AP Report on Catholic Bloggers, Boston Catholic Insider

First, for those who have not yet read our Sunday post,  St. John Seminary Squeezola, we suggest you make that your first stop today. Boston College has just taken back small rooms (a music room and faculty dining room) they had “graciously” let the seminary use, which means little to BC space-wise and is more about their symbolically flexing their muscles, while the loss of that needed space means a lot to the seminary. Pay special attention to the passionate comments by readers about the future of St. Johns Seminary. Anyone from the archdiocese reading this, we suggest you forward a copy of the post and comments on up to Cardinal O’Malley. We will post more on the seminary situation tomorrow, and are glad to also post any response from the archdiocese here as well if anyone would like to offer one.

For today, we wanted to call your attention to an excellent article by AP religion reporter, Rachel Zoll on the phenomenon of Catholic bloggers.  The article prominently features Boston Catholic blogs.  It is entitled “Catholic Bloggers Aim To Purge Dissenters” and has been picked up by papers and other media outlets across the country and in Europe (See Washington Post, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Francisco Examiner, UK Guardian)    For those at 66 Brooks Drive who still have their heads in the sand about this and are hoping if you keep ignoring us we will just quietly go away, perhaps you might want to come up for air, look around, and realize that you are rapidly becoming the laughing stock of the country and may just want to pay closer attention to the concerns we have been raising. Here is the version posted at CBS News, which we liked for the sub-headline, “Catholic and FedUp.”

Here are a few excerpts:

Pressure is on to change the Roman Catholic Church in America, but it’s not coming from the usual liberal suspects. A new breed of theological conservatives has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn’t Catholic enough.

Enraged by dissent that they believe has gone unchecked for decades, and unafraid to say so in the starkest language, these activists are naming names and unsettling the church.

— In the Archdiocese of Boston, parishioners are dissecting the work of a top adviser to the cardinal for any hint of Marxist influence.

RealCatholicTV.com, working from studios in suburban Detroit, is hunting for “traitorous” nuns, priests or bishops throughout the American church.

“We’re no more engaged in a witch hunt than a doctor excising a cancer is engaged in a witch hunt,” said Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV.com and St. Michael’s Media. “We’re just shining a spotlight on people who are Catholics who do not live the faith.”

Among Voris’ many media ventures is the CIA — the Catholic Investigative Agency — a program from RealCatholicTV to “bring to light the dark deeds of evil Catholics-in-name-only, who are hijacking the Church for their own ends, not the ends of Christ.”

In an episode called “Catholic Tea Party,” Voris said: “Catholics need to be aware and studied and knowledgeable enough about the faith to recognize a heretical nun or a traitorous priest or bishop when they see one — not so they can vote them out of office, but so they can pray for them, one, and alert as many other Catholics as possible to their treachery, two.”

The blog “Bryan Hehir Exposed” is aimed at a top adviser to Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, who is the former head of national Catholic Charities and a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Among the bloggers’ claims is that Hehir is a Marxist sympathizer who undermines Catholic teaching on abortion and marriage.

Hehir, who has advised church leaders for four decades, hasn’t responded to any accusations and neither has O’Malley, a Capuchin Franciscan friar known for his humility. However, O’Malley said in April on his own blog that Hehir “inspires us with his compassion, vision and fidelity to the work of the Church.” In August, O’Malley blocked access from archdiocesan headquarters to one of the critical blogs, the anonymously penned Boston Catholic Insider.

“The lack of civility is very disturbing,” said Terrence C. Donilon, the archdiocesan spokesman.

Catholic officials are struggling to come to terms with the bloggers and have organized several recent media conferences on the topic, the latest at the Vatican this month. The U.S. bishops’ conference issued social media guidelines in July calling for Christian charity online.

Still, no one expects the Catholic blogosphere to change tone anytime soon. Many of the conservatives most active online had spent years raising the alarm about dissent on their own in their local dioceses without much effect. Now, they feel they are finally being heard online.

Voris said. “I think enough Catholics are saying, ‘That’s it. I’ve had it.'”

Terry, is the deceit and corruption at 66 Brooks Drive not “very disturbing”?  We are hearing from more and more donors that they find it “disturbing” how their money is being squandered, including $300K+ salaries for some people who never earned those amounts in comparable private sector jobs.  We are hearing from pastors who find it “disturbing” that their parishes are being taxed by the archdiocese at 18% of their donations to pay for six-figure salaries in Braintree while 1/3 of parishes are in the red.  Is the $5M+ in donor funds spent on Lawson financial and accounting software when it was a mismatch for our needs not “very disturbing”? Is it not “disturbing”  that sham searches block good people from being considered for open positions?  How about the conflicts of interest—are they not ‘disturbing”?  Is knowingly deceiving lay people, priests and pastors, church employees, donors, and even members of key advisory committees like the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council and Pastoral Council not “very disturbing”? Is the leadership vacuum at 66 Brooks Drive that threatens the ability of the Church to continue doing her good works not “disturbing”?

To Cardinal O’Malley, Vicar General Fr. Erikson, Chancellor Jim McDonough, Fr. Bryan Hehir, and Terry Donilon, we do not speak for other bloggers, but in case it was unclear up to now, allow this blog to clarify ourselves. With all due respect,  it is your actions or lack of actions and unresponsiveness to long-standing concerns by faithful Catholics that have led to the sort of criticism by the local Catholic blogs that Mr. Donilon apparently now finds “very disturbing.” 

Let’s make a deal.  You publicly, or at least internally acknowledge the problems we have highlighted on the blog and clean up your acts.  Stop justifying the current situation by saying that you offered to meet with us and we declined, and instead implement a credible whistleblower policy that gives all people who care about the Church a way to alert an independent ethics team to problems and ensures a process for addressing the problems  while protecting the person who complains from retaliation.  Operate with integrity like the Catholic Church should operate.  Pastors and laity, we invite you to contact Cardinal O’Malley and urge him to get rid of the corruption, deceit, and cronyism–along with cabinet secretaries and/or advisors who have brought that into the standard operating procedures of this archdiocese. In exchange, we will work on using more civil language. Better still, we might even eventually go away completely. A blog like this one would not be considered necessary in the Archdiocese of Denver, which is under the leadership of Cardinal Sean’s classmate and fellow Capuchin Archbishop Chaput.  We hope some day we will be unnecessary in Boston as well, but that seems a long ways off based on how 66 Brooks Drive is operating today.

In the meantime, sorry guys, we are here to stay along with the thousands of readers  who are all saying, “That’s it. I’ve had enough.”

17 Responses to AP Report on Catholic Bloggers, Boston Catholic Insider

  1. Kathy says:

    Congratulations ! Maybe, just maybe, Rome will take notice or someone with the power to “Change & Fix” the Archdiocese of Boston. I believe if the sacrileges within the church here in Boston were stopped the Management/Administration would follow. It’s too bad things had to go this way but the laity are just following their Church given rights under Canon Law, maybe the Administration should brush up a little on those. I refer specifically to Canons 208 through 223. It stings when we’re told we are doing a great disservice to the Church but that’s nothing compared to what Our Lord and Savior suffered on the Cross and continues daily in the Archdiocese of Boston to do. Onward Catholic Soldiers! God Bless and Protect this BLOG and the many like it!

  2. FrMichael says:

    Have to say as a California priest that I don’t understand anything of the internal politics of your archdiocese, but kudos to you for serving as a sounding board for reform.

    God bless!

  3. G Froehle says:

    I happened upon your site via the article you mention. Being raised a 50’s-70’s Catholic, now “fundamentalist”, I retain a strong attraction to Rome. Trying to come to grips with Christianity in the “Public Square” (pace Fr. Neuhaus), I like to see how others square God’s love with the stew of wayward theology and politics.

    You may have some valid points in your blog (hard to tell from Pittsburgh), but “[we] are glad to also post any grammatically correct, spell-checked comments from Terry Donilon” is simply unkind. Sarcasm is a poor garment for a brother in Christ.

    Best of luck with the lost sheep though. Baaa!

  4. A Sad Boston Priest says:

    For ten years I have been saying all that this blog has recently exposed with ready documentation. I thank God that this Blog exists … I no longer feel ALONE !

    Careful examination of Catholic Charities {National, international and local} will lead you to those dark deeds and persons who favor the land of shadows.Much innocent ‘blood’ has been spilled to protect this hidden world.

    I pray that you all persist and God’s grace supports your efforts.

    The real Church of Boston is being held hostage by those who seek only their own wealth and welfare.

    The real ‘dirt’ is yet to be exposed !

    The so-called ‘sex-abuse-crisis’ obscures even darker deeds awaiting exposure and the revelation of titled perpetrators still in the shadows and hidden by careful design.They deflect their own detection by subjecting the reputation of others especially their critics, to the harsh light of malicious inuendo and half truths to discredit their testimony.

    As the Scriptures testify … there is nothing hidden that will not brought to LIGHT.

  5. Thank you for your work. I wish you didn’t have to do it, but appreciate the fact that you do.

  6. Michael says:

    SBP said: The so-called ‘sex-abuse-crisis’ obscures even darker deeds awaiting exposure and the revelation of titled perpetrators still in the shadows and hidden by careful design.

    Maybe if those darker deeds get exposed soon, Cardinal O’Malley can make an early return from the Dublin handout parade in time to give away more money to the Boston lawyers (who are only looking out for the victims of abuse?!?) … Hear that Boston trial lawyers, another feeding frenzy is about to begin … let the whoring begin.

  7. ofishl says:

    In regards to the parishes being taxed at 18% to pay for the outrageous salaries, this news is disturbing as I consider my donation to my parishes annual appeal. Does anyone know if I can specify that the funds stay local? Funny, when I attend Mass at St. Anthony’s Shrine on Arch Street, the Guardian sees the need to point out that “none of your donation will be shared with the archdiocese.”

  8. A Sad Boston Priest says:

    Speaking Of Sean’s Dublin Office …
    I wonder if the good Irish folks realize that another of SPO’s highly regarded associates was / is also a highly regarded advisor to Prince Bernard Law?

    “Dublin Office Manager”,Fr. JJ Connolly Jr. wants to run another Boston ‘Witch Hunt Expose’ here during Advent/Christmas … what a wonderful Christmas gift to the priests and people of Boston and their still bleeding, festering and oozing gashes … But Another smoke-screen to divert and delay the expose’ of the yet unexposed sins/crimes of the ‘shadow-people’…
    A brilliant Strategy ???
    Poor Dublin ! Your suffering will not be healed by these so-called experts. Dublin say to these commissioned ‘doctors’ … Physician, GO HOME AND HEAL THYSELF and the flock you have left in INTENSIVE CARE … then come and assist the ISLAND PEOPLE WHO ARE YET SHOCKED TO REALIZE PATRICK DID NOT EXPELL ALL SNAKES !!!Perhaps they have been sent additional snakes to re-populate the empty nests …
    Patrick, Kevin, Oliver Mary, Brigid, Brendan, Matthew Talbot, all you holy men and women of Erin, come to the aid of the faithful remnant of the Hibernian believers. May they discern who are God’s healers and follow their guidance.

  9. J says:

    Fundamental problem with the article is that it lumps all critical blogs together. Although the Hehir blog has improved somewhat over the last few months, it has historically been long vicious, uninformative, and poorly written screeds that do not advance the Catholic faith nor the Church in Boston.

    To the contrary, the Insider is much to be commended for providing the transparency promised but not delivered. A useful service to the Church as a whole. Perhaps making the distinction a little more plain between THIS blog and the attack blogs might be in order.

    Also, in response to SadBostonPriest – are you speaking of Fr John Connolly of St Brendan’s? I have to confess that, though he has drawn no end of unenviable Archdiocesan jobs, I have never known him to be disagreeable or in any way dishonest, but rather refreshingly blunt and to the point. While I can see how there may be many who tag him with the effects of the jobs he has had to do, I have found him to always be a faithful, good Priest.

    • Quality Guy says:

      Fasther Connoly is a straight talking somewhat blunt in manner, but a man doing a distateswful job with even handed vigor.
      God bless him for his courage and diligence.

  10. tim donovan says:

    I am delighted at the tenor and quality of the writing in the BOTONCATHOLICINSIDER. Boston has been the seat of haelthy sedition since long before the Revolution; it is high time that the same eloquence in defense of sanilty be applied to ecclesiatical malfeasance as it once was to imperious
    malfeasance by the very first GEORGE. My prayers for your continued ability to hold your electronic tongue in place and do the eloquent work you do to shine light in dark places. + tim. long retired, (tG)

  11. BC says:


    It is interesting that you see Fr. Connolly as refreshingly blunt and to the point in his role of taking away the reputations of innocent men, stripping them of their canonical and civil rights. While on the other hand you are dismissive of the documentation of Fr. Hehiritic poisoning the well that our children drink from.

    • Clem Kadiddlehopper says:

      Amen to that, BC.

      • Older and Wiser says:

        When the things that are done in darkness are exposed to the light of day, Fr. Connolly’s shame will know no bound. His single-minded persecution of good priests – accomplished by running roughshod over their rights under civil and canon law, and even trampling the promulgated policies of his own Archdiocese – will be to his perpetual undoing. He is blind to and in denial of his own personal and moral failings (all too well known among the Boston presbyterate) while focusing his wrath on those selfsame failings in his brothers. More the pity, his misplaced loyalty to his old boss, Cardinal Law, has so warped him that he sees himself as a defender of justice, not the perverter of justice that he has truly become.

  12. Quality Guy says:

    not the man I have listened to.

  13. Older and Wiser says:

    Quality Guy says,”mot the man I have listened to.”

    You’re right – he can talk the talk. But those of us who KNOW him know him.

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