Ending the USCCB’s Path to Progressive Politics? | Anne Hendershott | Catholic World Report
John Carr’s tenure at the USCCB ended on a note quite different from that of several former colleagues.
After 25 years of faithful service, John Carr, executive director of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, retired last month. In a personal note circulated among his colleagues—which was later posted online—Carr wrote that he was “leaving the USCCB, not to end my service to the Church, but to serve in new ways—to help form, convene, and encourage Catholic lay men and women to take up their unique task of bringing Catholic social and moral teaching to community and political life.”
Throughout the last year of his tenure at the USCCB, Carr was under siege from the secular left because he has supported the bishops in their lawsuit against the HHS mandate to provide contraceptive care—including abortifacients and sterilization services—to employees of Catholic institutions. Carr has responded to these attacks courageously.
This fall, Carr will begin a fellowship on faith in public life at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government—a position that will give him some time to decide where he will bring his passion for social justice to “form, convene, and encourage” the Catholic laity. But the choice of the Kennedy School reveals that Carr may already have chosen to continue the path to progressive politics chosen by so many of his predecessors when they left the USCCB. In fact, the USCCB has provided a kind of training ground for many progressive Catholics currently working to help elect liberal-leaning candidates for office—including candidates who support policies that will expand abortion availability and same-sex marriage.
Sara Morello, executive vice president of Catholics for Choice, worked for the USCCB prior to her current position at the pro-abortion organization founded by self-described “former nun” Frances Kissling. According to the Catholics for Choice website, Morello—who holds a licentiate in canon law from the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC and a bachelor’s degree in theology from Creighton University—“brings her expertise in canon law, theology, church structure and governance to inform CFC work as well as that of its partners and colleagues.” In other words, Morello is using her graduate degree from Catholic University and her experience at the USCCB to provide canon law cover for Catholics who wish to support abortion with a clear conscience.
Throughout her long tenure at Catholics for Choice, Morello developed many of the organization’s core publications.