Top 10 Myths About BCI: #1-5

A few weeks ago, we said we would discuss the Top 10 Myths About BCI” since our readers and many critics often ask questions about BCI or advance their own theories regarding the motives of those behind the blog.  We only covered #1 at the time and apologize we failed to finish.

We just saw a published comment elsewhere indicating Cardinal Sean O’Malley criticized “the blogs” as being “Un-Christian” and “inappropriate” (or perhaps “unfair”) during last Tuesday’s Pastoral Center staff meeting.  In the event he was referring to BCI, we disagree in the strongest words with this characterization.  We will come back to his criticism in a separate post, but in the meantime, we thought it would be appropriate for us to recap Myth #1, and offer #2-5 today.

Just to recap on Myth #1, it was :  “BCI is out to destroy the Church.”

As we said before, this is simply not true.  Cardinal Sean and others have said that transparency and accountability are important for rebuilding trust and strengthening the Church. So, we fail to understand why anyone might believe maintaining accountability could be hurting the Church, unless perhaps it is the public forum that is troubling to some people or the open reader comments without heavy moderation.  We also do not agree this blog could be seen as  “Un-Christian” and find it more than ironic that deception, breaches of fiduciary responsibility, and possible breaches of canon or civil law that never would have been tolerated when Bishop Lennon was here are apparently tolerated today, while bloggers who expose these practices are labeled as the bad guys.  As we all know, in Mark 11: 15, Jesus Christ, on entering the temple area in Jerusalem, “began to drive out those selling and buying there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.”

Our hope is to make the Catholic Church in Boston stronger by holding archdiocesan officials accountable for the promises and commitments they have made, for the good of the Church. We wish the blog was not needed at all and hope at some point we can give this up.  We had hoped the anonymous whistleblower policy, if implemented well, would eliminate any need for BCI to exist; however, unfortunately, early reports from readers who have submitted Ethicspoint claims and received responses suggest the new program intended to root out corruption and ethical breaches is itself corrupted and ineffective.

The sooner that various archdiocesan officials operate in a manner consistent with the mission of the archdiocese and policies already set forth, the sooner the blog will have nothing to write about. The easiest way to make the blog go away is for the archdiocese to operate with integrity, and BCI is simply trying to encourage the archdiocese get to a place where operating with integrity is the norm.

Myth #2. . BCI’s readers and commenters represent the “fanatical fringe”

Not true–unless, the “fanatical fringe” includes 167,314 unique visitors and 60,535 returning visitors who have viewed 262,489 pages since last June when we launched.  We do not have the readership statistics for The Boston Pilot and Cardinal Sean’s blog, but believe more people have probably read BCI than have read the Pilot and the Cardinal’s blog. See below for a chart showing readership for the three calendar quarters from July 1, 2010 through March 31, 2011, and total page downloads through today.

Who reads BCI?  As best as we can tell from emails and various comments we receive, the readership includes priests and religious, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, parish staff, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, parish council members, administrators, current or past Catholic school teachers, CCD instructors,  archdiocesan employees (but not from the Pastoral Center because the blog is blocked there), former Chancery employees, government officials, youth ministers, volunteers, parents, college students, other bloggers, and a lot of ordinary Catholics in the pews who attend Mass every week and care about the good of the Church.  About 80% of our visitors come from Massachusetts, but we also get visitors from every state, other dioceses, many countries around the world, and the Holy See.  Are all of these people “extremists” who are part of some “fanatical fringe” that is occasionally or regularly interested in reading a “fanatical fringe” blog?

Myth #3:  BCI is written by a Pastoral Center staff member

Not true.  For some reason, apparently anyone who is known to not personally admire Chancellor Jim McDonough or who has publicly voiced criticism of him and the current regime is suspected of being a bitter, evil blogger. That is simply not correct.  A more accurate view is that the critics of certain archdiocesan leaders–whether they be Pastoral Center staff members or not–are solid Catholics who care about the future of the Church.

Myth #4: If BCI is not written by a current Pastoral Center staff member, then BCI must be written by an angry, bitter former Pastoral Center employee who was fired, laid off, pushed out, or encouraged to take early retirement and who wants to collect more money in their own pension

Not true either.  BCI is brought to you by a lead writer and other people with decades of service to the Church who care deeply about the future of the Catholic Church and Archdiocese of Boston. For those who feel we are overly focused on the pension situation, you will see that only a small number of our 178 posts deal with pension-related issues. And in case some people do not recall, BCI started in late June of 2010, well before it was announced that the lay employee pension fund was being scaled back.

Myth #5:  BCI sources are current pastoral center staff members who “leak” information

Not true.  We have said this many times before and will say it again–BCI’s primary sources of information are outside of 66 Brooks Drive.  A significant amount of information is publicly disclosed in diocesan reports, statements and on various websites, and the lawsuit by the Daughters of St. Paul is just one example. With 2,300 public comments posted and 167,000 people having read the blog at least once from across all walks of life–parish staff, former chancery employees, teachers, priests, parish council members, parish lay ministers, friends and family members of the aforementioned people, and Catholics in the pews–why is it still not clear to the folks at 66 Brooks Drive that BCI primarily gets our tips from people who are not amongst the 200 staff at the Pastoral Center?  Is it still a surprise to the Cabinet leadership team that many people outside of the Pastoral Center see and experience the deception and corruption for what it is first-hand and provide plenty of helpful information?

We will get to the final 5 myths later this week.

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8 Responses to Top 10 Myths About BCI: #1-5

  1. A Catholic says:

    Very troubling that the Cardinal thinks blogs critical of his leadership are unchristian. I think you guys do a great job of exposing what’s going on with the corruption in the archdiocese. Keep it up! If just a couple thousand BCI readers decided to stop giving to the annual appeal as I did, that could explain more of the drop in donations for 2010 than just “the economy.”

  2. Objective Observer says:

    Over the years I have come to know well about 35% of the people who work at the pastoral center (most of whom pronounce it correctly… the accent is on the first syllable, Jim.)

    There are a number of highly intelligent, very well educated people at #66 who have hearts of gold. I can name at least five on each floor, and that’s without looking at the directory. There are another significant number who are highly effective and hard working, and who are guileless. They get up in the morning, say their prayers, and go to work for the benefit of us all.

    What’s fascinating about the view of BCI one gets from those who work at #66 is the clear division between those who state unequivocally that BCI is just saying what everyone else is thinking — or should be thinking. And that BCI “outs” the truth about all things fiscal and ethical that RCAB needs to change. They hope fervently that BCI succeeds.

    The other view, and it is a striking minority all of whom are very well paid, is that BCI is a pack of angry, vengeful scolds who only want to make trouble for Jim McDonough and all he has wrought at the direction of Jack Connors and Bryan Hehir. This small cadre allege that BCI spews half truths and untruths just to make Jim’s well-paid Brooks Drive minions look bad. And worse yet, BCI writers and commenters are too stupid to be grateful to Jack Connors and all the good works he does for the Church.

    If you divided these people into separate focus-groups, it would be impossible to discern that they were talking about the same blog.

    So which is it? Is BCI a negative, nasty little annoyance foisted on its tiny audience to embitter them? Or is it a beacon of the verifiable truth, and an outlet to identify all that is in need of adjustment in Corporation Sole?

    When those who make policy and implement it for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston read the BCI blog (and I can assure you they ALL do) they fall into those two camps as well. They either nod in sober agreement with BCI or scatter f-bombs over it.

    So the question is, can those to whom the People of God are entrusted, who know that BCI actually documents the problems and clearly suggests where adjustments are needed, take heed of the issues BCI raises and repair the damage? Can our strongest pastors insist that the well-documented material we have seen BCI develop and post be a guide for RCAB policy and action? OR are we to look more and more exclusively to BCI for oversight, audit and compliance reports?

    Fiduciary duty demands that the pastors and laity who know right from wrong pay attention to the legitimate concerns raised on this blog and address them. And for the record, my money is squarely on our strongest pastors to do just that.

  3. q says:

    BCI isn’t hateful or unchristian, but SOME “Catholic” blogs that criticize the Cardinal most definitely ARE. Would assume His Eminence was speaking of those unless I knew otherwise.

  4. q says:

    Also, not sure I agree with “breaches of canon or civil law that never would have been tolerated when Bishop Lennon was here are apparently tolerated today”. Bp Lennon had MORE than his share of problems, and at least some fiascos of Cd O’Malley’s Episcopate were put in place by his predecessor (such as Parish Closings)

    • q, valid point. Our intention was to say that the range of “deception, breaches of fiduciary responsibility, and breaches of canon or civil law” would not have been tolerated previously. For example, the number of excessive six-figure salaries is an order of magnitude higher today than it was when Bishop Lennon was Vicar General and apostolic administrator.

    • Mack says:

      About the parish closings, I doubt that Bishop Lennon would have let this fiasco go on for so long. He would have taken care of it long, long ago.

  5. Mack says:

    I’ve read BCI much more than the Cardinal’s blog, which seems to me is rather boring and a wasted opportunity for evangelizing. It would be useful if the Cardinal used it to deal with more substantive issues. This is precisely what makes BCI so appealing: great analysis of important issues, backed up with facts and figures.
    I don’t consider myself a fanatic, either, but a dedicated Catholic who cares about the Church.

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