Diocesan Deception and Coverup?

Today is a big day for the Archdiocese of Boston because Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson leads the regular Pastoral Center staff meeting and will try to  explain to beleagured staffers how the “sham search” for the new head of development somehow did not involve deception by himself, Chancellor Jim McDonough, Jack Connors, and Cardinal O’Malley. If all goes according to plan, then he will ask people to trust their diocesan leaders and keep much more information confidential so it does not leak out to “the blogs.”

We call this a big day because if the leaders of the Boston archdiocese manage to pull off this sleight of hand, magician David Copperfield might find his illusion of making the Statue of Liberty disappear quickly eclipsed by a new generation of magicians at 66 Brooks Drive.

We now cover what appears to many people as being the deception, the explanation/coverup, and the disingenuousness of the requests for confidentiality.


We hope that by now our readers and the officials of the Boston archdiocese all agree that a search was announced, but then no real search that took place.

First off, is there any difference of opinion that a search was publicly announced to everyone in the archdiocese–priests, laity, and employees?  Here is the June 16 press release that said:

The Archdiocese of Boston announced the appointment of a search committee to help in the selection of a new Secretary of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation.

And here is an excerpt from the June 24 Presbyteral Council meeting minutes where Fr. Erikson, in the presence of Cardinal O’Malley, informed the group representing priests of the archdiocese about the search. After attending Mass at the lovely Bethany Chapel the other day, we happened across the minutes of that June 24 meeting.  If you click on the two images, you will see  camera-phone shots of page 22 and page 23 where Fr. Erikson was quoted as saying:

Catholic Foundation: I want to make a few comments about the Media Group and Catholic Foundation…Moving forward will have a far greater professional resourcing…we are searching for a permanent Secretary for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation.  This is one person with two titles….”

Is there any question that the archdiocesan leadership told everyone there was a real search underway?

Yet, there were no job listings placed.  Alert reader David Justen posted:

Did anyone see a job listing in the Chronicle of Philanthropy for the Secretary for Institutional Advancement? No. Let me tell you, in case you were not aware of the significance, if a fundraising job at the executive level for an organization as large as the archdiocese does not show up there, then it’s not really an open search. In fact, did anyone see a job listing anywhere?

This blog also has confirmed that a move of the Campaign for Catholic Schools people from their Newbury St offices to Braintree was discussed in the winter/spring timeframe, and Kathleen’s name specifically was discussed as the choice for the job in that same timeframe by Chancellor Jim McDonough, Jack Connors,Vicar General Fr. Erikson, and Cardinal O’Malley.

We know for a fact that the search committee met at the beginning of the search, and then was called back at the end when they were told Kathleen Driscoll was named to the position.  There were no candidates interviewed.

The dictionary definition of “deceive” is “to cause to believe what is not true; mislead.”  Were we all deceived?  We believe the answer is objectively yes, but you decide for yourself.


The explanation being floated right now, which will probably be floated again today is that there are two “tracks” of search committees. 1) The officially announced (and apparently window dressing) version and 2) The real search (which means Jim McDonough, Fr. Bryan Hehir, Jack Connors and maybe John Kaneb with the rubber-stamp affirmation Vicar General Fr. Erikson).  So, if you are asked to be on a search committee you will be told that you can search–however, at any time the archdiocese can insert themselves with the candidate.  Apparently this was presented to the presbyteral council last week as the explanation, as is if this were acceptable.

The way magicians perform their illusions is that they often get the audience’s attention distracted so their eyes focus in one place while the illusion happens. In this case, it is now being claimed that the public committee for the Driscoll search was told this all from the beginning.  Excuse me, but even if that happened (which we do not believe), how does that explain the public announcement of the search to the entire archdiocese and to the presbyteral council on June 24?  How does this explain the fact that the committee members were all outraged when they were called back in October and told the decision was made without them?  Is it a plausible explanation, or an attempt to coverup the deception?  You decide.


We could write a book here.  In April 2006 we heard: April 19, 2006 – Archdiocese of Boston Launches Financial Transparency Initiative:

“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.”

The diocese that made headlines for new standards of transparency back in 2005-2006 is now asking priests and staffers to keep everything confidential.  Huh?  Does the diocese want transparency when they are operating with integrity, and then calls for confidentiality and secrecy when they do not want their own deceptive practices to be publicly revealed? Could someone from the archdiocese help us out with an explanation of when transparency applies and when secrecy is called for?

How can the Vicar General and diocesan leadership team be “dedicated to building unity in Christ and Christian community within the Archdiocese” (as was said when they all first reacted publicly to this blog) while certain of these same leaders are operating in a way consistent with the dictionary definition of “deception”?  Does anyone believe that deception as an operating principle builds unity in Christ and Christian community?  Deception seems divisive to this writer.

So which is it?  Do you want deception, division, and secrecy?  If so, then the Vicar General and Chancellor should defend what they have done, stay in their jobs and just keep doing more of what they are doing.  Or do you want the sort of transparency and integrity that was touted in 2005-2006 (and quickly disappeared) that is at the foundation of building trust and unity in Christ? If the latter, then something big needs to change.

A grave betrayal of trust has just occurred in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Peter and Judas both betrayed Jesus.  One acknowledged the betrayal and repented.  The other did not.

Which sort of outcome do you want to see for the sake of the future of the Archdiocese of Boston?

ps. If anyone from the archdiocese disagrees, thinks we have bad information or are jumping to the wrong conclusion, please drop us a line with more details and we will be glad to correct any inaccuracies.   We wrote to Fr. Erikson and Terry Donilon last week to ask a few questions and have not heard back yet.

14 Responses to Diocesan Deception and Coverup?

  1. BostonMagisterialCatholic says:

    A grave betrayal of trust has just occurred in the Archdiocese of Boston.

    Amen to that. But we must also guard ourselves against hypocrisy. Lately, one of the Boston Catholic blogs has been allowing comments in favor of Fr. Leonard Feeney who was excommunicated by the Church for disobedience and who rejected the Church’s teaching vis a vis the dogma which says outside the Church there is no salvation.

    Liberals who notice the promotion of Feeneyism are sure to use this as a weapon against magisterial Catholics if this is not nipped in the bud now.

    • Anonymous says:

      Leonary Feeney was reconciled to the Church (with the Help of +Bishop Lawrence Riley) and never required to abrogate his statements because the Church still teaches “Extra Ecclessia Nula Salus”, just with far more finely nuanced Theology.

      Liberals also tend to be poorly catechized so they likely would have no clue who Feeney was.

      But this all is a discussion for a different Blog

  2. Peter Santos says:

    Feeney’s interpretation of the dogma was summarily rejected by Rome. We should refrain from trying to “correct” the Catechism of the Catholic Church or papal teaching. I think that’s what BostonMagisterialCatholic is saying and I agree. How can we condemn dissent from liberal corners and embrace dissent which emanates from so-called “traditional Catholic” circles?

    It just doesn’t add up.

  3. Boston Magisterial Catholic,
    Thank you for agreeing with our statement about the betrayal of trust. We hope that nothing about this blog is suggestive of hypocrisy (though we are sure you will let us know if/when that happens), and we cannot speak for what is posted on other blogs. As readers can hopefully see from the list of topics posted yesterday, we barely can keep up with our own blogging here.

    If there is a different blog where a discussion is taking place that you folks here acknowledge is not relevant to this blog, please make it easy on us and just keep the discussion at the other blog. We have plenty to do keeping up with the email and comments generated by our own posts.

    Towards that end, the topic of today’s post is Diocesan Deception and Coverup, and it concerns the deception by archdiocesan officials in what was said and done in the search and hiring of a new Secretary for Development. If people have comments they would like to add related to this topic, please feel free to do so here. If not, it is OK to simply read the post and pass the message along to others who are interested in this topic or other governance-related topics.

  4. Anna says:

    There are two tracks all right. The choo choo is on the way to Maplethorpe.

  5. PriestsForTransparency.com says:

    To Rich Erikson,

    Where is the mention of the 2 tracks in the press release that announced the search? Or in your remarks to the Presbyteral Council?

    If this wasn’t a sham search, do you think the people on the search committee agree with your assessment? If so, it would be great to hear from them. It’s tough to believe they were told or understood that a separate track would be done outside the work of the committee. Why would talented and busy people sign up for the search committee if they thought their work would be wasted by a second-track search?

    How dumb do you think the priests, employees and caring lay faithful are?

    Here are the facts: Connors is appointed the chair of the search committee. He never calls any substantive meetings. People that email in their resumes are told to forward them to the Chancellor’s office. No response is ever sent to the candidates and no one is ever interviewed. Then the person (Driscoll) who has been working for Connors for years is appointed to the position four months into the “search”.

    If it looks like a sham search, smells like a sham search, reads like a sham search … it IS a sham search.

    Shame on you Rich for stating that it is anything other than a sham.

    • Objective Observer says:

      Dear PFT,

      Jack having a little fun at the expense of those who agreed to serve on the search committee is infuriating. Jack having a little fun at the expense of highly qualified candidates who had hoped this would be the ideal opportunity to offer their expertise and devotion to the Church, but were in fact ignored, is a grievous sin.

      Richard Erikson is not heartless, but this demonstrates once and for all that he is voiceless. Rich, reluctantly I have to join the chorus at this point: Go back to the Air Force. Now.

      On a related note: Ralph de la Torre and Jack’s son’s ad firm ran a full page in the Community Newspapers in towns abutting Brighton this week, “from” St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center: “Thank you for helping us save world-class community healthcare.” Who exactly are they thanking? (Not that it was saved… it was sold.) Are they thanking the residents of Watertown, Brighton, Newton, etc.? Most of them had no idea this was happening. They’ll barely notice when St. E’s is swallowed by Partners and called something like “The Brigham in Brighton.”

      Two people OKed the sale: Martha from Jack’s vest pocket where she is snug and re-elected, and a judge who reports to Martha and did as he was told.

      Newsflash to Ralph and Jack: You don’t have to thank people you own, just ask Thomas Jefferson.

      As for the highly respected people (including a priest with two parishes way up north who is one of the finest men to ever put on a collar) who agreed to serve on the search committee for a fundraising boss, ignoring and shamming those top-shelf Catholics is probably all the message Jack needed to send to them. They really aren’t that stupid, Jack…

  6. SAd Boston Priest says:

    While I realize deception = deception … I do think the deception or “cover-up” can be seen as weighted differently when one considers the possible reasons for the cover-up.

    I think the Father Feeney reference is for a different forum, viz. the forum of theological debate.

    The deception and cover-up discussion in this blog has to do with the facilitation of crime and or / sin …

    Sorry to say, within my experience as a priest of the RCAB, I have been suspicious of this kind of deception and the facilitation of crimen in more than one situation and was powerless to challenge it though I believe I have been subjected to retalition by twisting my personnel files to render me incredible should I ever attempt to challenge these situations.

    Verbal gymnastics, deception and PR doubletalk are tools of the trade in all corporations … cORP sOLE IS NOT ALONE, SORRY TO SAY.

  7. Anna says:

    There is pandemonium at the Chancery.

  8. […] you have not yet read our pieces on diocesan deception in the hiring of the new development chief and in Catholic school admission policies, please do check those out.  Now for even more very […]

  9. […] deception on the cabinet included the Chancellor and the Vicar General.  In our post “Diocesan Deception and Coverup?” we gave more details about how Cardinal O’Malley and others knew, and how this […]

  10. […] had been chosen independent of them. BCI detailed the situation in multiple posts, including “Diocesan Deception and Coverup?” and “Diocesan Deception and Coverup: The Archdiocesan Response.” We repeatedly asked the […]

  11. Lionel Andrades says:

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011
    Its a mortal sin to deny the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus. It is a sacrilege to receive the Eucharist in this condition- Fr. Gabrielle, priest of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate

    Novus Ordo priest affirms rigorist interpretation of dogma and also Vatican Council II

    An Italian priest who offered the Novus Ordo Mass in Italian today morning at the Salus Populi Romani chapel in the Basilica of St. Mary Majors, Rome, said it was a mortal sin to deny an ex cathedra dogma like the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady or extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    Fr. Gabrielle said it was a sacrilege to receive the Eucharist in this condition without first going for Confession.

    He was speaking with me in the sacristy after Mass and will be here for a few months. I told him I write on this subject on my blog.

    The dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus (outside the church there is no salvation) says everyone with no exception needs to be a formal member of the Catholic Church for salvation. He agreed this was the teaching of the dogma and of the Catholic Church. Every non Catholic needs to enter the Church for salvation.” If there is no baptism there is no salvation “,said Fr. Gabrielle.It needs to be mentioned that Catholics only give the baptism of water to adults with Catholic Faith (Ad Gentes 7).

    Vatican Council II also says Fr. Gabrielle said that there can be those saved through Jesus and the Church and who may not be members of the Church. It needs to be clarified here that only God knows which non Catholics are saved through Jesus and the Church. So this does not contradict the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    Fr. Gabrielle had earlier during the homily spoken about St. Maria Goretti. He also mentioned in the homily that fornicators, or someone who committed a sin of impurity, should not receive the Eucharist, without going for Confession otherwise it would be a sacrilege.

    So I asked him about extra ecclesiam nulla salus.He said presently there was a lot of confusion on this issue.He emphasized the necessity of the Church for the salvation of all people.-Lionel Andrades


    Therefore, all must be converted to Him, made known by the Church’s preaching, and all must be incorporated into Him by baptism and into the Church which is His body. For Christ Himself “by stressing in express language the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mark 16:16; John 3:5), at the same time confirmed the necessity of the Church, into which men enter by baptism, as by a door.-Ad Gentes 7,Vatican Council II (Note: All need the baptism of water for salvation and Catholics only give baptism to adults with Catholic Faith. So Ad Gentes 7 is saying that all people need Catholic Faith and the baptism of water for salvation.)

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”
    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.-Catechism of the Catholic Church 846 (Note : ‘which men through Baptism as through a door’ was a term used by the Church Fathers for the rigorist interpretation of outside the church there is no salvation).

    CCC 845.To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.-Catechism of the Catholic Church n.845 Catechism of the Catholic Church


    This doctrine must not be set against the universal salvific will of God (cf. 1 Tim 2:4); “it is necessary to keep these two truths together, namely, the real possibility of salvation in Christ for all mankind and the necessity of the Church for this salvation”.-Dominus Iesus 20 (Note: Salvation is open for all however to receive this salvation they need to enter the Church).

    Ordinary Magisterium

    Pope Pelagius II (A.D. 578 – 590): “Consider the fact that whoever has not been in the peace and unity of the Church cannot have the Lord. …Although given over to flames and fires, they burn, or, thrown to wild beasts, they lay down their lives, there will not be (for them) that crown of faith but the punishment of faithlessness. …Such a one can be slain, he cannot be crowned. …[If] slain outside the Church, he cannot attain the rewards of the Church.” (Denzinger 246-247)

    Pope Saint Gregory the Great (A.D. 590 – 604): “Now the holy Church universal proclaims that God cannot be truly worshipped saving within herself, asserting that all they that are without her shall never be saved.” (Moralia )

    Pope Innocent III (A.D. 1198 – 1216): “With our hearts we believe and with our lips we confess but one Church, not that of the heretics, but the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, outside which we believe that no one is saved.” (Denzinger 423)

    Pope Leo XII (A.D. 1823 – 1829): “We profess that there is no salvation outside the Church. …For the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. With reference to those words Augustine says: `If any man be outside the Church he will be excluded from the number of sons, and will not have God for Father since he has not the Church for mother.’” (Encyclical, Ubi Primum )

    Pope Gregory XVI (A.D. 1831 – 1846): “It is not possible to worship God truly except in Her; all who are outside Her will not be saved.” (Encyclical, Summo Jugiter )

    Pope Pius IX (A.D. 1846 – 1878): “It must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood.” (Denzinger 1647)

    Pope Leo XIII (A.D. 1878 – 1903): “This is our last lesson to you; receive it, engrave it in your minds, all of you: by God’s commandment salvation is to be found nowhere but in the Church.” (Encyclical, Annum Ingressi Sumus )

    “He scatters and gathers not who gathers not with the Church and with Jesus Christ, and all who fight not jointly with Him and with the Church are in very truth contending against God.” (Encyclical, Sapientiae Christianae )

    Pope Saint Pius X (A.D. 1903 – 1914): “It is our duty to recall to everyone great and small, as the Holy Pontiff Gregory did in ages past, the absolute necessity which is ours, to have recourse to this Church to effect our eternal salvation.” (Encyclical, Jucunda Sane )

    Pope Benedict XV (A.D. 1914 – 1922): “Such is the nature of the Catholic faith that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole, or as a whole rejected: This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.” (Encyclical, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum )

    Pope Pius XI (A.D. 1922 – 1939): “The Catholic Church alone is keeping the true worship. This is the font of truth, this is the house of faith, this is the temple of God; if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation….Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ, no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors.” (Encyclical, Mortalium Animos )

    Pope Pius XII (A.D. 1939 – 1958): “By divine mandate the interpreter and guardian of the Scriptures, and the depository of Sacred Tradition living within her, the Church alone is the entrance to salvation: She alone, by herself, and under the protection and guidance of the Holy Spirit, is the source of truth.” (Allocution to the Gregorian, October 17, 1953)

    Extraordinary Magisterium

    Then, as though to set this constant teaching of the Fathers, Doctors and Popes “in concrete,” so to speak, we have the following definitions from the Solemn Magisterium of the Church:

    Pope Innocent III and Lateran Council IV (A.D. 1215): “One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful outside which no one at all is saved…”

    Pope Boniface VIII in his Papal Bull Unam Sanctam (A.D. 1302): “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”

    Pope Eugene IV and the Council of Florence (A.D. 1438 – 1445): “[The most Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart `into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels’ (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.” -from the website Catholicism.org


    Vatican Council II says outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    The Catholic Church teaches after Vatican Council II (1965) that all people need to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven (Ad Gentes 7, Vatican Council II).

    Catholic Faith with the Baptism of water is the normal, ordinary way of salvation for all people (Lumen Gentium 14, Vatican Council II).The Catholic Church is the ordinary way of salvation for all people (Lumen Gentium 14).Non Catholics however can be saved through the extraordinary means of salvation (Lumen Gentium 16).Only God knows who are the non-Catholics saved through the extraordinary means of salvation; the exceptions. We do not know who the exceptions are. We cannot judge. Jesus, the Church, Scripture and Vatican Council II indicate that the priority is Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water for all people.

    So everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church which is the like the only Ark of Noah that saves in the Flood (CCC).Non Catholic religions have good things in them. However they are not paths to salvation. All salvation comes through Jesus and His Mystical Body the Church. Those non-Catholics who know the above information and yet do not enter the Church are oriented to Hell (Ad Gentes 7, Lumen Gentium 14).Those non-Catholics participating in inter religious dialogue, are educated. They know. They are oriented to Hell.

    Outside the Church there is no salvation. Catholic Faith and the Baptism of water are needed for all people. This is Vatican Council II.

    No where in Nostra Aetate, Vatican Council II is it said that non Catholic religions are paths to salvation.

    Vatican Council II is in harmony with John 3:5, the Church Fathers, Council of Florence, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Redemptoris Missio, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Dominus Iesus, Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Notification on Fr. Jacques Dupuis etc.

    Don’t let people fool you about Vatican Council II. Check the details and affirm the Faith which does not change.

    Jesus called the Catholic Church “…my church…” He told St. Peter that it would prevail against Satan and be there for all time. -Lionel Andrades

  12. Lionel Andrades says:

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011
    I have come across Karl Keating the founder of Catholic Answers’ E-Letter Jan 13, 2004, in which he writes :

    From the late 1940s until his death he was known instead for his rigorist interpretation of the maxim “extra ecclesiam nulla salus” (“no salvation outside the Church”). Adherents to his interpretation became known as “Feeneyites.”
    Ordered to stop teaching his interpretation, Feeney refused and was excommunicated, not technically for teaching heresy but for disobedience.
    Karl Keating says that Fr.Leonard Feeney was not excommunicated for heresy but he held the ‘rigorist interpretation of the maxim “extra ecclesiam nulla salus”.

    It was not a maxim it was a dogma Mr.Keating and the dogma held the ‘rigorist interpretation’ of outside the church there is no salvation.

    Pope Pius XII in the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 referred to this ‘dogma’, the ‘infallible’teaching.
    So if Fr.Leonard Feeney was not excommunicated for heresy and held the same teaching as the dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus, did the Letter of the Holy Office to the Archbishop of Boston support Fr.Leonard Feeney on dogma/doctrine ?


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