Our post “ Injustice? Inconsistency?” (about how priests are treated by the Archdiocese in various situations) has stimulated some comments and emails that we feel compelled to share with readers and with the Archdiocese. Here’s what we received from a reader, ‘Marilyn.” We are publishing it exactly as written, but we have added a few extra details in [brackets] for additional clarity.
To Boston Catholic Insider:
One of your examples [Fr. C.] is said to live with the man commonly understood to be his longtime “boyfriend,” also a priest [Fr. K], in a rectory [St. A.] where the “boyfriend” is assigned as parochial vicar. If it were his longtime girlfriend, would it be tolerated? Their close friends, another pair of ordained men, keep busy as a pastor [Fr. J.] of a parish near 128 [St. S], the other one allegedly no longer in ministry [Fr. B], but tell that to the people who are devoted to him at a church downtown. [P.C.]
These men enjoy full benefits in exchange for toning down their rhetoric bashing the church, and no longer publicly promoting same sex marriage. They live in rectories. They have vacation homes and lots of time off and cars that few priests can afford (because two of them have private incomes). And they will have pensions and benefits from the RCAB. Two of them were not allowed to remain as pastors due to audits that showed significant financial misconduct. (Ask the auditors.) Meanwhile, the combined Mass attendance served by the parochial vicar and the pastor at the two parishes don’t total 500 people. Give those micro parishes to the priests in the next parishes to cover, and shutter the rectories that are now home to the men who shatter their vows.
If these men’s domestic arrangements involved women, what would happen? When a priest thumbs his nose at his vows, let’s get him out, no matter who the other party is. Priests who are living the vowed celibate life as it was meant to be lived, meanwhile, work without days off, have only their stipends to pay their expenses, and cannot retire until their wheels fall off. (One pastor I know of is over well over 75 and celebrates nine Masses per week, including one at the nursing home.)
Where’s the leadership? Why are the vows of matrimony expected to be kept by those to whom they are made (spouses), but vows made to the ordinary aren’t expected to be kept if the parties involved are sufficiently obnoxious? And why does the ordinary think the people don’t notice?
[Wow! Marilyn, thanks so much for writing this powerful message. Just to expand on what you have written, as was mentioned in our previous post, one of the priests cited above testified to the Massachusetts Legislature in favor of gay marriage, and though his testimony was corrected by the Mass Catholic Conference, the act of his testifying against the Church was never publicly addressed by the Archbishop or Archdiocese of Boston. Yesterday, Catholic News Agency reported that Archbishop Carlos Jose Nanez of Cordoba has begun canonical proceedings against a priest in Argentina who promoted same-sex ‘marriage.’
Fr. Jose Nicolas Alessio received an enormous amount of media attention for his statements supporting gay “marriage” while he was pastor of St. Cajetan’s in the city of Cordoba. According to AICA, the priest has continued to make statements to the media in support of same-sex “marriage.” “As a cautionary measure, the archbishop has prohibited him from the public exercising of the priestly ministry, which means he cannot celebrate Mass or administer the sacraments of the Church publicly, and therefore, cannot continue as pastor,” the news service reported.
Regarding Fr. J , we also extend Marilyn’s powerful message. As she mentioned, he was on the record in support of gay marriage, and a commenter on an article at Boston.com in 2004 wrote te following about him:
I am reminded of how he was chased out of St. B’s. Fr. J verbally attacked and threatened a group of parishoners for whom he blamed for his demise. Telling one woman she would “rue the day”. In fact, Fr. J performed a “homosexual marriage” in the church even though it was against the doctrine of the Catholic Church. That is the reason he was told to leave St. B’s and never come back. Fr. C was guilty by association. Fr. J managed to alienate several parishoners and his friend, Fr. B wrote scathing letters to several parishoners in St. B’s.
Beyond that, his current parish, St. S, near Route 95/128 was targeted for closing in 2005 but he and the parish fought the decision. Fortunately for the pastor, they had an ally on the Meade-Eisner Reconfiguration Review Committee, namely powerbroker Jack Connors, Jr, who is a native son from the same town as the parish. The parish got an unusual reprieve by the Meade-Eisner Committee. They were to stay open until March of 2008, when the six-year term of the pastor was to end, at which point Cardinal O’Malley said he would reassess the future of that parish. They are still open today with the same pastor, so apparently the pastor’s term was renewed and the Cardinal did not have a problem with the situation described above.
In Argentina, a priest publicly opposes the Church’s teaching on marriage, and when he refused to “amend his ways and retract his statements” in support of same-sex “marriage,” the archbishop undertook a canonical procedure to remove him from public ministry. In Boston, they give a priest who has done the same thing a nice job in campus ministry where he can get a second income or they keep him in a pastoral leadership role. And apparently they also let them live in a rectory with their “boyfriend” to scandalize the faithful, while also rubbing this scandal in the faces of hard-working priests who are living their priestly vows working tirelessly with no days off on a small stipend, and who can’t retire until they are 75.
Meanwhile, back at the Pastoral Center (Friday afternoons off in the summer), they wonder why there are morale problems in the Boston presbyterate, thereby making it tough to get new vocations to the priesthood. Perhaps the senior Cabinet steering committee might want to take this post up as a topic of discussion at an upcoming meeting. We welcome comments and additional confidential messages. Just click on Contact Us.