BCI readers know that we have asked Cardinal O’Malley and the leadership of the Boston Archdiocese multiple times to address concerns over the direction and leadership of the Boston Archdiocese and have gotten no response. And, as has been exemplified many times in recent years, what happens in Boston affects the rest of the country. In view of this, as well as our canonical responsibility to make our needs known to our pastors, it is time for an S.O.S. to the Vatican.
As a follow-up to the recent “ad limina” visit by Cardinal O’Malley and his auxiliary bishops to the Vatican, we are hoping that perhaps messages from faithful Catholics in Boston and other parts of the country to the Vatican might help Cardinal O’Malley better understand the urgency of these matters.
Those items listed below are ones that BCI has posted about previously and that readers have said matter to them. There are more that are no doubt important to BCI readers, and you can feel free to still address those to the Vatican yourself directly.
If you agree with the letter/petition below, click on the link to ask the Vatican for stronger leadership in Boston to address these concerns. A fax or email will be sent to the U.S. Apostolic Nuncio, and the Prefects for the Congregation of Bishops, Congregation for the Clergy, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Apostolic Signatura, and Pontificial Household.
I respectfully request that the Holy See take steps to address the ongoing problem of weak episcopal leadership in the Boston Archdiocese.
In Boston today, we face challenges including declining Mass attendance (only 17% of Catholics attend Mass regularly), a declining number of priests, declining financial stability for parishes (one third of parishes operating with annual deficits), declining enrollment in Catholic schools, and declining influence of the Catholic Church’s voice in public policy. At the same time, in recent years, Boston Catholics have seen the following shortcomings in episcopal leadership in the areas of teaching and governance:
- Cardinal O’Malley publicly criticized pro-life Catholics in 2009 for their objections to a Caritas Christi hospital joint venture that would have required referring patients to abortion providers, saying the pro-life Catholics were “doing a disservice to the Church.” The arrangement was later rejected due to the exact concerns raised by those who Cardinal O’Malley publicly criticized.
- Cardinal O’Malley presided over the nationally-televised rite of Christian burial for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy which violated Catholic funeral rite guidelines–including three eulogies and politicized prayers of the faithful–and criticized pro-life Catholics who complained about his role in the public coronation of Kennedy. The tone of the funeral liturgy and public comments by Cardinal O’Malley also failed to teach Catholics that the Church, through the funeral rite, was to be praying for the forgiveness of Kennedy’s sins and the repose of his soul.
- Cardinal O’Malley has allowed a retired business executive, Jack Connors, to serve on the Finance Council and as chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee, despite Connors serving as Chair of Partners Healthcare, which profits by being one of the largest abortion providers in Massachusetts, and Connors confusing Catholics and publicly creating scandal by raising money for pro-abortion political figures such as President Obama and Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose policies result in taking the lives of the unborn.
- Cardinal O’Malley, through his spokesman, failed to clearly articulate Church teachings on sexual morality, marriage, and the salvation of souls in the recent situation of St. Cecilia’s in Boston, where the pastor planned to celebrate a Mass commemorating Boston’s Gay Pride Month. Ambiguous and conflicting statements and actions by the archdiocese allowed a local and national scandal to erupt as a consequence and failed to teach the faithful about the path to salvation.
- Since 2006, Cardinal O’Malley has squandered donor funds at the expense of ministry programs by paying millions of dollars in excessive six-figure salaries to lay archdiocesan executives , while the standard paid by other dioceses for these same roles is much lower than Boston is paying. The archdiocese spends $1 million annually on salaries and benefits to just 3 late-career executives–including $325K to the Catholic Schools Superintendent–and $2.7 million on compensation and benefits to just 10 lay executives.
- In 2007, Cardinal O’Malley approved the sale of St. John’s Seminary land and buildings to Boston College, against the recommendation of the Vatican’s Apostolic Visitation committee. Furthermore, the archdiocese has failed to repay St. John’s Seminary for the land and buildings sold to Boston College according to terms of the agreement, and has failed to put a plan in place that will provide for repayment of some $40 million due to the seminary.
- For seven years, Cardinal O’Malley failed to force vigil protesters to leave closed church buildings they had been occupying at a cost of millions of dollars to the Catholic faithful. Beyond this governance concern, neither the Cardinal, nor his spokespeople, ever publicly cautioned the protesters and their followers that those who miss regular weekly Sunday Mass are placing the salvation of their souls at risk.
- Cardinal O’Malley allowed a widespread deception to take place in 2010 over the hiring of a new Secretary of Institutional Advancement by announcing an open search and installing a search committee, when the person slotted for the job, a protégé of Jack Connors, had already been identified and no open search ever was intended or occurred.
- Cardinal O’Malley approved cutting promised pension benefits to lay employees by tens of millions of dollars, while not collecting what was due in pension contributions from participating employers.
- The Clergy retirement plan remains underfunded by several hundred million dollars, and no plan has been articulated for how this gap will be closed so as to provide for the retirement of our dedicated priests.
- A provision in the 2010 sale of the Catholic Caritas Christi hospital network to a private equity firm allows them to abandon the Catholic identity and begin providing abortions at these hospitals for a mere $25 million paid to a charity.
- Recent financial disclosures show that Finance and Administration expenses have increased to 36 % of the annual $28M Central Ministries operating budget, while in the year ahead that Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year of Faith,” the Faith Formation and Evangelization budget has been reduced to 14% of the total operating budget.
Much good is happening the Boston Archdiocese. However, the actions described above have breached trust with the Catholic faithful and have compromised the ability of the archdiocese to continue carrying out her mission of continuing the saving ministry of Jesus Christ.
With the future of the Boston Archdiocese and the salvation of souls at stake, I respectfully request that you act decisively in whatever way you deem appropriate to address these concerns over the episcopal leadership of the Archdiocese of Boston.
Canon 212 §2 and §3 tell Catholics we have “the right to make known their needs, especially spiritual needs, and wishes to the Pastors of the Church, and ”the right, indeed at times the duty to…manifest to the sacred Pastors their views which pertain to the good of the Church.” That is what we are doing.
Hit the “S.O.S.” button to the right, fill in your name and other information (optional) and hit “Sign the Letter.” A fax and/or email will be immediately sent to the offices named, and only to those offices.
Please share this with your like-minded friends and family members and ask them to also sign the letter.