Sham Searches: Mass Catholic Conference and Institutional Advancement

Many readers have been asking us for shorter blog posts, and you get your wish today!

Yesterday we posted how there has been no word on the status of the search for the new Secretary for Institutional Advancement, and the names of the search committee members for the Mass Catholic Conference head were unannounced.  By coincidence, within hours of our post, we started getting emails from everywhere with news on both. 

Secretary for Institutional Advancement.  We have told you for some time that the “fix is in” for that position, and the selection of Kathleen Driscoll, a Jack Connors crony, was pretty much in the bag for her when the search committee convened.  We are getting numerous reports that the committee met within the past several days–a rare occurrance for this committee.  That much we have confirmed.  Rumor leaking out is that they were informed about the selection of Ms. Driscoll.  Basically, that would say that the presence of the members on the committee was just for PR purposes to make everyone believe there was a legitimate search, when there really was not.  A public announcement of her appointment would be imminent.

The general direction and rumor of her being appointed is confirmed by what was conveyed Tuesday at the Pastoral Center Staff Meeting.  Carol Gustavson, the proudly ex-Catholic executive director of HR and benefits, announced that the Campaign for Catholic Schools personnel will be moving into the Pastoral Center around December 1.  No mention was made regarding who pays for them going forward.  When the Campaign started, Jack Connors only promised a 3 year commitment, so those people need jobs in this tough economy.  Is it just a coincidence that they are moving in Dec. 1, and the committee for the Secr. of Institutional Advancement search was convened and rumors are a-flying about an imminent announcement?

Rumors are also flying again that these folks would work on combined fund-raising across a new entity, combining fund-raising across what are separate corporate entities, Catholic Foundation, Catholic Schools, Catholic Charities, and the Clergy Fund.  The thinking is that they will go after the deep-pocketed donors from one place.  Never mind the widow’s mite or the fact that maybe people want to give to one specific organization where they trust and value what that organization is uniquely doing to build the kingdom of God.

If this is true, then it suggests an even graver crisis of governance in Boston than we thought previously, and a surrender of fund-raising to Jack Connors’ cronies. Fr. Erikson, the Vicar General, to whom this position supposedly reports would be rendered even more mute and ineffective, and it makes Chancellor McDonough even more powerful.   That surrender of all fund-raising to Connors and his cronies would put the Cardinal Archbishop in a position of being captive to Jack’s money, and effectively put the Cardinal’s and all archdiocesan decision-making under the control of Connors.  Do the expressions “shadow archdiocese” or “shadow archbishop” come to mind for anyone?  Connors had previously been referred to by the Boston Globe as the “pope of Catholic power brokers.” 

If the rumor is not true, we will retract what we said and issue a correction.  If the rumor is true, then we are concerned beyond words about the future governance of this archdiocese.  It has already been suggested to us that people sending FedEx letters to the Holy Father is a next step action if this all comes to pass as rumored.

Regarding the search committee for the new head of the Mass Catholic Conference, we are out of time to offer much commentary, except to say this search is now laden with controversy and has high potential to become yet another “sham search.”      You can see what Tenth Crusade  and Bryan Hehir Exposed are saying about two of the search committee members.  Based on what we have been able to determine, two of the search committee members are either cronies of Fr. Bryan Hehir and Jack Connors, or have a background that at first pass, we think should disqualify them from the search.  You may reach your own conclusions.

For those who like shorter posts, we hope we have met your goals today.  We believe all who care about the Boston Archdiocese should be very concerned about the news of today’s post.  More details as we get them.

6 Responses to Sham Searches: Mass Catholic Conference and Institutional Advancement

  1. Angry Parish Council member says:

    I heard similar word of the Pastoral Council staff meeting. If true, the Cardinal would basically be in the awkward position of having to both admit he lied about there being an open search and also admit that he is handing over the keys for 66 Brooks Drive and governance of the Archdiocese to Jack Connors and Bryan Hehir. That’s a scary thought.I hope and pray you guys are wrong, but would not bet against you being right on this one.

  2. A. J. Constantino says:

    Concerned deacon:

    Why not simply give us the names of the Search Committe Members? you seem to be implying it is a big secret!

    Chair – Bishop George W. Colman
    James Brett – President of the New England Council
    Reverend Michael K. McManus – Chancellor Fall River
    Sister Annette McDermott SSJ – Springfield
    Msgr. Thomas Sullivan – Chancellor Worcester
    Very Rev. Brian K. Parish – RCAB

    and if I forgot anyone simply go to the website!

    What’s the mystery?

  3. Skeptical but hopeful says:

    Bryan Parrish is the heir apparent to the VG job in Boston, yes? Jim Brett, a lobbyist, is McDonough’s man, linked through a web of cronyism that began in Dorchester and rambles around Hanover. Bishop Coleman is a good man — can his role as chair of the committee guarantee a good outcome? If Sr. Annette has the blessing of the bishop in Springfield, she gets my vote… Bishop McDonnell is rebuilding there and doing a very credible job. Looks like a mixed bag… or is it more a case of appearances? Is Boston once again wagging the rest of the state? Just once it would be great if “Massachusetts” could mean more than “Boston” when it comes to questions of statewide importance.

  4. CleaningCrewLeaker says:

    Quotes from the draft release of the Driscoll appointment:

    Kathleen Driscoll said: “I owe this all to my faith in J.C – Jack Connors. Until I took Jack into my heart as my Lord and Personal Savior, I actually needed to interview for jobs to get them.”

    Jim McDonough remarked: “This was actually much easier than I thought. The Cardinal totally forgot that we said six months ago that we actually wanted to hire a career development professional with actual experience of asking people for money. Kathleen and I will work together great, and her appointment will please John, Jack and the Hingham crowd. Hallelujah! [See, you bloggers, I can use religious words, not just f-bombs in my speech!]”

    Cardinal O’Malley stated: “Kathleen will do great. Jack said so.”

    Jack Connors added: “This is a huge middle finger to all those bloggers, priests and right wing Catholics who thought that identifying that this was a sham search would actually dissuade the Cardinal and the Vicar General from going forward with it. It was a sham, you were right, and we still did it!! Shows who is really in charge of this Archdiocese. We may be past our prime but we still have our executive style looks, demeanor and our power. Behave yourselves lowly right-wing bloggers and we’ll still let you worship in my … oops… our churches. It took 7 years for Cardinal O’Malley to install Kaneb, McDonough and me officially as his kitchen cabinet – now we’re ready to do some cooking!”

    Vicar General Richard Erikson remarked “I’d like to thank the members of the Search Committee. Your work was tremendously efficient – you completed your search without actually interviewing one candidate. It’s a model of how the Church should work – keep up appearances, get the job done, and keep the powerful Catholic cultural leaders happy. Thanks for your service and for lending your reputations to the committee so that we can use your good reputations to provide cover for this appointment and allow Kathleen to look credible. Your have our deep gratitude for your service.”

    • Hang on there... says:

      This blog has never impugned Kathleen Driscoll as a person, nor as a fundraiser. Unless you have verifiable knowledge of her performance one way or the other, exercise some restraint in your comments. There should be a lot of concern about the search, and there should be unyielding insistence on the best candidate, and on one without an agenda dictated by those with clear conflicts of interest. Jack Connors has clearly documented, serious conflicts of interest. If I were the A.G., they would be documented in pleadings on behalf of RCAB donors, but Jack’s buddy, Martha, is A.G., so don’t hold your breath.

      His presence on the scene, by definition, taints the process. But working for and being close to Jack Connors does not mean that Kathleen Driscoll is either suited or unsuited to the job. Keep comments about individuals objective, or keep them to yourself.

      It still comes down to what the cardinal knew and when he knew it. (And the real standard is “knew or should have known…”) He’s on very thin ice.

  5. […] are seeing and hearing of Fr. Erikson before we get into the details. And you should check out our latest post on sham searches before reading further if you have not read it […]

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