Radical Reshuffle for Boston Archdiocese

An Associated Press story published in the Boston Globe last Friday and picked-up by USA Today and other newspapers has got people talking once again about what the archdiocese will look like at a parish level in the not-too-distant future.  (Sorry to disappoint those readers who might have thought from the title that this post has to do with a reshuffling of the archdiocesan cabinet leadership team–it is about a reshuffling of parishes, not lay executive bureaucrats).

Here are excerpts from the article, with a little bit of BCI commentary at the end.

Boston church weighs major reshuffle

BOSTON—The Boston Archdiocese is considering a radical reshuffling that would unite its 291 parishes into 80 to 120 groups so that each cluster could share resources and clergy, according to an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The changes aim to save money at the parishes, which are “in a spiral of financial distress,” church officials say in confidential minutes of meetings where the plan was discussed. Archdiocese officials stress that the plan is still a work in progress.

Under the plan, more church closings would be possible, but they would be initiated by the new parish groups, not the archdiocese, as they were during the recent, painful round of closings.

In the minutes obtained by the AP, the Rev. David Couturier, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Pastoral Planning, says it must be “absolutely clear that the archdiocese is not going to be closing churches from above. That doesn’t mean that at the local level the recommendation may not come whereby the local parish says, `We really don’t need this building.'”

The archdiocese, however, would still have final say.

Parishes are broader territorial entities that include churches and other Catholic buildings, such as rectories. Under the plan, they would be assembled into groups of two to four.

The minutes also reveal Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s regret about how the archdiocese handled the closings that started in 2004, reducing the number of parishes from 357 to 291.

At the time, parishioners charged the archdiocese with shutting down healthy parishes without warning or reason. Some have since occupied their parish churches in round-the-clock protests…

No parish would be eliminated under the plan. But in anticipating problems with grouping parishes together, Courturier cited the sometimes “ugly” competition between them and “an adversarial relationship with the archdiocese.”

“We have to do something about the lack of trust that erupts from time to time in the archdiocese,” Courturier says in the minutes.

The memo was from the Archdiocese Pastoral Planning Commission, the group charged with proposing a new plan for the parish structure. It was sent to members of the Presbyteral Council, a group of priests advising the cardinal. The minutes were from seven monthly meetings of the Presbyteral Council, ending in April 2011.

The documents were given to the AP by Peter Borre of the Council of Parishes, which formed to fight church closings. He said he received them unsolicited.

Borre predicted any structural change would be followed by numerous church closings. He added that the reshuffling alone would meet heavy resistance no matter what, because people simply don’t trust the archdiocese anymore.

“If there were trust and openness, then you could rationalize this to a degree. But I will tell you that from the pews, they are headed into a buzz saw now,” he said.

Rather than realigning parishes, Borre said the archdiocese should reform what he said is a flawed and wasteful central office that’s weighed down by bloated six-figure salaries and which cripples parishes by taking too much of their collections.

Archdiocesan spokesman Terry Donilon hailed O’Malley’s financial management, including efforts to improve education and evangelization and erase an annual $15 million deficit in its central operations. (The archdiocese still has annual operating losses overall, including $8.2 million last year.)

The archdiocese has cited numerous statistics to show it must run differently. Among them: 40 percent of its parishes won’t be able to pay their bills this year; the number of available priests will plummet from 316 today to 178 in a decade; only 17 percent of local Catholics now attend Mass.

Under the new system, a senior pastor would lead each group of parishes, with charge over a “pastoral service team” that would include priests from the other parishes within the collection. The new group would have a single, merged staff; a single rectory; and a single parish center.

In theory, the streamlined parish would run cheaper, even as it’s being strengthened spiritually and numerically by an ongoing evangelization push, including the “Catholics Come Home” advertising campaign that aimed to draw lapsed Catholics back to church.

Monsignor William Fay, head of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission, emphasized the current restructuring plan is a work in progress. He said there’s no set timeline to complete it, and changes will come only after extensive consultation with local Catholics.

“We’ve got to move forward aggressively, but in a very thoughtful way,” he said. “We should be able to take the time we need to take to make sure this is done right.”Screen Options

American Catholics are traditionally loyal to their congregations and pastor, but not the hierarchy, and that makes it tough when archdioceses try to lead change, said David O’Brien, a church historian at the University of Dayton…

It’s also clear, though, that the current structure must be altered, O’Brien said. “You’ve got to do it, and they’re trying,” he said. “You have no choice.”

For the record, BCI had nothing to do with this article, or the leaking of documents to Peter Borre or the AP.

BCI feels the article accurately portrays the statistics about the situation with parishes and that status of the new pastoral planning initiative.  We agree that the archdiocese needs to do something about the lack of trust. (Note to 66 Brooks Drive: A good way to rebuild trust is to operate with integrity and transparency).  We would take issue with any “hailing” of Cardinal O’Malley’s financial management.

BCI also both agrees and disagrees with the comment from Peter Borre of the Council of Parishes.  We totally agree that the archdiocese should reform a “flawed and wasteful central office weighed down by bloated six-figure salaries” but at the same time, fixing that alone will not solve the problem. We face problems of a decline in church-going Catholics (1.3 million in 1960 compared to 294,000 in 2010), a decline in priests, and parishes (with associated church buildings) that once served 1.3M Catholics now only seeing 23% of that number of people.

The concept, as described at a high-level in this article and which we reported on previously, is to combine several existing parishes into one entity, while keeping as many of the church buildings open as possible.  One “Parish Pastoral Center” would serve several parishes with one pastor, one Finance Council, one Parish Council, several priests living in the rectory, and shared staff for religious education and administration. (BCI note: if the current archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Braintree cannot be made “pastoral” in the very near future, we would recommend they not reuse the term “Pastoral Center” in the new plans for parishes).

How this all plays out will be interesting. With appeals still in process from the last round of reconfiguration, Boston is treading carefully and cannot do exactly what other dioceses have done.

What you can expect to not see is a top-down plan worked out by the Archdiocese for some sort of “global merging,” whereby the archdiocese would set criteria for when parishes would be merged and suppressed. (That could have the canonically complicated result of 291 parishes being “suppressed” with the assets of several parishes combined into new entities). Instead, look for decisions to be made on a local level, with individual local studies done and recommendations made on an case-by-case basis for combining parishes.

What does BCI think of all this?  BCI agrees there is no choice but to do something. We voiced our skepticism about the committee in our Feb. 4 post, Pastoral Planning Commission.

  • Why so many money people?  (And when we say “money people,” we mean big money people)
  • Why the recycled cronies of Fr. Bryan Hehir and Sr. Janet Eisner–yet again?
  • Why the person who led the “sham search” that placed the current Chancellor?
  • Why the person who led one of the previous planning committees which solicited input from everyone, included input from only a few while neglecting to include some of the best ideas in the report, and basically got nowhere fast?
  • Why soak up one of the limited spots with someone from a parish that moreso resembles a part of a college campus rather than a diocesan parish? (and whose parish bulletin is currently promoting a June 19 Gay Pride Mass at St. Cecilia in Boston).

We still have these concerns, and wonder where a committee which includes members such as the above will ever get to, let alone considering there is no timeline for a deliverable or recommendation.

What do you think of the pastoral planning effort and direction reported above?

48 Responses to Radical Reshuffle for Boston Archdiocese

  1. Boston Blackey says:

    The major problem with the cluster approach to parish consolidation is that it will result in a lot of “parishoners” who have no allegiance to any one parish. The direct result of that will be reflected in the collection basket. There are quite a few very healthy, at least financially, parishes in the Archdiocese who are not of need of clustering. We need more priests and that will ony come about by a societal change through prayer and self sacrifice. A new Archbishop would help too.

  2. Devoted Catholic says:

    I think the issue is why not utlize the lay Catholics that can assist in running a parish. There is no reason to close or combine a parish. Yes there are reasons to share a priest. But it is better to keep the buildings open and parishes in motion. There are several reasons for this. I think the biggest reason is keeping smaller parishes open. If the RCAB goes with the big Church model people feel like a number in the mix of hundreds of people. Why not keep smaller parishes? Here is an example of one such parish in Detriot : http://www.sweetestheart.org/ There are several churches sharing one priest. The important thing is that the smaller churches stay open and can continue with proper lay training like in this parish.
    So Cardinal Sean be open minded to newer church models.

    • David S. says:

      I am concerned whenever I see calls for an increased role for the laity.

      To date, what has all this laity involvement brought us? Is the faith of Catholics stronger today due to all their post Vatican II involvement?

      And which of the laity will be calling the shots?

      Laity who are faithful to the Pope and Magisterium, or laity such as those in charge at St. Cecilia’s who will use this opportunity to promote abominations?

  3. bitsnbytes says:

    Questions to be resolved:

    On what basis should costs be apportioned to the parishes in a cluster: by the number of members, the number of households, the size of each parish’s budget, the size of each parish’s collection, or by simple equality?

    Will philosophical differences between parishes in the areas of catechesis and liturgy result in conflict when a single DRE or music director is placed over 2-4 parishes?

    Can finance councils be merged? Does that imply that the parishes have been merged de facto? Will this lead to another round of canon-law appeals to the Vatican when a church is closed?

  4. QC Guy says:

    ultimately, most people need human contact, as well as spitirual support. When daily or weekly Mass is over and people greet each other , have coffee or just smile and wave, the feeling of ‘connectedness’ enlivens many folks. Recognizing the financial challenges and personnel issues, nevertheless, if you can’t experience personal contact, I don’t think the consolidation will work very well.
    All of the Protestant churches in my experience are much better at the social aspects and fellowhsip than we Catholics ! And since lay poeple can only do so much, our ‘lonely’ preists are going to have an even harder time exercising their vocations and ministries.
    I’m not sure the eventual admission of married clergy or even [ ???] WOMEN Clergy will be able to sustain a viable Catholic diocese in the really long term.

  5. Former Employee says:

    On the surface there is much to like about this plan, Fr. Jack Ahern makes his cluster work very well in Dorchester, other places it might be a bit much.

    My chief concern overall would be that O’Malley would Parrot Howard Hubbard of Albany and create lay administrators who would reduce the Priest to the role of a Liturgical functionary.

    A Priest has the privelage of belonging to his Parishioners, he is not a functionary to reduce him to such compromise his mission.

  6. williamh says:

    One essential ingredient has been left out of this reshuffling – that is, The Cardinal should be reassigned to Rome – where he and Cardinal Law can help restore the faith in Ireland and clean up the mess at the “partying Cistercian Monastery.” A new quality and kind of leadership is needed in Boston.
    The episcopacy is not immune to problems that need to be fixed. Top personnel changes are “in order.”

  7. DHO says:

    You had me until you stuck in the objection for the Gay Pride Mass at St. Cecilia’s. Remember: Jesus loves everyone. Peter Borre is to be commended for all he has done. Peter is a good man, a good friend and a good neighbor. We need more Peter Borres to help those of us, who are hanging on by the skin of our Catholic teeth, hopeful.

    • Boston pastor says:

      DHO, Jesus loves the sinner, but he does not love the sin. Be careful about confusing the two. The Gay Pride parade celebrates the sin. We should not have Catholic parishes promoting such an event.

      • A Priest says:

        Couldn’t agree more “Boston pastor”

      • Mack says:

        Yes, the problem is that the “Gay Pride” parade celebrates the sin.
        So, is Cardinal O’Malley doing nothing about the travesty of a “Gay Pride” Mass?

  8. enoughisenough says:

    Trust is key. RCAB engenders none. Excuse me for thinking there is no set time line is just posturing.

  9. Jack O'Malley says:

    The archdiocese, however, would still have final say.

    But of course it would. This is the axiomatic First Principle of the Braintree Politburo. And they will not stray from First Principles. Inter quae:

    * Politburo salaries will not only not be reduced, provisions will have to be made to substantially increase them in the coming decade.

    * The Politburo will have to be expanded to account for the increased bureacratic burden necessitated by fewer parishes. Much more time and effort will have to be expended on the parishes that remain. This is a time-tested principle derived from the successful policy of the current Superintendent of Schools.

    * More Liturgical Ladies will have to be hired to distribute the fewer novus ordo hosts to the dwindling number of pew puppies. The efficiency of the EMHC is inversely proportional to the length of the Communion line.

    * Cardinal Créole will have to substantially increase his national and international travel to reflect the greater productivity in the archdiocese. The Boston Model will have to be promulgated worldwide to renew the Catholic Church. Especially in Haiti, where, according to whispers in the vestibule, there is a large contingent of unqualified professional Catholics seeking six-figure salaries.

    * The parish tax will have to be raised to pay for more expensive advertising campaigns to bring disaffected Catholics back in to the Church to replace the disaffected Catholics who have walked out of the Church.

    * The “pastoral service teams” are going to need “pastoral service coaches” at salaries commensurate with what is needed to “lure” them from academic positions in the public sector.

    This is a draft document. It may be expanded by all and sundry.

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

    • Novus Ned says:

      Jack you are so counter productive. It’s people like you that will be the ruin of the Church. “If only we went back to latin all our problems would disappear” It’s a tired line of BS.
      I want change in leadership but to continue to bad mouth the Church as you do helps nothing. Leadership can and will someday come, that will make the difference,and those like you who sit in incense filled dark rooms chanting latin phrases to each other that none of you even understand, will not be the solution because the solution is to be out working in the vineyard with the people of God. Your tired old lines are just that, tired…give it a rest and let the serious minded, faithful Catholics make the changes needed…Thank you.

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      Novus Ned (Eduarde novi ordinis),

      Nonne ego Ecclesiae exitium ero? Istud mendacium tuum tam risibile est ut vix sciam quid respondeam. Cum te fefellerit, te certiorem faciam Ecclesiam iam dudum pessum iisse. Probabilissime ante te natum. Tu et tui similes non in culpa estis. Nihil aliud novistis. Si in animo habeas ut in vinea labores, tibi discendum est de historia Ecclesiae et non tantum ab illo concilio exitioso. Interim claudendum illud os ignavum ignarumque tuum.

      Pacem, bonum, et in podice calcem celerem tibi exopto.

      Even if most of what you say should is untrue, I do indeed enjoy sitting in incense-filled dark rooms. They are called “churches”.

      • Novus Ned says:

        I doubt that very much “Jack” I doubt very much that you’ve darkened the door of a Church in a very long time. No one who spews forth your angry tirades against the Church can possibly be a regular communicant. Do me a and all of us a favor “Jack”, try volunteering at a local parish and making a difference. Try supporting your parish priest. Try being an active parishioner trying to bring change about. Those of us on the front lines have very little use for those who choose to sit on the sidelines and tell us what to do. How is the view from the cheap seats “Jack”? Try and be a part of the solution.

      • DBP says:

        Hey, “Novus” – speaking of vitriol…physician, heal thyself!

        Your failure to understand Jack’s opening question to you is the crux of the problem: has the Church of which you speak only come to exist within your lifetime, or is it possible that others may know of a Tradition that stretches back to the Apostles?

        Jack is reminding us, in his irascible style, that the “liturgical actions” in the “worship space” in your local “faith community” are in very many ways a complete break with the Tradition of 2,000 years.

        The fact that you don’t understand that, and instead accuse him of being angry or bitter (or whatever the current ad hominem buzz-word is for those who have the temerity to disagree with you) demonstrates his point perfectly: the destroyers of altars have destroyed whatever faith existed in much of the world.

        And, while we’re at it, would you get off the anti-Latin kick? Just because people understand something you don’t doesn’t mean they only like it for the language! Do you only enjoy Mass because it’s in English? What Jack (and I, for that matter) detest about the so-called Novus Ordo Mass is not so much that it’s not in Latin, but that it’s made a mockery of what we have believed – through much persecution, mind you – and has de-sacralized what is, by its nature, the most holy.

        If Jack is so off-base, ask yourself why the Pope is mandating a change in the wording of the Mass, a wording that adheres more closely to the wording of the Mass that Jack and countless others yearn for.

        And when the Pope says the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, do the terms you apply to Jack so quickly apply to the Pope also?

        Here’s some Latin for ya, Ned lex orandi, lex credendi.

      • Novus Ned says:

        You to appear to believe that Latin will cure all. It won’t. The funny thing is I have no problem with those who wish to sit in half empty churches listening to somebody speak in a language that most o not understand. Have fun, worship God, but how about leaving the rest of us alone who want to have Mass celebrated in our native tounge. I’m glad for the new translation, I have no problem with that either. My problem DBP, is when I hear people talk about how Latin is the cure all…it isn’t. I’m not anti-Latin, I’m anti-people living in a time they never experienced and thinking it will somehow save the Church. I’ll trust the Holy Spirit thanks, not “Jack” or you DBP. The Holy Spirit gave us the Novus Ordo…or are you smart than the Holy Spirit? I’m sure you’ll have some pithy Latin response…go for it.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        Novus Ned,

        Why do you put my name in quotes? I am John J. O’Malley and am proud of the name. I am sure yor name is not “novus”. Have a modicum of common courtesy please.

        You do make some good suggestions though. I have spoken with presbyters (their preferred title in most cases) and suggested that they offer the TLM. I volunteered to serve as an altar boy. I haven’t forgotten after half a century. I even volunteered to teach them the Latin (you cannot doubt my competence having yourself understood my previous comment, can you?) I do darken the door of several churches, both novus ordo and Vera Missa. Any sinner casts a shadow in the sanctuary of the Almighty, as you must acknowledge you yourself do in your dearth of Christian charity. But the Church is a sanatorium for sinners for which healing I am grateful. But you are right — my shadow though dark cannot detract from the Light of the Holy Ghost that illumines the Sanctuary of the Son sacrificed.

        There are no “cheap seats” in the Temple of the Lord, Ned. Each seat demands that the Words of Christ be preached and heard in the heart. I am derelict in many ways as you in your spiritual insight have discerned. I accept your acrimonious censure and austere judgement. I am a bad Catholic. I have never claimed to be anything else. I may even be a heretic. But that is beyond your intellectual power to debate or condemn.

        I will say one thing in closing. Were I not a Catholic by birth, I have no doubt that I would never “darken the door” of a Catholic church had I read you caustic vituperations. Truth comports charity. Learn.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        DBP, thanks. I have seldom felt so excoriated and therefore all the more appreciate you kind words of support. I am not trying to destroy the Church, merely yearning for its restoration.

        Restauretur Missa Vera. Floreat Ecclesia Domini nostri!

      • Novus Ned says:

        Yes Jack I’m the one who lacks charity, I’m willing to say I have work to do as does any Christian… You continue to mock me and put me down while bemoaning my lack of charity, that’s funny but I digress. I love it when you self righteous, pseudo intellectuals attack, it exposes you as the frauds I suspect you are. Your time has passed Jack…I will pray for you at my regular Sunday Mass in my regular parish church with all the rest of the people you disdain.

      • BCI is requesting a timeout here. Though we like to allow an open discussion, when it gets to a back-and-forth where the comments start getting personal–as is occurring in this thread–we need to ask folks to pause. BCI is not saying anyone is right or wrong. No one should feel they need to get in the last word. We ask readers to please focus on the topic of issue of the pastoral planning effort and “radical reshuffling” of the archdiocese in your comments going forward.

        Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

      • Jack O'Malley says:

        Gee, BCI. Just when we get a good old-fashioned bench-clearing brawl, you want to play ice-capades? 😉

        Go B’s! Avenge Horton. Win the Cup.

        BTW, I think they should restore the Adams, Patrick, Smythe and Norris divisions. I am a Traditional Hockey Liturgist. I miss the cheap restricted view seats.

      • DBP says:

        Ned – respecting the request of the moderator, I’ll refrain from posting again on this topic. However, since you have mischaracterized my post, please allow me to demur on a couple points:

        1. Nowhere in my post here – or anywhere else – will you find any evidence that I believe that Latin cures anything, much less everything. Again, it’s the Mass, not the language in which it’s said, that’s the problem for me and, I presume, for Jack. The Novus Ordo, so-called, emphasizes “community” and the horizontal dimension of holiness; the TLM emphasizes “sacrifice” and the vertical dimension of holiness.

        2. My “pithy Latin response” which drew your contempt, is one of the oldest liturgical maxims; it means “as one prays, thus does one believe.” It is completely applicable to this discussion, since what Jack and I are saying is that those who only know the Novus Ordo are praying (and therefore believing) in a way that is significantly different from the continuous faith of the Church from the time of the Apostles. That means, Ned, that your beliefs about the faith are sometimes different from Jack’s and mine. Again, it’s not the language in which it’s prayed, it’s the Mass itself.

        3. My sense is that you have no concept whatever of the history of the western liturgy, not even in its contemporary form. In point of fact, the Novus Ordo Mass was given to us NOT by the Second Vatican Council (in which we believe Holy Spirit to have been guide and participant); rather, the rubrics for the Novus Ordo were given to us by Pope Paul VI, who is NOT protected from error unless he speaks ex cathedra (pardon the Latin), which he did not in this case. Therefore, it is entirely permissible to suggest that he erred in promulgating this Mass. In fact, its current reform by Pope Benedict XVI suggests that there were at least SOME errors in it! May I suggest – and I mean this as a means of self-improvement – talking to someone who understands the history of worship; that way you might understand better the reasons for the way some of us feel.

        Ned, I’m sorry if you feel put upon, and I agree with you and others that the constant barrage of negativity coming from the TLM camp (of which I am not a part) does a disservice to their purpose. But try to understand the abuse they feel they’ve suffered for years – deprived of their patrimony, deprived of what they feel is authentic worship, and scorned for their attachment to tradition, they’ve been driven out of parishes by pastors who knew less about the faith than they did/do. They’ve asked for years to have the TLM (which was never done away with, officially) and they’ve been marginalized and lied to. The anger may be poisonous, true, but it’s been injected into them by the shepherds who have had no ears for their cries. Their anger is well-earned.

      • Novus Ned says:

        So, DBP, Pope Paul VI just came up with this on his own eh? I know that’s not true. Second, the corrections in the current liturgy are only in the English version. All other languages were translated correctly some 40 years ago except the Englsh and I agree the new English translation will be better, thank God. I also want to apologize to BCI for this post but since until now I was the only one to call truce and stick to your request I feel this is justified so that my views will not be distorted. I’m sorry that the TLM crowd feels put upon, I am, but I love how they always get this image of being smart because they know Latin, or they can parrot back the old Baltimore Catechism, I’m not sure that rep is well deserved. I also will not claim to be a genius, which I’m sure Jack and DBP will have much to say, but I am faithful, I go to Mass every week, I go to confession (not as often asi should) and I pray. I know this makes me some kind of collaborater in your eyes but the Pope and the Bishops and thus the Church have brought us to this point in history and rightly or wrongly I trust THEM not some shadowey Internet folks to do the right thing regards the liturgy, and other matters. I pray for a change in leadership everyday for our Archdiocese, but I guess that makes me bad too. Again apologies to BCI.

      • Perhaps the first message from BCI about requesting a timeout and people not needing to get in the last word did not come through clearly, so we will make one more request. Please, NO MORE comments on this thread about TLM or the “TLM crowd.” If it keeps going, you will force us to shut-off the ability to leave additional comments on this thread, and potentially future ones. If you have a comment on the issue of the pastoral planning effort and “radical reshuffling” of the archdiocese that does not include Latin or TLM, feel free to leave it. However, if it pertains to TLM or Latin, BCI feels that topic has been sufficiently exhausted for now. Thanks again for your cooperation.

  10. Downhill says:

    Can we please start preaching Humanae Vitae in this Archdiocese? In some ways, The Pill is at the root of all this – not only reducing the number of Catholics, but spiritually killing its users.

  11. Downhill says:

    Jack’s sarcastic criticism, while it expresses the frustration with the desacralization of the Liturgy which DBP decries, does not serve well the cause of the Latin Mass. For more than twenty years, its adherents in the Archdiocese HAVE done what Novus Ned has asked – build parish life. Whether it’s reviving a long-dormant parish chapter of a Holy Name Society or a Sodality, giving generously as their means allow, showing generosity in having children, or providing vocations to the priesthood at a rate that would obliterate the priest shortage in a generation, “lex orandi, lex credendi, lex facendi.”

    “Save the liturgy – save the world.”

    • Jack O'Malley says:


      The bit about “save the liturgy etc…. “, did you make that up? Why is it in quotes? Good slogan! It would look good on a coffee cup.

      BTW, what is that “lex facendi”? It sounds Turkish. The poor Patriarch is probably working up a sweat.

    • K&JSR says:

      If you REALLY want to annoy Jack O’Malley, just show him these pictures

      Sean, Cardinal O’Malley, administering the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Extraordinary Form, last Saturday at the Cathedral. Jack really doesn’t get out much.

    • Jack O'Malley says:


      C’mon. Gimme a break.

      First, this thread is not supposed to about me. I responded to the thesis of the BCI post. Then the merda flabellum icit as we dark-room incense-sniffing Latin-illiterates chant to each other.

      Second, what is that table contraption stuck up in front of the High Altar upon which the Bloodless Sacrifice of the Calvary is supposed to offered. What is O’Malley (no relation – ob quod Deo gratias maximas ago) doing perambulating about it?

      Third, I have long since ceased to be annoyed with the innovations and perturbations of the Holy Sacrifice at the hands of modernist bishops. Let each presbyter select his own liturgically colored balloons.

      Fourth, Iudica me Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta. ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me.

  12. Novus Ned says:


  13. Chris says:

    Dear BCI,
    I suggest you not cut off comments to the thread, which concern a vitally important topic. As an alternative, take away the posting privileges of those who misuse your hospitality. I believe Fr. Z bans people, why not follow his method?

    As for the reshuffle, I am sad beyond words. I suspect that in some clusters the more radical and aggressive priests will take control and push around smaller or more devout, less senior priests. I live in Metrowest, go to a good but smaller parish in comparison to some neighbors. The pastor of a neighboring parish has miraculously dodged bullets for his many documented abuses, of the liturgy and of his people (anger, not sexual abuse). I simply don’t know what I will do if I find him in the sanctuary of my beloved church.

  14. FR B says:

    Is it possible that the ‘high-roller’ donor/investors have taken ownership of corporation sole ?

    If so, what will it take to get “them” to release their grasp ?

  15. Bill Lambeer says:

    Time for an interlude from Swain himself!!!!

    • Grandfather of 10 says:

      Now that’s a name I hadn’t heard in a l-o-n-g time. Talk about an anachronism!

  16. A Priest says:

    I’m not worried about this issue. It’s just more work for us and no closings for those who can’t handle that reality. It has come to the point where people would rather see the priest run himself ragged from Church to Church than do the smart thing and close parishes. If you have 200-300 people coming on the weekend, your parish needs to merge, I’m sorry, but the reality is Cushing built to many churches, because he had an unusual anomaly of having a 1,000 priests…this is not the case anymore…we need to change our view of what a parish is. In the end I think this will make people happy because the parishes will be stronger.

  17. q says:

    The whole plan seems to have potential, but I have no confidence any of that potential will be realized. More likely to be Recon II, or the Catholic School Foundation strangulation.

    On the one hand, the isolation of Priests is a real problem, and combining Rectories might help. Sharing of secretarial and accounting functions makes a certain amount of sense, particularly if it REDUCES the need for paid personel. Sharing of ideas among Priests and Parish staff may help.

    On the other hand, this will probably do none of those, but centralize fundraising, making Parishes MORE dependent on big donors and the Chancery (ugh!). It will also probably result in lots of interference and favoritism within custers, again allowing for MORE control by Jack and the Chancery.

  18. Mack says:

    Today on my way to St Elizabeth’s hospital, I walked through the parking lot next to the old St Gabriel church. It used to be run by the Passionists. Today the church is closed, the sidewalks are being overrun by weeds, the old monastery I think is also shuttered.
    I felt very sad to see it all. The reality is that we are living through a time of a mass falling away from the faith, the “bare ruined choirs” of unbelief.
    The Church will flourish again, someday. But it is painful to see its decline here. Very painful.

  19. […] for parishes in the Boston archdiocese and reader feedback to our last post on this topic, “Radical Reshuffle for Boston Archdiocese,” we thought we would start a series on the top ways to improve the Boston archdiocese and […]

  20. q says:

    Radio show and transcript of Msgr Fay explaining the Pastoral Planning Commission report.


    Planning is generally good. Can’t help thinking that, though there are good people on the Commission, they all (with a few exceptions) have similar views on “professionalizing” (aka more paid staff) and “consolidating” (aka making more bureaucracy to centralize decision making) Parishes. Can’t say that the conclusions were a suprise, given the makeup of the Commission.

  21. "Just Wondering" says:

    “Just Wondering” says to a “A Priest Say” — right on, Brother. It was hinted at the last round that it would have to happen again. Mergers are very painful, as I had to live thru three of them.. I never had to say a “Latin Mass” (Praise God!) save for the consecration. I could never “Preach” a sermon in Latin is another rason why I don’t appreciatge the Latin Mass. To each his own. You do preach a sermon in Latin don’t you??? I’m Just Wondering”!!!!

    • bitsnbytes says:

      Only for demonstration purposes. Or if you’re Bishop Trautman showing off your Latin to the rabble.

  22. […] this morning gave us the impetus to return to a topic from a few weeks ago, namely, the “Radical Reshuffle for the Boston Archdiocese.”  The article appeared in a publication called “Vatican Insider.”  (Boston […]

  23. […] month, BCI discussed an AP story published in the Boston Globe and other newspapers about a “radical reshuffling” of the archdiocese at a parish level planned for the not-too-distant future. There were a few things the folks at 66 […]

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