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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Governor Baldacci's Meat Sauce Recipe

Several online and personal responses were received about this blog. Thanks to all the feedback received!

Maine's gorgeously unseasonable warm spring weather brought out multitudes to sample Governor Baldacci's famous Italian spaghetti meat sauce recipe at Portland's Italian Heritage Center. Wednesday evening's dinner was also a recipe for success. It was a totally successful benefit to support Preble Street Resource Center, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen serving the neediest people in the Portland, Maine community. Governor Baldacci and many of Maine's key political leaders added special ingredients to the evening by busing dining tables. Administration officials worked while the Governor served spaghetti to hundreds in the quarter mile long buffet line. Apron wearing volunteers beamed smiles of joy to the many hundreds who came together for the purpose of helping Preble Street.

As a political recipe, the evening was cooked to perfection!

Preble Street suffered an unexpected blow to its current financials when Bishop Richard Malone of the Portland Diocese announced the Catholic Church was pulling more than $17,000 of support from the poverty program. The Bishop's caustic decision was made because the Preble Street administration supported the same sex marriage ballot question during the November 2009 election. Although the Diocese of Portland won the referendum election which overturned the same sex marriage law (which, by the way, Governor Baldacci signed earlier last year) the Bishop, nevertheless, took action against Preble Street which was listed among the coalition members that supported the law. As a recipient of Diocesan money, Preble Street had signed a contract which precluded it from taking such a position.

Unfortunately, the poor people served by Preble Street were the brunt of the Bishop's precipitous decision.

My husband and I attended the benefit dinner because we simply couldn't believe our Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland would cut funding to a poverty program to make a political statement.

Dinner supporters saw the Governor wearing jeans and a t-shirt while serving a hearty scoop of spaghetti with meat sauce. By serving spahgetti, Governor Baldacci provided executive presence to the charitable mission of Preble Street. In the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, the Governor and those who wore aprons to assist the dinner guests demonstrated service to the poor.

Thankfully, the Governor's spaghetti dinner was entirely focused on the charitable purpose of the benefit. We enjoyed terrific food with friends from all around Maine.

Governor Baldacci's family's meat sauce recipe was delicious. It's probably the same recipe served for many years to patrons at the family's Mama Baldacci's Restaurant in Bangor. I hope the Governor will continue to share last night's recipe for supporting the common good. Like in the movie "Big Night", about how an Italian restaurant returned to its cultural roots, the governor's meat sauce recipe brought attention to the purpose of politics - which is to serve the public good.

Response from John SJ: Dear Julie,
Although I am saddened by Bishop Malone's withdrawal of funds form Preble Street, as I witnessed the good that it has done, I also recognize the pressure that he was under. Aboot two weeks before the Campaign for Human Development collection took place, some vicious e-mails went out from some Right to Life groups saying that the bishops had sold out to the abortionists and the gay rights movement because some of the groups that CHD funds went to supported the possible choice of abortion and gay marriage. A couple of very involved parishioners forwarded these attacks to me and asked if the allegations were true. I sent the inquiry on to the Diocese. They sent back a reply that the Campaign for Human Development had made pointing out some of the inaccuracies in the attack, but also saying that the campaign would withdraw funds from those groups that did not follow the guidelines that the funds came with.
One of the main attack groups is the Family Research Council which often seems to act as a front organization for neo-conservative Republican politicians. It is sad for their position, except for the protection of the unborn and the rejection of homosexual marriage, is often opposed to Catholic social teaching. They confuse many good Catholics.
You may share these comments if you wish.
I would have loved to have tried the Baldacci spaghetti sauce.
Peace in the Risen Lord Jesus,
John, SJ



Blogger The old scold said...

To think that a Catholic Bishop would refuse to support the feeding of the hungry because of a political difference with those doing drudgery of the actual tasks involved turns my stomach. This is far worse than political arm twisting it is an effort at thought control at its worst.

That an organization that feeds and succors the poor by supporting those actually trying to live lives in imitation of that of the Savior by preparing and serving those in need is required to not only to continue to abide by the laws of the State but to publicly renounce its truly held position on the law in order to gain the support of a Bishop who otherwise has helped the great mission in the past is a travesty.

Never in my life (not a short one by the way) has the Church been under such pressure for acts having nothing to do with dogma: covering up and transferring felons and now not providing relief to the helpless because the beliefs of the agency do not square with those of the Church despite the fact that the particular service has nothing to do with the disagreement is appalling to me.

What is going on with the Church hierarchy? Were I a member, the Diocese would have received its last financial donation from me.

11:41 AM  

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