Cardinal O’Connell’s Great-Nephew Comments on Relocation of Tomb

If you have not yet read our post from Sunday, Diocesan Demolition: Correction and Updates, do check that out before reading our post for today.

BCI received a message on Saturday from Edward Kirk, great nephew of the late William Cardinal O’Connell, that we are pleased to republish with his permission below.  Ed Kirk is a lawyer and has been a party to the lawsuit over the relocation of the remains of the late Cardinal.  For your reference, he has been quoted in these articles, among others:

Over His Dead Body (June 2008)
“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.”

Church seeks to move body of O’Connell (September 19, 2009)
“…attorney Edward W. Kirk, has been the leading opponent of moving the body of the late cardinal. In a brief interview yesterday, Edward Kirk would say only that “we want to explore every opportunity for a satisfactory resolution of this by agreement.’’

Boston in Uproar Over Cardinal O’Connell’s Body (December 5, 2009)
“Here you have a man whose connection to both of those institutions is intimate and intricate, and yet here those two parties are suing his family for his removal,” Edward Kirk said.  “It is very strange and it’s most unfortunate that it had to come to this.”

For cardinal, a new final resting place  (July 28, 2011)
Lawyer Edward Kirk, a relative of the late cardinal and a party to the lawsuit, confirmed that the dispute had ended with an amicable agreement. “He had wanted to remain in close proximity to the seminary,’’ said Kirk, speaking of his distant uncle. “When the day comes, and if our paths are ever to cross, I hope he’ll be happy for what we did for him.’’

Without further ado, here is the message from Edward Kirk:

From: edward kirk
Date: Sat, August 6, 2011
Subject: [Boston Catholic Insider] Contact Us

Dear Insider,

I can clarify some of the issues surrounding the reinterment of my grand uncle, Wm. Cardinal O’Connell:

1. It was our specific request that the Chapel be removed, once we agreed that his remains could be removed and reintered in the Courtyard.

2. The photos of the Chapel as it once appeared, are not an accurate representation of the condition of the Chapel over the last several years. The Chapel itself and the Burial Lot on which it was located had been long neglected and disrespected.

3. In the event that the St. John’s Hall were to be sold to Boston College, the new burial lot will remain and the RCAB and/or BC have agreed to maintain it.

4. There was only one Sulpician buried on the Seminary grounds when then Archbishop O’Connell requested the “resignations” of the Sulpicians as faculty and  installed priests of the diocese as the faculty of St. John’s. The “Lone Sulpician” remained at rest until Cardinal O’Connell commenced construction of a series of buildings several years later, and the remains of that former faculty member was transported back to the Sulpician headquaters with the agreement of all concerned parties. The oft repeated myth that the Cardinal ordered a mass exhumation is not true.

5. The myth that the Cardinal’s casket was encased in yards of cement in order to prevent his disinterment is also untrue.

6. Both Boston College and the RCAB, and their attorneys and personnel were most cooperative and respectful of the concerns of the Cardinal’s family once we had an opportunity to engage in practical dialogue.

7. The contribution of Bishop Arthur Kennedy, (the current rector of the Seminary) to the process was essential to a satisfactory conclusion.

Ed Kirk

BCI had a brief email exchange with attorney Kirk, and he passed along one more piece of information:

“We fully understood the new gravesite would be ‘unmarked’ for a short period of time, until the new burial vault and the earth over the vault had settled sufficiently to accommodate the 4 x 6 engraved stone marker, posts and chain railing which will be installed to set the Burial Lot apart.The finishing touches around the burial lot, and the engraved stone marker which will be placed on the grave site will be very dignified and fitting for a man of  WHO’C’s accomplishments. We are more than satisfied with the final result.”

So there you have it.  BCI has said all we have to say–at least for now–on this topic and has nothing more to add at this point beyond what attorney Kirk has just communicated.

4 Responses to Cardinal O’Connell’s Great-Nephew Comments on Relocation of Tomb

  1. jbq2 says:

    There is a bit of confusion on the date posted on the letter. I presume that it should be 2011 and not 2010 for August 6.

  2. jpq2, that was a typo when BCI re-entered header information from the email. It was sent Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011.

  3. QC Guy says:

    as an old and experienced QC Guy, I learned a long time ago that fact checking and talking to everyone concerned is always a good idea before dissemination of ‘news’ . especially when the subject is an emotional one or one that has implications of skulduggery ! Be just a bit ‘slower’ to hit the ENTER button please.
    I really value this blog and check it every day.
    Keep up the good work [ carefully ]

  4. Karol W. says:

    The clarifications are helpful to wrap up the story.

    But shouldn’t the RCAB or BC have put out messages to clarify some of the false (but reasonable) conclusions or assumptions?

    Isn’t it the job of the public relations personnel?

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