The Devil is in the Details

The topic of compensation from our past several posts is a hot one–especially when it comes to the Catholic Schools superintendent and other big 6-figure salary types at 66 Brooks Drive based on our most recent posts.  Then on Friday we also learned from The Pilot about how Mary Grassa O’Neill’s Catholic Schools office has hired not one, not two, but THREE new regional superintendents. Where, pray tell, did the money for these new expensive positions come from–declining tuition dollars from the declining annual enrollment?  Apparently, the new staff are there so that the existing $325K/year superintendent and her six-figure-salaried associate superintendents will not have to work so hard to support the declining number of students each year, and can focus more on “other administrative tasks” instead.

We have a lot more to say about those topics.  But in view of comments streaming in over the weekend about our increasingly absentee Cardinal O’Malley–who missed the St. Johns Seminary Fundraising gala Saturday night and even bailed early on Saturday morning’s Archdicesan Pastoral Council meeting in Braintree to fly off to Paraguay– we thought this piece by Ray Neary, hot off the presses at Renew America, was worth sharing today.
We have reported here on the blog about the conflict of issues concerns and other deception surrounding the sale of Caritas Christi. We have also reported on deception and what appears to be objective situations of corruption and squandering of money by the Archdiocese.
The piece is the editorial opinion of the writer, and we are sharing it because it reflects a perception that many people are seeing, and which we are observing and hearing ourselves.  If Cardinal O’Malley and others at 66 Brooks Drive disagree with the perception that is being created by certain actions, then we believe they would want to work on that.   (Update: we are excerpting from the column–follow the link in the title to read the entire piece).

A Pact with the Devil
Madoff, O’Malley, and a 3-headed dog named Cerberus

by R.T. Neary

Patrick O’Malley was born in Ohio and reared in PA. In his sophomore year in High School, he entered a minor seminary and followed that by studying for the priesthood at Capuchin College in Wash., D.C.

Ordained on Aug 29, 1970 the now Father Sean Patrick O’Malley was prepared to follow in the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi. His education reveals no development of leadership skills or training in financial affairs. Rather, it was studies in Spanish and Portuguese at Catholic University, that led to his being appointed in 1984 as coadjutor bishop of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

In June 1992 he was appointed bishop of the multi-ethnic Fall River Diocese in Massachusetts. Then in 2002 he was assigned as the bishop of Palm Beach, Florida. The following year he became Archbishop of Boston, after Cardinal Bernard Law had requested a transfer in the wake of the infamous predator priest scandals.

Church attendance in the Archdiocese has declined to an all-time low of 17%, numerous parishes were suppressed with many churches being sold, and seminaries could count new applicants on both hands…

Cash-heavy and “once-Catholic” Boston College bought valuable seminary and chancery properties …

Two of the most deplorable examples of financial incompetence were the sale of St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Church in East Boston, and on an even larger scale that of the 6-hospital Caritas Christi Health Care System…

Unbeknownst to most of the public, the Cardinal not only refuses to answer mail, but also does not acknowledge inquiries…

…underlings with conflicts of interest were involved in deception, withholding financial data, and lying outright, as a part of the fare being served to the public about the Caritas Christi sellout.

The 3-headed dog, Cerberus, is still in charge…Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, with his background in Latin, knows well the meaning of mea culpa. Thus far, we’ve not heard it uttered — nor yet seen any effort to void this violation of trust.

Click here to read the full piece.

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We realize this editorial post is different from our normal journalistic fare for a day, and see where we may have stepped beyond a normal BCI reporting boundary in posting it.  Still, we feel the archdiocese and Cardinal should know about the perceptions which exist out there. We will return to our regular programming on Wednesday. Please avoid personal attacks in the comments.

25 Responses to The Devil is in the Details

  1. SAd Boston Priest says:

    St. Francis of Asissi would not accept priestly ordaination because he felt unworthy … At 33 Sean P.
    was already a Mosignor ??? I wonder what the poor man of Asissi would say to Sean in his safron silks?

  2. Inside66Brooks says:

    This is the smallest point, but to add a revealing fact to something mentioned in the article about the thoroughly hypocritical Cardinal O’Malley: He does not write his famous blog and has never, ever written it.

    The blog is written – and has always been written – by Antonio Enrique, the editor of the Boston Pilot.

    Again, this is not a big deal. But it reveals something additionally pathetic about the Cardinal who shamelessly promotes himself as the first blogging bishop: He has never blogged, does not blog, and presumably never will blog. In a medium that is supposed to be entirely about self-expression, O’Malley has from the beginning been dishonest. He pays someone else to pretend to be himself.

    From small to big, beginning to end, O’Malley is a [edited by BCI]. He is surrounded by liars. The leaders of the Archdiocese who are honest – laity and clergy – have one by one walked away from association with him.

    • Inside66,
      Just a point of clarification–we believe that Antonio Enrique sits down with the Cardinal and/or speaks with him every week and ghost-writes the Cardinal’s blog reflecting input from the Cardinal on his experiences of the week and topics he wishes to cover.

      We are not fans of Cardinal Sean’s blog so are not attempting to justify any aspect of it. We just wanted to clarify that point for our readers.

      • michael says:

        I don’t think this point of clarification changes anything really. As I66B said: “He has never blogged, does not blog, and presumably never will blog” apparently making him the “thoroughly hypocritical Cardinal O’Malley.”

      • mckinley says:

        Boy, there sure is a reason I could never take a paycheck from the Archdiocese. At some point, when the Cardinal dictates things like people who say the archdiocese made a pact to outsource abortions and in fact be enriched from that pact were in error and doing a disservice to the Church, I would have to tell him I could not do it and I wouldn’t do it, come what may.

        Often, through the years, they recruit priests and lay people to publish, do or say dishonest things, I have urged them not to do it. Urged them to stand the ground, come what may.

        Serve Christ in evry moment and deed.

    • Objective Observer says:

      In the beginning it was dictated by the cardinal onto tape, then transcribed onto the blog by Kevin Shea verbatim. If you read the archives when the words were the cardinal’s (Kevin would add the LOL when the cardinal laughed on the tape), and read the entries produced since that time, the difference is apparent.

  3. Larry says:

    I am told that there has already been a meeting to designate the spending of the $25 million payoff that is expected to come from Cerberus for abandoning the Catholic identity of the hospitals.

    O’Malley, McDonough, Hehir, Connors, Kaneb and Kathleen Driscoll (edited by BCI) have agreed the money will go to pay off the funds Connors and Cruella have failed to raise for the Campaign for Catholic Schools (CCS).

    It’s a long bow to suggest that there was any direct connection between the $25 million needed by CCS and the $25 million payoff demanded of Cerberus.

    However. . . it turns out to be very helpful to Connors and Driscoll that the amount of money they need to rescue their failed CCS organization will be provided by the company that bought Caritas Christi. . . a deal that was offered and negotiated by Ralph de la Torre, the CEO of Caritas Christi. . . who was personally brought to Caritas Christi by Jack Connors. . . directly from Partners Health Care. . . of which Jack Connors is the chairman. . . which is the largest surgical abortion provider in New England. . . and with which the supposedly pro-life Driscoll is closely associated.

    I personally believe that Sean O’Malley is the most morally and ethically [edited by BCI] bishop in the United States.

  4. SAd Boston Priest says:

    I am sincerely concerned for the safety of all those who are BCI !
    You are confronting powerful, wealthy + immoral power-brokers …
    My you all find safety under the sheild of St. Michael!

    • Carolyn says:

      Indeed, Father, may St. Michael brandish both his sword and his shield to rescue the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston from the jaws of the three-headed beast:

      BC-Partners-Abdication of Accountability

  5. SAd Boston Priest says:

    On Sunday April 24th 1994, Pope John Paul II recommended this prayer be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said:

    ‘”May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”‘

    Saint Michael the Archangel,
    defend us in battle.
    Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
    May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
    and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host –
    by the Divine Power of God –
    cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
    who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


  6. michael says:

    Cardinal O’Malley several times agreed to meet with me in person over a particularly important issue. When I returned to him with answers he did not want to hear, he, several times, refused to meet (notwithstanding his face to face statements that he would meet with me. I thought it was his handlers who kept him from meeting with me. Now, after reading this, I am not so sure it simply was who he is. I find this all surreal and terribly saddening.

  7. We ask readers to avoid personal attacks in your comments.

    It is fine here on the blog to objectively criticize actions or behaviors observed, including actions that might be described as negligent or deceptive.

    But when readers comment with a judgment call that says a person is a “____” (fill in your choice of pejorative noun) or a person is “____” (insert choice of pejorative adjective to criticize their character), that would be a personal attack.

    Valid as the criticism might be in your eyes, for the latter, on the blog comments we ask you to use restraint, lest we have to moderate those comments.

    • Reconsidering says:

      I wish BCI would follow these same principles consistently. RT Neary’s article violated them several times and reprinting it without critical commentary does in a sense imply consent.

      Examining decisions, actions, etc., is fair game. Pretending that Cardinal O’Malley is some type of hypocrite is totally different — and obviously comes from people who don’t know the man. The most ludicrous of all is trying to pretend, for example as Neary does, that the Pilot issue celebrating his 25th episcopal anniversary was somehow the Cardinal’s idea. Such commemorative issues are always a diocesan newspaper’s idea because it’s an advertising bonanza which a genuinely humble prelate (like Cardinal O’Malley) tolerates because he knows the budgetary anxieties of a newspaper.

      On the subject of the blog, I’d encourage readers to remember that Cardinal O’Malley does have more important things to be doing that sitting down, typing out text and uploading photographs. That he dictaphones items for someone else to transcribe and forwards photographs to be uploaded and given cutlines does not make him a hypocrite for saying he’s a blogger.

      I’m worried that BCI is starting to lose its focus. I appreciated the blog at the beginning because it was objective, gave some excellent analysis of real issues of concern, and was holding forth an objective standard of accountability for those who are called to serve us in the Church — while avoiding all of the caustic and frankly un-Christian judgmentalism and venom that populate some other blogs critical of the Archdiocese. I’m hoping that printing RT Neary’s article — which combines some important analysis with some unwelcome ad hominems — is a one-time aberration.

      My hope has been that BCI will be a leaven to show other blogs how to behave as Christians in providing fraternal correction and constructive criticism; I fear based on this posting that those behind BCI might be getting affected by the “bad leaven” of those prone to caustic commentary on other blogs.

      • mckinley says:

        These character assassinations of Ray Neary’s work by people who are not willing to use their real name and say things in the public square are divise to the next step of work that needs to be done by people who are willing to put their own reputations on the line by people who want to continue to rub elbows at swanky events. Rubbing elbows at swanky events is very, very important. In fact, this is why some who are doing this work keep their anonymity which I have vigorously defended.

        Let us not tar and feather the people who are willing to do what needs to be done next with the information. This is cowardly and cheap.

  8. Flyonthepastoralcenterwall says:

    Dear BCI –

    I have been a faithful reader to BCI and applaud your efforts to bring transparency and shine a light on things at the Archdiocese that need to change. Thank you.

    However, you significantly lowered your own standards with this post. Up until now, you have been factual in your posts and have let readers draw their own conclusions, even though most conclusions are obvious after reading the facts. I think this approach has led to increased credibility with each post.

    You begin your last comment (12/7 at 7:38am) by saying “we ask readers to avoid personal attacks in your comments.” Isn’t that what BCI encouraged and did itself by posting this slam job by RT Neary? Seriously, comparing Cardinal O’Malley to Bernie Madoff, the most corrupt business person of a generation (or perhaps longer)? Totally inappropriate.

    After that direct slam on Cardinal Sean, mostly on his character not his actions, is it any surprise that commenters have followed Neary’s lead (and yours) with additional personal attacks on Cardinal Sean?

    In anticipation of other commenter reaction, I’m NOT ignoring the obvious facts that Cardinal O’Malley could have and should have done more to preserve Catholic healthcare in the Archdiocese, and he should choose a new team of advisors. But RT Neary’s post is a slam job with some facts interspersed and NOT a factual piece that might have stepped over the line for a sentence or two.

    BCI has made its reputation for its fact centered investigative journalism not for personal attacks and slam jobs. Please return to your normal high standards. I applaud your efforts to make sure your commenters adhere to higher standards – I encourage you to do that in your future posts too.

    Thanks for all your work. I hope this is your last post of this type.

    • To Fly on the PC walls, thanks for both the positive feedback and critical feedback, done in the same objective manner we aim for that people tell us has earned the blog credibility. Your feedack is valid, and we do not wish to compromise those standards.

      We edited the post to let people know it was an editorial opinion, and we also explained why we ran it.Actions and words (or inaction) create perceptions, and the objective reality is that the perceptions in this piece are becoming more widespread due to actions or lack of actions by the Cardinal and/or the leadership team at 66 Brooks Drive.Millions to tens of millions of dollars in donor contributions are apparently being squandered.We view that as a grave situation.

      Our goal is bring these matters into the light of day as objective factual information so readers may reach their own conclusions, and we appreciate the feedback and prod to keep our own posts consistent with those principles.

      Thanks again for taking the time to offer the feedback.

  9. A. J. Constantino says:

    BRAVO! To Flyonthe pastoralcenterwall. It is about time someone spoke up!

    This is one of several BCI posts that attack individuals NOT issues! I truly wanted to write when BCI went on the attack for the two Chancery employees, who received a
    Cheverus Award. Two individuals were attacked simply due to the fact they are employed by the RCAB. It was unfair.

    I am not sure who R. T. Neary is but his post was both judgmental and crude! What credibility does this post add to BCI? NONE! The post is petty and hurtful.

    Does BCI want to enhance its credibility?

    ü Stop hiding – reveal who you are. . Would Jesus hide?
    ü Be factual. After your post on Monday re Grassa-O’Neill’s salary, I called the chanceries’ of New York, Chicago, LA I suggest you do the same.
    Is Larry’s posting factual or is it a guess?
    ü Stop the name-calling. Ms Driscoll is less than a month into her job. Give her an opportunity to do her job. Why not see what she can do and how she does it?
    Do I personally think (3) Regional Associate Superintendents of Schools is excessive Yes! However, I have not seen their Job Description and Objectives – how can I judge the need or their performance?
    ü We are great at finding the “problems” – where are our solutions?

    Stop with the conspiracy theories! It’s enough!

    If you are looking to “rebuild” the Church of Boston be open, factual, and fair!

    • Carolyn says:

      Dear AJC,

      You and I agree that the excellence of BCI is found in objective, cohesive assessments of what’s not right. RT Neary’s rhetoric and acidity are not BCI’s rhetoric and acidity, and so running the piece in length rather than simply posting the link at the end of BCI’s own entry weakens BCI.

      Frankly, I’m less troubled by the anonymity of BCI’s authorship. It’s freeing in the sense that words are weighed and measured rather than the reader assessing personalities or associations. And let’s face it, when one is illustrating troubles which no one has felt secure to illustrate previously, anonymity has a lot to do with it.

      As for some of the posters, I’d recommend decaf.

    • A.J.
      Thanks for your comments. We did not see our post about the Cheverus Awards as being “on the attack” for two Chancery employees. The award to certain high-paid employees gets tarnished when worthy volunteers giving their time and/or tens of millions of dollars in contributions were recognized along with those already well-paid to do their day jobs.

      As for Mary Grassa O’Neill’s salary, here is what we wrote, “An ideal comparison is vs the salary of other similarly-qualified school superintendents at other large Catholic archdioceses, but we just cannot find published information about those.”
      If you have obtained additional information through personal conversations that is not publicly published and which proves us wrong, please send it to us via email at bostoncatholicinsider(at) and we’ll publish a correction. If you or others have time to help us with primary research or writing, we are wide open to the extra assistance!

      We will moderate comments that come across as personal attacks.

      Lastly, we have already described multiple times why we write anonymously. We are well aware of discussions held with diocesan lawyers regarding the blogs and potential legal action against the bloggers, and need to avoid legitimate threats and risk to our livelihoods. “Diogenes” at CatholicCulture has written anonymously for many years, ostensibly for the same reason. The archdiocese’s own auditors have recognized the need for anonymity and have recommended an anonymous whistleblower policy for years so people can report the sorts of things we have been reporting with no risk of retaliation.

      Our reporting has proven on many occasions more accurate than much of what the leadership in the Pastoral Center shares publicly (Exhibit A: hiring process for the new Secretary of Development being a “sham search.”) If you or others have an issue with our writing this anonymously despite the valuable content you cannot find elsewhere, we understand if you decide to not follow the blog.

  10. TheLastCatholicinBoston says:

    Dear A.J.
    Its not that bad?
    Reporting accurately on the Cardinals personal history as a cleric, the facts at hand regarding abortion and soon to be former-Catholic hospitals, the nauseating and never ending analysis of the katholic corporation in Braintree all leads many to believe that yes there is a conspiracy.

    One hopes It is as simple as a conspiracy of incompetence.

    Neary’s article uses the phrase ‘style over substance’ this literally defines modernism. I for one believe that this heresy – modernism- is behind the Church of Boston’s (much of America’s) dysfunction. I also believe that a few players are well aware of this and are using it for destruction (see EBH blog)

    Oh and speaking of offensive remarks A.J…

    Would Jesus hide?
    For 33 years he walk the earth in complete anonymity as a good son and neighbor. His earthly Father Dear St. Joseph, a man so righteous tradition calls him ‘The Terror of Demons’ also walked a hidden life.

    When Boston quasi-Catholics get all uppity about perceived offensives to ‘their’ church I think it is good to remind them that it is Christ’s church and that Braintree ain’t Rome.

    Solutions? How about a suggestion box for Priests in the diocese – remember them? The ones that bring the Sacraments?

  11. mckinley says:

    Let me see if I understand this correctly.

    Actions take place by people that we all know are scandalous, corrupt, dangerous – etc.

    Justice and righteousness requires “somebody” to do something about it.

    Inside of the Roman Catholic Church, folks on the level of the archdiocese have no authority over their heads that will hold them accountable for any kind of injustice against persons or our faith.

    This is where we have been.

    There is no process in place so that when people on the level of the diocese or parish are scandalizing or injuring to remove the person injuring and scandalizing. They can in fact go on for decades if they are protected internally by the clericalism that exists inside of the Roman Catholic Church.

    Many of the people working behind the scenes on this are getting little sleep. We have jobs. We have families and friends and social lives. We have homes. Many things have been put on hold to do an awful lot of work that goes behind these posts.

    It seems that some people reading are getting the notion that this information is here for your own personal edification and that it is some kind of error or flaw to draw a conclusion about these facts.

    I’m scratching my head here on what you think should happen after posting all of the factual information if no conclusions are to be drawn. This is what the heirarchy has been doing for decades.

    The purpose of this exercise is to get them to stop collecting papers without drawing the obvious conclusions and doing something about it.

    How we get them there is to publicly point to the conclusion. This is the next step to collecting all of our work and letting it sit on everyone’s desks.

    Once there is a witness in the public square about the conclusion, there is a higher level of accountability. It’s out there with the conclusion.

    If there is no conclusion, we are not getting anywhere and most of us doing this work have much better things to do with our lives.

  12. mckinley says:

    Calling what Ray Neary did rhethoric or acidity is something that weakens important work that needs to be done.

    It is an act of righteousness. A courageous act which many of us are relieved to see in the public square becaust it speaks the truth.

    Getting facts out into the public square with the objective of being objective about them is a waste of our time, talent and treasure.

  13. A Priest says:

    Lots of stuff going on here at the old BCI today…I guess I am beginning to wonder why 3 new associate supers are needed when 2 exist already…however giving them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they are looking at a complete reorganization of that dept. Common sense tells me that’s not true but let’s wait and see what happens. For the sake of all that is good I think the Cardinal has to ask Dr. Grassa-O’Neill to take a pay cut and if she is unwilling he needs to let her go and find someone who is willing to do the good work of leading the students in our Catholic schools who can do so at a reduced salary, understanding that working for the Church is not a way to pad one’s personal wealth.

    As to Cardinal Sean, I like him very much on a personal level and find it interesting that at 33 he was a monsignor but refuses to ask the Holy Father to make any monsignors here in Boston…there are certain jobs that should get the honorific of monsignor, it is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing, it also shows the people that there are priests who are doing a good job and deserve an “attaboy” from the Pope. Just my 2 cents

  14. mckinley says:

    As an fyi – it probably should be stated that there are many facets and layers to the work Boston Catholics are doing to hijack back our Chancery from the hijackers.

    I want to remind you that even the most stilted and emotionless presentation of facts was called unChristian by the people at the Chancery. I don’t have the time to go through the archives and to cite the character assassinations of work here at BCI that were tried by Chancery officials but I’m sure readers will recall, there was and remains no respect given to factual and emotionless information documented here at BCI.

    The very nature of presenting factual information to them is unChristian, irrespective of its presentation.

    All of us doing the work under and above the radar tried for years to present factual information in Christian charity. If there was a spark of good will for facts presented in Christian charity, anyone in the Chancery would act upon in good faith, this effort would not be necessary.

    One of the most effective things they have been able to do in the past decade is sling mud on people who use their name to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done using their real names. They invited people onto Boards and presbyteral councils to throw lay people and priests under the bus and get their policies rubber stamped by people who want to be in with the in crowd or get paid by the Archdiocese more than they want to speak the truth about the policy.

    Slinging mud on anyone who stands up and draws the obvious conclusions we want the Archbishop to draw and the Holy See to draw is not going to help faithful Catholics from carrying out the “coup of the coup.” Everyone on every level of carrying out these plans has to be supportive of one another.

  15. To all readers,
    We realize that this post is different than virtually all of the others we have posted, and it has obviously set a lot of people off–including some we have never heard from directly–for a number of different reasons.

    We respect the work of Ray Neary and others fighting this battle, and felt his column was worth sharing with readers because of his interesting analysis and because many of our readers are raising questions or concerns similar to those analyzed in his column. At the same, there has been a style of reporting and writing here at BCI which everyone was accustomed to and pleased with that has been characterized by objective tone. We are indeed committed to maintaining that same approach which we feel has served us well up to now,

    For those who wish to see an end to the corruption, deceit, conflicts of interest, and other unethical behavior from 66 Brooks Drive–and a return to seeing the Catholic Church function as it should function–we hope and pray that we can all be on the same page and mutually supportive in the path ahead.

    We are offline the rest of the evening due to other commitments and are shutting off comments.

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