The Robber Council of Hyannis Port
"It was the consensus at the Hyannisport conclave that Catholic politicians 'might tolerate legislation that would permit abortion under certain circumstances if political efforts to repress this moral error led to greater perils to social peace and order,'" writes Hendershott quoting Jonsen. Eventually, this doctrine was popularized to the "I'm personally opposed but . . . ." pabulum that sits easy on the lips of compromised politicians.
Additionally, a large proportion of Catholic voters are members of, or identify with, the Democratic Party, whose platform "strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to . . . a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay," and "oppose[s] any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right."
The disconcertingly high percentage of "pro-choice" voters who continue to identify themselves as "Catholic," are assuaged, it would seem, by that common if now hackneyed dogma: "I'm personally opposed to abortion, but . . ." It might be called, as Anne Hendershott named it in her excellent article in the Wall Street Journal, the "Kennedy dogma."
The "Kennedy dogma" is, of course, not a dogma of the Church. It is an anti-dogma if it is anything. It is the bastard child of dissenting priests and some rich Catholic laity who ought to have been worrying about getting through the eye of a needle instead of slipping by Church teaching. The "Kennedy dogma" is traceable to what I call the "Robber Council of Hyannis Port." This latrocinium or "robber council" occurred at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts in 1964. It was a monstrous brainchild conceived by the unsightly and miscegenous coupling of the Jesuits on the one hand and the Kennedy and the Shriver families on the other.
Pope Paul VI famously observed that the "smoke of Satan" had entered into the Church from "some fissure." Well the "smoke of Satan," redolent of the "spirit" of the angel of death, entered into Democratic politics as a result of the Robber Council of Hyannis Port. Like most smoke from the netherworld, it has left its indelible, sulfuric odor. It is a spirit from which the Democratic Party--and the Catholics who identify with it--will have to be exorcised, and perhaps only after prayer and fasting.
There are several sources which describe what went on in the Robber Council of Hyannis Port. One of these is the former Jesuit priest and emeritus professor of ethics at the University of Washington, Albert R. Jonsen. He mentions the Robber Council of Hyannis Port (though certainly not by that name) in his 2003 book The Birth of Bioethics.
As Jonsen tells the story, a group of dissident priests--most of them compromised Jesuits who held erroneous notions of conscience and were proportionalists--gathered together at the behest of the Kennedy and Shriver families at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port to brainstorm how they might enable the politically-hungry and Machiavellian Kennedy family sidestep what was seen as the politically embarrassing teachings of the Catholic Church on contraception and abortion.
The names of those who participated in the Robber Council of Hyannis Port are well known. The list of names of those participating is a list of theological dissenters, they are known purveyors of moral diaphonia. They are sophisticated merchants of moral rationalization whose dubious skill (I shan't call it a charism) lies in making a non serviam sound like a fiat mihi.
They were birds of a feather, or--perhaps better--snakes of a scale. We recognize them as theologians whose names have been rubbed off the diptychs that bear the names of faithful or trustworthy Catholic moral theologians.
There was the German Fr. Joseph Fuchs, S.J., a professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and between 1963 to 1966 a prestigious member of the Pontifical Commission on Population, Family, and Birth, and chair of the Commission's majority report which was rejected by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical Humanae vitae. At one time orthodox, this theologian after an intellectual "conversion" of a rather questionable kind took a turn toward the dark side, ultimately rejecting the Church's traditional teaching regarding the natural moral law and any notion of moral absolutes.
There was the left-leaning Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J., then acting as dean of Boston College Law School, whose moral sophistry allowed him to hatch the schizophrenic notion hatched of legal positivism that, while abortion was "virtual infanticide," its legality was an entirely separate issue from morality. There is perhaps no greater condemnation of Fr. Drinan that that of the late Cardinal John O'Connor who publicly chastised Drinan in the archdiocesan paper Catholic New York in June 20, 1996: "You could have raised your voice for life, you raised it for death. ...
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