Reaction to Layoffs and Trust

Based on the emails we are getting–over yesterday’s Boston Globe puff-piece about mandatory payments from all parishes to the diocese, the Caritas sale, and layoffs–it feels like the archdiocese is in a very tenuous situation right now.  Here is a small sample of what we received in the last few days:

From “Carol”

Two truths:
1.  The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has no business paying anyone more than $150,000.00, and then only when there is great demonstrated competency.  The schools are going down the drain (Grassa-O’Neill), the chancellor and Mr. Hehir work for Jack Connors (a/k/a Partners and Boston College) and Mr. Donilon, based on his news releases, struggles with English as a written language (e.g. in today’s email about the Wangsness soft-toss, it’s “assess,” not “access” when you’re evaluating parish financial health).  When salaries have benefits and FICA/Medicare employer contributions added in, the top salary is over $350,000.00.  How many people are paid over $100,000?  What’s the total payroll for those people?  What’s the average salary of those paid less than $100,000?

2.  Skimming from parish revenue (offertories, rents and all other donations except bequests) to the tune of about 24% per annum (schools tax + RCAB tax)is just plain wrong.  When salaries in Braintree look more like the paychecks of those giving the money, we can talk.  Parishioners have already caught on and begun plans to find other ways to support their parishes.  Why didn’t the Globe article interview someone besides those whose job it is to sell the plan, and those who were most caustic about parish closings?  There are hundreds of priests (particularly pastors) and thousands of lay people who are saying, “Not so fast.”  The Globe didn’t seek them out it seems.

Meanwhile, why has no one asked what the RCAB spends on heating, plowing, mowing and capital repairs to the not-really-occupied former parish churches?  My guess is $750,000.00 per year, based on what it costs to maintain one parish church — and they are maintaining a half dozen of these places at a residential standard.  Show us the common sense, RCAB, and then maybe we’ll show you the money.

Last, but not least, who would be willing to take the bet that Cerberus has had discussions or some pre-existing agreement with Partners to sell the hospitals in 2012?  $25M is a drop in the bucket to buy off the “Catholic” part of the deal.  How can the cardinal sleep at night?  Or is he asleep all the time?

From “Paul”

What Boston Catholic Insider is doing is a good start, but you guys have barely scratched the surface on the corruption in the Pastoral Center.  Talk to some more chancery workers and pastors.

One of the laid-off staff members has been at the Archdiocese for 30 years; she is the main source of family income as her husband is ailing and they rely on her insurance…all that will be gone in 4 months…Not that the Archdiocese should employ everyone if there is simply no job.  But, hey, J. Bryan Hehir: What about social justice for the little people, not just more big “ideas” to solve the “complex” multi-dimensional problems in our  complex pluralistic society?  Meanwhile, there are at least 20-25 people earning 6-figure salaries, not including benefits.  Not one was laid-off.

The Clergy Retirement Fund has been mismanaged.  Based on what was promised when it was created, it needs more like $200 million to be funded as promised, but what’s a promise anyway?  That is not alot of money when you’re flushing millions down the toilet elsewhere, like for PR, law firm fees, Catholic school superintendent and associate superintendent salaries and at schools to educate mostly non-Catholics (like Pope John Paul II Academy in Dorchester) or  hospitals and charities that are mostly not Catholic any more and will disappear in a few years anyway.  How exactly they will close even a $100 million retirement fund gap is still mostly smoke and mirrors.

The annual report for the year ending June 2009 came out in June of 2010.  The Chancellor is paid $250,000/year and has a $100K+/year administrator and it takes them a year to issue a financial report?  FY 2010 just ended.  People should ask when they will see the 2010 report and all of the supplemental reports missing from 2009 still. Because the Chancellor controls the money, everyone kow-tows to him.

Meanwhile, older priests still in active service have been pushed off private medical plans  onto Medicare at a considerable extra out-of-pocket cost to the priests for office visits and prescription medications. 

 If 1/3 of the pastors stood firm and said they would NOT participate in the new mandatory parish payment program and curtailed the money-flow from parishes to the chancery, that would immediately stop the insanity.   If Boston Catholic Insider has a way to communicate with more priests and pastors, you guys will get an earful, and you should definitely publish what you hear.

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