Boston Archdiocese Search Firm Looking for Schools Superintendent in the Wrong Place

March 28, 2014

A number of readers have asked us to share a bit about what is happening in the Archdiocese of Boston’s search for the new Superintendent of Schools.   As you may recall, Mary Grassa O’Neill stepped down from the position last summer.  She went back to Harvard.  At that time, the archdiocese said: “A process will be implemented for the selection of a new Secretary for Education/Superintendent and further announcements will be made regarding an interim appointment for this position.”  Now we find that the search firm retained by the Boston Archdiocese is advertising to fill the role in none other than the National Catholic Reporter, a publication known for professing views that are against Catholic Church teachings.rcab_superintendent of schools

The search is being run by Bellwether Education, and the position description can be found here.  The first responsibility listed is: “Strengthening the Catholic identity and the quality of religious education in the schools.”  That is great!  (though other aspects of the job description raise questions for us).  So,if they want to strengthen Catholic identity in the schools, it is exactly why the search firm would be advertising in a publication read by people who like to read a paper condemned by the local bishop last year, who admonished that it should not advertise itself as a “Catholic” publication:  

In a column appearing in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Finn notes that he, as the bishop of the diocese in which the Reporter is located, has the duty to “call the media to fidelity.” He cites the Code of Canon Law, which (in #1369) calls for “a just penalty” for anyone who “excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church.”

The National Catholic Reporter, Bishop Finn remarks, has taken an editorial stance that puts the publication at odds with the Church, by “officially condemning Church teaching on the ordination of women, insistent undermining of Church teaching on artificial contraception and sexual morality in general, lionizing dissident theologies while rejecting established Magisterial teaching, and a litany of other issues.” He reveals that he has received numerous complaints about the Reporter’s editorial policies.

One might reasonably ask, who from the Boston Archdiocese is leading the search?  Who is on the search committee, and who is leading the search?  Is it someone such as Sr. Janet Eisner (again) or Fr. Bryan Hehir? Why must an outside search firm have been engaged–at a cost of typically 20-25% of the annual salary for the position–which will probably amount to some $40-50K?  Is the Boston Archdiocese aware that the search firm they have engaged is advertising in a newspaper known for dissent from Catholic Church teaching?  What do they plan to do about that?  Is the search firm also advertising in the National Catholic Register and other pubs known for Catholic orthodoxy? Will it be made a requirement for the job that the person not only be a “practicing Catholic” but that they also accept and support all of the teachings of the Catholic Church?

Authentic Catholic education is very important, and it is extremely important that the Boston Archdiocese gets the right candidate for this role, who enthusiastically embraces and supports all of the teachings of the Catholic Church.  If you have a moment, drop an email to the new Vicar General, Bishop Uglietto (vicar_general@rcab.org) and let him know you would like for a leader of Catholic Schools who supports all Catholic Church teachings, and ask him the questions above while you are at it.


Cardinal O’Malley has baptism “reaffirmed” by Methodist minister

January 15, 2014

This past Sunday, Cardinal O’Malley preached at a Methodist church in Sudbury.  This Boston Globe article gives many of the details, making it seem like a glamorous event.  What the Globe neglected to mention was that Cardinal O’Malley proactively asked the female Methodist minister to “reaffirm” his baptism with an “anointing” at the Protestant church.

During a special ecumenical worship service in Sudbury, Cardinal Sean O’Malley asked the Rev. Anne Robertson of Plymouth to administer a baptism reaffirmation ritual to him. (George Martell/Pilot New Media)

As RORATE CÆLI observed, the Patriot-Ledger, reported on the female Methodist minister’s “completely unexpected” request from the cardinal here:

“What moved me was not so much that I was anointing him,” she said. “It was him being willing to accept that from my hand – to ask me, as a woman in ministry, to do that.”
A Rhode Island native, the Rev. [Anne] Robertson was the only female clergy member who assisted at a special 50th anniversary worship service at Sudbury United Methodist Church….
As part of Sunday’s anniversary service, the 500 who filled Sudbury United Methodist to overflowing were invited to receive a drop of consecrated water on their forehead and be told, “Remember your baptism and be thankful.” The ritual resembles the ceremonial receiving of ashes on Ash Wednesday, but isn’t a formal United Methodist sacrament.
Cardinal O’Malley and New England United Methodist Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar led the ritual in the sanctuary. The Rev. Robertson and a Catholic priest were on their way with small bowls of water to a side room, for others watching the service on a large-screen TV.
She paused with the priest at the cardinal’s pew, so they could receive the baptism water from Cardinal O’Malley. The next moment, the cardinal quietly asked the Rev. Robertson to administer the water for him.
“My heart immediately went to my throat,” she said. “To be asked that by the man who might be pope someday – I was stunned. I was choking back tears for hours.”

RORATE CÆLI as well as BCI were stunned as well.


Call for removal of Boston pastor who put gay couples at parity with Holy Family

January 8, 2014

As news spreads of the Norwood, MA pastor who preached and published a letter in his bulletin putting homosexual couples on par with the Holy Family and saying we should admire the virtues of same-sex-parent families, calls are growing for the removal of the pastor.  Watch the first 4 minutes of this video from ChurchMilitant.tv

This message was published and preached by pastor, Msgr. Paul Garrity, at all of the Sunday Masses to adults and children alike:

It is very easy to forget that Mary would have been an unwed mother were it not for Joseph. It is also easy to forget that Joseph was not the natural father of Jesus but became his foster father and protector, along with his new bride Mary. And the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus should fill us all with a deep respect and empathy for the poor and unwed mothers of our day. Taken all together, the first family of Christianity reminds us that there is no such thing as normal. Every family is different and this means that we need to broaden our understanding of family life beyond TV sitcoms and applaud the virtues of family living wherever we find them: two parent families, single parent families, blended families, families with two mommies or two daddies and adoptive families.  What is most important is that we continually hold up the family as the instrument that God has chosen to communicate God’s unconditional love to the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society.

Here are a few of the comments by Michael Voris at ChurchMilitant.tv about this scandalous situation and specifically Msgr. Garrity:

How is this man still in a Roman collar and being allowed to present himself as a priest? It is beyond disgraceful. For him to say that the evil of children being raised in a same-sex household should be accepted by Catholics is disgusting.

Why or why, when or when is this constant pandering to the sin of Sodom on the part of of so many clergy going to end? You cannot look at the situation and conclude anything other than this priest has no supernatural faith.

To even think that the Holy Family, the incarnation, the Immaculate Conception and St Joseph could in any way be compared to a homosexual couple sodomizing each other with children around says all you need to know about the state of his faith.

St. John of the 4th Gospel, St. John, beloved apostle would not even stay in the same building as the heretic Cerinthus. St. John went into the public baths one day and learned by chance in a discussion that Cerinthus was in the same building—he immediately got up and left, and publicly and loudly denounced Cerinthus on the way out.  That’s how heretics should be treated. Heresy must be attached and called out.  Those who preach it certainly should not be allowed to wear Roman collars

Wasn’t there enough physical child abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston that we now have to tolerate spiritual child abuse by having priests say they can be raised in these evil situations?

The long night of corruption in the Church is nowhere near the end. It has been institutionalized. And you have to get mad about it!

We are asking all readers to get madder than hell about this.  Even if you have already contacted Aux. Bishop Edyvean or the Vicar General’s office about this, we need you to take an additional step. Forward this blog post today via email to Cardinal Sean O’Malley and the U.S. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and place two phone calls asking for action on this scandalous situation and removal of the pastor:

Cardinal Sean O’Malley
archbishopsean_o’malley@rcab.org
617-782-2544

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
nuntiususa@nuntiususa.org
(202)333-7121

If no action is taken to protect and defend the Catholic faith by Cardinal O’Malley and the Boston Archdiocese by this weekend, we will have no choice but to encourage people to write to Pope Francis, the Congregation for Bishops and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


Bishop Deeley appointed Bishop of Diocese of Portland

December 18, 2013

From the Boston Pilot: Bishop Deeley appointed as the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Portland

PORTLAND—Pope Francis has appointed the Most Rev. Robert P. Deeley, J.C.D., Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Boston, as the 12th Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

The Holy Father’s appointment was announced on Wednesday, December 18, at 6 a.m. EST at the Vatican. The date of Bishop Deeley’s Installation Mass will be Friday, February 14, 2014, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland.

“As I prepare to serve the faithful of the Diocese of Portland as their new bishop and shepherd, I wish to offer my gratitude first to our Holy Father Pope Francis for entrusting me with this honor and responsibility and to Cardinal Seán O’Malley, who has taught me much of what it means to be a faithful shepherd through his word and example,” said Bishop Deeley in a statement. “Kindly pray for me and for all God’s holy people that we may be what the Lord calls us to be, the community of the Church showing forth the love that God has shown us in his Son, Jesus.”

Bishop Richard J. Malone, the current Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Portland, will hold a press conference this morning to introduce Bishop-Designate Deeley at the Diocese of Portland’s Chancery Office, located on 510 Ocean Avenue in Portland, starting at 10 a.m. Media members are encouraged to attend and are asked to arrive no earlier than 9:30 a.m.

The Most Rev. Robert P. Deeley, 67, was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Boston on January 4, 2013, at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. He has served as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Boston since September 1, 2011.

“We have known each other from the day we entered the seminary in September 1964,” said Bishop Malone. “While our educational journeys and ministerial assignments took us in different directions, our paths have intersected many times in these nearly 40 years we have known each other. And so it is that I can promise the people of our great Diocese of Portland that they will be pastored by a man who is, in St. Timothy’s words, truly ‘strong, loving and wise’ (2 Timothy 1:7). I know that our faithful people will welcome and collaborate with Bishop Deeley in the same spirit of warmth and openness that they showed to me in 2004 when Blessed John Paul II entrusted me with the pastoral leadership of the Diocese of Portland.”

“Pope Francis has blessed the clergy, religious and faithful of the Diocese of Portland by naming the Most Rev. Robert P. Deeley as their twelfth bishop,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston. “The Archdiocese of Boston will greatly miss Bishop Deeley’s leadership that follows from a deep love for the Church. In particular, guidance of Disciples in Mission, the Archdiocese’s pastoral planning initiative, has helped us to begin the process of planning for the future. The Bishop’s significant experience in the life and work of the universal Church will greatly assist the people he serves as they carry out the mission entrusted to them by Jesus Christ. Our prayerful congratulations are with Bishop Deeley as he goes forward to lead the Diocese of Portland.”

Born in Cambridge, MA, Bishop Deeley grew up in Belmont, MA, as the fourth in a family of five sons. His parents, Michael and Mary, now deceased, were born in County Galway, Ireland. His family belonged to Sacred Heart Parish in Watertown, MA, and Bishop Deeley attended Matignon High School in North Cambridge. Following high school, he entered Cardinal O’Connell Minor Seminary in Jamaica Plain to discern a vocation to the priesthood. After two years of college, he received a Theodore Basselin Foundation Scholarship and began philosophy studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., from which he graduated in 1968. In 1972, he earned a degree in Theology (S.T.B.) from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Following a year of continuing studies in theology, he returned to Boston and was ordained to the priesthood on July 14, 1973, at his home parish, Sacred Heart in Watertown.

His first local assignment was as associate pastor at St. Bartholomew parish in Needham. In 1978, with his appointment as Secretary to the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston, Bishop Deeley began a ministry on the Tribunal which would last for over twenty years, the last ten of which he served as Judicial Vicar (1989-1999). Throughout that period, apart from his years of graduate study in Rome in Canon Law, he lived at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton and St. Brigid Parish in Lexington where he was able to provide priestly presence and assistance. He was named a Prelate of Honor (Monsignor) on December 13, 1995.

Bishop Deeley was named pastor of St. Ann Parish in the Wollaston section of Quincy in 1999. He assumed the presidency of the Canon Law Society of America in 2000. He went to Rome in September 2004 to assist as an Official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Then, he served at the Congregation until being named Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia of the Archdiocese of Boston in the summer of 2011.

Additional materials will be provided at this morning’s press conference and will be available online at http://www.portlanddiocese.org leading up to the Installation Mass on February 14, the feast day of St. Cyril and St. Methodius. For those unable to attend today, a second release will be issued this afternoon including coverage of the press conference.

BCI congratulates Bishop Deeley on this appointment.  We had high hopes for him when he was initially appointed Vicar General of Boston. Some of those hopes were realized, but many were not. We have heard for some time that Bishop Deeley was  looking to have his own diocese, and we wish him much success with his new role and responsibilities.  It will be interesting to see who is appointed as his replacement. That person will play a very key role in the implementation of the DIM pastoral plan (Disciples in Mission).


Outlook for Boston Pastoral Plan, DIM

December 12, 2013

The more we see and hear of the implementation of the Boston pastoral plan, Disciples in Mission, the more we conclude the acronym for the plan, DIM, is a good way to describe the outlook for the plan.  One example of the problems are expressed in a guest column in a local paper, “Catholic church ‘collaborative’ plan shrouded in hypocrisy” written by a parish volunteer at St. Mary’s of the Assumption in East Walpole. Here are excerpts:

Guest column: Catholic church ‘collaborative’ plan shrouded in hypocrisy
WALPOLE —Christ’s message of love, respect and service to others seems to be missing from the Boston Archdiocese’s pastoral plan called “Disciples in Mission.” The ouster of the parish priests from their current assignments as part of this plan is the latest in a string of deceptive acts created by the hierarchy and imposed on the parish priests and their congregations. The plan is designed to keep churches “open” so that the money continues to flow in, but fails to address the priest shortage in any meaningful way, while inflicting pain on the parish priests and parishioners.

In gratitude for years of service, parish priests were asked to tender their “resignations” earlier this month. In the work world, requesting a resignation means the termination of employment. Requesting the resignation of priests who have taken a vow of obedience and know they can be reassigned at any time shows a complete lack of respect for these men.

At St. Mary’s of the Assumption parish in East Walpole on Oct. 20, when questioned about the need for resignations and the pain inflicted on the parish priests by this plan, Fr. Paul Soper’s response was that he went to the chapel and cried. How similar to Peter’s weeping after he denied Christ three times in the garden.

After the clergy sex abuse scandal festered for years in the Archdiocese of Boston, and across the globe, under legal pressure, the hierarchy finally admitted its wrongdoing.

In 2004, the Archdiocese under Cardinal Sean O’Malley made decisions with limited, if any, input from the congregations to shutter parishes. People left the Catholic Church.

Now we are looking at “collaboratives” instead of “closings” designed to avoid a negative response from parishioners and a huge drop off in contributions that occurred when parishes where shuttered. Will people leave the Catholic Church?

Handing down edicts has and will continue to alienate people. More egregious, however, is the failure to deal honestly and directly with the people. Were there no lessons learned from the sex abuse scandal and the 2004 closings? And where is Christ in this plan?

At St. Mary’s, Fr. Soper danced around the issues of whether parish could be removed from its assigned cluster and whether Fr. Delay could remain the pastor. After two hours of discussion and multiple inquiries, the answer was still unclear until a parishioner pressed for a “yes” or “no” answer. Fr. Soper’s response was “no.” The “flexibility” of the plan that Fr. Soper spoke about in The Pilot in November 2012 appears to be only for the hierarchy, not the parishes.

Even more upsetting than the lack of a forthright answer, however, was Fr. Soper’s outright refusal to bring to Cardinal O’Malley the concerns of the parishioners, including a request to allow Fr. Delay to stay at St. Mary’s until he retires. Removing St. Mary’s from Phase II and putting it in a later phase would accomplish this. But the hierarchy has spoken – the “collaboratives” are a done deal.

In response to queries about how decisions were made in the creation of the clusters, Fr. Soper, a Harvard educated man, selected for this task for his ability to “quantify and analyze data,” explained the laughable “sacramental index.” The formula was based on the number of Baptisms, First Communions and Confirmations, weddings and funerals, and the total offertory. Fr. Soper’s academic calculations fail to recognize that many registered Catholics come to Church only for the sacraments, using the Church as a backdrop for the photo opportunities provided at these “events,” with the occasional Easter and Christmas visits. There was little to no regard for the vitality of the faith community, the same people who are charged with evangelizing under this plan.

Week in and week out, Fr. Delay draws standing room only crowds at Mass. Father understands that the young people are the future Church. He involves the youth in the parish as altar servers, lectors, religious education teachers and through the summer Bible camp and countless other activities.

At the parish center meeting, parishioners recounted stories of Fr. Delay’s outreach to those in need – cooking and delivering a full Thanksgiving dinner for a woman with cancer so she could celebrate with her family, helping a family left homeless by a fire, comforting people in their time of sorrow and need and welcoming all, including members from two parishes in Norwood that were shuttered.

Just this past week, Fr. Delay held a prayer service for the teenagers of the parish grieving the tragic loss of a 14-year old classmate and friend. Through his words, and more importantly his actions, Fr. Delay serves as a role model and inspires the people of St. Mary’s to love and serve others and treat all with dignity and respect. It is painful to watch him be treated so poorly by the Archdiocese, yet he remains a humble servant.

There is no question that the Church needs to address the shortage of priests and the Archdiocese needs to consolidate the parishes. The hypocritical plan of the “Disciples in Mission” and the disgraceful treatment of beloved parish priests like Fr. Delay serve only to further alienate the very people who are expected to be evangelists. The Archdiocese needs to start dealing openly and honestly rather than developing duplicitous plans and obscuring the facts. The hierarchy needs to focus on Christ’s message of love, respect and service to others.

Mary Garrity is a volunteer at St. Mary’s Church in East Walpole.

BCI does not know much about Fr. Delay or about St. Mary’s in East Walpole, and we do not necessarily agree with all of the views expressed by Ms. Garrity. Still, we do agree there is are problems with hypocrisy and inconsistency in the plan. Some priests are made to retire at 75-years-old and some can stay on. Some priests can stay in their existing parish community as pastor of the new collaborative and many must leave.  Those issues will be the subject of a future post as we talk about the dim outlook for “DIM.”


Boston Latin Mass community under threat by archdiocese

November 25, 2013

As implementation of the new Pastoral Plan in the Boston Archdiocese progresses, complaints continue to come in about problems with the plan.  The latest comes from the Latin Mass Community at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes–the only church where the Latin Mass is celebrated daily and weekly–which is currently under a threat of being disbanded by the Boston Archdiocese.

As background, in March 2007, the Boston Archdiocese announced that the Traditional Mass held at Holy Trinity in Boston was being moved to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton Upper Falls, effective April 22, 2007.  Holy Trinity was subsequently closed and relegated to profane use.  Someone familiar with the situation shared the following background with us:

“The ability to formally join the parish was especially important for those who had come to Mary Immaculate from the Latin Mass Community at Holy Trinity in Boston.  The Archdiocese had considered these people a movable apostolate which could be moved from Holy Trinity to facilitate its closure.  To lure them to Mary Immaculate, they promised a pastor favorable to the Extraordinary Form (Fr Charles J. Higgins ’88 ) and parishioner status so they could not be easily moved.

Apparently, Mary Immaculate was hoping their special one-of-a-kind situation–being a canonically open parish in which persons may freely register–would exempt them from the pastoral plan and allow the Latin Mass to continue uninterrupted. (Attendees of ordinary form Masses, as well as the Extraordinary Form Mass, have been able to formally enroll in the parsh even though they do not live in the Newton-Needham area originally attached to Mary Immaculate).   Not so any more.  Here is a notice in the Mary Immaculate bulletin this past weekend:

Any discussion of our parish stewardship though cannot be separated from the way in which the Archdiocesan parish re-organization plan Disciples in Mission may be applied to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes. In last year’s Report, I explained that the Planning Commission had informed me that Mary Immaculate’s place had not been decided. I had interpreted this as a positive sign that my own letters, the joint letters signed by two groups of parishioners, and various individual letters sent by some others of our parishioners had impressed upon the members of the Commission the total unsuitability of their plan for this parish. In this I was much mistaken.

In August I received another letter from the director of the Pastoral Planning Commission, informing me that Mary Immaculate of Lourdes was to be joined in a Pastoral Collaborative with St. Bernard’s Church in West Newton, whose official name is now Corpus-Christi/St. Bernard Parish. When I asked for further clarification on how such a plan could be reconciled with the special apostolate of the traditional Latin Mass in place here, I was informed by another letter in October that, since the Latin Mass can now be said anywhere, the canonically open status of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes will be revoked and that it will be up to the future pastor of the Mary Immaculate of Lourdes—Corpus-Christi/St. Bernard collaborative to decide whether or not to continue offering it. I then wrote another letter as a response-to-their-response. This letter went unacknowledged. After a month, I followed up with an e-mail inquiry. The reply I received was that the final decision had been made, the matter was closed, and there would be no further discussion with me.

On Wednesday, November 13th, I convoked a meeting with a new Parish Pastoral Council and presented them with all of the correspondence related to this matter. We had a very thoughtful discussion and the consensus was that the Parish Pastoral Council should continue to make representation to the powers-that-be in this Archdiocese on the things that are most important to us as a parish community.

In the meantime, we should continue work at the building up the kind of parish that reflects the descriptive words of Pope Paul VI which we have adopted as our Parish Mission Statement:
“What then is a parish? It is the smallest section of the one universal flock which has been entrusted to Peter by the Lord. Under the authority of a responsible priest who has received the care of souls from his bishop, the parish is, within the Church of Jesus Christ, the first community of Christian life; it is a community cut to human dimensions, in which the shepherd can know his flock and the flock can know their shepherd …”

A reader also commented, “Thus, it seems that, just as the lack of parishioner status was exploited to move Extraordinary Form Mass parishioners out of Holy Trinity, these people may be stripped of their canonical rights – they are enrolled parishioners – if it suits the convenience of the Archdiocese.  The same goes for people who, attracted by the reverent manner in which the Ordinary Form is celebrated at Mary Immaculate, have enrolled there instead of their territorial parishes.”

BCI readers complaining about this situation find a number of aspects of this troubling.  First, the claimed justification by the Archdiocese that the “Latin Mass can now be said anywhere,” is a spurious claim, and the archdiocese knows they are trying to fool people with it. Yes, the Latin Mass can, in principle, be said “anywhere”–but the reality is that few priests know how to say the Latin Mass, and no other diocesan parishes offer it on a weekly and daily basis. (It is offered weekly on Sundays at St Adelaide in Peabody and in the basement at the Cathedral).  People want to belong to a parish and should be members of a parish, so even if the Latin Mass can, in theory, be said “anywhere,” it needs to actually be offered on a regular schedule somewhere. That it is offered on a weekly and daily basis in a centrally located parish, such as Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, allows the greatest number of faithful to attend, and indeed, many come from a great distance to attend the Latin Mass. What is the Boston Archdiocese proposing as the parish where the Latin Mass will be offered on a weekly and/or daily basis?

Furthermore, there appears to be a bit of a double-standard in play with respect to language-specific Masses and communities. The Boston Archdiocese has a designated parish with regular weekly Masses for the Korean Catholic Community at Corpus Christi in Newton. There is a weekly Haitian Mass at St. Charles Borromeo in Waltham. The Vietnamese Community is at St. Rose in Chelsea. There is a Cape Verdean Community at St. Edith Stein Parish in Brockton and St. Patrick & St. Peter Parish in Boston. If we can have a designated parish and priest for regular weekly Masses for Korean, Haitian, Vietnamese and Cape Verdean, why not the same for the Latin Mass in a regular parish?

Lastly, the Boston Archdiocese says a”final decision” was made, the matter was closed, and “there would be no further discussion.”  Sounds like a far stretch from the supposed “transparent” operating approach the folks at the Pastoral Center claim to be operating under.

Readers, what do you think?


Is Boston Archdiocese Giving Sweet Deals on Sale of Church Properties?

September 19, 2013

Given the financial condition of the Boston Archdiocese, one would think that the archdiocese would try to get as much money as possible when selling properties.

Not necessarily.

Here is an example.   St. Catherine of Siena Church in Charleston was recently sold.  The properities sold were assessed at more than $8.7M. The were sold for just $1.4M to Suffolk Company. (Note Suffolk Company appears to be different from Suffolk Construction).

A year ago in 2012, according to this article, the value of the property was follows:

  • The church building is 22,000 square feet on a plot of 17,000 square feet. It was built in 1890 and is presently assessed for $2.5 million.
  • The former parochial school property built in 1900, which is part of the entire package, has a land area of 31,400 square feet and a structure of 29,000 square feet and is currently assessed for $6.2 million.
  • There is a third property – The Annex –  built in 1920 – which has a 2000 square foot school building. This structure rests on the school parcel aforementioned.

This spring, all three of these were sold.  This April 6 report says:

The property included the church, school, annex buildings and parking lot. Separated from the sale are the rectory and the small parking lot behind that building. The property was sold to Suffolk Company, Inc. for $1.4 million. 

To be fair, we do not know the value of the rectory and small parking lot behind it. Still, it is difficult to not look at this sale and question why the Boston Archdiocese has sold a property in a prime location with assessed value of $8.7M at about a $7M loss. Unconfirmed rumors suggest that the redevelopment of the property will include a  Walgreens and Women’s Clinic.
If anyone out there knows why this property was sold at such a substantial discount off the assessed value, do let us know.

Boston priest facing prostitution charges

August 7, 2013

Sad news to report this week. This has already been reported extensively in the mainstream media while BCI was out of town.  Msgr. Arthur Coyle was arrested for paying a prostitute. See here for one of several articles on this unfortunate situation.

A high-ranking priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is facing a prostitution charge.

MyFoxBoston.com reported that the Rev. Arthur Coyle, 62, pleaded not guilty Monday to one count of sexual conduct for a fee in Lowell, Mass. and was released on $500 bail. Police say that Coyle was arrested Sunday afternoon after being found with a prostitute behind a Lowell cemetery.

The prostitute told police that Coyle had given her $40 to perform a sex act and showed the two $20 bills to police as proof. She said it was the second time that Coyle had paid her in return for sex acts. Police said that Coyle had been observed circling known prostitution locations in Lowell for close to a year before his arrest.

Coyle holds the title of Episcopal Vicar for the Merrimack Region, which means that he oversees several Catholic parishes in the Lowell area.

The Archdiocese of Boston released a statement Monday saying that Coyle had taken a voluntary administrative leave following his arrest and was forbidden from performing any public ministry.

This article covers even more disturbing revelations.

All BCI can offer is to ask readers to pray for all involved, and the especially pray for our priests.  The St. Michael prayer feels appropriate in this situation. And, in fact, we think parishioners should be asked to say the prayer at the end of every Sunday Mass on an ongoing basis, to help all combat evil.

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


$350K/Year Boston Catholic Schools Superintendent Leaving

July 21, 2013

It is official.  Praise God–our prayers at BCI have been answered! Mary Grassa O’Neill, Secretary for Education in the Boston Archdiocese, is stepping down.  Earning $343,000 a year, she has been the “poster child” for excessive six-figure salaries paid to lay executives in the Boston Archdiocese in recent years.  BCI and others have been complaining about her and her salary for three years now.  Here is what the Boston Globe reported about her departure:

O’Neill said that she decided to leave her job after her five-year contract expired in June and that she will be looking for a position outside the district. Her annual salary package is $343,705, according to archdiocesan records.

She described her tenure as exhilarating and challenging, and said she was proud of her work in helping students prepare for college and career.

“I loved every single moment of my time in the archdiocese,” she said.

Her work apparently had so impressed Cardinal Sean O’Malley that he had tried in vain to persuade her to stay, according to archdiocesan spokesman Terrence Donilon.

‘The Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston are in a much better place today because of Dr. O’Neill’s dedication and commitment.’

“I came here to work for five years for the cardinal,’’ said O’Neill. “And the time has flown by. I had to decide if I should stay or make a change.”

O’Neill said she is leaving the school system in a stronger place than when she took over in 2008.

She took charge after decades of sweeping demographic change, as schools were closing and consolidating to deal with a steady tide of urban parishioners moving out to the suburbs. In the 1960s, the archdiocesan schools taught more than 150,000 students. Now the enrollment is 41,000, said Donilon.

Archdiocesan officials said that central to her tenure was reorganization of the Catholic Schools Office, which focused on increasing early education enrollment, supplying tools and data to help the district thrive, and reducing isolation by expanding partnerships between the central office and schools.

Under her watch, early education enrollment increased by 17 percent, and Catholic school enrollment rose 2 percent in Boston.

O’Neill’s department teamed with local colleges and assisted in the formation of Catholic academies in Lawrence, Quincy, South Boston, Dorchester, and Mattapan. The Catholic Schools Office also implemented the cardinal’s strategic plan for Catholic education.

“Our schools have realized significant improvements in academics while continuing to strengthen their Catholic identity and faith formation,’’ O’Malley said in a statement. “The Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston are in a much better place today because of Dr. O’Neill’s dedication and commitment.”

We are delighted that Mary Grassa O’Neill has decided to move on.  Still, we are disappointed to hear that the Cardinal tried to keep her. We would very much to see the Cardinal’s strategic plan for Catholic education, as we have yet to see that publicly anywhere.  We would also be remiss to not point out the problems during her rein and things not stated in the announcement of her departure:

  • How overall Catholic schools enrollment and the number of parish-based Catholic schools DROPPED during her tenure. Enrollment was about 43,000 students when she started in 2008 and is at 41,000 now.
  • The number of parish-based Catholic schools that closed during the past five years
  • The flat out lie to everyone in the archdiocese and country underlying the Catholic School policy to admit the children of homosexual parents. (See Diocesan Deception in Catholic Schools Admission Policy).
  • How she has all but eliminated local control over selection of would-be principals. On at least two occasions, local committees have forwarded one and only one candidate for a principal, and she rejected the choices.
  • How she has violated Canon law and principles of subsidiarity by overruling sitting pastors in the selection process for school leadership
  • How she exercised favoritism and cronyism to exclude qualified candidates for Catholic school roles, while putting forward people she wanted for roles who were less qualified.
  • How she hired a friend of hers as principal for a parish-based school, despite concerns at that principal’s two past jobs–financial mismanagement allegations at a Boston Catholic Academy where she departed suddenly, and a guilty finding in a lawsuit and 5-figure settlement paid as a result of her having forged a teacher’s letter of resignation while n the Boston Public Schools
  • How she has pushed the unproven Common Core curriculum into Boston Catholic schools  and refused to meet with concerned parents who opposed the move.
  • How she has failed to implement policies or guidelines for school principals
  • How there is no evidence whatsoever that she strengthened the “Catholic identity and faith formation” in Catholic schools. In fact, it appears that Catholic identity in Catholic schools is steadily declining.
  • How she ignored problems with advancement of the homosexual agenda at Sacred Heart School in Kingston
  • How she ignored issues with harassment of a teacher at St. Catherine School in Norwood by other teachers at the school, including one who is a convicted felon

Vicar General Bishop Deeley said the following in his announcement about her departure on Friday:

Among her achievements are the reorganization of the Catholic Schools Office and the priority of support for pastors, principals, faculty and staff at the schools. Her contributions have brought great benefit to the more than 41,000 students who are enrolled in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese.  She has put us on the path of revitalizing and reinvigorating Catholic education throughout the Archdiocese by developing and implementing the Cardinal’s Strategic Plan for Catholic Education.

Blah blah blah. If we are on the path to revitalizing and reinvigorating Catholic education, where is the actual evidence of that? Regarding a replacement for Grassa O’Neill, Bishop Deeley said:

A process will be implemented for the selection of a new Secretary for Education/Superintendent and further announcements will be made regarding an interim appointment for this position.

 We hope and pray that people like Fr. Bryan Hehir and Sr. Janet Eisner are kept far away from the search committee for her successor. We also hope that Cardinal O’Malley insists on a devout Catholic for the role–and that both the search committee and all candidates for the role affirm their acceptance of all teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.


Boston “Catholic” Hospital Flying Rainbow Flag

July 17, 2013

BCI has been on vacation for the past two weeks. We came back to find an inbox full of issues to be addressed.  These include Steward Health Care’s flagrant disregard for their commitment to maintain the Catholic identity at the Caritas Christi hospitals they acquired in 2010. The poster child for this problem is Carney Hospital in Dorchester, which has been flying the rainbow flag that symbolizes “gay pride” and so-called  lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements.  A Catholic Action League press release tells us they flew the rainbow flag from the flagpole in front of the hospital for two weeks following the June 26th U. S. Supreme Court decision on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8.  According to a report from a concerned Catholic who called the Carney, a hospital representative said it was being flown to “celebrate” the court ruling.

Photos can be found below and more information is here.

Even though the hospitals are owned and operated by Steward Health Care, they are legally bound to maintain a Catholic identity. The person on Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s leadership team responsible for overseeing their maintenance of Catholic identity is Fr. Bryan Hehir, Secretary for Social Services and Health Care.  Are both the Cardinal and Fr. Hehir aware of this?  What have they done?

In addition, as reported at The Tenth Crusade, Carney Hospital just gave financial support to some kind of sex-themed carnival in June sponsored by a local homosexual political activism organization, DotOUT, that featured “strong men and fortune tellers”:

Carney Hospital, which is supposed to be maintaining a Catholic identity, was a Corporate/Platinum sponsor of the carnival.  We are not making this up.

To help Cardinal O’Malley, Fr. Hehir, and Vicar General Bishop Deeley remember the terms of the sale agreement, we excerpt from a few BCI posts and The Pilot:

In Removing Christ from Caritas Christi (2011), we wrote:

The goal of the stewardship agreement that set out conditions of the sale was said at the time to preserve the Catholic identity of the hospitals forever.

Christopher Murphy, a spokesman for the network, said the stewardship agreement would be designed to permanently maintain the hospital’s Catholic identity….“The main point is that it’s designed to last forever,” he said. “That’s the prevailing hope of everyone involved, that . . . the Catholic tradition of Caritas Christi stays in place forever.”  (Boston Globe, April 28, 2010)

“We announced yesterday that an agreement has been reached with Cerberus that ensures the Catholic identity of the Caritas Christi hospitals… this stewardship agreement was a key component for us because it will preserve the Catholic identity of Caritas.” (Cardinal Seans blog, May 7, 2010)

In “Caritas Christi: Is Catholic Healthcare in Boston Being Sold-off for a Few Silver Coins?” (2010) we wrote:

9. Does the Archdiocese acknowledge or deny that the Catholic identity for Caritas will likely disappear after 3 years?

A blog at the Wall Street Journal said, “In Hospital deal, How Much is a Catholic Identity Worth: Just 3%.”  Despite comments by Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson and Fr. Bryan Hehir saying the stewardship agreement “memorializes” the commitment to maintain the Catholic identity of Caritas Christi and represents a strong commitment to operate the hospitals according to Church religious and moral directives, the exit clause that allows Cerberus to pay $25 million to drop the Catholic identity negates what both officials have said.  So, let us be realistic that the proposed guarantees for maintaining the system’s Catholic identity beyond 3 years are lacking in substance and credibility. It feels like the tale of “The Emperor Has No Clothes.”  Everyone says the emperor looks handsome in his new clothes.  Perhaps it would be better to stop pretending this arrangement is something which it clearly is not.

The Catholic Action League message on this one from 2010 seems to merit repeating, just as a reality check:

This impending transfer of ownership means that the future of 150 years of Catholic health care in Boston will be within the discretionary authority of a non-Catholic, for profit, out of state, capitalist corporation.  It is now clear that Caritas Christi will be rapidly secularized, that such iconic Catholic institutions as Carney Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center will no longer defend the culture of life, and Catholic and other pro-life doctors, nurses, and administrators will lose their conscience protections.”

This comes just five years after Catholic Charities withdrew from adoption services in Greater Boston.   Beautiful and historic churches are being closed, the parish based Catholic school system is being effectively downsized into ‘consolidated’, lay-governed regional academies, and now the Catholic hospital system, which dates back to 1863, is about to be abandoned.  A two hundred year legacy of Catholicism in Boston, as reflected in an institutional infrastructure, is being systematically dismantled and improvidently discarded.

Then there is this, the pièce de résistance from The Pilot, “Agreement will assure Catholic identity of Caritas hospitals” (May 2010):

BRAINTREE — After a lengthy process, the Archdiocese of Boston says it has reached an agreement with a venture capitalist firm that will keep hospitals of the Caritas Christi Health Care afloat as well as maintain their Catholic identities.

“The Stewardship Agreement memorializes Steward’s commitment to maintain the Catholic identity of the Caritas Christi Healthcare system and its fidelity to the mission of the Church’s healthcare ministry,” Father Richard Erikson, the archdiocese’s vicar general and moderator of the Curia, said in a May 6 statement announcing the agreement.

Father J. Bryan Hehir, the archdiocese’s health and social services secretary, said that the ethical and religious directives provide the framework by which Catholic health care operates in the United States. They include sacramental and pastoral care for all patients regardless of religious denomination as well as contain key social justice components and bioethical provisions aimed at preserving the sanctity and dignity of human life.

The recently-signed agreement between the archdiocese and Steward provides that the Archbishop of Boston will oversee that the Caritas hospitals run in accordance with the bishops’ directives. The agreement allows the archbishop to have final authority in disputes involving the directives.

“This is a substantive and structural commitment by the archdiocese and Steward to operate this hospital system by the religious and moral directives of the Catholic Church,” said Father J. Bryan Hehir.

The agreement may be terminated by the archdiocese if it finds the hospitals are not being run according to Catholic practices. However, the archdiocese must provide 90 days notice for Steward to correct the problem.

Conversely, Steward would also be allowed to opt out of the contract if complying with the bishops’ directives is found to be “mutually burdensome.” Murphy said that clause was inserted into the deal in case future medical advances hampered efforts to comply with Catholic directives.

Today, the Catholic Action League said:

Under Section 1 of the Agreement, “all hospitals will be operated in accordance with the moral, ethical and social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as expressed in the Directives (Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and as interpreted solely and exclusively by RCAB.” These directives mandate adherence to the “Catholic moral tradition.”

Under Section 2.3 of the agreement, the hospitals are required to “maintain appropriate signage and other symbols of Catholic identity.”

Public display of the Rainbow/Pride flag at Carney Hospital clearly violated the Stewardship Agreement, contravened the Ethical and Religious Directives and compromised what remained of Carney’s Catholic identity. It was also a brazen act of defiance to Catholic moral teaching and an insult to faithful Catholics, living and dead, who supported the Carney for the last one hundred and fifty years.

Is there any question that by flying the rainbow flag and supporting organizations who advance positions contrary to Catholic teachings the hospitals are NOT operating by the religious and moral directives of the Catholic Church?  Assuming we all agree on this point, then the Boston Archdiocese can terminate the agreement and is supposed to tell Steward they have 90 days to correct the problem.

Have Cardinal O’Malley or Fr. Hehir put Steward on notice?  Not likely, but we will ask.  What do you think about this situation?


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