Cardinal Reappoints Jim McDonough as Chancellor

This just in.  BCI is sufficiently dumb-struck by both the decision and message by the Cardinal that we have almost nothing to say right now.   Just note the disconnect between the wording and reality from the get-go:

“Among his many accomplishments, he has taken the lead in addressing clergy pension funding, insuring funding for clergy support, and implementing transparent financial reporting for the Archdiocese.”

Based on this message, the Cardinal, God bless him, does not even understand the difference between an “accomplishment” and what is merely an area of responsibility, where the “accomplishment” has not actually been accomplished at all, and may still represent a sink-hole.

Readers, feel free to comment.  After a good stiff drink, BCI is going to hide under our bedcovers for the remainder of the evening.

From: Vicar General <
Date: March 25, 2011 3:37:26 PM EDT
Subject: Cardinal Sean Reappoints Jim McDonough as Chancellor

Good afternoon,

On behalf of Cardinal Seán, I am pleased to inform you that Jim McDonough is being reappointed Chancellor for a new five year term commencing June 5, 2011.  The Cardinal made this appointment after consultations which included the Archdiocesan Finance Council and the College of Consultors.

We are very grateful to Jim for his inspirational service to Christ and His Church.  In the past five years he has played a central role in helping us to rebuild the Church.
We are blessed by Jim’s steady, professional and committed leadership.  Please join me in praying for Jim in his service as Chancellor, for his family, co-workers and the entire Archdiocese which is benefitting from his gifts and talents.
Following is a message from the Cardinal on Jim’s reappointment.
Fr. Erikson

Cardinal Message on Reappointment of Jim McDonough as Chancellor:

Please join me in extending congratulations and gratitude to Jim McDonough, whom I am reappointing to the position of Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Boston.  Over the past five years Jim has served the Church with distinction and dedication.  He has faced our most challenging issues with a genuine desire to rebuild the Archdiocese of Boston.

In his first term as Chancellor, Jim has made service to our parishes and priests his top priority.  Among his many accomplishments, he has taken the lead in addressing clergy pension funding, insuring funding for clergy support, and implementing transparent financial reporting for the Archdiocese.

In 2008 Jim oversaw the move of our central administration from the former Brighton campus to the Pastoral Center in Braintree.   Our parishes, schools and ministries have greatly benefited from the services provided at the new location.  Jim has also initiated an effort to overhaul our technology systems and institute efficiencies that benefit our parishes.  During his first term, we have moved from systemic annual budget deficits to a plan for achieving a balanced budget.  While we have experienced difficult reductions in work force in recent years, Jim led by example in making significant cuts in his secretariat to minimize the reductions in mission-based agencies and departments.

Working closely with the Archdiocesan Finance Council, Jim coordinated the efforts to minimize the impact of the global financial crisis of 2008 on our cash reserves and investments.  While our pension funds were impacted, as were those of organizations and companies worldwide, a plan was developed under his leadership to  pursue the best means of recovering any losses in future years.  Once an Archdiocese in economic freefall, we are now working within our means thanks, to Jim and his team.  He has made it possible for us to focus on our mission and to serve the pastoral needs of the entire Archdiocese.

As Chancellor, Jim oversees the financial and material goods of the Archdiocese; he is also a dedicated and faithful Catholic who leads  by example in promoting a welcoming and evangelizing Church.  Jim is first and foremost a man of God, a family man devoted to his wife and children, and an experienced professional who has never lost sight of our mission to build a community of love in the image of Christ.

I am grateful that Jim has accepted my invitation to continue to serve the Archdiocese as Chancellor.  We are well-positioned for future success because of his leadership.

30 Responses to Cardinal Reappoints Jim McDonough as Chancellor

  1. Mary says:

    Jim wrote the announcement himself!

  2. DHO says:

    Looks like we’ll be taking another pass on the Cardinal’s Appeal!

  3. Anonymous says:

    With this appointment, the Archdiocese has proven it’s need for an enema.

  4. FR B says:

    Another clear indication of the need for a complete evacuation + exorcism of the Brooks Drive Gang including the Eminent Sean + his team of experts …….. St. Michael come to our aid!

  5. FR B says:

    A second thought!!!
    Is someone holding someone Hostage or Blackmailing our appointed hierarchs + clergy ???

  6. Satan says:

    We are toasting Cardinal Sean and Napolean McDonough right now down in Hades. This was easier and quicker than we hoped.

    I always thought I was the “father of lies” until I read the above statement from Jim … uh…I mean Cardinal Sean.

    Brilliant of the vicar general to remark of Jim’s “inspirational service.” He certainly inspired us down here but we weren’t aware of anyone he inspired up there.

    But the Cardinal takes the prize: ” he is also a dedicated and FAITHFUL Catholic who LEADS BY EXAMPLE in promoting a welcoming and EVANGELIZING Church. Jim is first and FOREMOST a man of God, a family man devoted to his wife and children, and an experienced professional who has never lost sight of our mission to build a community of love in the image of Christ.”

    Big day for evil. Bad day for BCI and the faith in this Church. Ha, ha, ha…

    • Saint Michael, Archangel says:

      Screwtape, old man, you’re wrong. It’s a great day for BCI. Do you honestly believe this announcement, dripping with the chancellor’s arrogance and hubris, no to mention some content that a reasonable person could differ with, issued the day after BCI called for an email/fax campaign, was a total coincidence? After all, the term doesn’t end until June 5… had the cardinal no more pressing matter to discuss?

      I’d say it’s a great day for BCI. Mr. McDonough, feeling somewhat abandoned by your office, needed a statement that would make a big splash to make him feel better about himself.

      It may take me a three-pointer buzzer beater, as they say in basketball, but God’s people, especially his priests who have been so battered by your clumsy pupil McDonough, will prevail.

  7. Mack says:

    “…we have moved from systemic annual budget deficits to a plan for achieving a balanced budget.”

    A plan? Anybody can come up with a plan. The question is: what results have been achieved.

    Hasn’t anyone told the Cardinal that the Archdiocese is still in economic freefall? That should be obvious when they won’t even give the nuns the monies that rightfully belong to them. What did he say about transparency?

    But wait, Jim has a plan…

  8. Challenge to Cardinal Sean says:

    I challenge Cardinal Sean to find 25 priests or pastoral center employees (not hired directly by Jim) that agree with his statement:
    “he is also a dedicated and faithful Catholic who leads by example in promoting a welcoming and evangelizing Church. Jim is first and foremost a man of God, a family man devoted to his wife and children, and an experienced professional who has never lost sight of our mission to build a community of love in the image of Christ.”

    Never thought Cardinal Sean would let these goons turn him into a bull-shooter too.

    • Objective Observer says:


      Sorry for the caps, but when you read the “code,” you’ll understand.

      Click to access archdiocesecodeofconduct2012.pdf

      A friend who sits on the board of a “related organization” (as nearly as I can tell, if it’s listed in the Catholic Directory, no matter how tenuous the civil connection, it’s related) called me about an email forwarded to him by the head of the institution where he serves. While one wants to be subjective and emotional about it, the content of the new Code of Conduct, an objective analysis, if the BCI folks are willing, will require them to dedicate a lot of work and prayer. Suffice it to say, that having read it and given the Code to two colleagues of mine who are lawyers (one an employment litigation specialist, and the other a constitutional law prof), they had identical reactions:

      1. VERY POORLY DRAFTED — overly broad and vague; standards are wildly subjective; open to completely inconsistent enforcement; flunks the “whim” test; which makes it…

      2. UNENFORCEABLE… One example: The way it is drafted, and signed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley and the newly renewed chancellor, if a Catholic Charities Board Member’s brother-in-law smokes marijuana, the board member, who is required to sign the Code, can be dismissed from the board at the sole discretion of Beirne Lovely. Ditto a school teacher whose son moves in with his girlfriend can be fired. Ditto a seminarian whose sister-in-law “embarrasses” the Archdiocese can be dismissed from the seminary. The standard is completely subjective — so need not be applied consistently. In other words, the circumstances of violation in the Code are very broad and vague, and the enforcement is completely subjective — some “Church personnel” (the list includes everyone except your cat) could be fired AND sued, others could be left to do as they please.

      Not in these United States, folks.

      3. EXPENSIVE — How many people being paid how much money by RCAB did it take how many hours to draft a 14-PAGE Code of Conduct? How many make over $100K per year in-house or bill over $500/hour from law firms? How much did the section on responsible stewardship cost?

      This is like a Broadway play or movie about the Church that would make us all angry… except this time it is the Church, not anti-Catholic parodies.

      BCI has high-quality fodder for weeks.

      This last point is important, because I believe in its essence the announcements of March 25 can be taken together and be boiled down to grave concern for the salvation of the soul of Sean Patrick O’Malley. He wears red for a reason — he put his hands in the Holy Father’s for a reason. Why, then, does it appear that being comfortable means more to him than his fides? What is the explanation?

      The Evil One would have the Faithful despair. So dust yourselves off, and get back to saving your own soul, and beseech the Father to shed light on the brilliant mind of your ordinary, in the constant hope of his own salvation. The truly faithful can do no less.

  9. jane conaty says:

    There is no hope. The Cardinal hires people who work at the Chancery at salaries four to five times what teachers and others who have dedcated their lives to Catholic education
    (over 30 years) make. And please tell me how has Mr. McDonough helped the schools?
    We’ve never set eyes on the man. Does he help us get raises, or better yet, does he take away our pension. Maybe out twenty percent can help pay for the raises I’m sure he is receimg. My raise, by the last year, after 35 plus years, was a whopping $1500. What do you think Mr. McDonough’s raise is and all the rest of them at Brook St. Why should a superintendent one tenth of the time in Catholic educaton make seven times what most of us mae or even more. Is she that much more qualifeid than us and that much more dedicated to the mission of Catholc schools. I hardly think so. The Cardinal should get in touch.
    He has lots of good employees who have been exploited by the Catholc Church, and he continues along the same pathy and has done nothing to improve the situation. In fact under his leadership it has become worse. Shame on you Cardinal Sean!!!!!

  10. anonymous says:

    Maybe McDonough has screwed things up so badly that no one els wants the job. The guy is as useless as the proverbial bull.

  11. WOW! says:

    Sad state of affairs. I was put through the mill for doing my job well in the RCAB…only to be “let go” and here I see more of the same nonsense from them. It angers and frustrates me and I am having trouble understanding why this behavior continues. I thank God for my fantastic parish and the faithful priest who serves there. If it weren’t for him, I’d have left the church this year for sure. He makes me proud to be a Catholic when I am in my little corner. I am ashamed that we fall under the same umbrella as this mess though.

  12. FR B says:

    DEAR ‘WOW’,

  13. Lost Soul says:

    Mo mention made by the Cardinal of the Chancellor saving the lay pensions like he has saved the clergy pensions. Again lay people do not count unless they are giving and giving and giving and giving…. OOPS. I speak in redundancy

  14. Jack is a Con-ner says:

    I’m offended that Cardinal Sean didn’t mention that Jim’s biggest accomplishment was bringing me back into Archdiocesan leadership without asking me to stop supporting pro-abortion catholic politicians and always allowing me to rip church teaching in my favorite paper the boston globe. Don’t you know how much I’m doing to strengthen the church in the archdiocese of boston? I’m working with mcdonough to get my team in place in development and we’re experiencing success – we’re down from 15 mill to 12.5 mill in 1 year. That will certainly accomplish our goal of cutting more people in the pastoral ministries of the church this year so fewer and fewer catholics know the authentic teachings of the Church. Jim realizes the true ‘magisterium’ is what me and my buddies say is important.
    Jack is a Con-ner

  15. Carolyn says:

    The really fun part is that the announcement about he-who-must-be-obeyed being re-upped is that the cardinal consulted with the Finance Council and the College of Consultors. That means that your auxiliary bishops were consulted, so what did they say? And it also means that Jim’s good buddy, Laura Sens, was consulted. Let me think what she said…

    OK, this is great. The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a/k/a yesterday, was a day of great grace for all faithful Catholics. Maybe the Holy Spirit needed the pot to boil over and scald us to get enough people to really DO something about the sorry state of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston.

    That statement about Jim McDonough, so patently full of (rhymes with frappe), should just about do it.

    Let’s enumerate steps people can take — I mean anyone. I like the idea of checks going to the Daughters of Saint Paul. That has huge symmetry since they are actually doing something about this mess.

    I also like the idea of asking the auxiliary bishops individually what they think. To be consulted just means they were told about it and the cardinal was present. It doesn’t mean they thought it was a swell idea. Or are they all so legless they wouldn’t object?

    You could buy stock in BJs, and show up at a shareholder’s meeting to ask Laura Sens why Jim is so swell.

    What are other things any of us can do to step away from the darkness and get back into the light? The Annunciation is an auspicious day. At the end of the annunciation, scripture says the angel went away. Think of Mary, full of grace but also earthbound and vulnerable, with no apparent gameplan, and a huge challenge to navigate. Did she despair?

    Let Mary be our guide.

  16. TheLastCatholicinBoston says:

    The Daughters of St. Paul are taking the diocese to court. Is there really much more to be said?

    • Objective Observer says:

      Yes… Hurray! And hats off to their lawyer — maybe he could be our next chancellor!

  17. A Priest says:

    I know on good authority the Cardinal never asked the Presbyteral Council what they thought…it was never discussed and the other two boards “consulted” all are pals of McDonough and/or owe their positions to the Cardinal/McDonough…what kind of objective advice comes out of that. The Presbyteral Council should have at least been sham consulted! It’s outrageous!

    • Objective Observer says:

      The Presbyteral Council was left in the dark, I would guess, because the bare minimum standard of the Canon is that the Consultors and the FC be consulted. And when you don’t want to let light shine on a question for fear of what people might see, you don’t tell them about it.

      What stand-up priest of the Archdiocese of Boston could possibly believe that the wise reflection of the presbyterate matters? You’re “under obedience,” that oft-abused tool that is not used in all cases for the good of the faithful or the priest, but for what could be construed as nefarious control.

      Dennis Sheehan didn’t have the “votes,” as they say in Washington, so he made sure the question never came up before the Presbyteral Council. Not only that, but the PC members with souls engaged in the work would have let other priests know that it came up, and got shouted down. Can’t go there, either.

      And with Dennis over at the APC now, too, you can be sure that the Hehir-raising days of the faithful being blindsided are not over. What the APC is never told, it never need discuss. Just pat them on the head, and head home for another glass of port.

      BCI may be the only way for the ordained and the lay faithful to state the truth, and to seek it.

      The new Code states that no matter how great the pressure of working for the Church (including as a volunteer), the actions and speech of the individual must always reflect well on the Archdiocese.

      Follow that line, and you’re right back to covering for abusers.

      The Presbyteral Council now goes from being toothless to being blind and without speech as well.

      Maybe the APC can do something before they must sign the Code (which they will be required to do in order to serve).

      Open the windows and let the breeze and light disinfect this horrible mess.

  18. anonymous says:

    To the tune of “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones

    I was round the Chancery
    when Jim McDonough came
    Made damn sure that O’Malley
    Washed his hands and sealed his fate
    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guessed my name
    But what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game
    Stuck around 66 Brooks Drive
    When I saw it was time for a change
    Got rid of long term employees
    And their pensions are a shame
    No more holy days or raises
    Except for the chosen few
    Higher salaries for some incompetents
    Are the rule
    Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guessed my name
    But was puzzling you is the nature of my game

  19. Rosemary says:

    Maybe this is a week-early April Fool’s joke,

  20. Mack says:

    This code might not be such a bad thing if it were actually applied to the esteemed Chancellor. In that light, BCI is fulfilling the code, especially the part that requires reporting of waste, fraud, etc.:

    Use all resources of the Archdiocese and Archdiocesan Affiliated
    Organizations in a prudent-like manner, avoiding unnecessary and excessive
    spending and wastefulness.

    A Disclosure Questionnaire (see Exhibit A) will be filled out annually by all individuals
    subject to this Code in order to determine actual or possible conflicts of interest.

    All Church Personnel are required to report any reasonably perceived violation of: … Archdiocesan
    financial policies, including questionable or improper accounting or auditing matters; as
    well as gross mismanagement, waste, fraud, embezzlement, neglect of duty;

  21. FR B says:

    Thanks to “Anon.” …
    i truly enjoyed your parody of ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ … so very apt … the snake-pit of #66 is hissing and still hiding the ‘Missing 6’ ,,,,

  22. […] Cardinal Reappoints Jim McDonough as Chancellor – Boston Catholic Insider […]

  23. […] General and the reappointment notice attributed to the Cardinal.  You can read the whole notice here.   We will comment on just selected parts of […]

  24. Grant says:

    To the good Catholics of Boston. You have my sympathy. All I can tell you is, first, pray. Second, vote with your dollars. Find out when cousin Tim Dolan is having his annual Archbishop’s fund drive, and send the dollars his way. You will still be supporting the Church, and at the same time, sending a stern message to the big “O”.

  25. […] gets back to something that reader, “Objective Observer” objectively observed in a comment right after the policy was issued: 1. VERY POORLY DRAFTED — overly broad and vague; standards are […]

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