Fleecing the Flock in Boston

As we continue exposing the violation of fiduciary responsibility in the Boston Archdiocese, we wanted to share with you another excellent video by ChurchMilitant.TV, called “Fleecing the Flock.”

Here are some highlights from the Michael Voris video:

[Voris] “The Boston Archdiocese .. which it needs to be stressed, has been a hotbed of dissent and wildly unorthodox treatment of Church teachings .. not to mention the epicenter of the homosexual clergy sex abuse crisis ten years ago .. also, unsurprisingly finds itself over a hundred million dollars in debt. That’s what you get when you depart from the truth – Catholics falling away like snowflakes in a blizzard.

A dozen chancery personnel are each making gross amounts of money for the work they do. The top dog on the list is the secretary for education. This woman needs a wheel barrel to take home her pay each week .. get this .. over a third of a million dollars each year in pay. Compare that to the NY City Superintendent of Public schools .. who only makes $250,000 a year.”

[BCI] Are there published, measurable goals for Catholic schools?  Are they being met?  What is the program and what are the standards for Catholic faith formation in Catholic schools? Why has the excessive salary of Schools Superintendent Mary Grassa O’Neill increased in recent years? What exactly has she achieved?

[Voris] And as you move down the list of Boston Archdiocese workers .. the numbers .. the gross salaries are nothing if not .. well gross. It’s one thing to make a living wage .. its another thing to be cashing in on dying particular church. 16 people are pulling down nearly 4 million dollars between them in annual pay and benefits.

A little history beyond the numbers here will help. A couple years back when lay people began complaining about the exorbitant salaries being paid .. out of a sense of embarrassment, the archdiocese put together a “committee” to look into it. One gets the sense that this is NOT what Our Blessed Lord meant when He said .. do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing.

So this committee canvassed other archdioceses around the country and came up with a salary range for each position. It found that many of its workers were on the high end of the range, so in response .. the archdiocese just halted some pay raises.

[BCI] The “committee” is, once again, how Cardinal O’Malley removes himself from responsibility or accountability for fleecing the flock.

[Voris] That people who are working for the Church are in fat cat positions .. whether in Boston or other places smacks of unethical or immoral .. if not down right sinful. Armed with this knowledge .. one begins to wonder if the reason so little actually changes in chanceries all over the country is because those who work in have a VESTED interest .. a REALLY VESTED interest in not rocking the boat.

Why on earth would they rock the boat and risk a quarter million dollar pay check and retirement plan? Another question – Is it even just for people in the Church to be making
that kind of money, when they have so clearly failed, in epic fashion to advance the Church, grow her numbers, heck even hold serve.

The Church is in all out retreat across the country, thousands of parishes closed, many hundreds of schools shuttered, millions having walked away from the faith and yet the
people who operate the machinery and pull the levers are practically laughing all the way to the bank. This situation is approaching spiritually criminal.

The money that goes into these people’s paychecks and retirement plans comes from the faithful and the collection basket. How many are sitting in those pews struggling in a
wrecked economy .. only to be feeding a bloated bureaucracy and not even really aware of it.

And what about the idea of working for the Kingdom, also, primarily being a vocation? Not that a living wage can’t be earned, of course it should be. But isn’t a hundred
thousand dollars a year enough. After all, that’s more than TWICE the average income for a family of four in the United States. Would $75,000 suffice. All over the country .. good hard-working faithful Catholics labor away to advance the truth of the faith .. to help save souls .. to preach the kingdom.

They work in apostolates like this .. I can assure you making NOTHING even approaching those kinds of pays. They work in Crisis Pregnancy centers .. home schooling centers .. new and upcoming colleges committed to the faith .. high schools that had to be started because the Professional Catholic crowd has failed both miserably and spectacularly in every aspect of their job .. other than negotiating their professional sports sized compensation packages.

Just how much does an Archdiocesan Communications director make in NY or Los Angeles, or Philly or Chicago? How about the Human Resources Director or the Education Czar in these places – are they all making massive six figure salaries?

And if they are – where are the results? In the private sector – it is argued, that the enormous salaries are paid because of the person’s expertise and skill and that the
company is growing and raking in profits and the top brass are responsible for that and so they SHOULD be handsomely compensated.

[BCI] Not a single one of the people below, not all even Catholics, will rock the boat. What results are they delivering? Mass attendance continues to drop in Boston, Central Operations is running a $6M annual deficit, the diocese has almost a $140M debt, the financial situation in parishes continues to get worse, and Catholic schools are being closed, yet the salaries remain excessive and some are increasing.RCAB salaries 2012

Whose fault it is? The blame rests ultimately on Cardinal O’Malley, then on Vicar General Deeley, Chancellor  John Straub, and Finance Council Vice Chair Jack McCarthy. Next it rests on all of the “Professional Catholic” and non-Catholic lay executives who have asked for these salaries and are willing to participate in “fleecing the flock” by accepting the fat paychecks. Pastors should be complaining at vicariate and Presbyteral Council meetings and start refusing to fork over their IFRM payments. And the people in the pews need to stop donating to the Catholic Appeal, complain to their pastors and ask their pastors to complain to the archdiocese.

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35 Responses to Fleecing the Flock in Boston

  1. tonymangini says:

    i’ve been trying to find an appropriate e mail address on the archdiocesan web site to NO AVAIL   i was trying to e mail the vortex episode to someone in authority or to the cardinal directly   i sent them a response form to their web site complaining about the lack of e mail addresses so that we could send the episode and comments to the central office of the cardinal.

    perhaps you could send the episode (which is not attached in your blog) separately

  2. Stupid Question says:

    Stupid Question:

    If you work for the Boston Archdiocese, and, are so miserable;
    why don’t you apply for a job somewhere else?

  3. JUSTSAYIN' says:

    What is with the ethnic lineup in that list that you posted for the biggest earners in RCAB?? That is an embarassment. Looks more like a club.

    http://www.patriotledger.com/news/x1610429948

    Lovely and O’Neill must have worked together for years. Strange

    • JUSTSAYIN’,
      The list does not nearly give the full story. Terry Donilon was hired by Ann Carter at Rasky Baerlein, the PR firm he manages (an inherent conflict of interest). See this post:
      http://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/2010/10/19/sham-search-terry-donilon/

      The founder and Chairman is Larry Rasky, who coincidentally has known the Donilon family for years from his political work starting with the Joe Biden campaign back in 1988. Here’s a blurb from the Boston Globe in 2008 giving the history:

      The two older brothers and a sister-in-law of archdiocesan spokesman Terrence C. Donilon (right) are all expected to land high-ranking posts in the Obama administration. Terry is the youngest of four Donilon siblings; his brother Mike has been named counselor to the vice president, his brother Tom is expected to become deputy national security adviser, and Tom’s wife, Cathy Russell, has been named chief of staff to Biden’s wife Jill. Interestingly, the Donilons are not the cardinal’s only connection to Biden — the archdiocese retains as public relations consultants the firm of Rasky Baerlein, headed by Larry Rasky, who served as Biden’s campaign spokesman in 2007 and in 1988. (Biden will be the first Catholic vice president, but is also viewed warily by some bishops because he, like Obama, supports abortion rights.)

      Besides that, Mary Grassa O’Neill was on the search committee for the superintendent of schools–that ultimately hired…her! Kathleen Driscoll worked for Jack Connors at his advertising agency for years. The exec director of the Mass Catholic Conference is the brother-in-law of Kathleen Driscoll. The new director of pastoral outreach, Vivian Soper, is the sister of the Director of Pastoral Planning, Fr. Soper, and worked at Catholic Charities while Fr. Bryan Hehir was head of CCAB. Hehir, coincidentally, chaired the search committee that picked Vivian Soper.

      Those are just a few examples.

      • Boston Bob says:

        Wasn’t Scott Landry connected to the Cardinal via his Priest/Brother from New Bedford? Kind of cozy…

      • Carolyn says:

        For a guy who seems to do almost nothing, Bryan Hehir does make sure that anyone with a role at RCAB ends up obligated to him. For Father Soper to feel obligated to Father Hehir means that collaboratives will see the shadowy imprint of Bryan Hehir.

        Bet BH’s buddies in the presbyterate pick where they live — and certainly where they won’t live. BH, for all his talk of the poor, has lived for the most part in Saint Paul, Cambridge, and Saint John, Wellesley. Living in Wellesley doesn’t put him close to Braintree, Harvard Yard or the airport (his favorite commute). He should live in East Boston or Charlestown or Hyde Park so he can have a shorter commute and actually meet some people who make less than $200K per year.

        Don’t hold your breath waiting for the moving truck.

  4. Chris says:

    I don’t know the value of asking people to ask their pastors to complain. Who in the chancery listens to ordinary hard-working pastors, pray tell? And the ones who are connected are in on the “con.” I’m thinking of those pastors who get their names in the Boston Globe bemoaning this or that, or who spend unacceptable amounts of money on non-necessities in a time of financial stress.

  5. David Benoit says:

    “Homosexual priest scandal” What a stupid, idiotic thing to say. If I had sex with your thirteen year old daughter, would you call it a heterosexual man scandal or child rape. A priest having sex with a post-pubescent teenage boy is not by definition pedophilia but it is wrong and it is rape. Adult heterosexuals and homosexuals are attracted to other adults. Adults going after children is the problem. You sound silly when you criticize the church and at the same time repeat her propaganda.

    • Stephen says:

      “A priest having sex with a post-pubescent teenage boy is not by definition pedophilia but it is wrong and it is rape.”
      Many of us believe that calling it the “Homosexual priest scandal” is not only accurate but actually quite charitable given that is what occurred 81% of the time. (John Jay U. Study)

      If you could come up with a better name for it, please offer it.

      • BCI agrees with Stephen but we are going to stop this particular interchange right here. The topic of the blog post is about financial fleecing of the flock. That one comment on the video was not the focus of the video or this post and thus shall it remain. Please keep comments relevant to the main topic of the post.

      • BettyDraper says:

        Stephen,

        I believe the name (S) would include: bullying, scapegoating,
        and gross misperception.

        Also, the “embarassment factor” which was part of this
        sad chapter was in part b/c the chuch does not own
        the airwaves. If protecting children from harm was
        the primary objecive of the critics, how many children
        could they have saved from actual harm in this country and abroad by divirting their energy intelligently?

        The goal from day one was to destroy the church—and everyone bought the hype hook, line and sinker. In 20 or 30 years, history may reveal that true healing for the victims would
        not have included a media blitz.

        Please read: http://www.fathersforlife.org/dale/childhood_of_homosexual_men_2.htm

        When you are finished, why don’t you & BCI ask yourselves
        why you would want to be mean and target someone who
        had such a sad life growing up.

        With regards to the pastor who seem to be your favorite
        punching bad, I agree that the Rainbow” is inappropriate for
        his online bulletin. In other words, other churche bulletins I have read have not included the “Playboy Bunny Ears” to ensure
        a welcoming, inclusive spirit for young beautiful women.
        Then again, Easter is right around the corner.

        Please consider removing the cruel personal remarks
        about this pastor. He probably has the “Rainbow” there because
        he is trying too hard to make everyone feel welcome.

      • BettyDraper,

        BCI is sorely tempted to moderate your message because you are not only extremely far from the topic of this post, but you are spewing opinions and beliefs with no factual basis.

        You said, “BCI ask yourselves why you would want to be mean and target someone who had such a sad life growing up?” First, BCI does not “want to be mean” to anyone. We report objectively observable actions or comments that most anyone can verify themselves. If someone in a leadership position is very clearly and objectively flaunting Catholic Church teachings, leading faithful Catholics astray, lying or deceiving people, or the like, we will criticize the actions and the person who is doing this. Who exactly by name do you believe BCI is being “mean” to who “had a sad life growing up” and who has done nothing to lead faithful Catholics astray, dissent from Church teachings, deceive Catholics, violate fiduciary responsibility, or in some other way fail as a pastoral leader? Who?

        Which pastor seems to be “our favorite punching bag”? There is no pastor we have consistently picked on. Are you confused with some other blog?

        This post is about “fleecing the flock” financially. Any future comments that are not about that topic will be removed.

  6. saintpio1 says:

    I live in an Indiana diocese and our church as been way low in giving to the Bishop’s appeal -which makes me proud. I am talking more and more to all about not giving in the envelope. We keep our money at home!!

    • BCI would strongly suggest you not withhold contributions from your local parish. Offer to pay an electric or heating bill, or some other maintenance bill. Pay for altar breads and wine. Make a donation directly to your seminary for use as a scholarship for a faithful Catholic man to become a priest. Support the good works of the Catholic Church, but just be careful about supporting your diocesan appeal if you are not confident they are using the funds responsibly.

      • I have not donated to the Archdiocesan “Catholic” appeal, nor I have given any second collection envelopes (e.g. Clergy Fund, Seminary, Retired Nuns, USCCB-sponsored, etc.) except the annual Peter’s Pence (for the Holy Father). Nor I will not do so until a new archbishop is appointed.

      • Anni says:

        Chris

        Please do not short-change the retired sisters. Many of them worked long hours for nothing but food, clothing, and a roof over their heads. Because they received no salaries for all their work for the church, mostly teaching us back in the 40s and 50s, they do not qualify for social security. As they enter retirement – and most do not “retire” until they are too feeble to work in some capacity – they get nothing. Not a dime. I know a sister who is well into her 80s and who is still working in counseling troubled young women. These women have never been a burden on the church. They gave everything.

        If you do not feel that you can contribute to the RCAB collection, please send a contribution to one of the orders of sisters who served in parish schools here over the years. The Sisters of St. Joseph, School Sisters of Notre Dame, Sisters of Ste. Anne, Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, and many others come to mind.

        Remember that priests get a salary and contribute to FICA. Although many of the younger sisters who are employed by parishes are now eligible for benefits, most of the elderly sisters are not. We have an obligation to support them.

        Anni

      • Donna O'Brien says:

        Could someone explain to me how the Grand Annual Collection funds are divvied up amongst the parish, archdiocese, etc.

  7. Lazarus' Table says:

    The ‘fleecing’ and financial malfeasance described here is surely a scandal and just another moral blotch on the diocese. But, if we are honest, we must admit that it is not only on the upper compensation levels that this ‘blood-sucking’ happens; it is to be found on the parish level as well.
    Let me say quickly: I believe most parish employees are sincere, hardworking people who always go way beyond the call of duty, and if they were to be compensated as they are really worth the parish could not afford them. Most of them are appreciated and cherished and they give credibility to the Church. And parishes would be Nowhere without their volunteers– people who quietly work, unseen behind the scenes, to make parish life ‘work’.
    But there are others.
    At dinner the other night a friend boasted that his wife, employed at the local parish, has the dream job, receiving a full-time salary for a job that can be done less than part time. Plus insurance & benefits. She doesn’t need the money, my friend says, but enjoys passing the day chit chatting with the custodian over coffee or using the parish office equipment to help conduct her husband’s business (she is his accountant). And it also helps her be ‘in the know’, filtering messages to the pastor & other staff, deciding who has access to the pastor or not. (The pastor is non-resident.) From what I can gather, other staff also have this same attitude of ‘entitlement’.
    Now, these people certainly don’t receive the salaries of a Grassa O’Neil or Straub, but if such parish situations are multiplied, the financial loss to parishes and the diocese can be quite substantial.
    Perhaps even greater than what comes from the pastoral center.
    One pastor lamented giving an employee a raise he didn’t feel he/she deserved but, “At least I have someone who is willing to do the job”. And so he pays out. With these collaboratives, I think many more pastors will be happy to find people ‘willing to do the job’ and will be forced to pay out.
    Does ‘justice’ begin only at a certain level of compensation?
    Is the RCAB just happy they can find people to ‘do the job’?
    Do similar situations at the parish level also need fixing? Why won’t or can’t they be fixed? And if we can’t expect it at the parish level, why should we at the diocesan level?

  8. Disco says:

    Voris does mention in the video that Boston is the only Archdiocese in the country that makes these public disclosures. For this reason, I’d pump the brakes on the uncharitable comments about the Cardinal Archbishop. He is certainly deserving of just criticism, but let’s not forget that if we didn’t know, we wouldn’t know.

  9. BTW says:

    Does anyone know how much a bishop, archbishop, cardinal & pope make? They certainly seem to have extremely high standards of living, but I do wonder where Cardinal McCarrick, for instance, gets the dough to make million dollar donations to the papal foundation.

    • Objective Observer says:

      Most U.S. bishops are diocesan priests, rather than religious order. They take no vow of poverty. Some have outside incomes from book royalties and honoraria from giving retreats or giving speeches.

      In the Boston Archdiocese, it is customary for auxiliary bishops to be given a check by a parish at the time of a Confirmation ($200 – $500). Some of the bishops keep these amounts in a separate account, and give all of this money to charitable endeavors; others not so much.

      Dioceses pay their bishops a modest wage (perhaps double the parish priest), and provide varying degrees of first class living accommodations. Some bishops live in rectories much like a parish priest. Others live in substantial houses with the attendant budgets.

      Some donations made by bishops are made by their dioceses or other entities, in the name of the bishop. One will always see Archbishop O’Malley on the list of those who give substantial sums to the North American College, but this money is not his own.

  10. tonymangini says:

    do you manage to communicate your views to the office of the diocese?  if so, to whom?

  11. Came home Catholic says:

    I stopped giving directly to the archdiocese years ago when I learned a former pastor of mine, an admitted molester with dozens of counts of statutory rape, was still receiving healthcare and a stipend from the archdiocese. And I know there are several dozen other cases of admitted molester priests on the archdiocese equivalent of paid administrative leave while they await the resolution of their cases in canonical court.

    These revelations about excessive salaries makes me doubly I stopped giving to the catholic appeal.

    My question is this: how much of what I give to my local parish is given to the chancery? 10% 15% more?

  12. BettyDraper says:

    BCI–I agree with part of the criticism of my last entry.
    Forgive me. When I read “Jack O’Malley” it becomes increasingly clear I was warehoused versus fabulously educated for over six years! Anyway, had a thought to increase participation and revenues.

    Children are the Heartbeat of a Parish

    What do you think of the idea or forming preschools
    in all of the parishes without an elementary school?

    Do you think by having a limited pre-school offering
    (in the classes CCD is taught) could/would create a sense of
    belonging, thereby increasing mass attendance?

    We would base the preschool (s) on the truth that what most
    children under five need are warm, attentive and nurturing adults
    and to play. Many will attend their local elementary schools in grades K-5; however, this seems like a superior start to their formation versus not attending the church after baptism until
    first grade. Are the first five years of ones
    life very significant developmentally?

    The school can be run and operated by the parents
    sharing responsibility for the shifts. Even if the sessions
    are short (i.e. 3-4 hrs/day) two-three days per week;
    the sentiment of the church and property will be enhanced
    for the parents.

    The dilemma of not being provided this opportunity until
    first grade is that many students and parents instinctively know
    they are missing something–(i.e. faith), but it is both
    costly and exhausting to recapture it once it is lost.

    Good Luck

    • JUSTSAYIN' says:

      Pre-school idea is great. Aside from the use of the buildings that have long been abandoned, there is a great need for affordable, reliable pre-school. This is a way to get people back into the fold. Growing up, our parish was our site for religious practice but also social interaction and yes daycare of sorts. The parish was the heartbeat of our neighborhood. Why the powers that be think it is enough to run in and “say the Mass” amazes me.

      BettyDraper, you do not offend me. “Jack O’Mally”? At times he is so outrageous, I cannot take him seriously. I get the feeling that he is there just yanking the chain.

    • BettyDraper, In view of your response, should BCI infer that you were not directing your previous critical comments to BCI?

      FYI, based on your choice of screen name and some previous comments you have made, it is at times difficult to tell if you are being sarcastic or serious with your comments. The earlier one here on this thread sounded like a serious criticism of BCI, but it was without basis.

      Given the implications of your chosen name, could you try to make it clearer to us all when you intend to be serious vs sarcastic? And if you are posting criticism of BCI or another reader, please do keep it objective and factual.

      • BettyDraper says:

        Hi BCI,

        Thank you. I was never trying to be sarcastic. I enjoy
        trying to come up with solutions. I don’t know which comment
        could have been taken as sarcastic. I suspect it is a combination
        of needing to formulate thoughts more clearly before imparting
        them, and/or taking a course in writing.

        Cheers

      • BettyDraper,
        Your name is obviously a fictional character from Mad Men who is known for being blonde and beautiful but also selfish, cold and emotionally immature (Wikipedia description).

        In several of your initial comments about a month ago on this thread, the sarcasm came through:
        http://bostoncatholicinsider.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/2012-boston-archdiocese-year-in-review/#comments

        You signed your comments “Holy Day Hill Advertising Inc.” a knockoff on Jack Connors’ former Hill Holliday advertising firm, and you said “maybe someday I will have the 61 st floor…..Are there 61
        floors?”–a jab at Jack Connors, whose Connors Family Office occupies the 60th floor of the John Hancock Tower.

        With most people commenting here, it is fairly obvious if they agree or disagree with what BCI has posted. In your case, that is not at all clear.

      • BettyDraper says:

        BCI:

        I was not trying to knock anyone’s buisness or success.
        I am in awe of creative success, and, I think the church is blessed
        with this person’s genorosity. (This is not to dismiss or be insensitive to your concerns). The truth is I respect this
        person’s ability to be a self-made success.

        With regards to the “Blonde”, with the exception of Fox news,
        film has been unfair to intelligent, beautiful, warm and friendly
        blondes. It has always been the “dumb blonde” or as you described the “cold” portrayal of Betty.

  13. tonymangini says:

    no response????    

  14. Donna O'Brien says:

    Would someone be able to answer my question about where the collections for Grand Annuals go? I know it’s probably insignificant to many; however, I would really appreciate the information. Thank you very much.

    • Donna,
      Grand Annuals go primarily to the parish, but a portion (about 18%) goes to the archdiocese.

      In the new IFRM model, each parish that does not have a school has to contribute 18% of their “base revenue” to Central Ministries. “Base revenue” includes weekly collections, any rental income, and the Grand Annual. So, for example, if your parish had $250K a year in the weekly offertory, $75K in the Grand Annual, and $75K in rental income, the base revenue would be $400K, and that is the basis for the 18% tax. Your parish would be required to pay Central Ministries 18% of $400K or $72K. Even more specifically, that 18% is divided as follows: the parish is required to “tithe” 10% of $400K (or $40K), and then the Catholic Appeal is assessed at 8% of $400K or $32K.

      If you want to support your local parish with a Grand Annual donation but do not want 18% of what you donate going to the archdiocese, offer to pay a heating or maintenance bill.

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