The Inside Story of the Closing of St. Paul School in Wellesley, MA: Part 2hy m

July 29, 2015

This post is a follow-up to our first post, The Inside Story of the Closing of St. Paul School in Wellesley, Part 1. The Boston Globe wrote an article about the closing today and got a statement from Terry Donilon at the Archdiocese of Boston.  The article repeats the generic statement from the school, “An attempt to secure solid commitments from parents for the upcoming school year was not sufficient.”   We think the reporters covering this story should ask a few more questions of Terry Donilon and the Boston Archdiocese.

Announcements blaming the closing on the parents or implying the blame rests with the parents do not sit well with the parents. The parents were asked to make a commitment of $1,500 by July 15th, and about 65% of the parents did. Fr. Sepe never specified just how many deposits would have to be turned in to make it “fiscally possible” to open in the fall.  Nor were parents informed of what the consequences would be if the parish didn’t receive a sufficient number of deposits. In addition, during the Annual fund raising drive (to celebrate 60 years of Catholic education with a $60K goal), the parents — who, according to the announcement did not commit to the school — raised about $67,000 to be used for the 2015 -2016 school year.  The latest tally of Annual Fund donations is $85,000, the lion’s share of which came from the parent community.  To BCI, parents, and others close to the school, this should be proof enough of commitment.

One might reasonably ask the question, “What will happen to those funds now that the school is closing?”  When asked about these monies in the parent meeting (which occurred on Thursday), BCI has heard several varying recountings of what Fr. Sepe told the assembled parents, neither of which is good. One source reported that Fr. Sepe told the assembled parents this was a donation and would not be subject to return.  Other sources recall Fr. Sepe equivocating and saying that if it was the “understanding and the stipulation” that Annual Fund monies were intended to benefit the school in the 2015-16 school year, then maybe the money would be returned. This answer did not set well with the donors or lawyers in the audience.

The full-time faculty were given contracts on July 9th. It is now known by those involved in the situation that they were at-will contracts, not the binding contracts that have been used in the past. Faculty were then called to the meeting on July 23rd and told there would not be an opening of the school due to lack of parent commitment to the school as noted above.  During this timeframe, positions which had been posted as open positions at St. John School were filled.  So good luck to the faculty!  In addition the school secretary who had to work at the rectory one day a week for the 2014-15 school year had been offered her regular full-time position at St. Paul school for the 2015-16 year, but was also then  terminated.  When she asked if she could work at the rectory in an open two day position, she was told the position had been offered and accepted and thus was no longer open.  A reasonable person might ask, if the future of the school was this uncertain in June and July, whey were these open positions filled by outsiders rather than kept open so those who would lose jobs could potentially fill them?

BCI is told that these are just some of the “shenanigans” that are surfacing in just the few days after the announcement.  In addition, Father Sepe is also on retreat for two weeks, leaving the school closing in the hands of a teacher at the school who has never handled any responsibilities such as this that would require administrative, legal or leadership expertise.

Here you have it. The downfall of a once great Catholic school largely because of missteps and bungled management by the Archdiocese of Boston, yet blamed on others. Meanwhile,here is a short video interview with new schools superintendent, Kathy Mears, telling Catholic TV how hard she works to help Catholic schools.

The St. Pauls situation and others similar to it suggest that Mrs. Mears has her work cut out for her. BCI is now hearing of other Boston-area Catholic schools in decline because of mismanagement by the RCAB. Drop us an email in confidence to pass along details if this is happening in your area.


The Inside Story of the Closing of St. Paul School in Wellesley, MA: Part 1

July 27, 2015

NOTE: This post was updated at 10:15pm ET on July 27.

BCI is sad to report to you that St. Paul Catholic School in Wellesley is closing effective this September.  The announcement is somewhat deceptive as to the reason for the closure:

For 60 years, St. Paul School faculty, staff and administrators have worked in partnership with parents to build a faith-filled Catholic school experience for students in PreK through Grade 8.

Over the past several years, St. Paul School has faced a steady decline in enrollment. An attempt to secure solid commitments from parents for the upcoming school year was not sufficient.

This suggests, erroneously, that the biggest problem was insufficient commitment from parents for the upcoming school year and reveals nothing of the mismanagement that led to this place. Several readers had recently reminded us about a question we raised about the future of St. Paul School in Wellesley in a response to a reader back in June of 2013, and we did not have the chance to blog about the latest problems. Because the Boston Archdiocese and local parish are telling only a little bit of the story, in this post and our next post tomorrow, we will give you the rest of the story.

As BCI noted in this June 2013 post and comments, previous pastor Fr. Richard Fitzgerald left with little advance notice and was transferred to another parish.  We were told in May by a source, “there has been nothing but turmoil within the school since Father Fitzgerald left” and that the pastor who replaced Fr. Fitzgerald, Fr. Thomas Rafferty had literally “decimated the school.” The enrollment went from approximately 165 in 2012 to about 97 in 2015 and it continued to plummet.  The story is sad and unbelievable but true.  Here is what we have been told:

“To take a parochial school that was consistently ranked among the 5 highest performing schools academically in the Archdiocese, artistically (for 3 years running a student from the school won the Cardinal’s Christmas card design contest) and nationally (as being the only parochial school in the nation to produce a MacArthur Scholar –the Genius Award) as well as many other social achievements for those in need, and destroy it might be worth a look see especially in light of the evangelization push in the diocese. Evangelization is the passing on the faith and SPS did that magnificently.”

“The story begins in the late winter of 2012, when the long serving principal (17 years) suddenly resigned to accept another principal position within the Archdiocese. The former principal was very well connected at the Pastoral Center in Braintree.  This resignation was a shock to the school community.  A search for a replacement was immediately undertaken under the auspices of the Catholic School office headed by Sheila Kukstis, who was then the Assistant Superintendent to the then-Superintendent Mary Grassa O’Neil.  There was a short list of candidates presented to the committee–a committee, composed of faculty, parent, parish member and pastor.  Among the list of “light weights” was the woman who was selected.  She did not have the required basic tickets for the position which the other candidates did.  She had only been a guidance counselor at her school,(St. Francis in Braintree with the pastor being Fr. Sepe) and headed up the after-school program.  She was not certified nor did she have the leadership courses required to be certified.  In addition, she was 7 months pregnant.  She was hired anyway and given a strong recommendation by Fr, Sepe who was a classmate of Fr. Fitzgerald (the then-pastor at St. Paul). She started July 1, and was in the building through July 17. She only took two weeks maternity leave.”  BCI conveyed the situation of the principal not being the most qualified for the job in this post and comment to the post.

“The first major crisis occurred when a same-sex couple applied for admission of their child to the school.  St. Paul School enrolled the child of the lesbian couple, and the “two mommies” were introduced to the school body at First Friday Mass and welcome coffee for prospective parents in February of 2013, where they happily presented themselves for, and received, Holy Communion.The couple was introduced as a same-sex couple to ensure that the family would be socially accepted. This caused a major issue among many of the “orthodox parents” (Note BCIs description of St. Paul vs. St. John’s  noted in post of June, 2013).  This resulted in a mass exodus of long time families from St. Paul.  At the end of the school year, as BCI  reported, Father Fitzgerald (who was a strong supporter of the school, as was his predecessor Mgsr. Lind, who was then in residence in the rector) was suddenly transferred to St. Colombkille in Brighton.

The school opened in September 2013 with an enrollment of approximately 125 students (Sept. 2012 enrollment was approximately 165) and the soon-to-be announced pregnancy of the principal.  The new pastor, Father Tom Rafferty, did not come to opening day prayer service (which was well noted by the parent community). The parent community was concerned that the school was on the downslide and they wanted to be assured that Fr. Rafferty would reaffirm the support of the school that had always been evident from the pastor.  A group of parents met with him and offered to work long and hard to increase enrollment by marketing the school, get his assurance that he would support their efforts, and also support the Pre-K to 8 configuration of the school (meaning that the middle school would continue as part of SPS). They received this assurance on more than one occasion. The group met over a 4 month period, did an incredible amount of marketing, website updating, holding open houses etc. to support the school.  This resulted in an increase in enrollment of six students during the school year.  However, as this was going on, Father Rafferty was meeting with Mary Moran (RCAB Interim Superintendent) and James Walsh (RCAB Assistant Superintendent for Finance).These meetings resulted in a serious study as to whether the school would continue, and Ms Moran and Mr. Walsh concluded that the school was a financial burden to the parish. If it continued, it should be a PreK 6 school (in the model of St. John the Evangelist School).

Parents attempted to meet with Fr. Rafferty to have him assure them that SPS would continue.  He refused to meet with them and would not give them assurances of the school’s continuing (unlike his previous statements).  The principal during this time was seen as ineffective and leadership was non-existent. (The parents had contacted the Catholic School Foundation to see if they could help.  A meeting occurred with a large group of parents and a representative of the Foundation to which the principal was invited.  The principal was only invited to the introduction of the meeting and had a prior commitment, but with the principal having left early, many of the parents were left dumbfounded and without guidance on how to proceed with the Foundation).  The school community was in turmoil.  In February 2014, a group of parents met at the Wellesley Library trying to save the school.  (BCI is told that faculty members, who were very concerned about the future, were instructed not to attend or to take any part in this under the unspoken threat of losing their positions).  This parent meeting was precipitated by the fact that the pastor’s confidential statement delivered to the newly constituted School Board (made up of 90% of parents), at their first meeting, that the middle school would be closed. This statement got out and there was revolt, since, in previous meetings with the parents, he had intimated that he would support the school. At the Board meeting, Fr. presented three options for consideration, one of which was closing the middle school. It was this option that he asked them to seriously consider to keep the school financially viable.

The school year continued.  Father Rafferty met with 5th and 6th grade parents and still did not give the assurances the parents needed—namely, a continuation of grades 7 and 8 at St. Paul. The result was that 14 out of 16 sixth grade families did not reenroll. (Other grades experienced similar decreases in enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year).  This resulted in an opening of the school with about 92 students.  The principal went out on maternity leave and was replaced by an interim principal.  The plan was then announced to decrease faculty, combine 7th and 8th grade, and eliminate the library. This was left to the interim principal to implement. As the part of decision to close the library the collection of resources were first made available for faculty to take what they wanted for their classrooms and the rest (about 70%) was taken to the Wellesley Town dump and disposed of in the dumpsters there at the Leave and Take.  No other schools (inner city or suburban) were contacted to take the remaining part of the extensive library collection.

The school opened in September 2014 with (as noted before) an enrollment of about 92 students.  The parents continued to be concerned about the destiny of the school.  A long time parent introduced an individual who had experience in school marketing to the principal, and the principal decided to enlist her help. The individual and the principal worked closely together on initiatives throughout the yearThis individual worked pro-bono on a major professional marketing plan and campaign which seemed to generate a interest in the school.  A survey was done to determine the needs and desires of the community.  During this time (former interim Superintendent) Mary Moran and Assistant Superintendent Martha McCook became involved.  They did a six week study of the feasibility of SPS and met, along with Superintendent Kathy Mears, twice with the parents of the school.  There was no commitment made at any of these meetings.

As all of this was occurring, the two parishes (St. Paul and St John) went into collaboration.  Father Rafferty was not appointed pastor.  The priest who was appointed was Father Sepe (above).  In addition, the school celebrated its 60th anniversary and the school community raised $60,000 for its annual fund as an indication of the community’s support of the school. (The amount currently stands at $85,000). Then, in the middle of spring vacation, the principal was terminated (effective immediately), and the former interim principal was brought on as acting principal, Father Rafferty refused to meet with parents, but parents who had reenrolled their children were been asked for a further $1,500 deposit to be paid by July 1st (an unprecedented demand). (The principal was terminated for stated reason “We do not have confidence in your ability to lead the school through its current crisis”. No option to finish the school year was given. Several times it was described that the BSCO was actively helping her find a job, but to date she has not heard from them. It should be noted that, under this principal, the Annual Fund reached $70,000 and enrollment was on pace to stay level and possibly increase for the 2015-2016 academic year.)  He also stated that he would leave the future of the school to Father Sepe, who is scheduled to assume his new position on June 1.  In addition, the former principal was told by Father Rafferty that there would not be a search made for a new principal at St. Paul (as an aside, St. John the Evangelist school was seeking a new principal based on a posting on the Archdiocese’s website at the time and hired Michael Dibbert, a former English teacher and coach at BC High who got a Masters in Education from BC).

So in a period of three years, a stellar, high performing Catholic school with a 60-year history was allowed to disintegrate.  A school that was the only Boston Archdiocese Catholic school that, in addition to innumerable doctors, lawyers, priest, religious, teachers, nurses and other professionals, had a MacArthur Fellow among its alumni and which had passed the faith to generations of the faithful was left to implode.

Next Post Part 2: The Closing and Keeping of $60K+ Raised for the School


Sick over Supreme Court “Gay Marriage” Decision

June 26, 2015

BCI and faithful Catholics are justifiably feeling sick over the Supreme Court decision today that there is somehow a constitutional right for people of the same sex to marry. This is deeply deeply troubling in every way.

Church tradition and the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1867) hold that there are 4 sins that are so morally grave that they call out to heaven for vengeance.  Homosexuality is one of them.

The sin of Sodom, or carnal sin against nature, which is a voluntary shedding of the seed of nature, out of the due use of marriage, or lust with a different sex.
Q. What is the scripture proof of this?
A. Out of Gen. xix. 13. where we read of the Sodomites, and their sin. “We will destroy this place because the cry of them hath increased before our Lord, who hath sent us to destroy them,” (and they were burnt with fire from heaven.)

Bishop Malone, formerly of Boston and now in Buffalo NY issued a good statement expressing his “bitter disappointment” over the Supreme Court decision.

I am bitterly disappointed that the majority of justices of the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to overturn the definition of marriage, which has remained unchanged for more than two millennia. Marriage is the lifelong exclusive union of one man and one woman, a font of unitive life and love as well as the foundation of a stable family and society.

Marriage is rooted in creation: God created marriage in the very same breath as He created the human person, and for the Catholic Church, that will not change.

It is my prayer that despite today’s developments, we will embrace anew the truth, beauty and goodness of marriage as it has always been and always will be, between a man and a woman.

Cardinal O’Malley should issue a statement even stronger than that. And he should repeat what he said in November 23, 2005 when he published a Letter from Cardinal Sean O’Malley on Homosexuality and said:

In the Gospel when the self-righteous Pharisees bring the adulteress to be stoned, Jesus says let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Then to make sure they got the point Jesus wrote their sins on the ground. The stones fell from their hands and they fled. Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn you”, but He added, “Go and sin no more.”

If we tell people that sex outside of marriage is not a sin, we are deceiving people. If they believe this untruth, a life of virtue becomes all but impossible. Jesus teaches that discipleship implies taking up the cross each day and following Him with love and courage.

It is never easy to deliver a message that calls people to make sacrifices or to do difficult things. Sometimes people want to punish the messenger. For this reason we priests at times find it difficult to articulate the Church’s teaching on sexual morality. It is important to express the moral teachings of the Church with clarity and fidelity.  We must teach the truths of the Gospel in season and out of season. These recent times seem to us like it is “out of season”, but for that very reason it is even more urgent to teach the hard words of the Gospel today.

We know that friends and relatives of homosexual Catholics sometimes feel torn between their allegiance to Christ and their concern for their loved ones. I assure them that these goals are not incompatible. Calling people to embrace the cross of discipleship, to live the commandments and at the same time assuring them that we love them as brothers and sisters can be difficult. Sometimes we are told: “If you do not accept my behavior, you do not love me.” In reality we must communicate the exact opposite: “Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior.”

BCI thinks this part of the letter is so well written that Cardinal O’Malley should fax it to the Holy Father in one of his regular communications with him and also share with Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Marx, the Gang of Nine advisors, and the coordinators of the upcoming Synod on the Family.  And we think he should be perhaps also republish the letter. Terry Donilon and Fr .Bryan Hehir may object, but so what? This is the time to be preaching the truth in-season and out of season. Mike Huckabee in response to the Supreme Court decision said, “I Will Not Accept Gay Marriage Ruling By ‘Imperial Court’

Pray that Cardinal O’Malley, Pope Francis, and other church leaders have the courage to embrace and proclaim the truth about marriage and the disorder of homosexual relationships and homosexual activity. Our future freedom to worship and practice our faith depend on this, as do the futures of the next generation


On the strange situation of Fr. Walter Cuenin and the Brandeis Univ. Chaplaincy

May 29, 2015

A number of readers have been asking us to share news and commentary about the strange situation of Fr. Walter (“Call me Walter”) Cuenin and what is currently going on with the Catholic chaplaincy at Brandeis University. Cuenin left Brandeis in January on short notice for undisclosed health reasons, and Brandeis is balking at having the Boston Archdiocese appoint a replacement.  To paraphrase Shakespeare, something smells rotten in Denmark.

As BCI readers may recall, last October we called Fr. Cuenin out for flying a GLBTQ banner over the Catholic chapel at Brandeis.   We wrote:

There are so many things wrong with what is going on there, it is tough to express in words. How can a Catholic priest be allowed to promote “gay pride” and gravely sinful, immoral behavior and remain in active ministry?  Imagine a 17 or 18-year-old child away from home for the first time who might be confused about their sexual identity going to talk to Fr. Cuenin for a Catholic perspective–and instead of hearing about how Christ calls them to chastity and holiness, they see the gay pride flag there with a Catholic priest advocating for the gay lifestyle and the sinful, disordered, medically unsafe behaviors that are a part of it.  This crap from Fr. Cuenin has been going on for at least 12-15 years, if not longer. His public testimony to the Mass Legislature in 2002 opposing a ban on “gay marriage” should have gotten him permanently removed from ministry.

We also urged readers to write to various archdiocesan officials to call for his removal. Well, by and by, about 2 months later, in January Fr. Cuenin left Brandeis on short notice for undisclosed health reasons. All that Cuenin has said is he is “in a clinic in Michigan for treatment.”  Cuenin previously left Brandeis temporarily in 2012 to undergo treatment for cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. In the October 9, 2012 issue of the Brandeis Justice, he described the treatment program as a Church-sponsored course for priests “to get them in better shape” and said he hoped to address not only his cancer but also “other psychological and spiritual issues.”  It is unclear whether this year’s permanent departure is related to the health issues of 2012.

This brings us to what Brandeis has been doing to block the filling of the vacant Catholic chaplaincy role with a faithful Catholic priest.

In the original announcement of Fr. Cuenin’s January departure, Brandeis said that Sr. Marie Labolitta would be helping ensure “Services are available this weekend…there will be transportation provided to attend Service in Newton.”  Beside their failure to properly refer to the Catholic Mass, Sr. Marie Labolitta, formerly at Our Lady Help of Christians when Fr. Cuenin was pastor there, is bad news. She is a founder of a non-denominational womens’ spirituality group called “Sacred Threads.”  One look at their website, which promotes a local talk by dissident Joan Chittister, and you know she is problematic. BCI heard that since Cuenin’s departure they have been transporting students to Our Ladys in Newton, even though St. Marys in Waltham and other more orthodox Catholic Churches are much closer to the Brandeis Campus.

Sources tell BCI that in leaving Brandeis, Fr. Cuenin  organized a student “initiative” to change the nature of Chaplaincy. Initially, Brandeis said they would be working with the Boston Archdiocese to fill the role. Fr. Dan Moloney was proposed by the Boston Archdiocese and started saying Masses at Brandeis in early February. But Brandeis said they wanted to consider a new vision for the chaplaincy. We are told that Fr. Moloney was found by the “Cuenin acolytes” to be “inadequately liberal, aka Cuenine” and rejected. He is not longer there, sources also tell us there is no regular Catholic Mass on campus, and students are still being directed to “progressive” Churches that may not be anywhere near Waltham.  We have also heard that Cuenin is still “advising”, aka undermining, the Brandeis Catholic students, even sending them to WomenPriests for Mass. The person coordinating Mass arrangements is Allison Cornelisse, described as “a member of the Brandeis Catholic community.”  A Google search on her name reveals nothing whatsoever about her background, but if she is the one bypassing nearby Catholic churches in Waltham and Newton (St. Marys, St. Charles Borromeo, Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted, Mary Immaculate of Lourdes) that are true to the Catholic faith in favor of churches farther away where the tenor is not so true to the Catholic faith, then we see her as problematic.

As for the search for a new Catholic chaplain, Brandeis said there is a committee working on it–in the context of looking at campus Chaplaincy across religions and faiths.  The faculty chair of that committee is Prof. Wendy Cadge. A brief look at her CV shows a number of articles she has about Buddhism and in support of the gay agenda in churches. (e.g. her chapters in a book Gay Religion, entitled ““Reconciling Congregations Bridging Gay and Straight Communities” and “Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Buddhist Practitioners”).  BCI cannot fathom how a secular college committee of any sort–let alone one set-up like this–would be in a position to set the requirements for a Catholic priest/chaplain. Given this is the way Brandeis seems to be operating, BCI thinks the only thing that could be done for the Catholic students on campus would be for the Boston Archdiocese to appoint an orthodox Catholic student to help coordinate transportation to Masses at nearby parishes faithful to the teachings of the Catholic faith.


Holy Trinity Church in Boston Being Turned into Boutique Condos

April 29, 2015

For those who have not yet heard, Holy Trinity Church, the former home of the German Catholic Community and the Traditional Latin Mass is being redeveloped into boutique condos.  We posted last June that the property was up for sale, and in November we learned it had been sold, however the identity of the developer was not yet publicly available. Oddly, the archdiocese has not announced the sale price, or what will become of the millions of dollars of proceeds. Now the plans are up for approval by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. A picture of the proposed development can be found below.

Here is what has been written about the proposed plans.  In “You Could Soon Live in This 19th Century South End Church” we learn:

Finegold Alexander + Associates, Inc. is hoping to transform the former Holy Trinity German Catholic Church and Rectory – located at 136 Shawmut Ave. in Boston’s South End – into an eight-story structure boasting 33 residential units. (The firm is acting on behalf of owner 136 Shawmut LLC, formed out of New Boston Ventures, according to the Boston Globe.)

According to a report filed by Finegold Alexander principal-in-charge James G. Alexander with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, this particular housing development will keep the church and rectory’s exterior facade while the interior of the building will be completely demolished and rebuilt – assuming, of course, the project is approved by the BRA.

Atop the building, however, will rise a glass and steel structure that, the report notes, is expected to “blend old and new, creating a bold centerpiece for this developing neighborhood.”

Not counting the basement containing 24 parking spaces, some 57,000-square-feet of residential space could be built, more than 69,000-square-feet in total (counting the basement lot).

The BRA a held public hearing to gather community input on the project on Monday, April 27.

Regarding the “eye-popping design,” the Boston Globe reported:

“You could tear it down and start over, which would be a tragedy — you’d lose the details, the social and religious history,” said architect James Alexander, who led the building’s design team at Finegold Alexander + Associates. “But re-using it as it was, with the shape of the roof and the square footage, it just wouldn’t generate the return.”

Alexander and his team, along with New Boston Ventures, fine-tuned the design over several consultations with the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Officials there asked the designers to move the front of the new structure back from the street, so the church’s central tower would remain visually prominent.

As we have said before, BCI thinks the sale and loss of this magnificent church (see pictures here) has been a great tragedy. The conversion to boutique condos would appear to now put the nail in the coffin. Any chances of this great Catholic church ever being a Catholic church and place for Catholic worship again are probably forever gone.


Bishop’s Bad Behavior: Cardinal O’Malley and Bishop Bootkoski

March 26, 2015

In the past week or so, the outright mean, un-Christian-like actions of two bishops, Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and Bishop Paul Bootkoski of Metuchen have been all over the news.  If you have time, you should write or call both of them and ask them to apologize for their actions that have harmed innocent people.

First, there was Cardinal O’Malley firing a janitor, a pastor, a school principal and a second-grade teacher because the janitor used the same bathroom that an elementary school student used and no one reported the fact that no crime and nothing inappropriate happened to police and church authorities.  Then there is Bishop Bootkoski publicly defaming a teacher for posting comments on her personal Facebook page that defend Church teachings about marriage and homosexuality, then trying to cover-up the fact that his attorneys told the teacher’s family she was being let go from the school because of this.

We will get to Bishop Bootkoski in a separate post.  The situation with Cardinal O’Malley is downright mean.  You can read the full story at The Media Report, and we quote from an excellent Pewsitter editorial for a short version of the story:

According to The Media Report, an injustice has been done to the administration and staff of a working-class Boston area Catholic school.  Apparently there’s been a group firing just because a tenured custodian went to the bathroom before a child walked in afterwards.  This sounds like a brand new low in punishing innocent Catholic employees.

Has anyone noticed that we are living in the totalitarian state they used to warn us about in school and science fiction?

In a way it was inevitable: After years of media hysteria over the issue of sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Church officials have now decided on a policy of “shoot first, ask questions later” when it comes to even the scantest allegations of impropriety.

In January of this year, in an astonishing act of injustice, Boston’sCardinal Seán O’Malley forced the resignations of three individuals from a Catholic school in Revere, despite the fact that no one broke any law or did anything wrong.

If it were not clear already, it should be clear now: “Zero tolerance” has now fully morphed into paranoia and cruelty.

A 64-year old custodian went to the restroom just outside his office which he’d been using for 17 years.  No boys were in there at the time.  The school apparently has an unfortunate rule against adults and children using the same restroom.  (There was a time when people understood an adult monitoring a school restroom was a good thing.)

If it wasn’t for such rules and the cruel excuses for making them, mothers like the one in this story wouldn’t be frightened into lodging complaints.

Like many urban Catholic schools, Immaculate Conception School in Revere (on the working-class outskirts of Boston) lacks adequate space, so it had been a “common practice for a number of years” in the school for adults to use the student restroom so long as there was not a student already in there.

Well, at some point at the end of last year, a mother called the school to report that her kindergarten-aged son felt “uncomfortable” walking into the restroom and seeing the school’s 64-year-old custodian using a urinal. (The restroom was just steps away opposite the janitor’s office.) [Addendum, 3/18/15: The Revere Advocate reported in late January that the janitor used the bathroom in question “for upwards of 17 years without incident.”]

At no time did anyone ever report or even suggest that anyone had committed any behavior in the least bit sexual or criminal. Never.

In other words, the boy walked into the restroom and saw what anyone would see if he walked into any public men’s restroom – such as at the theater or Boston’s Fenway Park.

Probably in an effort to comply with insanely strict diocesan policy, the school eventually contacted police.  When Cardinal O’Malley was notified, he fired the principal, a parish priest, and a teacher.

The school was at a loss at how to respond to the mother’s phone call, but at some point, someone came up with the idea that the concern should somehow be reported to law enforcement. Big mistake.

Overreacting, Cardinal O’Malley and the Archdiocese of Boston immediately forced the resignations of three employees of the parish and its school: Father George Szal, the popular parish priest; Alison Kelly, the school’s principal; and an unnamed second-grade teacher.

The Cardinal’s reason for forcibly removing the trio was that the group had somehow failed to report the issue to law enforcement and the archdiocese “in a timely manner.” Shockingly, the archdiocese reportedly gave the three “an ultimatum – resign or be fired.”

Yet even after both local police and the local district attorney investigated the case and discovered that nothing even remotely criminal had occurred, Cardinal O’Malley still would not reverse his impetuous decision. The lives of four innocent people (the trio plus the custodian) would remain tarnished.

It doesn’t add up.  Aren’t there enough real scandals in the Boston Church that require action?  Is this an attempt to make some zero-tolerance quota?  Why sacrifice the innocent?

The Media Report says parents are complaining, but the RCAB is putting their heads in the sand and doing nothing:

Parents at Immaculate Conception School are naturally up in arms over the way Cardinal O’Malley and the Archdiocese of Boston have handled this incident, and they created a petition with 927 signatures demanding a meeting with O’Malley to address the matter.

Parent Jeffrey Turco, who has three children in the school, has probably summed up this entire episode the best:

“[Archdiocese of Boston officials are] so panicked about how criminally they handled [the priest sex abuse cases] years ago that now they don’t care who they hurt – whether the kids, the parents or three good people, four if you count the custodian.

The Cardinal and his people ought to stand up and say, ‘Sorry, we’ve made a mistake here in our zeal to protect children.’ However, they’re soarrogant and so stuck in their office complexes in Braintree that I don’t know if they have the fortitude to admit they made a mistake … It’s so un-Christian the way they handled this.”

In typical bureaucratic fashion, over a month later, there has been no response at all from Cardinal O’Malley to the parents’ petition. No letter, no phone call, no email. Nothing.

Cardinal O’Malley fires 4 innocent people at a school for a total non-issue, yet has been publicly silent about a bishop just installed in Chile who covered-up the country’s most notorious pedophile.

Concerned Catholics should contact the following to ask for an apology by Cardinal O’Malley and reinstatement of all 4 innocent people:

Bishop Peter Uglietto: Vicar_general@rcab.org
Cardinal Sean O’Malley: archbishopsean_o’malley@rcab.org


Send Message to Mass. Knights of Columbus: Do Not Dishonor St. Patrick

March 12, 2015

As more and more Catholics are finding out, the Massachusetts Knights of Columbus are going out of their way to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Boston for the first time–coincidentally, when it’s the first year a homosexual group is marching in the parade and other faithful Catholics are pulling out. Instructions are found below on how you should act today to voice your outrage.

Here is commentary from the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts:

Last December, in a shocking defeat for Catholic religious freedom rights, a minority on the board of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council—the organizers of Boston’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade—dispossessed the majority, surrendered to political pressure orchestrated by Mayor Martin Walsh, and agreed to permit a homosexual group to march in the 2015 parade.

In doing so, this minority dishonored themselves, discarded a hard fought, 9 to 0 U. S. Supreme Court decision, and betrayed their Faith, their heritage, and all those persons, living and dead, who struggled for twenty-three years to preserve the Catholic and family character of the parade.

As a result of this betrayal, a parade in honor of a Catholic saint will now become a propaganda vehicle to legitimize sodomy. A parade in honor of Saint Patrick will become a forum for those who express pride in rejecting the religion and morality of Saint Patrick.

Consequently, the faithful Catholics of Immaculate Heart of Mary School publicly withdrew from the parade last Thursday.

Now, incredibly, at a time when real Catholics are leaving the parade, the Massachusetts State Council of the Knights of Columbus—who never marched in the parade before, at least in the last thirty years—have announced that they will march in the 2015 Boston Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

It is almost impossible to believe that this is a coincidence. It would seem that the Knights are giving political cover to the Veterans Council, to Mayor Walsh, or both, by pretending the parade is still a Catholic friendly event. (Interestingly, the State Deputy of the K of C is a resident and small business owner in Dorchester, Mayor Walsh’s hometown.)

The decision of the K of C to march, whatever their motivation, is a disgrace. Please contact the Massachusetts State Council of the Knights of Columbus and tell them how disgusted you are that they would march in a parade that includes homosexual activists, and which will be celebrated in the media as a victory for gay rights. Urge them to cancel their plans to march in this sham parade, which makes a mockery of Saint Patrick!

Contact the State Council today via the following:

Phone: 781-551-0628
Email: State.Office@masskofc.org
State Deputy’s email: russellsteinbach@aol.com
State Deputy Russell Steinbach Home phone: 617-282-7752

For twenty-three years, homosexual militants tried to force their way into the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, while the Massachusetts K of C stood by and did nothing. Now that the militants have succeeded, the Knights, suddenly, want to march. It is really quite appalling!

Mass Resistance has an excellent piece as well here.  They spoke to State Deputy Steinbach and he said, “I want people in Boston to know what we do. We want to raise membership.” When asked if he understood why many Catholics are angry at him, he said, “I don’t know.”  On Wednesday, he sent a second email to members inviting them to come and march in the parade on Sunday – and to be sure and bring their families to this “family friendly” event!

The Catholic Action League responded:

Whatever their motivations or pretentions, the State Council of the K of C is objectively rendering assistance, and providing aid and comfort to Mayor Walsh, the parade organizers, and most of all, the homosexual activist group OUTVETS, by perpetuating the illusion that the parade is still a Catholic friendly and family friendly event.

More treacherously, the K of C is undermining the admirable Catholic witness demonstrated by the faithful Catholics of Immaculate Heart of Mary School, who withdrew rather than march with homosexual militants.

The overt message of OUTVETS is that homosexual relations—including so-called same gender marriage—is not only morally acceptable, but something to be proud of. Their implicit message therefore is that Catholic moral teaching is nothing more than bigotry and prejudice.

The Knights are helping OUTVETS to spread their message by pretending nothing is wrong, and pretending there is nothing morally objectionable to a homosexual group exploiting a parade in honor of a Catholic saint to promote their anti-Christian agenda. Silence implies consent.

In addition to the above contacts, we suggest you also contact:

State K of C Chaplain, Bishop Robert Hennessey: 617-269-4001
Bishop Peter Uglietto: Vicar_general@rcab.org
Cardinal Sean O’Malley: archbishopsean_o’malley@rcab.org

Instead of what the K of C is doing, they should follow the advice of Cardinal O’Malley in his 2006 Pastoral Letter on Homosexuality:

We know that friends and relatives of homosexual Catholics sometimes feel torn between their allegiance to Christ and their concern for their loved ones. I assure them that these goals are not incompatible. Calling people to embrace the cross of discipleship, to live the commandments and at the same time assuring them that we love them as brothers and sisters can be difficult. Sometimes we are told: “If you do not accept my behavior, you do not love me.” In reality we must communicate the exact opposite: “Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior.”

The parade is Sunday and there is still time to pressure the K of C to pull out. We ask readers from any part of the country to take a few minutes on Friday to contact the above people.


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