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Archbishop will not attend Catholic Charities Christmas dinner


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BOSTON —In a statement released Nov. 22, Catholic Charities announced that Archbishop Seán P. O’Malley will not attend the annual Catholic Charities Christmas dinner at which Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino will be thanked for his “consistent support of Catholic Charities in Boston.”

“In light of the mayor’s past statements concerning abortion and same-sex marriage policies, the archbishop regrets that he cannot attend the dinner,”the statement said.

“In doing this he acts in accord with the U.S. Catholic Bishops’policy regarding public officials who are in conflict with Catholic teaching on specific issues,”it continued.

That policy was stated in a document called “Catholics in Political Life.”It says, “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.”

Following is the text of the statement:

“At its annual Christmas dinner on Dec. 9, 2005, Catholic Charities Greater Boston will thank Mayor Thomas M. Menino for his consistent support of Catholic Charities in Boston. The mayor has been an advocate and an effective political leader, responding to the needs of the poor, immigrants, the elderly and children and families of all races, religions and ethnic communities in the city. His support of the Laboure Center in South Boston and his leadership in bringing to completion the new Yawkey Center in Dorchester have been signal contributions to the work of Catholic Charities in Boston. For these many reasons we wish to acknowledge his leadership and thank him.

“After the announcement of plans to recognize the mayor at the dinner, objections were raised because of statements the mayor has made concerning abortion and same-sex marriage. Catholic Charities firmly supports Catholic teaching concerning these matters. We differ with the mayor on both of these issues, even as we recognize his contributions to those we seek to serve each day in our city.

“Archbishop O’Malley and the mayor have collaborated on issues touching the welfare of the poor and families in need, and the archbishop looks forward to other forms of collaboration to serve the city and its people in the future. In light of the mayor’s past statements concerning abortion and same-sex marriage policies, the archbishop regrets that he cannot attend the dinner. In doing this he acts in accord with the U.S. Catholic Bishops’policy regarding public officials who are in conflict with Catholic teaching on specific issues, a policy formulated at plenary session of the Bishops’conference in June of 2004.”

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