Archdiocesan Anonymity

Welcome to the first episode of an occasional series called, “Archdiocesan Anonymity.”  For every 100 compliments and supportive emails we get, every so often we get 1 complaint about the bloggers being anonymous, hence we cannot be taken seriously.  The archdiocese tried to discredit us with the same argument last week. (By coincidence, those complaining invariably ignore the credible content of the blog).  Beyond the reasons we have already stated for our maintaining anonymity—to avoid retaliation and threats to our livelihoods—we think this graphic is an appropriate response to the archdiocese. (Hint: think of the expression “pot calling the kettle black.”)

Even though we are just blogging information you can almost always objectively verify, the archdiocesean concern over the bloggers is great enough that senior cabinet officials met with outside lawyers some weeks ago to discuss possible legal options to stop the anonymous bloggers, so we feel the threats are real. What we find most ironic is how the same archdiocese that just complained about the anonymity of a bunch of lowly bloggers (with no influence over anything), itself practices anonymity and deception in matters of great importance to priests, employees, laity, and the future of the Catholic Church in Boston. (See graphic once again).  We share just three examples today.

Example 1: Last week, the archdiocese sent a letter to all employees with “important information about upcoming changes” to the employee pension plan, to address the minor matter of the plan’s financial condition being “unsustainable.”   Here is a copy of the Aug 31 memo  passed on to us by several concerned readers.  Notice how it is signed: “The Board of Trustees of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston Pension Plan.”   Is it just us here at Boston Catholic Insider, or is anyone else wondering why such an important memo is not signed with the actual name of anyone?  A lot of employees are affected by these changes to pension benefits and are wondering who exactly authored this important memo, who are the anonymous trustees of the pension plan, and how each anonymous trustee came to be appointed.  When someone finds this information, do send it our way and the anonymous bloggers will post it here to help answer the questions for everyone concerned.

Example 2: Current membership on the Archdiocese Finance Council, as well as the Finance Council’s standing committees (Steering Committee, Investment, Real Estate, Audit, Institutional Advancement, Legal Affairs, Financial Services) is not available.  These committees are defined in the Finance Council charter:

The last update to the membership list was published with the annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2008.  Why is the current membership on these important committees as of September 2010 now anonymous?  Who has anonymously been added to the Finance Council in the past two years, exactly which anonymous member of the Finance Council or which pastor invited them to join, and what are the backgrounds of the anonymous new members?   Why are the names of the people currently reviewing the sale of real estate, disposition of Church properties, and developing guidelines for construction projects kept anonymous?

Example 3:  As announced by the Coalition to Save Catholic Healthcare and reported on this blog, the spokesman for Caritas Christi, Chris Murphy, sneaked into a recent Coalition event at the Omni Parker House in Boston under false pretenses using a pseudonym, asked no questions during the event, and then told the Boston Globe afterwards using his real identity that most of the group’s complaints were “unfounded”.  

We bring all of this up because on April 29, 2006, the Archdiocese launched an unprecedented Financial Transparency Initiative saying the following:

“Our commitment to financial transparency and accountability is an important step in the process of healing the Church of Boston and rebuilding the trust of the people of this Archdiocese” said Cardinal Sean “In releasing this financial information, we hope to achieve a shared understanding of both the challenges and the opportunities we share as a faith community. Together, we can work together to solve our problems and strengthen the Archdiocese’s ability to continue the good works it performs each and every day of the year.”

In view of the three examples listed above, we feel compelled to ask: How’s that transparency initiative going these days?  Tune in again for more examples in a future episode of “Archdiocesan Anonymity,” and feel free to share other ones you want to see published.

ps. Silence Meter Update:

  • 9 days passed since archdiocese said they are seeking a conversation with bloggers; no response to Open Letter.
  • 39 days passed since July 23 email to archdiocese asking for explanation of conflicts of interest that led to hiring Communications Secretary and Chancellor; no response.

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