Dancing on Carr's Grave?

by Michael Sean Winters

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I especially liked the subtlety of the headline at "Angel Queen," when she linked to my post about the retirement of John Carr from the USCCB. Angel Queen declared, "John Carr, USCCB Official with Shady Connections, Leaving USCCB."

Not to be outdone, the insanely right wing website "Culture War Notes" announced Carr's retirement with this headline, "USCCB Pro-Abort Resigns."

Of course, I should like to say that I am proud to be one of Mr. Carr's shady connections. I am proud to stand with the late Cardinal Hickey, with Bishops Murphy and Blaire and others who have chaired John's committee, with Cardinal O'Malley who worked with John back when Cardinal O'Malley was a priest working in Washington, and with countless others who have worked with John over the years. Shady, all of us.

If anyone thinks John Carr is pro-abortion, they need a reality check. Sadly, a reality check is precisely what some of these crazies on the right do need. These are the folks who chastised Cardinal Wuerl for disciplining Father Guarnizo, who criticized Cardinal O'Malley for presiding at Sen. Kennedy's funeral. This is the crowd that is more Catholic than the Pope and have forgotten that the phrase is a joke.

The other narrative emerging, though not yet in print so far as I can tell, is that Carr was forced out, or resigned in a huff, or perhaps his shady connections went to jail, or perhaps when Venus transited the Sun....well, you get the picture. Carr has made it clear that he is leaving to pursue new and important ventures. He has worked at the USCCB for twenty-five years and, as one bishop told me last week, "working with us bishops for twenty-five years is more than should be expected of anyone!" Now, he will bring the same concerns he has worked on at the conference to his work with the laity. There is nothing sinister about Carr's departure, although there is something very sad: The conference will, of course, continue its important work, but Carr opened many doors, knew not only the policies but the personalities involved. I can think of not a single person in all of Washington who has done more to actually improve the lives of America's poor than has John Carr. For this, we find some Taliban Catholics dancing on his grave. I have news for them: Carr is not dead and there is no grave. I expect he will produce new and important fruits of the spirit in his new efforts outside the conference as he has within it for these many years. And, hint, hint, I hope he let's me help him write his memoirs!

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