This Sunday, May 15, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, will be in Boston. We are sharing this Open Letter to him, in the hopes that during or after his visit he might help address some of the concerns raised by faithful Catholics. We also hope that this open letter might encourage Cardinal O’Malley and his staff to work more actively to address these long-standing concerns for the greater good of the archdiocese.
We ask all BCI readers to take a moment and send a copy of this letter to him via email, or a version edited to address the issues you feel strongly about. Just copy the text below, open your email client, paste the text, edit as you see fit, and send to: nuntiususa(at)nuntiususa.org
Subject: [insert your own, or just try “Your Help with Boston Archdiocese”]
I understand you are visiting Boston this weekend and respectfully request that the Holy See help address the ongoing problems of broken trust, wasteful spending and moral scandal with the leadership of the Boston Archdiocese.
Below are several of the key concerns by faithful Catholics:
- Irresponsible stewardship of the financial resources of the archdiocese: Three lay executives–the Chancellor, Superintendent of Schools, and General Counsel—are paid more than $1 million/year in combined salaries and benefits. The superintendent of schools is paid $325,000/year—more than most diocesan officials across the country and more than superintendents of public school systems that are 15-25 times larger, such as Los Angeles or New York. Annual payroll
and benefits for the top 10 archdiocesan employees has risen to nearly $3 million. While 1/3 of parishes are operating with deficits and donations to the annual archdiocesan Catholic Appeal have dropped by $2 million in the past year (from $15 million in 2009 to $13 million in 2010), in archdiocesan Central Ministries 25 or more employees are now paid six-figure salaries. Excessive salaries, unprecedented in other U.S. dioceses, squander the assets and temporal goods of the Church and take scarce funds away from parishes, ministry to those in need, evangelization, and the retirement needs of priests and former employees. A new committee formed to help address the problem of excessive salaries paid to several multi-millionaire lay employees is itself chaired by a multi-millionaire businessman.
- Public actions by Finance Council member and advisor to Cardinal that creates scandal: A key member of the Finance Council with oversight for fundraising and influence over the direction of Catholic schools is publicly raising funds for pro-abortion political candidates (such as President Obama), has endorsed pro-abortion political candidates (such as Attorney General Martha Coakley), and is chair of Partners Healthcare, one of the largest abortion providers in Massachusetts. This individual is hosting a $2 million fundraiser for President Obama at his home on May 18, just 3 days after your event in Boston. Cardinal O’Malley has said it is “bordering on scandal” for Catholics to support political candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, yet this key advisor to the Cardinal–through his public and private conduct—is actively supporting pro-abortion candidates and encouraging other voters to support them. This scandalizes and undermine the faith of the people that are served.
- Broken Trust: Catholics have been deceived by public statements from the most senior officials in the archdiocese in matters including a new Catholic schools admission policy, “open searches” for key officials, and the financial condition of the archdiocese. A promise that proceeds from closed parishes were to repay debts to the lay pension fund was not kept. Lay and clergy pension plans remain underfunded by hundreds of millions of dollars. Even a new whistleblower policy intended to help address problems of fiscal and ethical corruption is itself showing signs of ethical corruption.
In view of these concerns and others, many Catholics have stopped giving to the annual Catholic Appeal that supports the archdiocese. A growing number of faithful Catholics are concerned about a leadership and governance crisis that affects the ability of the Archdiocese of Boston to continue the good works of the Catholic Church and the saving ministry of Jesus Christ.
With the salvation of souls at stake, I respectfully request that you act decisively in whatever way you deem appropriate to address these concerns.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
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We regret we did not get to post this earlier. Several readers have written to the Papal Nuncio and/or called his office Friday afternoon. Even if you send a message on Friday evening or over the weekend, the Nuncio will still get the message when he returns to his office, so please give it a try.