Here is the text:
I received some inquiries recently regarding John Carr, who serves as the Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The inquiries, stemming from controversies over the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and the Center for Community Change, essentially asked if John is pro-life and committed to the goal of securing protection for the lives of unborn children.
Because I am in a position to answer that question, and because of the fact that hurting people’s reputations never serves our cause, let me state for the record that the answer to that question is “Yes.”
I have had many opportunities to talk to and listen to John over the years, in public and in private, to read his articles, and to discuss our common goal of seeing social justice and peace applied to our neighbors in the womb. His record is clear, and unlike some others, when he talks about justice and peace and human development, he does not fail to include the unborn.
I share with you below his own comments, as well as those of Richard Doerflinger, the Associate Director of the Secretariat for Pro-life Activities of the US Bishops’ Conference. As we work together to resolve the problems that do exist in our Church and in our culture, let’s do so with great caution to preserve the good reputation to which all of our colleagues have a right.
Fr. Frank Pavone
The statements referenced in the letter can be found here.
Update: Additionally, Catholic News Service reports that many bishops have come forward to defend Mr. Carr.
Update 2: Tom Peters has a level-headed take on the matter here. In particular, I think his observations regarding “RealCatholicTV” are worthy of consideration:
The situation has not been helped, either, by the sensationalist reporting at RealCatholicTV.com, which in a recent report claimed that the allegations of misconduct at the CCHD was what Pope Paul VI was referring to when he warned that the “smoke of Satan has found its way into the Church” … seriously? I don’t follow RCTV directly but the American Catholic does.
As I’ve said before, I agree with Mr. Peters (and many of our commenters) regarding RCTV. I do not doubt that the folks at RCTV are well-intentioned. Similarly, I do not doubt that there are some problems with CCHD and the USCCB. I simply think the RCTV coverage of this scandal has been too sensationalistic, and that their reporting should not be relied upon without independent verification.
It’s no secret to anyone who pays the slightest bit of attention to the state of Catholic higher education that it has drifted far from orthodoxy, and in some cases, from basic Catholic teachings. The list of examples that might be complied would be sufficiently ghastly to demonstrate that fact. Unfortunately I think a new threshold has been crossed, as nominally-Catholic schools become involved with Planned Parenthood. Thanks to CatholicCulture.org for these updates.
First there is the case of Alverno College in Wisconsin, which placed a student as an intern for Planned Parenthood, as can be seen on page 34 of this PDF. Alverno College states in its mission statement that “[s]ervice to the community, improving society by addressing educational needs, and working for social justice, especially for women, are core components of both the founding order and the college.” On the left, “social justice, especially for women” has traditionally meant the unrestricted right to abortion. It is sad to learn that a nominally-Catholic institution may be adopting that same view.
Next there is the case of Spalding University in Kentucky, where a “prominent administrator” has, in the course of her “community involvement” served on the board of Planned Parenthood. Some people might wonder what the big deal is, if she is only an administrator. Well, this same university co-hosted a conference with a CCHD-funded group called “Women In Transition”, at which a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest gave a speech. The topic? Here was the title of the presentation: “It begins with me: Confronting reproductive health issues.” A fitting title, since abortion is the height of selfishness, whether it is a woman choosing to dispose of her child or a father threatening, coercing, or encouraging the mother to do so. No, pro-aborts, it isn’t all about women.
The really tragic thing here is that there is, I believe, some good in the work these groups too. They wish to address poverty and genuine social injustice. But there can be no social justice as long as the innocent and weak may be murdered on a whim. I hope the Catholic students who understand this truth hold the faculty and staff of their schools to account.