Catholic Appeal Accountability

BCI is on a lighter blogging schedule in March due to other pressing responsibilities.

Last weekend, Boston Catholics were treated to the sales pitch during Masses for the launch of the 2012 Catholic Appeal.  Here are a few aspects about the appeal that BCI thought faithful Catholics should know and Vicar General Msgr. Deeley might want to dig into a little more, for the sake of the future of the archdiocese.

  • Regarding the 2012 appeal, the Boston Pilot reported , “The archdiocese has not announced a goal for the 2012 appeal campaign.”
  • The Boston Archdiocese has also never announced the fund-raising results for the Campaign for Catholic Schools 2010 initiative that had a goal of raising $70M by the end of 2010.
  • When Boston Catholic Development Services was formed and announced in November 2010, the Boston Archdiocese said:

“The newly established 501(c) (3) organization will ensure donors of independence and accountability…BCDS will also be accountable to the respective boards representing the entities they serve such as the Archdiocese, the Clergy Fund and Campaign for Catholic Schools.”

The concept behind BCDS as pitched was to try and create a centralized more streamlined, efficient fundraising operation across several different entities, with the end goal of raising even more money at a lower overall cost per $ raised. A lot of well-intentioned people are working in that effort. Now that the archdiocese is 18 months into this experiment with two annual appeals under their belts, the Vicar General might want to dig in and see how well the costly experiment is really working.

A reasonable person might ask if the $2.3M budgeted expense in 2012 to pay fundraising staff and promotional programs is paying off as expected.  Also, how can a fundraising organization be considered ‘accountable’ when they do not announce their fundraising goals and compare results against those goals?

Is the fundraising problem still being attributed internally just  to “the economy”?  Even if that remains a factor, could part of the fundraising problem also be that Catholics have had it with the excessive six-figure salaries and bloated Pastoral Center payroll of nearly $3.5M in $150K+ salaries alone–and more people have stopped giving to the appeal? As we know from the new Catholic Appeal website, the Catholic Appeal funds 50% of the RCAB budget.

That being the case, then one might assume that the Catholic Appeal funds 50% of the $10M in administrative expenses below–either directly or indirectly via service fees charged back to the departments whose programs are funded by the appeal).


And one might also assume that the appeal helps fund about 50% of the $3.5M in $150K+ salaries we have discussed many times before.

It is good that the archdiocese is transparent in sharing where the money comes from and where the money goes to. But at some point, when will they take serious action to reduce the excessive six-figure salaries and reduce administrative expenses, so that more of the limited donor contributions will go to ministry programs that accomplish the saving mission of the Catholic Church instead of paying overhead?

At whatever point meaningful action is taken towards that end, hopefully people will feel more comfortable giving to the appeal again. In the meantime, withholding contributions from the appeal still appears to be the only way of trying to deliver a “wake-up call” to the archdiocese that they need to tighten their belts on the expense line. Instead, we suggest people give to their local parish and designate the contribution to pay a specific bill (e.g. heating, maintenance).  If some of the big donors in the Cardinal’s Leadership Circle would tell the fundraisers they are withholding contributions until the salary problem is addressed, we can only hope and pray that the folks at 66 Brooks will notice.

BCI hopes the Vicar General is able to address these issues, for the future of the archdiocese and ability to accomplish the saving mission of Jesus Christ in Boston in years ahead.

27 Responses to Catholic Appeal Accountability

  1. qclou says:

    Since , as I understand it, each of the schools run by a parish are responsible to the pastor , , and I don’t know who ‘controls’ the regional schools, why do we need a Supt. at 325K and 3 deputies at 175K ??

    I would like to hear the rational for this expensive overhead charge and what is the level of activity, and outcomes from their work ???

  2. I am not in your diocese or area. One reason for the drop in contributions could be explained because of the Bishop’s appeal money going to ACORN for $7ML in the 30 yrs it has existed. Other money going to HHD for distribution in the hands of abortionists, pornographers, prostitutes!!!
    In our discese the Bishops Appeal has been woefully short this year and am proud of our parish, that we hardly came to their expectations at all. It will not be retreived to normal either. My money will be given directly to my parish for the needy of our parish and the utility bills.
    I feel the Bishops education is in spirituality and not in economics. They should leave the fund raising and spending, directly in the hands of the parishes and people of their diocese only. Not in a fund for the whole US. When there is a great amount of money and communists in our clergy, we cannot be too careful!!

  3. The closing of many parishes -unwarranted – in a diocese (Maryland?) recently and opened by demand of the vatican should make us aware of the evil that has permeated our leaderships. Let us weed those people out carefully and quietly and cleanse our church!!

    • Marie Stamos says:

      Phyllis Poole,

      You make reference to a subject near and dear to my heart! Read Mary Star of the Sea’s Breaking News Below……….Perhaps you are speaking of Cleveland.

      The Boston Archdiocese is directly responsible for its own demise.

      Remember that Bishop Lennon started this movement while at the Archdiocese of Boston. Does anyone out there now have enough reason to question whether or not Mary Star of the Sea, Squantum, MA (and others in the Boston Archdiocese) should have been shuttered?

      “Vatican reverses closing of 13 parishes in Cleveland

      Friends of Star of the Sea

      BREAKING NEWS 3/8/2012

      Dear Friends,

      As posted on our Facebookpage a couple of hours ago, the Vatican’s lower court (the Congregation for the Clergy) has OVERTURNED 13 Decrees of Suppression issued by Bishop Richard Lennon to parishes in the Diocese of Cleveland! This is a VERY big deal…truly without precedent. Please click HERE to read the story as put on the wires by the Associated Press.

      A few things to keep in mind when you read this:
      #1 – Bishop Lennon is a former Vicar General of the Arch. of Boston and he was the architect of “Reconfiguration” back in the mid 2000s.
      #2 – The Council of Parishes (of which we are members) played an integral role in these appeals.
      #3 – the Canon lawyer that represented these parishioners is the SAME one we are using for our current appeal against Cardinal O’Malley’s Decree of Relegation of Star of the Sea.

      Have a great day! ”


      • marie elena saccoccio says:

        Marie, and this is added by another Marie:

        ” the Canon lawyer that represented these parishioners is the SAME one we are using for our current appeal against Cardinal O’Malley’s Decree of Closure and Relegation to Profane use of “the Saint Francis of Assis Parish in East Cambridge. Note, our order of closure was highlighted here by BCI a couple of months ago. Our workings are the subject of a Facebook site also called: Friends of Saint Francis of Assisi. We are running a fundraiser on March 25, 2012 with all proceeds going to support our appeal in the Vatican: Here is the notice, please come!!

        [edited by BCI]

        NOTE, JIMMY TINGLE IS THE GRAND SON OF ONE OF OUR CHURCH FOUNDERS. KAREN EGIDIO IS THE GREAT GRAND DAUGHTER OF ONE OF THE CHURCH FOUNDERS. You have probably seen Jimmy Tingle on 60 Minutes II and Karen on the Tonight Show. The Dante Alighieri Society has been generous enough to provide their center for the fundraiser.

      • We have moderated the comment and would ask readers to please refrain from using BCI comments for the purpose of promoting events or programs. We will post separately about the Cleveland decision.

    • marie elena saccoccio says:

      This past week the Congregation for the Clergy spoke loud and clear in ordering the reopening of the 13 churches in Cleveland. I was surprised to find the actual decree online and the language is quite forceful in decrying the actions of Bishop Lennon; read for yourself if you have not yet seen the document. The Vatican seems furious:

      Click to access vatican-letter-to-cleveland-catholic-diocese.pdf

      .. –

      • DBP says:

        Of all the people to employ to raise funds for a church-related purpose, I have to say Jimmy Tingle is one of the worst choices you could have made. I know him personally, and have seen his shows, so I know whereof I speak. In his act he essentially calls into question virtually every Church teaching on artificial contraception, the right of the Pope to speak authentically and several other Truths of our faith. I doubt that all this was motivation for choosing him, but it shows that those who made the decision either don’t know Tingle or don’t know their faith.

      • Marie Stamos says:

        Marie Elena…have tried the link above but not connecting; very interested in reading the decree any suggestions? Thank you.
        And, Jimmy Tingle’s ears must be tingling!!

  4. Francois Tee says:

    Asking for an explanation why they missed the goal for the Appeal seems silly. Its obvious that they missed the goal because people didn’t donate enough money.

    • In 2010 they at least tried to explain why they missed the goal–they said it was because of the economy, if you follow the link. This year, they didn’t even bother to explain. I think that was the point.

      • Mack says:

        Yes, and also the question is: why didn’t people donate more money?
        Speaking for myself, I didn’t donate a penny to the Catholic Appeal but I support the Church in many other ways. I prefer to help religious sisters with direct contributions, rather than pay the bureaucrats’ salaries at RCAB.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why would anyone want to donate to an appeal that funds the exorbitant salaries for the likes of Jim Walsh and Kevin Kiley.

  6. Has anyone asked, “What percentage of the total amount raised do the “Fundraisers” receive?” If it is more than 10%, then their “share” of the tithes and offerings, paid by hard-working parishioners, should be reduced. Jesus never employed “Fundraisers,” and furthermore, he never “ORDAINED” St. Peter nor any of his successor’s to be ones! Go back to the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to direct giving. Cut out the middlemen: the bishops, archbishops, cardinal and fundraisers!

  7. I’m not donating to the Appeal this year until a new archbishop is appointed.

  8. Little Red Hen says:

    BCI, can you tell us what fundraising expenses were when Scot Landry was in charge of advancement?

    • Litle Red Hen, We could tell you that–it is actually in the published annual reports–but the new BCDS has a broader function, with fundraising responsibility for the Catholic Appeal, the Clergy Retirement Funds, and the Campaign for Catholic Schools. Thus, even if we pull out the numbers from a few years ago, at this point any comparison is not apples to apples, Sorry.

  9. Jody Kane says:

    I will donate to the appeal. The archdiocese needs our assistance in season and out of season.

    • Mack says:

      Jody, doesn’t it bother you at all that 3.5 million is going for exorbitant salaries? Give your contribution directly to your parish or to a religious order, etc.

    • Michael says:

      If you got that line from the Cardinal … you were duped. He uses that line all the time … in that deep … pastoral … cadent voice … to suck goodhearted people (like you) into believing that he is a courageous man. But sadly (while I believe God wants him to be), he is not.

      He has used that line several times, including when he was claiming to be fighting against same-sex marriage. But as we know, the destruction of the American family happened right under his very nose, while he watched and did nothing substantial — certainly nothing courageous. Was his flawed defense in season … or out of season? Was it in season or out of season when he surrendered 100 years of Catholic Charities adoptions to the gay agenda? Was it in season or out of season when he surrendered our Catholic schools to the gay agenda? Was it in season or out of season when he surrendered our hospitals to the abortion industry?

      He uses that line … but he doesn’t seem to understand its meaning. Don’t be fooled.

      And in case you think I am a fallen away, irreverent, ticked off Catholic, you are wrong. I consider myself a devout (sinful) Catholic. I go to Mass weekly. I do my best to comply with all of the commandments and rules of the Church. But I do not give money to the Church because I will not fund Mary Grassa O’Neill’s overpriced salary.

  10. Dan B says:

    I never donate to umbrella appeals such as the Catholic Appeal; way too much spent on administrative and overhead expenses. Donors should consider giving money directly to a priest, nun, brother, deacon who is doing good work. You will see a lot more bang for the buck. This is particularly true in the Boston Archdiocese where you can avoid a direct contribution to bloated salaries of those at the top.

  11. Jack O'Malley says:

    I have heard, though I don’t know it to be true, that if you contribute directly to the parish expenses, say, electric or heating bills, that the chancery will audit their books and skim their take just as if you had put the money in the collection basket. Mary ‘La Grassa’ O’Neill will get her paycheck regardless of what the sheep in the pews do. The system is corrupt beyond reform.

    Until the sheep refuse to be fleeced the corruption will persist. No blog will stop it. The money changers in the chancery are laughing at Christ the cleanser of the temple. The Friends of Jack own the cardinal, lock, stock and sandal. He eats at their whim. They let him travel. He lets them enrich themselves.

    The only difference between now and a decade ago is that the more recent boy buggery has not yet come to the light of day. There will be yet another exorbitant indemnity to fund.

    Until the bloated bureaucrats and portly prelates and esurient éminences grises are expelled from the chancery by the whip and cudgel of an outraged laity, the archdioceses will sink ever deeper into the slough of sleaze.

    Écrasez l’infâme.

  12. marie elena saccoccio says:


    Guess you missed the point that Jimmy Tingle is the grand son of two of our church founders and has graciously agreed to do the show pro bono. The show is Jimmy Tingle for President. It will be about the campaign. I have watched his performance as speaker at his graduation from the Kennedy School of Government. You can find it on Youtube. You can also find clips of Jimmy Tingle for President. I really doubt there is anything objectionable in either. He knows the audience well and he knows that the proceeds are being used to fund the appeal of closure. Karen Egidio our other comic is likewise performing pro bono and you would probably object to her also. She does great imitation of early East Cambridge when she lived next door to the church belfry and was awoken by the ringing of the bells. Great at capturing the old neighborhood, with the pervasive smell of the “gravy” every Sunday morning. She is flying in from LA for the show and is the great grand daughter to church founders also.

    They both are extremely motivated to oppose the closure of our parish and the relegation to profane use of the church property.

    The more “devout” comics, whoever they are, did not volunteer. Jimmy Tingle and Karen Egidio did.

    • DBP says:

      marie elena saccocio: I guess you missed me saying that I know Jimmy personally, and that I attended several of his shows. I don’t care what his present show is entitled or what it is about. I’m talking about the bitter, angry way in which the guy (with whom I was friendly with at one point in my life) has attacked the Church on a regular basis since the late 80s. He’s just another Bill Maher, but without the success. And I know nothing of the other comic, but if you think I’d object to her, I’ll take your word for it.

      Did you ask yourself why they were motivated to oppose the closure of your parish? Was it for a good and holy reason, or merely to stick another finger in the eye of the Church? I’m pretty sure Jimmy hasn’t darkened the door of a church for many, many years, so it surprises me that he’s taking such an active interest in this particular parish. Maybe if he’d supported it by attending Mass there and dropped a few bucks into the collection basket on occasion, there would never have been a need to close it.

      Simply because they were free doesn’t make them appropriate. If devout comics didn’t volunteer, how about devout musicians? Or devout actors? Or just an old-fashioned spaghetti supper?

      And, by the way, the founder of our Church is Jesus Christ, of which any parish is just the local representation. We’re not like the Protestants, where anybody with a resentment or a difference of opinion “founds” his own church.

      • marie elena saccoccio says:

        DBP, I am sorry that you seem so upset over this. I really am. Just ignore me and the Comedy Show.

        My parish has over 1 milllion dollars in savings and no debt whatsoever. We don’t need money. It was never about our needing money or parishioners per se. I am thankful for the people who have come forward to help us out as a parish. The daily communicants are not necessarily the helpful ones.

      • Michael says:

        Yeah, Ellen wanted to come … is it okay for her to join the party? …

        I mean she is gonna be in the area …

        her cousin’s next door neighbor once lived next to someone who used to attend the parish (but is now a fallen-away Catholic) …

        and she’s wicked funny!

        … and any concerns about mixed messages seems so hyper-technical.

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