Saturday, June 09, 2012
Father Jonathan Joseph Slavinskas: My vocation began with Bishop Timothy J. Harrington
We've seen how Father Jonathan Joseph Slavinskas, newly ordained for the Diocese of Worcester, has had high praise for Father Joseph Coonan. For him, Father Coonan was a "great influence" who "nourished" his vocation. Fr. Slavinskas has also said that his vocation began with Bishop Timothy J. Harrington. One can only hope that he doesn't share the late Bishop's attitude toward dissent from the Church's authoritative teaching. For Bishop Timothy J. Harrington did tolerate dissent while he served as Bishop of Worcester.
In a letter to Catholic apologist Richard Blanchard dated March 25, 1986, Bishop Harrington, responding to a petition signed by Mr. Blanchard and members of his orthodox Catholic group TACM (The Active Church Militant) which requested that Sister Anna Marie Kane, S.S.J. be asked to resign from the Office for Women, Bishop Harrington responded:
"Dear Mr. Blanchard,
The petition, signed by twenty-seven individuals, requesting that Sister Anna Marie Kane, S.S.J. be asked to resign as soon as possible from the Office for Women of this Diocese has arrived.
This response is to inform you, and through you, the other twenty-six signators, that I shall not accede to your request.
In September, 1984, I appointed Sister Anna Marie Kane to her position as Vicar for Religious and Director of the Office for Women. At that time, I also invited her to be a member of my administrative cabinet. Sister has fulfilled her responsibilities with competence and sensitivity.
I ask you and the other petitioners to ponder your witness to the sacredness of the human person, as you threaten to denounce a person publicly, if your will is not done.."
A copy of this letter was cycled to Sister Anna Marie Kane.
Bishop Harrington was concerned with "the sacredness of the human person"? Really? Then how could he honestly say that Sister Anna Marie Kane had been fulfilling her responsibilities with "competence and sensitivity" when she had stated publicly that, "Abortion is a delicate and complex reality. We must continue our struggle of respecting other's choices even if we don't agree with them."
Sacredness of the human person? Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) would refute the ethical relativism behind the radical view "that in a modern and pluralistic society people should be allowed complete freedom to dispose of their own lives as well as of the lives of the unborn.." (Evangelium Vitae, No. 68).
Sister Kane was also a member of the executive board of the National Assembly of Women Religious and S.I.G.M.A. - Sisters in Gay Ministry Associated. Both the N.A.R.W. and S.I.G.M.A. were radical feminist groups which supported advocacy of the homosexual and lesbian lifestyle, abortion and contraception. Sister Kane was also supportive of women's ordination.
Richard Blanchard and the other petitioners were not threatening Sister Anna Marie Kane. Nor were they insisting that their will be done. They were asking for her resignation because she was opposing the will of Christ Jesus as made known by His Church through the teaching office of the Magisterium. In his Encyclical Letter Humani Generis, Pope Pius XII said that, "...God has given to His Church a living Teaching Authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church."
This is why Richard Blanchard and others were asking for Sister Kane's resignation. They were not insisting that their will be done. They were objecting to the fact that Sister Kane had taken this attitude with regard to Church teaching; that she was insisting that her will be done.
Bishop Harrington was not only dissent-friendly. He was routinely sarcastic toward those who had the audacity to question his toleration of dissent and his refusal to use his authority to uphold Catholic teaching, especially in the area of sexual morality.