Initial Reaction to Chancellor News

The news of Friday that Cardinal O’Malley is reappointing chancellor Jim McDonough to another 5-year term still has us dumbstruck.  We assume this is at a continued cost of $1.25 million for 5 years, including 6 weeks of paid vacation annually.  BCI is still wrapping our hands around all of this, as well as the Code of Conduct policy, so we are going to just give you a few initial reactions to these developments. We do this, in part, so the leadership of the archdiocese–especially Cardinal O’Malley–can be aware of how such decisions affect the Catholic faithful.

For those who like pictures, here are a few that capture our first reaction about the decision and potential impact to the archdiocese:

Once we got past that, then we moved on to feeling this way about the decision:

Amidst our confusion over the message being sent, then we began to question the decision-making skills of our Cardinal.  We found it difficult to not conclude this makes a strong statement about the judgment of Cardinal O’Malley.  For whatever reason, apparently he is NOT learning from experience and previous bad judgments:

Then there is the reaction of Chancellor Jim McDonough to the BCI campaign, captured here by an alert Pastoral Center worker on Thursday afternoon:

We have it on good word that the Chancellor was so miffed at the campaign asking the Cardinal to not renew his term that he pushed his cabinet colleagues to rush and put out the announcement on Friday, especially to get back at BCI and those who felt objectively he should not continue in his position.

That reaction, of course, formed the basis for the Vicar General’s opening comments in the announcement:

“We are very grateful to Jim for his inspirational service to Christ and His Church…We are blessed by Jim’s steady, professional and committed leadership.”

Aside from those reactions, we thought it was all great news!! (Just kidding)

Seriously, this decision further confirms the governance crisis and leadership vacuum in the Archdiocese of Boston. It also confirms  concerns many people have had about Cardinal O’Malley’s judgment and the quality of his decision-making.

It is actually good that people now know the situation in Boston for exactly what it is.  It is difficult for anyone to believe any longer that the current situation is just a matter of bad hiring decisions made a few years ago.  We can no longer expect that if the Cardinal has learned from those decisions and now puts good people into these key roles, the future will be well-assured.  That is not the case.

Through this decision and the email communication, is the Cardinal saying he likes what he has?  Apparently so.  What about when people complain and try to speak the truth about what is wrong?  Based on the “in your face” nature of the announcement, apparently he does not care about hearing the truth or dealing with it either.

The Cardinal has read the blog and your emails and faxes, he is aware of the dishonesty, deception, conflicts of interest, cronyism, ethical breaches, under-funding of pensions, reneging on promises, and excessive 6-figure salaries that squander the assets and temporal goods of the Church. Since there has been no corrective action and the Chancellor’s term has been renewed, apparently the Cardinal is comfortable with all this continuing.  How these behaviors and practices reconcile with the newly released Code of Conduct is a mystery to us.

So, we feel the BCI initiative has succeeded–at least in so far as it now lays out clearly the landscape and what we have to deal with.

In this seemingly hopeless situation, how do we seek and find the face of Christ?  How should each faithful Catholic respond to this?

Situations like this are opportunities to turn even moreso to Christ in prayer.  We take comfort in turning to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who shall crush Satan’s head (Gen:  3:15), and to St. Michael the Archangel.   How are the BCI bloggers and BCI readers all called to learn and grow? Is this preparation for yet a greater battle ahead?  What does God call us to do in response to grow in holiness and continue building the Kingdom of God?

More coming later.

25 Responses to Initial Reaction to Chancellor News

  1. Susan says:

    Are some just plain blind especially now that there is a watch dog (no pun intended) group which is going to let the public know what is going on. For Pete shakes all they have to do is read the blog as a reflection to see how their actions are affecting everyone involved. Where is St. Catherine when we need her?

  2. teddyballgame says:

    Just like criminal/cardinal Law. Sweep it under the rug,it will eventually go away. The Church has been doing business like this for years. O’Malley just can’t gut up to the fact that he has issues in his organization. I’m sure he’s a good man, but I know he’s a terrible leader.

  3. anonymous says:

    When one looks back at the prior Chancellors: Paul Devlin, Gerald Reilly, and David Smith and compares them to our current Chancellor, James McDonough, it is apparent that one common thread, integrity and love of the Church, no longer exists with the incumbent.

    Five more years of this buffoonery. YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING!!!

  4. Jack O'Malley says:

    One way to deal with it is to print a list of the top 20 extortionate salaries paid for by the largesse of the novus ordure sheep and put copies in every vestibule every Sunday until the collections drop. And put the url of BCI at the top of the page so the sheep can learn about the wolves preying upon them.

    If the collections don’t drop, let the fools be fleeced.

    Don’t trust them with your money. Don’t trust them with your children. Don’t trust them with your soul.

  5. Kelly says:

    I am appalled at the renewal of Chancellor McDonough’s contract further evidence of the disregard for integrity.

    I am also concerned about the inconsistent application of removal from ministry protocol. On WQOM Fr Corapi’s show continue to air in Boston which is an affront to all those priests in Boston who are in legal and canon law “limbo”. Those who have been cleared even cannot serve and love to preside at Mass but cannot and here is Fr Corapi’s program blasted in the Boston area for his personal monetary gain.

    In both these instances the Cardinal has demonstrated his inattention to matters in Boston and his disregard for priests and people of the Archdiocese by allowing the wolves to guard the house.

  6. anonymous says:

    There once was a Bishop named Sean
    Whose leadership has been forlorn
    With his re-appointment of Jim
    Who put RCAB on a limb
    Requires that they both now be gone

  7. cal says:

    Cardinal O’Malley actions are completely understandable. He does not want to be in Boston; he wants to be in Rome. How did our previous Bishop get to Rome? He ignored his role as shepherd and threw the sheep to the wolves. Maybe our current ‘shepherd’ sees this as his quickest ticket to Rome.

  8. Devoted Catholic says:

    This post brings to mind several situations that concern me.

    Presently, I have been reading about the current problems with the sale of the Churches in the area. My own parish Holy Trinity Polish Church in Lowell was targeted for closure some years ago. So, I understand the pain that people are going through. While my own parish won on an appeal from the Holy Father it is apparent that the Boston Archdiocese continues to forget the message of the Gospel when dealing with church closures. Jesus said in the Gospel, “When two are three are gathered together in my name there I am in their midst”. A parish is a place where we gather. Why are we closing and selling a church when there are still people worshiping in them? All we need is two make a parish according to the Gospel.

    Secondly, I have been upset over the recent Catholic
    Appeal. Parishes do not get money and support from the RCAB, so why should we give out money to them? It was upsetting to see the Homily replaced by a recorded message for a plea for money. The sermon is supposed to give us strength to carry out our Catholic lives, not to be a time to plea for money. Again I reference the Gospel. How about the money changers in the Temple? Our Lord threw them out because they were more concerned with worldly things than heavenly things.

    Thirdly, I noticed in the Pilot that the RCAB is going to take 18% of funds from the parishes with a new system to get funds from parishes. Why? It is funny because there is a large church in the area I live in that has 2,000 families. They recently needed a new basement and did they get a dime of help from the RCAB? No. I don’t know of parishes that get financial support from them. Cardinal Sean, if you are reading this report, ready your Bible. Return to the Gospel and find the answer to solve our current problems.

  9. Little Red Hen says:

    Devoted Catholic, you refer to something that occurred to me earlier today — the idea of the Archdiocese taking 18% of collection revenue. Perhaps this “tax” is put into place out of fear that Catholic Appeal donations will be less this year than in other years, and they (like the IRS) would rather count on a steady income stream. I want to continue supporting the Latin Mass parish that I attend, but I don’t want any part of my donation to be appropriated by the Archdiocese, knowing that it will be squandered on extravagant salaries and otherwise mismanaged. Is there a way for me to do this?

  10. Mack says:

    This whole situtation is very disheartening. I don’t understand why Cardinal O’Malley would do this. He must be getting bad advice from a closed group of advisers who are out of touch with reality, very out of touch with it indeed.

    Isn’t that exactly what happened with the sex abuse scandal? I have this feeling of “deja vu all over again.” Hasn’t the archdiocese learned anything? Apparently not.

    Thank you, BCI, for your fine job of reporting on all of this. Your blog has so much good information. Once in a while I check Cardinal O’Malley’s blog, but it’s like a glorified parish bulletin. I don’t care who he’s met and the various social gatherings he’s gone too. How about some real guidance for the Archdiocese? Just like Nero fiddled while Rome burned, the cardinal blogs about nothing important while the Archdiocese blows up….

    • Carolyn says:


      That is the most wonderful, uncluttered statement. You are absolutely correct. While the cardinal tells us he had dinner in Brookline, or traveled to Paraguay, or presided at the wedding of a billionaire’s daughter to a French aristocrat, priests get up every day in the Archdiocese of Boston, say their prayers and go to work in underfunded, overstretched parishes.

      Last week I saw a film called “Of Gods and Men.”

      Once you see that film, you want to go to Braintree and clean the place with a broad broom.

      Sure, there are wonderful people working at #66, and they do not deserve to be cast in the same light with those who have set alight the hopes and dreams of Catholics in Boston. I could name a half dozen in rapid succession.

      But there are many people working under that roof on Brooks Drive who have spent the past five years getting up to no good, or looking the other way and spending a lot of time “out of office” while bad things were cooked up and served. The cardinal archbishop of Boston falls into one of those categories (sometimes I wonder which). So why give us another five-year sentence in McDonough’s House of Fools? And why let the news release announcing it go out with a steaming pile of praise for the guy?

      Sean Cardinal O’Malley may go to see “Of Gods and Men,” but he will not understand the film. Seven monks in the film go from seeing one problem seven very different ways (mostly how to avoid the problem), to seeing one correct solution, straight through the middle of the problem, from seven perspectives. That’s because they had brilliant leadership… and their eyes fixed on the Cross.

      My parish has a pastor who is quite human, but is a very intelligent leader. And he has shown us how to fix our eyes on the Cross. He deserves an ordinary who offers pastors no less.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who donates any money to this corrupt entity is a fool.

    Give to parishes, catholic education or any of the many fine entities. Just DON’T give to the appeal.

  12. FR B says:

    Eminent Sean was a thespian in his younger years.
    Seems like the costumes are still used … Frock for the humble look and saffron silk for Roman wear … but he still is acting !

  13. Padre Paul says:

    So what is everyone going to do about this crisis?

  14. Former Employee says:

    No offense to the BCI, but there seems to be this constant suggestion that Cardinal O’Malley is incompetent, doesn’t know what is going on, shows poor judgement etc.

    Given his track record, isn’t it time for the BCI to explore the likelihood that he is in fact just as evil as Erikson, McDonough and the rest? If he is acting with some sort of malicious intent doesn’t this all make sense.

    I’ve met the man, I didn’t see a “humble friar” I saw something far darker and each subsequent action has reinforced that belief.

%d bloggers like this: