all, would get down on their knees and beg Almighty God for forgiveness. Fat chance! I challenge the good bishops to leave this satanic organization now.

  • Posted by: jeremiahjj - Feb. 05, 2010 7:12 PM ET USA

    I think people make things too complicated. I am of the duck persuasion where if something walks, talks and quacks, it are a duck. In Carr's case, he has compromised himself to the extent that he needs to go. And so do those staffers who have been rallying around him. Carr may be a fine man in lots of ways but he's been too out front and public on the wrong issues for a person who works for the USCCB. He needs to go, if not voluntarily, then otherwise.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Feb. 05, 2010 7:03 PM ET USA

    The problem is that leftists read part of some of the social encyclicals and then boast about how well their position "overlaps" that of the Catholic Church. The real problem is that at the heart of contemporary leftist philosophy is a rejection of the Lordship of Christ and the fundamental importance of the twin "great" commandments to all of life, including social life.

  • Posted by: - Feb. 05, 2010 6:53 PM ET USA

    The government is pro-abortion: if healthcare is controlled by the government it will pay for abortion sooner or later.

  • Posted by: annedanielson4099 - Feb. 05, 2010 5:26 PM ET USA

    The CCHD has contributed to several groups that undermine our Catholic Faith and Morals, the USCCB continues to post,"Always Our Children" on their website despite the fact that this document is not consistent with the teaching of the Magisterium of The Catholic Church, the Mandatum, as it appears on the USCCB website, is not actually a Mandatum, (just google "Always Our Children" to find out more about the cast of characters involved in writing that document, and Mandatum)what is going on?