NEWSFLASH: Cardinal Appoints Next Vicar General

Today the Boston Archdiocese announced the appointment of the next Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, Msgr. Robert Deeley.  BCI sees this announcement as very good news for the archdiocese!  We will let the announcement that follows speak for itself.

From: Vicar General <>
Date: June 14, 2011 11:30:32 AM EDT
Subject: Cardinal Appoints next Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Boston

The following message is being forwarded to you on behalf of Cardinal Sean:

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Allow me this opportunity to share with you an important announcement concerning our life as an Archdiocese.  I am appointing Rev. Monsignor Robert P. Deeley, a priest of the Archdiocese currently serving at the Vatican, as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Boston, effective September 1, 2011.  Msgr. Deeley will succeed the Very Rev. Richard M. Erikson, who will participate in the Institute for Continuing Theological Education of the Pontifical North American College in the fall, returning to the Archdiocese for a new assignment in early 2012.

We are blessed by the willingness of these two exceptional priests to contribute so much to the good works of the Church.  Fr. Erikson’s leadership and ministry and leadership have been significant for many of our achievements of recent years. I am confident that Msgr. Deeley will build of Fr. Erikson’s success and help us to continue of the path of renewal. Please join me in congratulating both of these fine priests and thanking them for their dedication to Christ and the Church.

Following is the press release we are issuing announcing these assignments.

With the assurance of my prayers for you and all your loved ones, I am,

Sincerely yours in Christ,


Cardinal Appoints Rev. Monsignor Robert P. Deeley as next Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Boston

Very Rev. Richard M. Erikson to Attend the Institute for Continuing Theological Education of the Pontifical North American College

Braintree, MA – Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley announced today that Rev. Monsignor Robert P. Deeley has been appointed Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Boston, effective September 1, 2011.  Since 2004 Msgr. Deeley has been assigned to the Vatican in the office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  He succeeds the Very Reverend Richard M. Erikson who will participate in the Institute for Continuing Theological Education of the Pontifical North American College beginning in September.

Cardinal Seán said, “Monsignor Deeley is a well respected and accomplished priest who has served the Church with distinction in the Archdiocese of Boston and in recent years in Rome. We look forward to the many contributions he will provide to our ongoing efforts of strengthening and renewing the Archdiocese.  At this time I wish to express my gratitude to  Fr. Erikson for the time and effort he has given to the work of this local Church during the past five years. His contributions are many, especially in the areas of communications, transparency and revitalizing our efforts in the area of pastoral planning and evangelization.  We have greatly benefitted from his leadership and his dedication to Christ and the Church.”

Msgr. Deeley said, “It is an honor and a privilege to be returning to the Archdiocese to assist Cardinal Seán at this important time in the life of the Church.  With his recent Pastoral letter, the Cardinal has announced a renewed effort in evangelization.  This is a wonderful time to be coming home to serve with our dedicated priests, religious, deacons and lay faithful in this effort of bringing the message of the Gospel to the people of the Archdiocese and to assist the Cardinal in the continued rebuilding of our beloved Archdiocese.”  He added, “In particular to my brother priests, who serve in our parishes, lead ministries of social justice, spread the Gospel of life, evangelize and bring the Sacraments to our Catholic family please know that  I am hopeful that my work will be supportive of you and the vital ministries you carry out.  We are called to be a Church which gives life to the love Jesus preached; in the carrying out of this mission I look forward to supporting our parishes, schools and ministries.  The Holy Father provided me a wonderful opportunity to serve the worldwide Church and I will be forever grateful for his confidence and trust.  I have enjoyed my work in Rome but I am grateful for the opportunity to return to the Archdiocese which has been such an important part of my life as a priest.”

Fr. Erikson said, “On behalf of the entire Archdiocese we extend a warm welcome home to   Msgr. Deeley.  He is a superb choice by the Cardinal who will bring many gifts and expertise to the work ahead.  I also want to thank Cardinal Seán for his confidence and support these past five years.  He is leading our Archdiocese along a path of rebuilding and we should rejoice that he is our Archbishop.  To the priests, deacons, religious, lay members and Pastoral Center staff I express my sincere gratitude.  You have made the work we have done together rewarding and we have accomplished a great deal because of a shared commitment to continuing the saving ministry of Jesus Christ.  I love being a priest and, in particular, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston.  To my brother priests, please accept my deep appreciation for all you have done to give glory and honor to God.  I have been blessed by your support and prayers.”

Msgr. Robert P. Deeley

Msgr. Deeley was born in Cambridge, MA on June 18, 1946.  He grew up in Belmont as the fourth in a family of five sons.  His parents, Michael and Mary, now deceased, were born in Co. Galway, Ireland.  The family belonged to Sacred Heart Parish in Watertown where he and his brothers attended school.   Msgr. Deeley attended Matignon High School in North Cambridge where he graduated in 1964.

Following high school, having been inspired by the priests in the parish and encouraged by his family and the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston who taught him both at Sacred Heart School and Matignon, he entered Cardinal O’Connell Minor Seminary in Jamaica Plain to discern a vocation to priesthood.  After two years of college he received a Theodore Basselin Foundation Scholarship and began Philosophy studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. where he earned his A.B. degree in 1968.  After a year of graduate school he was sent for theological studies to the Pontifical North American College in Rome.  At the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome he completed an S.T.B. in theology in 1972, and after a year of further studies in theology returned to Boston and was ordained to the priesthood on July 14, 1973 at Sacred Heart Church in Watertown, his home parish.

He was assigned as Associate Pastor to Msgr. Robert T. Kickham in St. Bartholomew parish in Needham, where he served for five years.  In 1978, with his appointment as Secretary to the Metropolitan Tribunal of the Archdiocese of Boston, he began a ministry which would last for over twenty years in that office.  The last ten years of that time he was named Judicial Vicar (1989-1999).  Throughout that period, apart from his years of graduate study in Rome in Canon Law, he lived in parishes where he was able to serve as an Assistant Priest in residence; first, with Rev. Michael Doocey as Pastor, in Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton Upper Falls (1978-1981), and then, after graduate school, and earning his Doctorate in Canon Law, in St. Brigid’s Parish in Lexington (1985-1999) where Msgr. John P. Keilty, mentor and friend from his youth, was pastor.  He also served with Rev. Eugene Curtin, who succeeded Msgr. Keilty.  In October of 1999, he was named Pastor of St. Ann’s Parish in the Wollaston section of Quincy.  While Pastor of St. Ann’s, he assumed the presidency of the Canon Law Society of America in 2000, a mark of the esteem his peers in the ministry of canon law held him.  He was sent to his present assignment in Rome in September of 2004, first on a temporary basis at the request of the USCCB as an external collaborator, and then, at the request of the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, as an Official of the Congregation.

Msgr. Deeley’s younger brother, Rev. Kevin J. Deeley, is also a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and is currently serving as a Navy Chaplain with the rank of Commander.  He is stationed in San Diego, though presently on duty at sea.  His older brothers, Tom, Paul and John are married.

He has served on several boards, commissions and councils including Covenant Health Systems, Canonical Affairs Committee of the Archdiocese of Boston, Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs Committee of the Archdiocese of Boston, Matignon High School, and on the Eighth Synod of the Archdiocese of Boston.  Msgr. Deeley has held membership in the Canon Law Society of America as well as Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland.  He has published The Mandate for Those Who Teach Theology in Institutes of Higher Studies, (Rome, Italy: 1986 privately published doctoral dissertation), Canon 812: The Mandate for Those Who Teach Theology, Proceedings of the Canon Law Society of America, 50:1988, pp. 70-85.and the Code of Canon Law: Latin-English Edition, Washington, D.C., Canon Law Society of America, 1998, translation editor.

Very Rev. Richard M. Erikson

Fr. Erikson has served as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia since 2006.  Beginning in September, he will be participating in the Institute for Continuing Theological Education at the Pontifical North American College, Vatican City.  He will return to the Archdiocese of Boston following the Institute to a new assignment in the Archdiocese beginning in 2012.  He will also continue his service as an Air Force Reserve chaplain where he serves as Mobilization Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Chaplains at the Pentagon.

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of nearly 2 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 291 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 42,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach.   Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit .

25 Responses to NEWSFLASH: Cardinal Appoints Next Vicar General

  1. Just saying... says:

    This is pretty great news. Monsignor is an orthodox and no nonsense priest who should help restore some order here.

    • DBP says:

      I agree, and his record in the Curia speaks volumes about his commitment to upholding the canonical rights of priests. I can’t imagine that he would allow the incredible abuse of priests and the trampling of their civil and canonical rights that’s gone on during this present administration!

  2. PROVE IT says:

    Forgive me for being cautious. COM’s hiring history is still spotty at best. Time will tell.

  3. Former Employee says:

    He’s a Roman which is usually a good thing, he’s spent a considerable period of time over there.

    I also must wonder if the folks at the Pastoral Center have been reading this, though not Iraq, Italy is pretty far away for Erikson.

  4. Little Red Hen says:

    Monsignor Deeley’s background in Canon Law is very encouraging to me. I can’t help but wonder if his appointment is the result of the barrage of e-mails to Rome, imploring them for help.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Good riddance to Erickson, a useless Vicar if there ever was one.

    Iraq would be a good place for him.

    • Carolyn says:

      Dear Anonymous,

      Unless you have served in Iraq, or your child has, an apology would be in order. No one disputes Fr. Erikson’s record as a compassionate chaplain, and anyone who has NOT sacrificed their family to Iraq, or any deployment, should refrain from comment.

      Although Richard Erikson’s record as VG is, at best, mixed, in his defense, he could not have known what he was getting into when he was told to come home. Remember, his profession is family counseling. Your archbishop brought him to Boston to play consoler in chief. Talk about the wrong skill set! Instead he was steamrolled out of the way for five years by the Connors/Hehir powered, bullying despot, McDonough, and your archbishop let it all happen. Chances are, had Erikson a mulligan, he’d swing very differently — like being the pastor of a huge parish near a military base, where he could have served the parish and the base as a “twinned” assignment.

      So, have a little respect for the folks in uniform, and understand that Erikson lacked the pathology to manipulate and lie his way to the top of the heap. Maybe he can take some consolation from that.

      • Anonymous says:

        Apologize for what? Maybe I should have said Siberia. I don’t know what kind of Chaplain he is in the military, but Erickson has a total lack of compassion and dsidain for the employees of the Archdiocese. For that alone, forgetting the demonstrated incompetence, Good Riddance!

        BTW Fr. Rich, Mom would be proud. NOT!

  6. Lapsed and Loving It says:

    Just don’t get too optimistic. Remember this is RCAB we’re talking about.

  7. Objective Observer says:

    Dear BCI,

    The first thing I wish Msgr. Deeley would do, is restore the correct reporting order under canon law, and put the chancellor back under the VG. McDonough slimed a change by in 2006 to make himself a direct report to the ordinary. That changed everything.

    Between now and September 1, would it be possible to choose 10 or 12 topics where a wish list for Msgr. Deeley could be articulated? Real topics that could make a difference? For a start:

    A couple of posts to concisely quantify conflicts of interest that can be remedied;
    A post or two to outline priests’ real needs (maybe one general and one for pastors);
    A post (or more?) to itemize financial sleights of hand by the chancellor.

    You get the idea…. maybe even number them for future reference. Sort of a top ten list.

    It would mean disciplined posting by all concerned, and greater objectivity than ever. It would mean all of us marshalling facts before posting, and keeping side agendas simmered down. And it would mean choosing topics that the VG, if he seizes the job, could directly affect. A VG who knows and respects the canons could be just what we need, if indeed he can be civil, or even cordial, in tone.

  8. RoamingRoman says:

    If you like the Pope, you’ll like Deeley. Hired directly by Cardinal Ratzinger and worked with him closely before Ratzinger’s election to Pope. Very smart – awarded the Basselin Scholarship is a big deal. Being elected president of canon law society of america is a big deal. Friends consider him decisive and a leader. A fine priest and a fine man.

  9. RoamingRoman says:

    One another note. Now people won’t be under the false impression that Hehir is the smartest priest in the room.

  10. Fr. Bill says:

    Father comes from simple roots . I have always found him to be a man of TRUTH … We must all pray that he will be able to cultivate that absent quality in the RCAB.
    I will be offering a Novena of Masses for the health + protection of this good priest. Let us all keep him in prayer.

  11. Chris says:

    YES! Prayers and Masses, novenas and even fasting for the new Vicar. I think it would be a good idea to get a wish list together. Perhaps this can be the start of the long-awaited turnaround.

  12. Fr. Bill says:

    Please remember his role is to serve the Ordinary’s plan and design for the Diocese … He is NOT the Cardinal Archbishop; Father Robert is but a part of the web of clerics + “Experts” surrounding Sean Patrick.

    Trim your expecatations + don’t expect the impossible!

  13. Fr. Bill says:

    As for “Anonymous’ ” comments … ‘good riddance to Fr. Erickson …”
    I emphatically DISAGREE … Father Erickson was one voice among many louder and Wealthier screams … He, I believe, did the best he could considering the circumstances … I truly believe he is a man of virtue + a true hearted priest !

    I had many dealings with Fr. Erickson during his draining assignment as VG in the reign of AB O’Malley et al …

    Fr. Robert is now stepping into that same Fiery Furnace, may he find one like the” son of man” walking with him {cf the story of the Machabees ….

    Father Rich and Fr. Bob deserve our gratitude and prayers for being willing to serve during this Winter of Discontent!

    • Former Employee says:

      Not everyone has had the same experience when dealing with Richard Erikson. I have documented proof in my possession, signed by Richard Erickson that show a pattern of dishonesty when dealing with me. I showed it to my lawyer brother and he agreed that my evidence is pretty strong…..perhaps he does not read what he signs, but what would that say about him?

      • Anonymous says:

        I don’t know about Erickson’s relationship with priests but I do know that his is totally dishonest and lacks any semblance of integrity when dealing with the archdiocesan work force. RCAB cannot help but be a better place without Erickson and his two faces.

  14. Jerry says:

    anyone read Jason Berry’s new book-Render unto Rome?

  15. Fr. Bill says:

    I am moved by everyone’s insights + personal experiences re Fr. Erickson …
    I think we Can agree that we all are living through Dark Days In the Church of Boston and throughout the world-wide … we all have been warned via Scripture that the day of false prophets will come etc. SORRY TO SAY: THOSE DAYS ARE HERE !!!

    Hold onto Jesus, Prayer + the Sacraments of these we can be sure!

    AGAIN the Scripture warns put not your trust in Princes !!!

    If you must have hope … HOPE IN THE LORD !!

    • Jack O'Malley says:

      Fr. Bill: I think we Can agree that we all are living through Dark Days In the Church of Boston and throughout the world-wide

      No, Fr. Bill, we cannot all agree to that. All it takes is for the ordained of the Lord to speak up and proclaim the words of the Gospel. Then the Light of Christ will shine through the Darkness and the Darkness shall grasp it not.

      The way I see it, there are far more laymen doing exactly that than there are priests, bishops, and cardinals.

      I agree with you that Monsignore Deeley is not the solution to the problem. Cardinal O’Malley is the solution and he must step up to the plate. Or in the present sports climate here in Boston, he must take a shot on goal. If he does, he cannot fail to score.

      What about it, Seán Pádraig Ó Máille, are you a Prince of the Church or a churl of the plebs? Nolite arbitrari quia venerim mittere pacem in terram. Non veni pacem mittere sed gladium. Translation from the Church’s language: “think not that I have come to send peace upon earth. I have not come to send peace but a sword.”

      What is that sword, Seán? What else but the Word of the Lord? You have failed to preach the Gospel in re the St. Cecilia and Fr. Unni scandal. You have abandoned your responsibility to that illiterate mouthpiece of yours, Terry Donilon. Raise the sword, Seán. Raise your princely voice against vulgar iniquity.

      Otherwise go get yourself a Roman basilica and play Caiaphas like Bernie Law. Rend your incarnadine soutane and kill Christ yet again.

      • Catholic Gal says:

        If O’Malley is the solution, then there won’t be any solution! But maybe, just maybe, Deeley can influence him in some way to step up to the plate. That would be welcome.
        Otherwise, the poor Catholics of Boston will have to wait another 8 years for a real change, ’till O reaches retirement age.

  16. […] of Msgr. Deeley as the new Vicar General. This article repeats some details and quotes from the archdiocesan announcement that we posted on yesterday. But they got a few things wrong or incomplete, so BCI felt it […]

  17. Fr. B says:

    Jack, I like others have spoken the truth and have, like others, been ‘black-balled’ and slandered by our own career-ambitious fellow priests including auxiliary bishops who won their hats by twisting information in Personnel files for the good of the Institution + we have been condemned to the outer regions of leper like existence by the ever-changing Curiae of our cautious and SAFELY silent ordinary bishops. The price is ruined reputations and ruined lives ! The main goal is protect the Institutional face + financial solvency as well as establishing a solid rewarding Ecclesiastical career for oneself with all the colorful vesture possible.

    I assure you that many priests who have spoken the truth will tell you the same… ask Fr. DiLorenzo or Father Mike MacNamara, Fr Dave Mullen, Fr. Ron Barker or Fr. Bob Carr, and numerous others who have paid the price of being belittled, marginalized and side-lined or benched… In the RCAB the truth is not always rewarded ! The reward for these men will not be added titles + fancy robes + it will not be HERE but HEREAFTER when the LORD says “well done good + faithful servant!”

    When taunted by Pilate, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not here…”

    Many priests are becoming victims like Jesus Himself + they are being slaughtered by the High Priests of THIS DAY in their self -serving earthly kingdoms. These Victim priests and all the simple faithful will have to await justification + reward in the True Kingdom of the Lord.. ..{as Fr. Charlie Murphy + others now Know. {cf today’s Globe]

    Yes many priests are afraid as they know the phone can ring + their name will be posted and they summarily removed by the likes of Dunderdale + his Gestapo team.

    I sincerely anguish even for those who have been so silenced by these very real fears. Indeed Jack these are dark days and we of the Boston Faithful have been living in the LONG WINTER OF DISCONTENT! IT IS NOT THE BEST OF TIMES !

    Let us not be divided ! That advantages Satan’s Mission … Hold firm to the Creed, the Scriptures and the Sacraments … the blowing wind will drive away the worthless chaff.

    If we do come to the scaffold or public Square Fire Pit in these days of renewed Inquisition may we be able to brag, “it is far better thing than I have done before.”

    Let us remember His promise that if we suffer for His name we will be rewarded!

    • OK says:

      You had me until Mike MacNamara…wow…what a distortion of the truth you must have to think he’s a voice crying out…sheesh

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