BCI has a bit of a backlog of topics we want to cover and we apologize that other responsibilities by the team are limiting us right now to blogging about once a week.
As BCI approaches two years with the blog, we have also begun to think about where we want to go with the blog so as to continue our ministry of helping the Boston Archdiocese get on the straight and narrow—and remain there.
The topics on our radar screen or on our list to cover fall into these general categories:
- Fiscal management (including excessive six-figure salaries, breaches of fiduciary responsibility, expenses and allocation of donor funds, pension deception, and an inexplicable $8M Caritas pension plan write-off)
- Leadership vacuum at the top: ongoing problem which often manifests itself via diocesan statements; diocesan actions or lack thereof in the face of problems; and people/organizations of questionable background who Cardinal O’Malley closely associates with, supports or endorses.
- Pastoral planning: the gift that will keep on giving for years into the future. Hand-in hand with this is the generally battered state of the Boston presbyterate
- Moral condition of the Boston archdiocese. Several readers have asked us to comment on how, in this a national election year, we continue to see a diminished voice of Cardinal O’Malley and the local Catholic Church in public policy and with voting Catholics.
That is a tall order to keep up. Here are a few quick highlights of things you may want to know ahead of our blogging about them in more depth:
- The diocesan public relations firm, Rasky Baerlein, has been paid $130,000 by the Committee for Compassionate Medicine, to run PR around legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes and getting a ballot question before Massachusetts voters in November. Perhaps Ann Carter, a Catholic and CEO of Rasky Barelein, along with the principals of the firm are unfamiliar with the 2001 Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry pastoral handbook “Church, Drugs, and Drug Addiction” which instructed that cannabis use is “incompatible with Christian morality” because it is an intoxicant that dims reason and potentially is damaging to the integrity of one’s body and soul. We hope they see this post and abandon their work on the campaign immediately, or the archdiocese determines that ongoing Rasky work on this campaign is sufficiently incompatible with Catholic values that the archdiocese must find a new PR firm.
- Friend of Cardinal O’Malley and diocesan advisor/Finance Council member/Catholic schools fund-raiser, Jack Connors, is apparently still on board with trying to help anti-Catholic, pro-abortion President Obama win in November, saying, “we have a fight on our hands” to defeat Mitt Romney:
Jack Connors, a major Boston-based Obama fund-raiser who made his fortune in advertising, said overconfidence may be hurting the president’s fund-raising.
“Some people don’t see Romney as a threat,’’ he said. “They say, ‘Look how far behind Romney is with women; the president is going to be reelected easily.’ But I think folks will come to their senses and realize we have a fight on our hands. You can’t let one party or one special interest fight with F-16s and you only have BB guns.’’
- The Trustees of the Caritas Christi pension plan, including Cardinal O’Malley, apparently agreed to write off $8.5M in contributions owed to the pension plan as “uncollectable assets expense.” The sale of Caritas to Steward called for Steward to assume the liabilities of the pension plan. It is not clear at this time why the Trustees, who are supposed to be looking out for the interests of the plan beneficiaries, are allowing an $8.5M writeoff.
- There is a free Symphony Hall concert performance coming up soon of a work by the founder of the Neocatechumenate Way. Cardinal O’Malley will be the host of the concert. The Neocatechumenate Way is not without controversy for their liturgies, subsidized financial support by the Boston Archdiocese and St. Johns Seminary, and low numbers of Boston-trained seminarians who remain in Boston after ordination. Oddly, no one from the archdiocese even knows who is funding the rental of Symphony Hall.
- Cardinal O’Malley may want to clarify his perspectives and public comments regarding the Leadership Conference of Women Religious: In 2009, amidst two Vatican investigations of American women religious, Cardinal O’Malley of Boston sent a “letter of affirmation” to the members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious:
After praising Women & Spirit (a museum exhibit devoted to the contributions of women religious to American life), the cardinal added:
Allow me also, both personally and on behalf of Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, to thank you for having responded to the call to religious life. The Church is grateful for all that your communities have done, and continue to do, to advance the mission of the Church, especially in the areas of health care, education, social services and pastoral ministry, as are highlighted in the exhibit.
…The Church needs your gifts of perseverance, commitment and fidelity, and your unique charism, as guided by the Holy Spirit. Please know that your ministry is greatly valued. …
Fast forward to 2012. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recently reported, “The current doctrinal and pastoral situation of the LCWR is grave and a matter of serious concern.”
“issues of crucial importance in the life of the Church and society, such as the Church’s Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching. Moreover, occasional public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the Bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.”
The CDF said, “The Assessment reveals serious doctrinal problems which affect many in Consecrated life,” calling it a crisis “characterized by a diminution of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration.”
These are just a few highlights of upcoming posts. Feel free to comment on the issues and topics raised above. We will get to these and other topics as quickly as we can.