Cardinal O’Malley Prays for Courage

The “ad limina” visit to the Vatican by the northeastern regional bishops is off and running, and BCI finds it interesting and ironic that Cardinal O’Malley started things out by saying he hoped that being together at the tomb of Peter would renew him and his fellow bishops “in our generosity, courage and faith.”

Sounds good at first and BCI would encourage all of our readers to also pray for generosity, courage and faith for our bishops.  But BCI and our readers are wondering how that courage thing is going in recent years for Cardinal O’Malley, since a lot of faithful Catholics in Boston have been looking for more in that particular department.  As St. Anthony of Padua said, “Actions speak louder than words, let your words teach and your actions speak.”

Here is most of the CNS story reporting on this:

Bishops from northeastern US begin ‘ad limina’ visits with prayer

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Praying together at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul and meeting Pope Benedict XVI should be a moment for bishops to reconfirm and strengthen their faith, said Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston.

The cardinal was the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass Nov. 4 in the grotto of St. Peter’s Basilica in a chapel before the saint’s tomb.

In his homily, the cardinal told his fellow bishops that after Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, “Peter flees. He’s trying to follow the Lord at a safe distance, something we all try to do at one time or another. But Peter discovers it’s impossible; you can only follow the Lord up close.”

After the Resurrection, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him, because love is the measure of faith, the cardinal said.

“Jesus doesn’t ask Peter if he’s excelled in his intellectual prowess or his organization skills or his fundraising capacity or his Myers-Briggs score. Jesus only asks, ‘Do you love me?'” he said.

Cardinal O’Malley said love of the Lord was a prerequisite for Peter’s ministry and is a prerequisite for the ministry of bishops today.

Peter’s love for the Lord brought him to Rome, the cardinal said, but — according to legend — as persecution grew Peter decided to flee again. Leaving the city, he saw the risen Lord and asked him, “Quo vadis?” (“Where are you going?”), and Jesus replied he was going to Rome to be crucified again. Peter renewed his faith and returned to the city where he met a martyr’s death.

“Each of us has gone through a ‘quo vadis’ moment or two in our vocation as bishops,” the cardinal said. “Hopefully, our being together at the tomb of Peter and close to Benedict will renew us in our generosity, courage and faith in following Jesus up close so that we can say with all our hearts what Peter said, ‘Lord you know all things. You know that I love you.'”

If we bring this back to Boston for a moment, it is impossible to not observe that the words of Cardinal O’Malley a few days ago in Rome are not particularly well matched to his actual actions and leadership over recent years.  Perhaps it is that he has had a lot more than just one or two “quo vadis” moments.  When has our Cardinal Archbishop “fled” or not demonstrated courage?  Here are a few examples:
  1. Not forcing vigil protesters to leave the church buildings they have been occupying over the past seven years, at a cost of millions of dollars to the Catholic faithful–and never publicly stating the protesters who miss regular weekly Sunday Mass are placing the salvation of their souls at risk.
  2. Selling St. John’s Seminary land and buildings to Boston College, against the recommendation of the Vatican’s Apostolic Visitation committee which said no more land was to be sold.
  3. Failing to repay St. John’s Seminary for the land and buildings sold to Boston College and failing to put a plan in place that will provide for repayment
  4. Allowing a widespread deception to take place in 2010 over the hiring of a new Secretary of Institutional Advancement, by announcing an open search and installing a search committee, when the person slotted for the job had already been identified and no open search ever was intended or occurred
  5. Cutting promised pension benefits to lay employees by tens of millions of dollars, while not collecting what was due in pension contributions from participating employers
  6. Continuing to pay millions in excessive six-figure salaries to lay archdiocesan executives (i.e. $325K to schools superintendent Mary Grassa O’Neill), when the standard paid by other diocese for these same roles is much lower than Boston is paying.
  7. Refusing to acknowledge that the Boston Archdiocese mistreated the Daughters of St. Paul when the Daughters tried to recover millions in pension contributions for their lay employees, and then denying that his intervention with the Superior General in Italy was related to the removal of the U.S. provincial leadership team.
  8. Presiding over the nationally-televised Ted Kennedy rite of Christian burial–including the three eulogies, politicized prayers of the faithful, and celebrity musicians–and criticizing pro-life Catholics who complained about his role in the public coronation of Kennedy.
  9. Continuing to allow Jack Connors to serve on the Finance Council and chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee, despite Connors a) being front-and-center in the deception over the search for the new Institutional Advancement Secretary, b) serving as Chair of Partners Healthcare, one of the largest abortion providers in Massachuetts and c) publicly creating scandal by raising money for pro-abortion political figures such as President Obama and Attorney General Martha Coakley
  10. Failing to clearly articulate Church teachings in the recent situation of St. Cecilia’s in Boston (where the pastor planned to celebrate a Mass commemorating Boston’s Gay Pride Month) and allowing a local and national scandal to erupt as a consequence.

It is good that the Cardinal is praying for more courage, and we would urge readers to join with him in that prayer!  At the same time, it is not clear to us if he understands and acknowledges his actions have often not been matched with his words and where he has fallen short so he can do better in the future.

This is just a quickly drafted list BCI came up with of ten areas where the Cardinal could have demonstrated stronger courage and faith, where faithful Catholics may have wanted to see him demonstrate greater courage. What else do you think we have missed?

22 Responses to Cardinal O’Malley Prays for Courage

  1. jbq2 says:

    Unfortunately, the classic image of a con artist is someone who projects a different personality to fit the current environment.

  2. FRT says:

    We should not criticize him but pray for him; we may disapprove a person’s actions, but we never know ultimately the whole story, which only God can judge. We have no idea what it is like to be a bishop. To talk about bishops and priests as though they were professional athletes to be evaluated on their performance is sadly to forget that they are always in persona Christi; to despise an ordained priest is to despise Christ.

    Pray and fast for your bishops and priests, and encourage fellow faithful to do the same; that is the best and most effective use of our energy.

    • Mack says:

      It’s true that only God can judge the state of his soul. But to point out specific actions where a bishop fails to make Church teaching clear is actually an act of charity. Perhaps years ago Catholics kept quiet about the failings of their priests and bishops. And isn’t that part of the reason the scandal was able to develop? If they had been called out on it in public much sooner than they were, it would not have been covered up so long. St Catherine of Siena knew how to blend charity and love with an honest calling of the Popes to do their duty.

  3. Time for a change says:

    Loving Jesus is a requirnment for all of us. While loving Jesus is a prerequsite for being Cardinal Acrhbishop of Boston it is not enough. The Cardinal Archbishop must teach the faith. A man who steals money from his employees and sells unlimited abortion rights in Catholic hospitals does not need courage, he needs conversion. Pray for him.

  4. Jeff says:

    “Allowing a widespread deception to take place in 2010 over the hiring of a new Secretary of Institutional Advancement, by announcing an open search and installing a search committee, when the person slotted for the job had already been identified and no open search ever was intended or occurred”

    hmmm…. sour grapes _________ ?


    • Jeff,

      You must be a new reader. Please read this post for background.

      It is about deception. BCI has nothing to do with the Development organization and has no sour grapes

      We were told the following on June 16, 2010: “The Archdiocese of Boston announced the appointment of a search committee to help in the selection of a new Secretary of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation. Jack Connors (Chair), Jane Mancini-Puliafico (Vice-Chair), Fr. Bryan Parrish, Kevin Gill, Jack McCarthy, Fr. Robert Murray and Fr. Brian Kiely. How did these fine people help in the search? The search committee members who all brought outstanding reputations and many years of dedicated service to the Archdicocese were deceived by the archdiocese into thinking there was a legitimate search. It’s like a reality TV show or movie. They were all used by the Archdiocese–including Cardinal O’Malley, Jack Connors, Chancellor McDonough, and former Vicar General Richard Erikson–like cast members in the story to create an illusion and convince the rest of the faithful Catholics in the archdiocese there was a real search underway.

      Jeff, if you are OK with the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston deceiving Catholics by telling us they are doing one thing when they never intended to do it and wasting the time of talented priests and volunteers to serve on a search committee that never actually conducted a search, then you are reading the wrong blog.

  5. Michael says:

    I will point out the elephant that even BCI is unwilling to address. All of these listed failings of O’Malley’s pale in comparison to the biggest error of his tenure.

    While he was busy handling the child abuse scandal (as in handing money over to money-grubbing lawyers), he was distracted from (if not willingly ignoring) the same-sex marriage fraud that Mitt Romney was perpetrating on the Archdiocese of Boston’s Catholics and the rest of the World.

    Oh yes, they both (Romney and O’Malley) stood on podiums next to each other claiming to be against same-sex “marriage” while O’Malley was repeating his tired old statement about being courageous “in season and out of season,” but that evil was illegally forced down the throats of the citizens of the Commonwealth and the rest of the world … without any real fight.

    [edited by BCI]

    So please add … surrendering the fight for traditional marriage to the top of your list.

    • Michael,

      If your comment is about adding one more item to the list of areas where Cardinal O’Malley needed or needs greater courage, that is fine.

      But it seems that most of your comment was putting forward a gripe about someone else in the church who you feel needs greater courage. This post was not intended to be a general sounding board for readers to comment on other people in the church with whom they have issues.

      We continue to ask you and all readers to please stick to just the topic at hand, otherwise your comments will be moderated. If you or other readers find your comments removed, that means you were off the topic.

  6. BobofNewtn says:

    Hi BCI – This post was not up to your usually perseptive articles. This one is a mere rehash of the gripes I have read about in the not to distant past. Most of the complaints aired in this post will never be addressed by the RCAB and its leaders. Sorry to dissent on this post. Regards.

    • Bob,

      Sorry you feel that way. The gripes and concerns are the gripes and concerns–the issues have not changed.

      Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us also lay aside every encumbrance…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

      This is a long marathon, not a sprint. We will keep at it until the issues are addressed. Sorry to dissent on your dissent!

      • BobofNewtn says:

        Thank you for not deleting my post that I thought was truly “on topic”. This comment of mine was the first negative one I wrote but, again, I thought it justified (unfortunately). Your posts are some timely and current. Wishing you the best. Bob

  7. We have removed several comments today that went off on a totally different topic. BCI continues to ask readers to please stick to only the topic at hand. BCI does not have the time to moderate comments throughout the day and evening hours, so if readers continue doing this, we will have to moderate all comments, which will add a day lag time on comments being posted publicly. Please make it easy on BCI and simply abide by our policy of keeping comments relevant to the topic at hand and refraining from personal attacks.

  8. Alice Slattery says:

    “Cardinal O’Malley Prays For Courage” is the title of this segment of the Boston Catholic Insider. Since Courage is the organization that Cardinal O’Malley has approved as the the only accepted organization listed in the Boston Catholic Directory, and he has approved Courage as being the official out reach program for those who desire to seek a way out of same-sex sexual activity, I believe that this is the concern of the issue being addressed in the #10 issue of concerns expressed in the BCI issues that were not addressed at the ” ad limina” meeting at the Vatican.
    #10 states “Failing to clearly articulate Church teachings at recent situations at St. Cecilia’s in Boston(where the pastor planned to celebrate a Mass commemorating Boston’s Gay Pride Month) and allowing a local and national scandal to erupt as a consequence.” These were the words printed by Boston Catholic Insider,itself! Since the Mass at St. Cecilia’s was sponsored by the Rainbow Ministry at St. Cecilia’s, and since the Rainbow Ministry rejects the way and goals ( “To live chaste lives in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church,etc.” ) of the official organization accepted by the Boston Archdiocese under the direction of Cardinal O’Malley, please explain why my description of the Holy See’s acceptance of Courage and description of its works and way of living a chaste life are “off subject” and are to be dismissed (“moderated”) as not pertinent to your own issue,namely #10,as well as the title of this segment,namely “Cardinal O’Malley Prays For Courage”.!! Hopefully ,with the help of our prayers, he will come back to Boston and speak out forcefully,and give his total aupport for the way of Courage and immediately appoint a priest to take the place of Fr. John Sullivan to be the new Director of Courage. That would be a positive sign that his and our prayer for Courage is being answered. Isn’t that included as a prayer under the BCI mantle? Isn’t that pertinent to this segment under the rules of BCI?

    • BobofNewtn says:

      Hi Alice – Thanks for your post but I think the blog topic was referring to “courage” in the generic sense rather than some organization run by the Church or staffed by the RCAB. I hope you get your wish that a priest is appointed to this now vacant post. I can only wonder why the former incumbent “resigned”.

    • Alice,
      Anyone who reads the first sentence of the post would readily understand the topic of the post was not about “Courage,” the organization, and instead was about the character attribute. We do not think it is too much to expect that people read the posts, not just the title, before commenting.

      Several people, yourself included, went down the path of commenting on the controversy over the recent column in The Pilot. That is not the topic of this post–we asked for comments on areas where you wanted Cardinal O’Malley to demonstrate more courage. BCI has noticed a history with certain commenters of consistently raising the same topic or topics in your comments, regardless of the main topic of the BCI post. If readers cannot succinctly comment on the topic at hand and instead go into a different direction, BCI will moderate the comment. If readers continue doing this, BCI will either close comments to all readers, moderate all comments, or block individuals from future comments. Please make it easy on us and just stick to the topic of the post.

  9. JRBreton says:

    The Cardinal continues to allow liturgical abuses without disciplining priests who commit them.

  10. Mack says:

    Another area has to do with the treatment of priests who were falsely accused of abuse but were innocent; they were treated badly as BCI detailed in your blog post of July 11, 2010:
    “Several bloggers reported earlier this year that he [Fr B.] was one of six falsely accused priests, ages 71 to 88, thrown out of Regina Cleri who also had medical benefits cut off for no apparent reason.”

  11. “…..immediately appoint a priest to take the place of Fr. John Sullivan to be the new Director of Courage. That would be a positive sign that his and our prayer for Courage is being answered.”

    Alice, do you know something that the rest of us are not aware of? Deb

  12. Alice Slattery says:

    To answer Debbie Santos’ question: I don’t know why Fr. John Sullivan is no longer the Director of the Boston chapter of Courage. I think it was because he was over-burdened with the responsibility of being the pastor of St. Mary of the Annunciation parish and also having the responsibility of being the Director of Boston Courage as well. [edited by BCI]
    That is all I know about why Fr. John Sullivan is no longer the Director of the Boston chapter of Courage.

  13. Alice Slattery says:

    To BostonCatholic Insider: Believe me, I did not simply read the first line of the current post, I read the whole post before commenting.
    As I noted, the #10 comment made on your post regarding issues that Cardinal O’Malley “fled”, was the issue I was really addressing.
    Many bishops, archbishops and cardinals have had the courage to establish and fully support the way of Courage in their dioceses and have spoken out publicly about this way of educating parishioners regarding the real teachings of the Catholic Church in their diocese.
    Sorry, but I find it appalling
    that this has not happened in our archdiocese. To me, this site is the only really direct way left to try to at least get a minimum of support.
    Direct contact with the Cardinal has been met with responses such as “The Cardinal assures you that he will keep your wishes in his prayers.” Is this to be the attitude for the next 20 years, while the organizations that deceive parishioners are being publicly supported and influencing the parishioners of the Boston Archdiocese? If the issue you brought up in #10 isn’t considered
    to be really important, them why was it brought up?

  14. Boston Catholic Insider says:

    Comments on this post are being closed. This is our last warning to those people who are apparently unable to stick with the topic at hand.

%d bloggers like this: