Ad Limina Unlimited Comment and Response

December 30, 2011

BCI was surprised at some of the comments on our post from yesterday, Ad Limina Unlimited: Part 1.  If there is any confusion in the intent of BCI from that post, allow us to apologize and clarify it today.

This comment from “BetterthanNothing” particularly surprised us:

Yes, Cardinal O’Malley told us only a little bit of his trip from Rome. Yes, he could haves mentioned more. But for fairness purposes, I bet he shared much more than most of the other bishops in Region 1. Weren’t there about 15 or so bishops on that trip? How many wrote anything publicly?

Comparing them to Region 2 bishops which was after the USCCB meetings and in a slower time, relatively speaking, is a little unfair. Comparing to 1 or 2 bishops and not demonstrating that he did less is not bery fair The least you should write is that he said more than everyone or nearly everyone in his region and more than (roughly) 27 of 30 of bishops thus far.

And comparing O’Malley to Hubbard in a negative way is shocking! Would you prefer Hubbard here in Boston?

Please keep context in mind, both in terms of OMalley at least writing more than most and being an above average bishop. Yes, he is not Chaput, Burke, Dolan or several others, but he is no Hubbard either. Let’s thank God for THAT!

Here is the response from BCI:

BetterThanNothing, You seem to have almost totally misunderstood the purpose of this post and our message. If that is BCI wording, then we accept and apologize for that, but we do not see in our post what you are interpreting.

BCI did NOT say or imply we wanted Bishop Hubbard here in Boston, nor did we compare Cardinal O’Malley to him. For the record, BCI would NOT want Bishop Hubbard here in Boston (so we agree on that!). We said, BCI is not necessarily a fan of the Albany diocese or the leadership there. “They have many problems themselves, so Albany is not put forward here as a “model” diocese. BCI is merely sharing excerpts from their report, as some of the details are clearly applicable to Boston.” What in the world makes you say BCI compared O’Malley to Hubbard in a negative way? All we said is that Hubbard gave more details in his report. That is factual and objective information. Anyone can look at the two reports and see that.

As for the 12 other bishops on the trip, 5 of them are Boston auxiliaries–it would be highly inappropriate and out-of-line for an auxiliary bishop to communicate the results of the ad limina when their Cardinal archbishop is the one blogging and is the ordinary for the archdiocese. 2 are from Manchester (incoming and emeritus) so it is not surprising that nothing was said there. None of the other bishops on the Region 1 ad limina visit blog.

Bishop Tobin of Rhode Island did communicate before he left a summary of their diocesan status in areas including Child Protection, Vocations to the Priesthood, Evangelization, Human Life Guild, Catholic Education. That is here: http://www.thericatholic.com/news/detail.html?sub_id=4460 Even in 300 words, Bishop Tobin communicated more about his report on the state-of-the-diocese than Cardinal O’Malley communicated in two lengthy photo-packed blog posts.

Cardinal O’Malley has been Archbishop of Boston for eight and half years, and if he remains here until he is 75, then we have another eight years ahead. When exactly is he going to share something about how he sees the current state of the diocese and his vision for the path ahead? What we mostly hear is that we are compliant with the child protection guidelines and in financially better shape than when he got here. Are we going to go sixteen years without a leader who can tell us where he thinks we are today and where he would like to see us go? C’mon!

This archdiocese took hundreds of hours to prepare a report of hundreds of pages in length for the ad limina visit. Is it too much to ask that somebody of the 20+ people at 66 Brooks making $100K+ in salary and benefits spend a few hours and distill the highpoints down into a “state of the diocese” report that could be shared with Catholic faithful?

BCI is not impressed by the average bishop. So, comparing Cardinal O’Malley to the “average bishop” is not of interest to us. The stakes in Boston are also a lot higher than in other parts of the country, and the impact of what happens in Boston has ripple effects elsewhere in the country and world. So, Boston needs an outstanding leader, not just someone who is above average.

We could go on and on about this.  In the beginning of 2011, Cardinal Wuerl of Washington, DC (of whom BCI is also not a great fan) published a 1900-word letter on the “state of the church” in the Washington DC Archdiocese.  It begins:
“At the beginning of the New Year, the question was raised a number of times by reporters: “How would you describe the state of the Church in our country, in the archdiocese?”  On the whole, I think a fair answer is “Good — but it could always be better.”   More…
BCI has been tempted to write one, but we have been hoping and praying that the Archbishop of Boston and his staff would do this instead–not for us, but for the greater good of the archdiocese.  BCI has contemplated writing a “best and worst of 2011,” but unfortunately, the list of the “best” is fairly short and the list of the “worst” is fairly long and would paint a harsh picture of public deception after deception and multiple violations of trust, starting in January and running throughout the year.
Will the Archbishop of Boston share his own view of the state of the archdiocese and vision for the future?  Should BCI write our own version to make up for the leadership vacuum?  Should BCI publish the lengthy list of the best and worst, in the hopes that the archdiocese will better realize how the ongoing pattern of deception is breaking trust with Catholic faithful? (If anyone from the RCAB has an opinion on this latest one, please drop us a line).  Will the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston finally step and lead, now that he’s half-way through what could be a 16-year tenure in Boston?  Or will we keep spinning and languish with business as usual another eight years until 2020 when he reaches 75-years-old and must submit his resignation?
What do you think?

Ad Limina Unlimited: Part 1

December 29, 2011

Last month we shared the reporting by Cardinal O’Malley on the Boston Archdiocese “ad limina” visit to the Vatican to review the state of the diocese.  We called our post Ad Limina Limited Edition in part because desite the lengthy blog posts by Cardinal O’Malley about the overall time in Rome and experience, in the end he gave us mostly a travel diary and conveyed remarkably little of what was actually discussed. As feedback to him, people would like to hear more publicly about his assessment of the state of the diocese, and what feedback or input was given by the Holy Father or other congregations.

Given this information void, BCI thought readers would find it interesting to read what the Bishop of the Diocese of Albany had to say about his “ad limina” visit to Rome.  BCI is not a fan of that diocese or the leadership there. They have many problems themselves, so Albany is not put forward here as a “model” diocese. BCI is merely sharing excerpts from their report, as some of the details are clearly applicable to Boston.  Here is the entirety of one post, and excerpts below. Where a sentence or passage of text is bolded, that is emphasis placed by BCI.

Office visits Following Mass, we began a round of visits to the various Vatican offices. Our first encounter was with the Congregation for Bishops, located on the Via della Conciliazione immediately facing St. Peter’s Basilica. This Congregation is under the jurisdiction of Cardinal Marc Ouellet, formerly the Archbishop of Quebec, Canada.
We were greeted for our meeting by Msgr. Thomas Powers, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut, now on the staff of the Congregation.

Cardinal Ouellet introduced our meeting by expressing his delight at the recent study conducted by Rev. Stephen Rossetti of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., which revealed that 92 percent of priests in the United States are happy with their ministry and would choose their vocation again if they had their life to live over.
Interestingly, Time magazine lists priests as the group among a wide variety of occupations whose members rate the highest in job satisfaction.

The cardinal emphasized the importance of the bishop giving priority attention to his priests through personal interaction, retreats, days of recollection and priesthood convocations. [emphasis by BCI]

It was noted by the bishops of our delegation that most priests individually report they are happy and fulfilled in their ministry. However, most believe that the morale of others within their presbyterate is considerably lower.

This is something we bishops must be most attentive to, because if priests are unhappy, the entire Church suffers. Furthermore, priests are the primary role models for priestly vocations, and if their morale does not appear upbeat, it has a negative impact on promoting vocations to the ordained priesthood.
NYC seminaries Archbishop Dolan of New York, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre reported how their three dioceses just completed a study which will combine their three seminaries into a unified system, with all college seminarians studying at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Brooklyn and all theology students at my alma mater for philosophy, St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers. The seminary for Rockville Centre will become a center for ongoing clergy education.

Anti-bishop issue In citing the challenges we face, some bishops mention an anti-bishop mentality which is quite prevalent in the United States. Those on the far right believe bishops are too tentative in the exercise of authority and those on the left believe them to be bullies. There is also a growing congregationalism, wherein parishioners fail to appreciate the relationship of their parish to the diocese and to the Church universal.

Listening to these observations, Cardinal Ouellet opined that we bishops must suffer the extremes. He stated the challenge is not so much personal as structural.

He noted, as well, that the response of bishops to the clergy abuse issue has undermined episcopal authority. Unfortunately, while the story of cover-up or lack of transparency is well documented, the measures we bishops have taken to address the problem since our 2002 meeting in Dallas – background checks of all clergy, religious and laity working with youth; safe environment training, signed codes of conduct; and reporting of all allegations to civil authorities – are far less known and appreciated. It will take much more time for healing, outreach to victims and accountability to our people before this trust is restored.

On parish closings Our next visit was to the Congregation for the Clergy, where Cardinal Mauro Piacenza serves as the prefect. Strange as it may seem, the Congregation for the Clergy is the first Court of Appeal when a parish is closed, merged or reconfigured.

The cardinal stated that his Congregation, along with the Congregation for Bishops, will soon be publishing a study on the restructuring of parishes. He underscored how there must be extensive consultation with parishioners to be affected, and with the Presbyteral Council, before any decisions can be made.

Cardinal Piacenza also emphasized that the assets of the closed parish must remain within the local community, and, if a parish or school are converted to other uses, insofar as is possible, they should be made available for social or charitable purposes.

This discussion was of great interest to the bishops present, because six of our seven dioceses in New York State are or will be involved extensively in making difficult decisions through the process of pastoral planning.
Cardinal Piacenza indicated that his Congregation is preparing another instruction on the merger of parishes, highlighting the role that the ordained priest must play in whatever reconfiguration takes place.

Women religious Our next visit was at the Congregation for Religious and Institutes of Consecrated Life. Most of our discussion at this meeting dealt with the Vatican visitation of women religious in the United States. This has been an immense undertaking, trying to assess the reality of nearly 60,000 women religious living the apostolic life.
Archbishop Joseph Tobin, a member of the Redemptorist community, explained that the visitation has taken place in four phases…

Archbishop Tobin, undersecretary for the Congregation and its prefect, Archbishop Joao Braz de Aviz from Brazil, who is seen by some as the next pope, have only recently been appointed to the Congregation and were not involved in planning for or conducting the visitation. However, I believe Archbishop Tobin – as an American and a former provincial in the Redemptorist community – has a firm grasp on the enormous contributions women religious have made to the Church in the United States in the areas of education, faith formation, health care, human services and spiritual development.

I am confident he will present a report that reflects this tremendous ministry and guides communities of women religious to a manner of apostolic service that addresses well contemporary realities.

Family life Our final visit of the day was to the Pontifical Council for Families headed by Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, the former Archbishop of Florence. The cardinal was most amiable and energetic. He acknowledged the many strains marriage and family are undergoing throughout the world, especially in the West.

Cardinal Antonelli reminded us that this was the 30th anniversary of the pastoral letter “Familaris Consortio” (on the role of the Christian family), which Pope John Paul II issued as a post-synod instruction following the 1980 Synod of the Family.

The cardinal explained the hope that a renewed effort to recapture the vision of this document – coupled with a worldwide celebration of the family to be held in Milan, Italy, from May 30-June 3, at which Pope Benedict and more than 800,000 people are expected to participate, attending workshops, conferences and liturgies – will spark a deeper appreciation of the universal heritage of the family and enrich the call family members have to holiness and to witness both to the possibility of intact marriages and to the joy of the family as a community of life and love.

This morning, we have a formal audience with His Holiness Pope Benedict. Although there will be 15 ad limina visits, the Holy Father will only give the address to five of these groups. These five addresses taken together will constitute his pastoral message to the bishops and people of the United States. …

In his address, Pope Benedict noted that our ad limina meetings are the first since his 2008 pastoral visit to the United States, which was intended to encourage the Catholics of America in the wake of the scandal and disorientation caused by the sexual abuse crisis of recent decades.

Benedict speaks The Holy Father stated that he wished to acknowledge personally the suffering inflicted on the victims of sexual abuse and their families and the honest efforts being made by dioceses both to ensure the safety of our children and to deal appropriately and transparently with allegations as they arise.

He expressed his hope that the Church’s conscientious efforts to confront this reality will help the broader community to recognize the causes, true extent and devastating consequences of sexual abuse, and to respond effectively to this scourge which affects every level of society.

By the same token, he stated that just as the Church is rightly held to exacting standards in this regard, all other institutions, without exception, should be held to the same standards.

The Pope underscored that a second, equally important purpose of his 2008 pastoral visit to the United States was to summon the Church in America to recognize, in light of a dramatically changing social and religious landscape, the urgency and demands of a new evangelization.

In continuity with this aim, he indicated that in the coming months, he will be presenting a number of reflections which he hopes we bishops will find helpful for the discernment we are called to make in our task of leading the Church into the future which Christ is opening up for us.

While the pope stated that many of us have shared with him our concern about the grave challenges to a consistent Christian witness presented by an increasingly secularized society, he considers it significant that there is also an increased sense of concern on the part of many men and women, whatever their religious or political views, for the future of our democratic societies.

They see a troubling breakdown in the intellectual, cultural and moral foundations of social life, and a growing sense of dislocation and insecurity, especially among the young, in the face of wide-ranging societal changes.

Church as prophet Despite attempts to still the Church’s voice in the public square, Pope Benedict said that many people of good will continue to look to the Church for wisdom, insight and sound guidance in meeting this far-reaching crisis.

Thus, he opines, the present moment can be seen, in positive terms, as a summons to exercise the prophetic dimension of our episcopal ministry by speaking out, humbly yet insistently, in defense of moral truth, and offering a word of hope, capable of opening hearts and minds to the truth that sets us free.

At the same time, the obstacles to Christian faith and practice raised by a secularized culture cannot be underestimated, because they affect the lives of believers, leading at times to a “quiet attrition” from the Church.

Immersed in this culture, believers are daily beset by the objections, the troubling questions and the cynicism of a society which seems to have lost its roots, by a world in which the love of God has grown cold in so many hearts.
Hence, the pope insists that evangelization be not simply a task to be undertaken ad extra (to others); we ourselves are the first to need re-evangelization.

As with all spiritual crises, whether of individuals or communities, the Pope states, the ultimate answer can only be born of a searching, critical and ongoing self-assessment and conversion in the light of Christ’s truth. Only through such interior renewal will we be able to discern and meet the spiritual needs of our age with the ageless truth of the Gospel.

Applauding progress At this point in his address, Benedict expressed his appreciation for the real progress which the American bishops have made, individually and as a Conference, in responding to these issues and in working together to articulate a common pastoral vision – the fruits of which can be seen, for example, in our recent documents on faithful citizenship and on the institution of marriage.

The Pope also noted that tomorrow, the first Sunday of Advent, the Church in the United States will be implementing the revised translation of the Roman Missal. He expressed his hope that this new translation will inspire an ongoing catechesis which emphasizes the true nature of the liturgy and, above all, the unique value of Christ’s saving sacrifice for the redemption of the world.

He pointed out that a weakened sense of the meaning and importance of Christian worship can only lead to a weakened sense of the specific and essential vocation of the laity to imbue the temporal order with the spirit of the Gospel.
In the final analysis, the Pope stated that the renewal of the Church’s witness to the Gospel in the United States is essentially linked to the recovery of a shared vision and sense of mission by the entire Catholic community. He raised, in particular, the importance of Catholic universities and the signs of a renewed sense of their ecclesial mission, as attested to by the discussions marking the 10th anniversary of the Apostolic Constitution “Ex Corde Ecclesiae” (“From the Heart of the Church,” Blessed Pope John Paul II’s document on Catholic higher education), and such initiatives as the symposium recently held at Catholic University of America on the intellectual tasks of the new evangelization.
Young people, the Pope offered, have a right to hear clearly the Church’s teaching and, most importantly, to be inspired by the coherence and beauty of the Christian message, so that they in turn can instill in their peers a deep love of Christ and His Church.

Message to all Finally, the Pope with great affection commended us and the clergy, religious and lay faithful of our dioceses to the intercession of Mary Immaculate, patroness of the United States. And he imparted to us and to all whom we represent his apostolic blessing as a pledge of wisdom, strength and peace in the Lord

The full text of the address by Pope Benedict XVI can be found here.

Much more was reported in two more blog posts about meetings with the Congregation for Catholic Education, Apostolic Signatura, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and others.  We will excerpt those in another post.

Our message to Cardinal O’Malley and Msgr. Deeley is that many people–priests and laity alike–would really like to know our Cardinal is actively engaged in leadership and governance of the diocese. The occasion of the ad limina was and still is a great opportunity for the Archbishop of Boston to share his perspective on the state of the diocese with the faithful. Instead, in his posts, Beginning the Ad Limina, Together with the Holy Father, we mostly got another photo diary. As the late Clara Peller used to say in the old Wendy’s commercials, people in Boston are left wondering, “Where’s the beef?”


Ad Limina Limited Edition

November 19, 2011

The pace of decay and turmoil in the Boston Archdiocese is such that BCI is still struggling to keep up.  Today alone we have the hit job in the Boston Globe  over The Boston Pilot being too “conservative,” while spokesman Terry Donilon remained conspicuously silent. (Has anyone else noticed the pattern of how Terry consistently fails to publicly defend people who support the teachings of the Catholic Church, but when someone opposed to the teachings of the church has a gripe, Terry usually rushes to support them publicly?)   Then there is also word from St. Francis of Assisi Church in Cambridge about a contentious meeting that took place this past week, where the likely closing of the church was announced. Parishioners will be hearing about a change in Mass schedule this weekend, but there is more coming. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, BCI wanted to share with you a post from Cardinal O’Malley’s blog, where he reported on the recent “ad limina” visit to Rome.  This was one of the more substantial blog posts by the Cardinal and below are excerpts from his blog.  Readers will note in his post that in some situations, he shared the general topic of was discussed with the dicastery visited, and in other cases, (such as the Congregation for Bishops and Apostolic Signatura) he only mentioned that the visit occurred.  That is of course because the discussions were private, and in some cases pertinent to governance (or lack thereof) of the Boston Archdiocese.

BCI would like to see the Cardinal give to Catholics some sort of “state of the diocese” report as he sees it, similar to what other bishops have done for their dioceses. We have been waiting for one for a while, and if none is issued soon, BCI will post our own version.No

Now without further ado, below is our “limited edition” excerpted from the post from Cardinal Sean’s blog:

As I mentioned in my last post, last Thursday the bishops of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference Region 1, which is made up of the six New England states, began our ad limina visit to the Holy See. Throughout the coming months, bishops from the other 14 U.S. regions will also make their ad limina visits.

It’s the practice in the Church that every five years each diocesan bishop, together with his auxiliaries, goes to visit the Holy Father, to make a report of the diocese and to pray at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul. It is also a time when the bishops visit the various dicasteries, that is the departments, which make up the Roman Curia.

It’s always a very beautiful occasion, an opportunity for the bishops to reflect on our ministry, to pray together, to be with the Holy Father and to reconnect with the catholicity of the Church and our history, which is the history of the Apostles, the history of the Roman martyrs.

It’s also a wonderful opportunity of fraternity with all the bishops of the region. It provides us with time to pray and talk about the Church in our dioceses of New England. It also is an opportunity for us to visit our priests that are in Rome and the seminarians who are at the North American College.

Because most the events of the ad limina are private meetings or liturgies, I understand there was very little detail of the visit even in the Catholic press, let alone the secular media. So, in this post I’ll do my best to recount our activities for you. As you will see, it was a very full week.

- – -

As I told you last week, our ad limina visit began last Thursday with some preliminary meetings and Masses at St. Peter’s Basilica for deceased bishops and cardinals and at the North American College.

The highlight of the Ad Limina visit is, of course, the meeting with the Holy Father, and the Masses that we celebrate at the tomb of St. Peter, the tomb of St. Paul and the other basilicas. I always find it to be a very moving experience.

This year the Ad Limina visit started very quickly because almost immediately after arriving, on Friday, we had the Mass at the tomb of St. Peter, at which I was the principal celebrant and homilist, as well as the visit with the Holy Father.

In addition to the auxiliary bishops, I was very happy to be able to bring several of our Boston priests and seminarians who were in Rome to meet the Holy Father. With us were Msgr. Connie McRae, who now works in Rome; Father Richard Erikson, who is on sabbatical; my priest secretary Father Jonathan Gaspar; the rector of the cathedral, Father Kevin O’Leary; and two of our seminarians from the North American College, Deacon Eric Bennett and Tom MacDonald.

Those who have met him know the Holy Father is an extremely gracious and warm man. He could not have been more kind or more welcoming to the bishops, the priests and the seminarians who were with us. He greeted them and gave each one a rosary. Then, I and my auxiliaries went in for our meeting with the Pope Benedict.

We had a very good conversation with the Holy Father, in which updated him on the status of the archdiocese. The Holy Father was particularly interested in the programs of evangelization and outreach as well as the situation of the seminary and the Catholic universities within the archdiocese.

Later that day we met with officials from the Pontifical Council for the Laity, where Cardinal Stanislaus Rylko spoke to us about the World Youth Days and the ecclesial communities. We had a very good discussion about the various lay movements as well as campus ministry.

Afterwards, we went to the Pontifical Council for the Family, of which I am a member. There, we had an opportunity to talk about the Church’s ministry to married couples, preparation for marriage and all of the life issues that are a part of the competence of the Council.

Finally, we met with the Congregation of Bishops, which is headed by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, formerly of Quebec.

- – -

On Saturday afternoon we had Mass at the Church of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

On Sunday morning I celebrated the Mass at Casa Santa Maria, the residence for American priests studying in Rome. Msgr. Francis Kelley is the rector; and Msgr. McCrae, who was with us for the meeting with the Holy Father, is the spiritual director.

That afternoon I was pleased to be able to meet the new Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò. I did not know him before, and it was a chance for us to talk about the Church in the United States and his new mission here.

We look forward to Archbishop Viganò’s arrival in Washington. He will be present with us for our bishops’ meeting next week in Baltimore, and we pray that the Lord will bless his mission as Nuncio to the United States.

- – -

Monday morning through midday was occupied with meetings with the Congregation for Clergy, the Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Assistance to Healthcare Workers.

In the afternoon we had Mass at another of the Papal Basilicas of Rome, St. Mary Major.

- – -

Again on Tuesday we met with several dicasteries for much of the day. This time with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.

In the late afternoon, we had Mass at the last of the four Papal Basilicas, St. John Lateran.

That evening, the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, Miguel Diaz, and his wife, Marian, hosted a reception in honor of our visit.

The bishops of Region 1 and some of our guests were with us. I knew Miguel from my time in Palm Beach. He and his wife are both theologians; and he was teaching in the seminary and his wife was involved in evangelization programs for the Diocese of Palm Beach. During his remarks, he said that I had been the boss of both of them!

He also said how important the diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See are. It is an opportunity to foster better communication between the Holy See and our government. In my remarks I added that that his “former boss” is very proud of the fact that two of his recent predecessors as Ambassadors to the Holy See have been Bostonians – Ambassador Raymond Flynn and Ambassador MaryAnn Glendon.

- – -

On Wednesday, the last day of our visit, we began the day with an early morning Mass at the Altar of the Tomb of Blessed John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica. Bishop Thomas Tobin of Providence was the principal celebrant and homilist.

In his homily, Bishop Tobin spoke about his personal encounters with Pope John Paul and the significance they had for him.

After the Mass, which was about 9 a.m., we met with the Apostolic Signatura, which is the high court of the Vatican, something akin to our Supreme Court.

From there, we went to our last meeting of the ad limina visit, which was with a brand new dicastery, the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. The Holy Father established it about a year ago and we are told that Father Luigi Giussani, the founder of Communion and Liberation, was one of those who had suggested that such a dicastery be founded.

It was very interesting to learn more about this new dicastery, headed by Archbishop Rino Fisichella. They hope to organize city-wide missions in many of the large metropolitan areas of Europe as a preparation for the Synod on the New Evangelization to be held next year. However, they are waiting for the Synod itself to take place and for the post-synodal document to really set the course for that new dicastery.

It was a very hopeful encounter and we could see that there was a great deal of energy there. All the bishops were very pleased to see the progress in the establishment of this new dicastery and I am very hopeful that it will be able to help people to understand, and to become involved in, the new evangelization.

Finally, on Wednesday evening, we were invited to a parting reception at Villa Stritch, the residence for American priests working in the Roman Curia. It was a very nice evening.

- – -

On Thursday, a week from when we arrived, we departed again for home.

In all, it was an inspiring week. The liturgies were very beautiful and we were grateful to have had several of our priests who were in Rome join us for some of the Masses. In addition to those already mentioned, they included Fathers Jim O’Driscoll, Steve Madden, Jim Flavin, John Kiley and Doc Conway. Some were on sabbatical or retreat; others were in Rome as part of other travels.

We are also grateful that the seminarians and the young priests who are studying at the North American College and the Casa Santa Maria were a part of those Masses, including our own deacon, Deacon Eric Bennett and a deacon from Providence, Deacon Ryan Connors. The seminarians served at the Masses and assisted with the music and the readings.

It was uplifting to be able to hear our other bishops preach. Bishop Lori, Bishop Tobin, Archbishop Mansell and Bishop Malone all gave very inspiring reflections for us. It was a beautiful and intense moment of prayer. Throughout the visit, all of us were praying especially for our priests, religious, deacons and people back home. We see our visit to the Holy See as representing our people in this moment of prayer and reflection at the heart of the Church in Rome.

Until next week,

Cardinal Seán


Penn State and the Boston Archdiocese

November 13, 2011

The sexual abuse scandal at Penn State has dominated headlines this past week, and an AP articlepicked up by newspapers across the country drew parallels between what happened at Penn State and what hapened in the Boston Archdiocese. BCI sees further parallels with how the “protect the institution” mindset has contributed to the deception and governance problems we have been chronicling for more than a year, and we are continuing the “Vatican S.O.S. – Ask for Stronger Episcopal Leadership in Boston” effort described in our last post.

As far as the comparison between the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State and the same in the Boston Archdiocese, the AP article refers to the failure in both situations of officials to notify police and parents, the consequences of administrators resigning (Cardinal Law) or being fired (Joe Paterno and the President of Penn State), and the failure of respected leaders to take swift action to protect children.

“The sort of instinct to protect the institution is very similar. And of course, in both cases, it backfires horribly. If your idea was to avoid a scandal, you sure failed,” said Phil Lawler, who wrote “The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture.”

In a recent Boston Herald column, Joe Fitzgerald cited a comment from the priest who is currently Assistant Vicar for Administration, Fr. Bryan Parrish.

At the height of the scandal in the Catholic Church, when Cardinal Law was featured in the role Joe Paterno now plays, a young priest named Bryan Parrish offered an interesting theory.

“I think part of this stems from the history of Irish Catholics in this part of the country, back to a time when protecting the institution was necessary,” he suggested. “That mindset of dealing with our problems internally has been perpetuated to this day, a ‘let’s keep it all in the house’ approach that led to a lack of openness.”

“Dealing with problems internally.” “Let’s keep it all in the house” approach. “Lack of openness.”  Sound familiar?

Today, instead of sexual abuse of children in the Boston Archdiocese, we have abuse of donor funds, deception, and failure to clearly teach the truths of the Catholic faith so as to save souls.

As we said in our most recent post, we are hoping that 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 so he will take action on them. What happens in Boston often affects the rest of the country, so this is a matter of concern well beyond Boston.

Since the concerns below have been raised for some time with no response by the Boston Archdiocese, we have drafted a letter/petition asking the Vatican to take whatever actions deemed appropriate to help address the concerns listed below.  If you agree with these concerns, click on the “Vatican S.O.S” graphic, fill in your name, and 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.

Below is a shortened version of the key points. The whole letter can be found when you click on the “S.O.S.” link:

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:

  1. Cardinal O’Malley publicly criticized pro-life Catholics in 2009 for their objections to a Caritas Christi hospital joint venture that required referring patients to abortion providers, saying the pro-life Catholics were “doing a disservice to the Church.”
  2. Cardinal O’Malley presided over the nationally-televised rite of Christian burial for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy which violated Catholic funeral rite guidelines, and he criticized pro-life Catholics who complained about his role in the public coronation of Kennedy, given his public policy support for abortion.
  3. 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 public fund-raising for pro-abortion political figures whose policies work against the pro-life mission of the Catholic Church.
  4. 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, conflicting statements by the archdiocese led to a national scandal and failed to teach the faithful about the path to salvation.
  5. 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.  The archdiocese spends $1 million annually on salaries and benefits to 3 late-career executives–including  $325K to the Catholic Schools Superintendent–and $2.7 million to just 10 lay executives.
  6. 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 put a plan in place that will provide for repayment of some $40 million due to the seminary.
  7. 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, and neither the Cardinal nor his spokespeople, ever publicly cautioned the protesters that missing regular weekly Sunday Mass places the salvation of their souls at risk.
  8. 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 had already been identified and no open search ever was intended or occurred.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Finance and Administration expenses for the 2011 fiscal year have increased to 36 % of the annual $28M Central Ministries operating budget, while  in the year  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 carry 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.

Faithful Catholics in Boston have brought these matters to the attention of the Cardinal and his staff through every means possible and there has been no visible action taken.  It is for that reason that we are providing a means for Catholics to share their concerns with the Vatican in the form of this “S.O.S.”

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.

Lastly, RealCatholicTV had a news roundup item about this campaign on Friday.  We thought you might find their news report to be of interest.  See below:


Vatican S.O.S. – Ask for Stronger Episcopal Leadership in Boston

November 9, 2011

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.


Cardinal O’Malley Prays for Courage

November 6, 2011

The “ad limina” visit to the Vatican by the northeastern regional bishops is off and running, and BCI finds it interesting and ironic that Cardinal O’Malley started things out by saying he hoped that being together at the tomb of Peter would renew him and his fellow bishops “in our generosity, courage and faith.”

Sounds good at first and BCI would encourage all of our readers to also pray for generosity, courage and faith for our bishops.  But BCI and our readers are wondering how that courage thing is going in recent years for Cardinal O’Malley, since a lot of faithful Catholics in Boston have been looking for more in that particular department.  As St. Anthony of Padua said, “Actions speak louder than words, let your words teach and your actions speak.”

Here is most of the CNS story reporting on this:

Bishops from northeastern US begin ‘ad limina’ visits with prayer

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Praying together at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul and meeting Pope Benedict XVI should be a moment for bishops to reconfirm and strengthen their faith, said Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston.

The cardinal was the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass Nov. 4 in the grotto of St. Peter’s Basilica in a chapel before the saint’s tomb.

In his homily, the cardinal told his fellow bishops that after Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, “Peter flees. He’s trying to follow the Lord at a safe distance, something we all try to do at one time or another. But Peter discovers it’s impossible; you can only follow the Lord up close.”

After the Resurrection, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him, because love is the measure of faith, the cardinal said.

“Jesus doesn’t ask Peter if he’s excelled in his intellectual prowess or his organization skills or his fundraising capacity or his Myers-Briggs score. Jesus only asks, ‘Do you love me?'” he said.

Cardinal O’Malley said love of the Lord was a prerequisite for Peter’s ministry and is a prerequisite for the ministry of bishops today.

Peter’s love for the Lord brought him to Rome, the cardinal said, but — according to legend — as persecution grew Peter decided to flee again. Leaving the city, he saw the risen Lord and asked him, “Quo vadis?” (“Where are you going?”), and Jesus replied he was going to Rome to be crucified again. Peter renewed his faith and returned to the city where he met a martyr’s death.

“Each of us has gone through a ‘quo vadis’ moment or two in our vocation as bishops,” the cardinal said. “Hopefully, our being together at the tomb of Peter and close to Benedict will renew us in our generosity, courage and faith in following Jesus up close so that we can say with all our hearts what Peter said, ‘Lord you know all things. You know that I love you.'”

If we bring this back to Boston for a moment, it is impossible to not observe that the words of Cardinal O’Malley a few days ago in Rome are not particularly well matched to his actual actions and leadership over recent years.  Perhaps it is that he has had a lot more than just one or two “quo vadis” moments.  When has our Cardinal Archbishop “fled” or not demonstrated courage?  Here are a few examples:
 
  1. Not forcing vigil protesters to leave the church buildings they have been occupying over the past seven years, at a cost of millions of dollars to the Catholic faithful–and never publicly stating the protesters who miss regular weekly Sunday Mass are placing the salvation of their souls at risk.
  2. Selling St. John’s Seminary land and buildings to Boston College, against the recommendation of the Vatican’s Apostolic Visitation committee which said no more land was to be sold.
  3. Failing to repay St. John’s Seminary for the land and buildings sold to Boston College and failing to put a plan in place that will provide for repayment
  4. Allowing 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 had already been identified and no open search ever was intended or occurred
  5. 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
  6. Continuing to pay millions in excessive six-figure salaries to lay archdiocesan executives (i.e. $325K to schools superintendent Mary Grassa O’Neill), when the standard paid by other diocese for these same roles is much lower than Boston is paying.
  7. Refusing to acknowledge that the Boston Archdiocese mistreated the Daughters of St. Paul when the Daughters tried to recover millions in pension contributions for their lay employees, and then denying that his intervention with the Superior General in Italy was related to the removal of the U.S. provincial leadership team.
  8. Presiding over the nationally-televised Ted Kennedy rite of Christian burial–including the three eulogies, politicized prayers of the faithful, and celebrity musicians–and criticizing pro-life Catholics who complained about his role in the public coronation of Kennedy.
  9. Continuing to allow Jack Connors to serve on the Finance Council and chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee, despite Connors a) being front-and-center in the deception over the search for the new Institutional Advancement Secretary, b) serving as Chair of Partners Healthcare, one of the largest abortion providers in Massachuetts and c) publicly creating scandal by raising money for pro-abortion political figures such as President Obama and Attorney General Martha Coakley
  10. Failing to clearly articulate Church teachings in the recent situation of St. Cecilia’s in Boston (where the pastor planned to celebrate a Mass commemorating Boston’s Gay Pride Month) and allowing a local and national scandal to erupt as a consequence.

It is good that the Cardinal is praying for more courage, and we would urge readers to join with him in that prayer!  At the same time, it is not clear to us if he understands and acknowledges his actions have often not been matched with his words and where he has fallen short so he can do better in the future.

This is just a quickly drafted list BCI came up with of ten areas where the Cardinal could have demonstrated stronger courage and faith, where faithful Catholics may have wanted to see him demonstrate greater courage. What else do you think we have missed?


Ad Limina Announcements

November 6, 2011

As BCI readers know, a contingent from Boston is in Rome for the quinquennial “ad limina” visit where they discuss the state of the Boston Archdiocese.  We see a few different stories about the visit in several different publications which talk about the visit, while offering no insights as to how Cardinal O’Malley is characterizing the actual situation and state of the Boston Archdiocese today. We suppose that leaves it to BCI and our readers to cover.

Here are three articles that give you a sense of what is going on.

Background on the Ad Limina

On Friday, Whispers in the Loggia offered the following commentary about the ad limina:

Seven years since the American hierarchy last made its required Quinquennial Visit to the Holy See, the bench’s first ad limina of B16’s pontificate began earlier today — three days ahead of schedule — as the Pope received 13 prelates of New England’s Region I in private audience.

While Benedict will meet with each of the bishops over the next week, this morning’s Apartment-bound group was led by the area’s top cleric, Boston’s Cardinal Séan O’Malley OFM Cap., joined by his five active auxiliaries.

BCI agrees with most of what was said above, except for the word “active” to describe all of the 5 Boston auxiliaries.  Yes they are all currently serving as auxiliary bishops; however, to call them all “active” could be subject to some dispute. (But we digress…)

Who is Attending

According to the Vatican Information Service, thirteen bishops from New England are there for the “ad limina.”:

VATICAN CITY, 4 NOV 2011 (VIS) – The Holy Father today received in audience thirteen prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their “ad limina” visit:

- Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley O.F.M. Cap. of Boston accompanied, by Auxiliary Bishops Walter James Edyvean, John Anthony Dooher, Robert Francis Hennessey, Arthur L. Kennedy, and Peter J. Uglietto.

In addition, Bishop Salvatore Ronald Matano of Burlington, Bishop George William Coleman of Fall River, Bishop Richard Joseph Malone of Portland, Bishop Timothy Anthony McDonnell of Springfield, Bishop Robert Joseph McManus of Worcester, Bishop Francis J. Christian, auxiliary of Manchester, accompanied by Bishop emeritus John B. McCormack.

Of noteworthiness is that Vicar General Msgr. Robert Deeley did not go.  Apparently, he is staying in Braintree trying to prevent the inmates from taking over the asylum. (Though based on comments from the diocesan spokesperson this past week, that strategy may not be working so well).

The Agenda

This article in The Boston Pilot gives highlights of what will be done during the visit:

The greatest amount of time is taken up with the spiritual side of the visit: celebration of Mass, prayer, and visiting the various offices of the Roman Curia, who daily assist the pope in the government of the universal Church. Among those offices that the New England Bishops are slated to visit between Nov. 3-9 are those that deal with bishops, clergy, education, liturgy or Divine Worship, and consecrated life.

The newest agency created by Pope Benedict himself, the Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, is also on the list. This council and its mandate are especially close to the pope’s own agenda; and as he gives a series of addresses to the bishops, there is wide speculation that this will be the unifying theme woven through the five or so talks the pope will deliver to the various groups of American bishops over the next several months.

Prior to their arrival in Rome the diocesan bishops were asked for a report on the condition of their respective dioceses. These reports are usually due to Rome about six months before the visit itself. They are called “quinquennial” reports because traditionally they had to be submitted every five years. This time frame allows the report to be separated into sections and distributed to the offices of the curia that would be responsible for its particular activities. For example, the report on Catholic Education with its statistics and narrative section would be given to the Congregation for Catholic Education; the bishops will meet there on Nov. 7.

This is not a case of the central office checking up on the local branches. Rather as the reports are compiled, they can be seen as a kind of self evaluation of the diocesan bishop’s ministry and also of the diocese itself.

The bishop likely involves many of his staff and diocesan officials in the compilation of the report, so it can also help the various offices see how effectively they are performing their tasks and assisting the bishop.

In our next post, later today, we will update you on what Cardinal Sean O’Malley has said publicly so far during his time in Rome for the visit.

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