Archdiocese of Boston uses parish funds to repay sexual abuse settlement costs

August 5, 2014

The stories about St. Francis of Cabrini continuing to protest their closing and occupy the church  ten years after it was ordered closed and comments by Communications Secretary Terry Donilon merit a response.  In particular, the deception by Donilon about how the Archdiocese of Boston uses parish funds just cannot sit uncontested. Donilon said a fund of resources of parishes cannot be tapped by the archdiocese for any purpose the archdiocese chooses. Maybe that is true. But if so, then how exactly does Donilon explain how closed Brighton parish properties were recently transferred from the archdiocese to another related entity to help pay off sexual abuse claims?  Later in this post, we also show how little progress the Boston Archdiocese has made with these church squatters.

First, regarding the Scituate situation, here is an excerpt from one article with the Donilon quote:

Canon law consultant Peter Borre of the Council of Parishes, who’s been helping diehard parishioners of deconsecrated Mount Carmel Church in East Boston stave off a wrecking ball, told several dozen supporters — some openly weeping — “the whole rationale for turning this church into condos” is contradicted by the Archdiocese of Boston’s latest public annual report, which he said shows the nonprofit reaped $41 million in surplus revenues in Fiscal Year 2013.

Archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon responded, Mr. Borre is misleading people. The $41 million is mostly money raised by parishes for the parishes. So even though it shows up on the combined statements of the archdiocese’s books, it can not be tapped by the archdiocese for any purpose it chooses (i.e., their suggestion to reopen St. Frances). These are the resources of the parishes.

BCI agrees that Borre is misleading people–the Boston Archdiocese has no operating surplus. And we are not supporters of him or the Scituate squatters. But Terry Donilon is also apparently misleading people.  Terry, if what you said is really the case, then how do you explain the recent transfer of the closed Our Lady of Presentation and St Gabriel parish properties in Brighton to St. John’s Seminary to pay off $3.9M worth of a promissory note to the seminary–a note which is repaying money the Boston Archdiocese got from selling off St. John’s Seminary property in order to pay sexual abuse claims?

Loans that Funded Sexual Abuse Settlement Paid for with Parish Property

Most people know how the Archdiocese of Boston took out a number of loans between 2002-2003 to stay afloat and pay off sexual abuse claims, including $37M from the Knights of Columbus and $97M from a combination of commercial banks, the Clergy Fund and the Cemetery trust. The lion’s share of the funds to repay the archdiocesan debts came from the sale of the former Chancery property and St. John’s Seminary property. As we reported here at BCI in this 2010 post:

“… in 2004, the Boston Archdiocese was under heavy pressure to pay additional sex abuse claims, and was without the resources to do so….Assets of approximately $56 million were transferred from the seminary to RCAB so that it could pay its claimants, and at that time, the Cardinal pledged that $30 million would be given to the seminary so that an endowment could be begun. RCAB received a smaller payment from its insurance companies than it expected, such that it could give the seminary only $21 million and a promissory note for $4.8 million (that came due in 2011).”

In 2007, almost all of the remainder of the St. Johns Seminary property was sold to BC for $65 million, and the proceeds of the sale went not to the seminary but instead to the Boston Archdiocese to be applied “where it is needed.”   In the end after the two sales of Seminary property valued at a total of $111 million and repayment of $21 million, what was promised to St. Johns Seminary as future repayment were two notes: one for $4.8 million (due in 2011) and another for $36.4 million (due in 2017).

To repay the $4.8 million note, in 2013 the Boston Archdiocese transferred property from the closed Our Lady of Presentation and St. Gabriel’s parishes to the Seminary.  Here are the references in the 2013 Annual Report (p. 21):

Corporation Sole agreed to canonically transfer all of its rights, title and interest in Our Lady of Presentation
Church, Rectory and parking lots and the St. Gabriel rectory and school to the Seminary. The properties have a
collective appraised value of approximately $6,070,000 and a book value of $566,000.

During the year ended June 30, 2013, Corporation Sole transferred the Our Lady of Presentation property with an
appraised value of $2,850000 to the Seminary to discharge a portion of the note. In accordance with the MOU, the
Seminary agreed to forgive the remaining note balance of $1,038,000 which is included in gain on settlement of note
payable in the statement of activities.

So, despite Cardinal O’Malley’s comment in the National Catholic Register in a 2012 interview that the financial transparency implemented early in his tenure in Boston was intended to help “demonstrate that we were not using parish funds, parishes were not being closed to pay for the sex-abuse crisis,” in 2013, parish property was indeed used to pay for some costs of the sexual abuse crisis, by means of parish property repaying a sexual abuse settlement loan.  And there are precedents for the Archdiocese of Boston taking funds or property canonically intended for one purpose and using it for another purpose (e.g. St. Johns Seminary property sold to fund the RCAB and sexual abuse settlements; St. Gabriel and Our Lady of the Presentation property transferred to the Seminary to repay a loan, diocesan Revolving Loan funds used to finance construction of a Catholic school in Dorchester).

So, Terry, back to you.  How do you explain this apparent contradiction?  When exactly was it that the policy changed and it became OK to use parishes to pay off sexual abuse settlement costs, such as loans used to pay the claims? Why should anyone believe the $41M in parish funds referred to above is safe from being used for purposes other than the parishes, when the precedent is already set for that happening elsewhere?

The Insanity Over the Scituate Squatters

Beyond the matter above, both Terry Donilon and the Scituate squatters continue to propagate some level of insanity over the situation.  Donilon should look back on his previous quotes in the press over the past few years:

  • In December 2008, Terry Donilon was quoted in the Boston Globe saying: “These vigils have to end at some point. It’s an issue of fairness to the parishes that are open and struggling to serve people.”
  • In July 2011,  Donilon was quoted in the Globe saying: “We’re not looking for a confrontation, but at some point, the vigils are going to have to end.”
  • On August 2, 2014, Donilon was quoted in the Boston Herald saying, ““We’re going to work for a peaceful and prayerful resolution, but this is not going to go on forever. It can’t go on forever.”

Terry, the vigil has been going on for almost ten years, and you have been saying the same thing about the situation for nearly six years. When are you guys going to end it?

And as for the squatters, their having volunteers leading lay services, and the idea of operating St. Frances X. Cabrini as an “independent Catholic church” outside the archdiocese and the church hierarchy as a breakaway, progressive “American Catholic Church” are silly and just not Catholic. Are these folks attending their own lay services and committing a mortal sin every week by missing Sunday Mass? Terry Donilon and Cardinal O’Malley should remind these folks that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is where Catholics encounter our Eucharistic Lord. Here’s a passage from a great work by St. Leonard-Port Maurice, The Hidden Treasure of the Holy Mass:

The principal excellence of the most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass consists in being essentially, and in the very highest degree, identical with that which was offered on the Cross of Calvary: with this sole difference, that the Sacrifice on the Cross was bloody, and made once for all, and did on that one occasion satisfy fully for all the sins of the world; while the Sacrifice of the Altar is an unbloody sacrifice, which can be repeated an infinite number of times, and was instituted in order to apply in detail that universal ransom which Jesus paid for us on Calvary.

We worship God at Mass. We receive graces from God by being nourished by the Word of God—God’s eternal truth revealed to us under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We remember and profess our faith in the mystery of our salvation, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, suffered, died, and rose for our salvation. The saving actions of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday come together in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy says, “For it is the liturgy through which, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, ‘the work of our redemption is accomplished,’ and it is through the liturgy, especially that the faithful are enabled to express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true church”  If we we are in a state of grace, we can receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist. As Catholics, we believe that our Lord is present in the Holy Eucharist, and that we receive His body, blood, soul, and divinity in Holy Communion. Not only does the Holy Eucharist unite us intimately with the Lord, but also unites us in communion with our brothers and sisters throughout the universal Church.

Do the squatters realize this is what they are missing?  Terry, do you realize this is what they are missing?

Furthermore, does anyone realize that the Rogers’ who lead this vigil/occupation and other occupation leaders are folks who were not regular Mass-goers at St. Francis before it was ordered to close?  The Mass-going couple who filed the original appeal in Scituate went to the receiving parish. They have had nothing to do with the Rogers’ and the occupation.  BCI is told that the Rogers’ are abutters and appear to want control over who was or is allowed to buy the property and how it would be developed.  BCI is also told that when the first appeal that was filed by the faithful parishioners failed, Peter Borre asked the Rogers’ to take it over.  Then there is the matter of abuses of the Blessed Sacrament that have taken place there: we are told that the Blessed Sacrament has been present during social gatherings and sleepovers on or around the altar; dinners have been held with pizza on the altar set out like a buffet.  But Terry, Fr. Bryan Hehir and the PR folks at Rasky Baerlein don’t know know how to talk about these topics either.

Bottom line: the Boston Archdiocese set a precedent in 2013 for using parishes to fund repayment of a sexual abuse settlement loan. This is clearly described in their 2013 Annual Report. If they will redirect funds in that manner and have done so in other situations, there is nothing to stop them from doing similar again. And the Scituate occupancy should be ended–for the sake of the souls of those occupying the church and because this thing has more than run its course through all canonical appeals.

This is what BCI thinks. What do you think?

 


Cardinal O’Malley: housing illegals more important than protecting unborn

July 19, 2014

Cardinal Sean O’Malley appeared with liberal Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick on Friday to voice support for Patrick’s proposal to house illegal immigrants and offer Catholic social service assistance for illegals, while the Cardinal said nothing all week about a heinous law advancing in the Mass legislature to penalize those who try to prevent women from aborting their children. In our opinion, the Cardinal is yet more clearly showing his stripes as being a tool of the liberal Democratic pro-abortion establishment, and a hypocrite when it comes to protection of life.

On June 27,  Cardinal O’Malley came out in support of the Supreme Court decision that unanimously struck down the previous Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone law as unconstitutional. Never had Cardinal O’Malley been seen praying in front of an abortion clinic, but still, his statement was welcome and appreciated when he said that pro-life Americans who “peacefully pray for and offer alternatives to pregnant women approaching abortion clinics” have the same constitutional protections as anyone else  “This discriminatory law barred these citizens from gathering on nearby public sidewalks, while exempting ‘clinic escorts’ trained to expedite women into (abortion clinics),” he said. “Clearly this was an attack on pro-life Americans’ freedom of speech, and we welcome the Court’s decision to overturn the law.”

That was June 27.  Then this week, the Mass Legislature introduced legislation that is far worse for pro-lifers than the previous law struck down by the Supreme Court. Details of the legislation are posted here by MassResistance:

  1. Creates a new “buffer zone.” The bill creates a 25-foot buffer zone substantially similar to the one which the US Supreme Court recently struck down.
  2. Has a “Dispersal” clause. The bill allows police to define any two or more people standing near an abortion clinic as a “gathering.” Any law enforcement official may arbitrarily decide that this “gathering” is in some way impeding access, and may order them to “disperse” and to stay outside of the buffer zone for at least eight hours. This can be done with no legal hearing or due process, threatening them withunusually severe penalties of arrest, prosecution, criminal fines, and jail time for not complying. In addition, a court can later impose civil fines, large punitive damages, attorney’s fees and “expert witness fees”. [First time who "impede a person's access to or departure from a reproductive health care facility with the intent to interfere with that person's ability to provide, support the provision of or obtain services at the reproductive health care facility" face a fine of $1,000 or six months in jail]
  3. Harsher punishments for one group over another. The bill places unusually high punishments for anyone threatening, intimidating, assaulting, blocking, or otherwise impeding people entering or leaving abortion clinics. But these high punishments do not apply to people entering or leaving the clinics (or anyone else) who are perpetrators of assaults of intimidation against pro-life advocates.

A hearing was held on Wednesday, and the measure quickly passed the Mass Senate. What did Cardinal O’Malley say or do about this publicly? Nothing. On short notice, Mass Citizens for Life had erected billboards and asked people to call legislators and to attend and speak at the hearing. Other organizations including FRC and MassResistance rallied pro-lifers.  What did O’Malley, the Mass Catholic Conference and Massachusetts bishops do? Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zip. The last legislative alert sent out by the do-nothing MCC was six months ago. It is truly pathetic.  It is clear that the Cardinal’s rhetoric of June 27 was empty, and Cardinal O’Malley simply does not care about this issue–or whether pro-lifers wanting to help prevent women from taking the lives of their unborn children are fine, arrested or jailed.

Instead, O’Malley cares more about the photo opp and chance to get federal or state funding to have Catholic Charities help with housing illegal immigrants.  He also basically lied at the Friday press conference about the reasons for the illegal immigration border crisis.

Here’s the photo and Boston Herald article. Cardinal O’Malley said the Catholic church has long assisted “immigrants and refugees often fleeing from danger.” “We are willing to enter a collaborative relationship with the government to met this urgent need,” O’Malley said. “We do not have church facilities that are appropriate but we do have social service agencies in the Archdiocese with skilled resources to provide programs of assistance and support within a framework of a larger state and federal program.”

Cardinal O’Malley, please don’t lie to us. A new intelligence assessment concludes that misperceptions about U.S. immigration policy – and not Central American violence – are fueling the surge of thousands of children illegally crossing the Mexican border. Here are more details:

The 10-page July 7 report was issued by the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), which according to the Justice Department website is led by the DEA and incorporates Homeland Security. Its focus is on the collection and distribution of tactical intelligence, information which can immediately be acted on by law enforcement.

“Of the 230 migrants interviewed, 219 cited the primary reason for migrating to the United States was the perception of U.S. immigration laws granting free passes or permisos to UAC (unaccompanied children) and adult females OTMs (other than Mexicans) traveling with minors,” the report said.

Cardinal O’Malley took the time to appear with Gov. Deval Patrick to voice support for housing illegals in Massachusetts in the same week where he did not take even a moment to voice opposition to the heinous bill moving swiftly through the Mass Legislature that will penalize pro-lifers for the “crime” of trying to prevent women from aborting their babies. The Boston Pilot had an article about the situation on Friday, but there was no quote or statement from O’Malley.

We hope and pray he changes his mind over the weekend and mobilizes the Catholic bishops, Mass Catholic Conference and laity to contact House Reps and the Governor and try to still stop this evil measure from passing.


Cardinal O’Malley: Pro-Life Hypocrite

June 27, 2014

News that the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled to overturn Massachusetts’ abortion clinic buffer-zone law is welcome by those who respect life all across the country!  Cardinal Sean O’Malley issued a statement hailing the ruling as a free-speech victory for pro-life Americans. He said, “”Clearly this was an attack on pro-life Americans’ freedom of speech, and we welcome the Court’s decision to overturn the law.”

Here are BCI, we are glad to hear the Cardinal voiced his concern about attacks on pro-life American’s freedom of speech. But frankly, he is being a hypocrite. When the Supreme Court makes a ruling to protect the rights of pro-lifers to gather outside of an abortion clinic, there he is front and center with a statement.  Yet, the same Cardinal O’Malley was also front and center honoring one of the worst pro-abortion politicians in the U.S. a month ago at Boston College’s commencement, in direct violation of the USCCB’s own guidelines that say Catholic institutions should not honor pro-abortion politicians.  When was the last time Cardinal O’Malley said a word publicly about the scandal of pro-abortion Catholic politicians?  2007.  Besides being a hypocrite by honoring Kerry last month, he also is apparently violating the Boston Archdiocese’s own Code of Conduct and presiding over a corrupted Code of Conduct violation reporting system.  A Catholic reported the Code of Conduct violation a month ago, and cannot get a response, even though O’Malley himself is quoted as saying they will respond “promptly.”

Below is the Ethicspoint report sent to us by a Catholic reader who says the Code of Conduct is a sham.

The organization does not have any questions or comments at this time.

Report Submission Date

5/24/2014

Reported Company/Branch Information

Location               Boston College

City/State/Zip    Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, 02465, United States

Violation Information

Issue Type

                Misconduct or Inappropriate Behavior

Please identify the person(s) engaged in this behavior:

                Sean O’Malley – Archbishop of Boston

Do you suspect or know that a supervisor or management is involved?

                Do Not Know / Do Not Wish To Disclose

Is management aware of this problem?

                Yes

What is the general nature of this matter?

                Cardinal O’Malley participated in the honoring of Sec. of State John Kerry at the Boston College commencement on May 19 in violation of both USCCB guidelines and the RCAB’s own Code of

Where did this incident or violation occur?

                Monday, May 19 at Boston College

Please provide the specific or approximate time this incident occurred:

                Monday, May 19.

How long do you think this problem has been going on?

                Once

How did you become aware of this violation?

                Other

If other, how?

                All over the news media

Details

                That Cardinal O’Malley participated in the commencement is obvious here:

http://www.bc.edu/content/bc/offices/pubaf/news/2014-may-jun/secretary-of-state-kerry-addresses-boston-college-class-of-

2014.html

https://www.flickr.com/photos/statephotos/14222888684/

The Code of Conduct says:

All Church Personnel must uphold Christian values and conduct and work diligently to serve and enhance the mission of the Church. This Code provides a set of standards for conduct in certain situations and is designed to deter wrongdoing and to promote honest and ethical conduct.

The public and private conduct of Church Personnel can be a source of inspiration and motivation, but it can also scandalize and undermine the faith of the people that are served. Church Personnel must at all times be aware of the responsibilities that accompany their work. It is essential, therefore, that anyone who undertakes a position of ministry, employment or leadership in the Archdiocese or for any Archdiocesan Affiliated Organization, be ever mindful of the trust that has been placed in him or her. The faithful discharge of the responsibilities that accompany this work requires constant and prayerful reflection since all of us must be sustained by God’s goodness and grace.

Responsibility for adherence to the Code rests with each individual. This responsibility requires all Church Personnel to periodically take a personal inventory. It is hoped that the Code will assist in this task. Church Personnel who disregard or violate this Code will be subject to remedial action. This action can take several forms, from an oral or written warning to removal and termination of employment or services, depending on the nature and circumstances of the offense.

Principles of Ethics and Integrity

As representatives of the Archdiocese or any Archdiocesan Affiliated Organization, and regardless of the pressures inherent in conducting Church affairs, all Church Personnel must act responsibly and in a manner that will reflect favorably on the Archdiocese.

Accordingly:

Church Personnel will conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as enunciated by the Holy Father and the Bishops in communion with him; more specifically, Church Personnel shall, in all such matters, accept, rely upon and defer to the teaching authority of the Archbishop in all matters of faith and morals.

Church Personnel will exhibit the highest Christian ethical standards and personal integrity.

Church Personnel will continually and objectively examine and evaluate their own actions and intentions to ensure that their behavior promotes the welfare of the Archdiocese and each applicable Archdiocesan

Affiliated Organization and exemplifies the moral traditions of the Church.

The definition of “integrity” is any of the following:

adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character

the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles;moral uprightness.

n. 1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes.

Cardinal O’Malley chose to boycott the BC commencement in 2013 that was honoring Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenney for his support of pro-abortion legislation because of USCCB guidelines that that say “the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” He made a public statement to that effect.

Then comes along John Kerry in 2014. Secretary Kerry is a  supporter of legal abortion, the public funding of abortion, partial  birth abortion, abortions at military hospitals and buffer zones  limiting free speech around abortion clinics. He has also endorsed  contraception, cloning, embryonic stem cell research, physician  assisted suicide, same gender marriage, federal gay rights  legislation, the distribution of condoms to minors, family planning  programs as part of U.S. foreign aid, and taxpayer financing of both  Planned Parenthood and the U. N. Fund for Population Activities.  As a U.S. Senator, Kerry received a 100% rating from NARAL Pro- Choice America. As a presidential candidate in 2004, Kerry was  endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and promised,  if elected, to appoint only those jurists who agree with Roe v. Wade  to the U.S. Supreme Court, effectively disenfranchising believing  Catholics from high judicial office. Kerry, in August, 2003, attacked  Pope, now Saint John Paul II in the the Boston Herald. Kerry  accused the recently canonized pontiff of “crossing the line,” of  violating the American separation of church and state because of a  Vatican exhortation to Catholic political leaders to oppose same  gender marriage. For 30 years, John Kerry has in total support for  Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

That Cardinal O’Malley ignored USCCB guidelines in 2014 to  Honor Sec. of State John Kerry, who unarguably has committed far  worse in defiance of our fundamental moral principles than Enda  Kenney violates many principles of the Code of Conduct:

This conduct scandalizes and undermines the faith of the people  that are served. If the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston participates in  honoring on of the Catholics in political life in the U.S. who is most  defiant against our moral values, how is that not scandal and how  does that undermine the faith of Catholics served. If the Chair of  the Pro-Life Committee of the USCCB cannot uphold USCCB  guidelines that scandalizes the faithful.

This conduct is not consistent with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as enunciated by the Holy Father and the Bishops in communion with him

This conduct demonstrates a low Christian ethical standard and a complete absence of integrity—there is no consistency of actions and values (even from one year to the next), and Cardinal O’Malley  has undermined Catholic moral values to millions of Catholics in  Boston and hundreds of millions worldwide.

The Code of conduct says those who violate it may be warned or may face removal and termination of employment or services, depending on the nature and circumstances of the offense. I  would like to hear specifically what repercussions are ordered  against Cardinal O’Malley.

Follow-Up Notes

Jun 03, 2014, 3:48 PM

When might I expect a response?

Jun 09, 2014, 1:34 AM

It’s been about two weeks since I filed my report of misconduct. When can I expect to get a response?

Jun 16, 2014, 1:20 PM

Is anyone monitoring this? Is the Archdiocese of Boston ignoring my complaint? Are they not obliged to respond to complaints of misconduct and violations of the Code of Conduct? Or have you concluded that there is simply no plausible explanation for the scandal and violation of the Code of Conduct by Cardinal O’Malley, so you’re not going to attempt to give one?

Jun 26, 2014, 10:47 AM

Is anyone ever going to respond? Or shall I tell some of the Catholic blogs that the Ethicspoint program and Code of Conduct is nothing but a sham?

BCI will forward this post to the Cardinal.  We urge other readers to do that same. You can send it to the following people:

archbishopsean_o’malley@rcab.org
vicar_general@rcab.org (Bishop Peter Uglietto)
Terrence_Donilon@rcab.org (Communications Secretary
nuntiususa@nuntiususa.org (U.S. Papal Nuncio)

Ask how the Cardinal can justify his actions. Let us know if you get any response


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.

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