Moving of Tomb: Part 2

The moving of the tomb of the late Cardinal O’Connell generated a fair amount of reader feedback, both publicly and privately via email to BCI, so we are continuing our last story for one more day, including pictures of the new gravesite.

Someone wrote the following to us yesterday:

“…the idea of moving the Cardinal was 100% Boston College’s.  The other thing you should know is that the chapel had trees growing through the roof.  Many years ago it was the site of an annual Mass but that was discontinued due to the condition of the building.  I was up there several years ago and was appalled at the condition.  The family would have never taken this to court if BC would have sat at the table and explained why they wanted him to be moved.  The shame in this one is on Boston College.”

BCI thinks there is plenty of shame to go around, to both Boston College and the archdiocese.  This June 2008 story in Boston Magazine, “Over His Dead Body,” validates that BC is culpable for wanting the remains of Cardinal O’Connell removed and for failing to engage with the relatives of the late Cardinal O’Connell:

According to a source with knowledge of the deal, BC hurried to complete the 2004 sale agreement, and the archdiocese, desperate to pay off victims of the abuse scandal, was just as eager to close. Both sides knew O’Connell’s remains could potentially be trouble, but they entered into the arrangement anyway, attaching a stipulation to the sales contract saying that the archdiocese, as the former owner of O’Connell’s body, would assist in arranging for its removal from BC’s new land at some unspecified time in the future.

The archdiocese has tried to live up to its end of that agreement, to no avail: Since it no longer owns the land, it has no jurisdiction over its contents or inhabitants, which means it can’t tell O’Connell’s family what to do with his remains. Technically, BC isn’t similarly restrained, but on a practical level, exhuming O’Connell presents its own problems. “BC, the owner, has not informed us, the family, about the reason why they would want him removed,” says O’Connell’s great-nephew, Edward Kirk. “We didn’t see any real reason why he couldn’t stay where he is.” BC, the owner, has not informed us, the family, about the reason why they would want him removed,” says O’Connell’s great-nephew, Edward Kirk. “We didn’t see any real reason why he couldn’t stay where he is.” Even if the family did support a bid to take a jackhammer to Uncle Cardinal’s mausoleum, a probate judge would still have to find a compelling reason why BC couldn’t live with the cardinal’s bones up on the hill. BC hasn’t articulated that to anybody yet. The college likes to think much more big-picture.

As we know, the archdiocese stood to lose $2 million from BC if they did not move the late cardinal’s remains, so the folks at #66 Brooks had an incentive to see the remains moved.  See this passage from a 2009 article in The Pilot:

“the sale agreement between the two parties says the archdiocese is to pay for the disinterment.  The archdiocese also has “the right, but not the obligation” to move the mausoleum surrounding the remains as well. Also according to the sale agreement, BC was to withhold $2 million to be given to the archdiocese upon removal of the late Cardinal’s tomb.

Anyway, that is all water over the dam.  The Chapel of the Blessed Virgin Mary has been torn down and the tomb relocated.  Just for posterity sake, here is once again a photo of what the chapel looked like atop the hill overlooking St. Johns Seminary:

Courtesy of a Brighton BCI reader who emailed these pictures to us over the weekend, here is a photo of what the location looks like now:

Here is the courtyard at St. John’s Seminary where the remains of the late Cardinal O’Connell are now interred:

Lastly, here is a photo of what BCI is told is the new gravesite for the late Cardinal O’Connell:
So, this is what appears at least for now to be the final resting place for the late Cardinal O’Connell, on the grounds of St. John’s Seminary Boston College adjacent to the “condominium” that St. John’s Seminary occupies on BC-owned land.

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12 Responses to Moving of Tomb: Part 2

  1. Boston Blackey says:

    Another reprehensible act on the part of a once great Archdiocese and University. Who else would treat a Prince of the Church with such disrespect. Inflation has increased Judas’s 13 pieces of silver to $2M. I am deeply ashamed of Cardinal Sean and Boston College.

  2. Another Priest says:

    What will happen when BC takes over the whole property? Will Cardinal O’Connell have to be moved again when BC throws the Seminary out? It’s only a matter of time.

  3. DBP says:

    Was it a mausoleum or a chapel? I would imagine that Canon Law might have different provisions for the destruction thereof….perhaps a minor point, but certainly of one piece with all the other disregard for Canon Law that’s been going on at 66 Brooks Drive (and believe me, I know of what I speak).

    When we were in seminary, one “professor” each year was delegated the responsibility of saying a Mass at the chapel up on the hill. In those days, nobody wanted to do it – it was seen as an odious chore, an eternal obligation to the dead Cardinal. In fact, one of the professors (who no longer graces the Archdiocese of Boston with his presence but instead teaches at an institution in the midwest) referred to that yearly duty as “going up the hill to make sure the stake is still in O’Connell’s heart.”

    It was rather pathetic in those years to witness a body of seminarians who were, on the whole, rather more dedicated to the faith than were their instructors, priests and lay alike. It is no wonder that we have such a lukewarm presbyterate.

  4. Angry Parish Council Member says:

    Looks like they really knocked themselves out finding a piece of concrete in a corner of the courtyard they could tear-up right next to the doorway. Pretty good return-on-investment for the RCAB to get the $2 million back from BC in exchange for jack-hammering concrete, digging a hole, filling it in, and planting some sod and a few small shrubs.

    • Downhill says:

      My cats’ grave in the local pet cemetery is more appropriate than the spot in which the late Cardinal now lies. Perhaps they got a more dignified burial service than the late Cardinal did at his re-interrment as well.

  5. Little Red Hen says:

    According to an article that appeared in The Pilot on September 25, 2009, the plan was to relocate the Cardinal’s remains on the grounds of St. Sebastian’s School. What happened?

  6. Serviam says:

    His Eminence’s new grave is very consistant with the shameful pragmatism that seems to flourish in this diocese these days. This ‘solution’ is yet another manifestation of institutionalized decline precipitated by a profound lack of Faith.

    By their fruit we shall know them. As I stated previously…

    God rest his (Eminence’s) Soul.

    May we (the Church Militant) never suffer such an indignity in our repose.

  7. QC Guy says:

    doesn’t the Cardinal at least get a ‘small’ headstone ??

    • QC Guy,
      The plan is to put in a “proper stone” in the fall. The article in the Boston Globe last week said:

      “The new grave is currently unmarked and unremarkable, save for a patch of thick new sod, eight small shrubs, and some fresh landscaping mulch. The archdiocese plans to mark the grave with a proper stone, said spokesman Terrence Donilon, and will hold a formal ceremony in the fall when the memorial to O’Connell is complete.”

      It is not clear to BCI why it will take until the fall for the memorial to be complete.

  8. Michael says:

    BCI stated:
    So, this is what appears at least for now to be the final resting place for the late Cardinal O’Connell, on the grounds of St. John’s Seminary Boston College adjacent to the “condominium” that St. John’s Seminary occupies on BC-owned land.

    I don’t think you understand. Or possibly you underestimate the truly brilliant legal minds we have (and had) billing (I mean representing) the Archdiocese. You see in 2004, nothing really important was happening in the world (like say for example, if the foundational stone upon which society is based, marriage, was being completely undermined, well then I could see the Archdiocesan lawyers being distracted due to their billable hours (I mean hard work)).

    No seriously, Wil Rogers was simply following recent precedent. Just like the Supreme Judicial Court, who in Goodridge used the term “marriage” as simply a variable to reflect what the SJC wanted — THE EXACT OPPOSITE of its true meaning (same-sex coupling) — Attorney Rogers probably thought that he would be justified in changing a couple of words in Cardinal O’Connell’s last will and testament to reflect what the Archdiocese wanted (another $2 million dollars). Simply turn “on the grounds of St. John’s Seminary” into a variable and voila you have “on the grounds of Boston College” Then turn “property owned by St. John’s Seminary” into a variable and voila it reads “property owned by Boston College.”

    So much for accomplishing the intent of the testator through his “last will” and so much for his “final” resting place.

  9. Mark Frances says:

    It would appear that BC has “rolled into Saigon” and is now setting up reeducation camps on campus. The memory of O’C has to “fade away” or else the “new Church” will be delayed. If you do some research, you will see that the same thing happened to DeSmet in the Midwest. His tomb was moved to “somewhere” on the grounds of Saint Louis University

  10. […] demolition of the mauseleum that housed the remains of the late Cardinal O’Connell and the moving of the tomb of the late Cardinal to St. John’s Seminary, BCI has a correction and some clarifications to […]

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