Deeley named Auxiliary Bishop in Boston

We take a break from our election coverage to let you know that Vicar General, Msgr. Deeley has been named an auxiliary bishop in Boston by Pope Benedict XVI. Here are excerpts from the Globe report:

Monsignor Robert P. Deeley, who spent the past year serving as vicar general and moderator of the Curia in Boston, has been assigned to the Titular See of Kearney and will be ordained as auxiliary bishop in January, according to a statement from the archdiocese.

He will continue to serve as vicar general and moderator of the Curia.

Deeley, 66, said he is humbled by his new position.

“I pray that God grants me wisdom to continue to do the work He has blessed me with nearly forty years of being a priest,” he said in a statement. “Throughout, I have been inspired by the love and support of my family and the joy of bringing the sacraments to our people.”

Deeley chose “Veritatem Facere in Caritate” as his Episcopal motto, which translates to “Living the Truth in Love,” the archdiocese said.

O’Malley said in a statement that Deeley “has contributed greatly to the life of the Church, always focused on bringing people closer to God.”

Deeley entered Cardinal O’Connell Minor Seminary in Jamaica Plain and then studied philosophy at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He graduated in 1968.

He studied at the Pontifical North American College in Rome and earned a degree in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1972, the archdiocese said.

He was ordained in 1973 at his home parish and served as pastor of St. Bartholomew’s Parish in Needham for five years.

Deeley became secretary to the Metropolitan Tribunal of Boston in 1978 and served with the office for more than 20 years. He was a priest at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton Upper Falls and St. Brigid’s Parish in Lexington, the archdiocese said.

Deeley became pastor of St. Ann’s Parish in Quincy in 1999 and president of the Canon Law Society of America in 2000.

In 2004 Deeley was assigned to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican department that oversees doctrine and handles cases involving clergy abuse of minors, the archdiocese said.

“We are grateful to the Holy Father for naming Monsignor Robert Deeley as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Boston,” O’Malley said. “Throughout his priesthood Bishop-elect Deeley has served with a deep and abiding commitment to Christ and the Church.”

We congratulate Msgr. Deeley on this elevation to Auxiliary Bishop!  Question now is: What will be different, if anything at all? Will he, like most auxiliary bishops, merely do whatever work he is instructed to do by his diocesan ordinary, and nothing dramatic will come from the elevation?

Now that he has gotten the purple hat, even if what he might really desire is his own see, BCI thinks it is a good time for him to exercise stronger leadership in his role as the highest administrative official in the Boston archdiocese after the Cardinal archbishop. For example, is it not about time that something be done about the following?:

  • Continuing decline in the number of Mass-going Catholics
  • Excessive six-figure salaries like the $325K salary of Schools Superintendent, Mary Grassa O’Neill, and dozens of others paid more than $150K/year
  • Obama fundraiser and abortion supporter, Jack Connors’, continuing involvement on the Finance Council and with Catholic Schools
  • Unresolved clergy abuse accusations against priests that have dragged on for years and years, at a cost of $22M in salaries and benefits
  • The ongoing influence of Fr. Bryan Hehir in everyday decision-making by Cardinal O’Malley
  • The unresolved HR scandal at St. Catherine School in Norwood
  • The problem of 60% of parishes being in the red
  • Major void at the top in governance and teaching the truths of our faith

Other than those minor points, everything is going fine. In all sincerity, we wish Bishop-elect Deeley well and will pray for his success in addressing these issues and others critical to the future of the Boston archdiocese.

38 Responses to Deeley named Auxiliary Bishop in Boston

  1. jbq2 says:

    Quite a well deserved list. It is all about “social justice” and the redistribution of wealth where doctrine is irrelevant.

  2. Liam says:

    Not a red hat. A purple hat….

    • JUST WONDERING says:

      Do they make red hats and purple hats that big? I wish he would show some of his “Living the truth in love” right here in the Archdiocese of Boston. Of course, I’m “Just Wondering!”

  3. Objective Observer says:

    The bishop-elect’s experience in the AAA league more than qualifies him for the major leagues of episcopacy by U.S. standards. NAC educated means highly intelligent and well formed in everything from table manners to complex Theology. Dedication to a difficult ministry — the CDF bog of laicization cases — also very helpful. Proximity to the pontiff (this pontiff knows every batting average at the CDF) and the Congregation for Bishops during his tenure in Rome has him rounding third and heading straight for home.

    That same resume, at age 66, usually means a cup of coffee as an auxiliary or ordinary, then posting to a dicastery or Congregation in Rome. (This is likely not a case of late-in-life elevation to the episcopacy as a tip of the cap to a journeyman player.) Fluency in Italian and the ability to drive in the Eternal City also count for something…

    As with the baseball big leagues, once you go up, trades and free agency become the name of the game. This is not the set of circumstances that would cause Bishop Elect Deeley to shake up his current clubhouse. Far from it. He is no Dustin Pedroia, outing the dysfunctionality of Manager Bobby Valentine’s tenure. More of an older Jacoby Ellsbury, cap down, who will keep his own counsel, all the while eye-balling the opportunities for free agency.

    What Boston really needs is a new Manager. But finding a Manager who can shape up the clubhouse, instill hope in the season ticket holders (and the stray ticket purchasers like me), and notch the payroll back into reality is next to impossible – especially when the current Manager has seven years to run on his contract, and New York has the best Manager in the game.

    All the same, Bishop-Elect Deeley didn’t create the problems in Boston, has helped solve many through his work in Rome, and deserves at long last the fast track to a red hat.

    • Boston Pastor says:

      I wish Boston could get a new Manager, but the problem is the seven years remaining on the current Manager’s contract, as “OO” commented.

      Bob Deeley is overqualified to sit in the Vicar General job under Cardinal Sean in this beleaguered diocese for another seven years. As I understand it, he came back because Sean realized Boston was imploding (power-grab by Chancellor McDonough, Jack Connors, Bryan Hehir, and an ineffective, marginalized VG in Rich Erikson). Almost every step of that implosion was exposed and reported meticulously by BCI, to the considerable consternation of McDonough and the previous VG, among others.

      Bishop-elect Deeley is no doubt en route to the big leagues. I’m not sure if he’ll get out of Dodge before or after Bishop H gets out. One thing I’d add to the “to do” list BCI offered is to move out his Special Assistant Vicar for Administration to some other role outside of the Pastoral Center.

      • Objective Observer says:

        With +H likely off to the grapefruit league in sunny Florida, maybe SPAVA and +H could be traded as a package.

      • Anonymous says:

        Regardless of how long Bishop-elect Deeley intends to stay in his role as Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, he should make a personnel change and move out his Assistant Vicar for Administration and Special Assistant to the Vicar General. Anyone close to this functional area knows that the Assistant Vicar is not an able administrator, has difficulty multi-tasking, has a record of not treating women well, and uses bullying tactics.

      • julie says:

        I’m confused. Assistant to the Vicar that is a bully? Are we talking about the individual with the unique voice or P?

  4. Why not a new ordinary? Another auxiliary bishop is not going solve the problems Boston has.

    • Objective Observer says:

      +O’Malley gave that great homily when he was installed as Archbishop, and I was in my 40s, full of hope and support for the Archdiocese of Boston. By the time he is 75 and heading out the door, I will have entered my 60s; watching as anyone younger than I faded from the pews in this Archdiocese, bitter and disillusioned with the Church as they know it.

      Little did Boston realize that we were sentenced to 16 years of keeping the faith in spite of, rather than inspired by, our Cardinal Archbishop.

  5. parishpal says:

    Why not just give him a chance? With regards to admins salaries;
    they are not as high as some others in the “non-profit” world.
    For example, the YMCA (oops, the “Y”) CEO in Texas earned
    quite a sum. By the way, maybe some graduate student can do
    an analysis of what happens when you stand for nothing by analyizing the history of the Young Mens Christian Association.
    Start with wikpedia. I am not quite what the “Y” is anymore.
    Is it a taxpayer supported health club in the suburbs?

    • JUST WONDERING says:

      Really “PARISH PAL” give who a chance? For how much longer? Do you mean Cardinal O’Malley or Bishop-elect you know who? They were both “given a (long) chance” and they both failed. Of course, I’m “JUST WONDERING” how long it will take before I become “WONDERED OUT”?????

      • parishpal says:

        How long will it take for you to be wondered out?

        I suppose that depends on the level of your intellectual and
        creative stamina.

      • JUST WONDERING says:

        A new Cardinal/Archbishop; a new Vicar, a dumping of Hehir,
        Donlin and a few others would take care of my intellectual and
        creative stamina. I think this would be quite intelligent and very creative. However, I’m still ‘JUST WONDERING’.

  6. Lazarus' Table says:

    They say “Water seeks its own level”. Don’t expect those Sean has sought out to rise any higher than he. (Or to lift us up.)

  7. Joseph says:

    How about some Christian charity here? Cut him some slack. Insider Rag.

    • Joseph,
      What about our blog post is failing to offer Christian charity? We congratulated Bishop-elect Deeley on his elevation and offered 8 areas that objectively need attention. In what way do you feel we need to “cut some slack” to the #2 official in the archdiocese or to Cardinal O’Malley? Do you feel none of those 8 areas need attention? If you feel that everything is going just fine in the Boston archdiocese, then you are missing a lot.

  8. JJ says:

    Could you please elaborate on the HR scandal at St Catherine’s School? I’m unaware, and my children attend there.

    • JJ,
      BCI is aware of some rather serious allegations of personnel mismanagement and misconduct at the school. (note, these are not allegations of sexual abuse). To the best of our knowledge, no action was taken by officials in the Catholic Schools office to investigate or address the situation initially, and it was reported to other officials in the archdiocese. After we got word of the situation in late June, we also alerted various officials in the archdiocese privately, in the hopes they would promptly and properly investigate the matter and take appropriate action. As best as BCI can determine, the investigation found merit to the allegations, but more than four months later, no action has been taken. That is why we suggested that Bishop-elect Deeley should do something about this situation. John Straub, the Chancellor, should also get involved to resolve it.

      • DBP says:

        Unfortunately, you will find the archdiocese unresponsive; I have had personal experience attempting to point out major (scandalous) situations at two local “Catholic” schools, only to be ignored and then sanctioned for having done so. An older priest relative of a friend once wisely said, “If you know about it, so do they; and if they’ve done nothing about it, they don’t want you to tell them because they’re trying to ignore it.”

      • JJ says:

        Thank you for your reply, though vague. I suggest putting more details out there for the public. Only embarrassment, and bad P.R. seems to get the attention of RCAB. Msgr Garrity in my opinion, was a very bad fit for St. Catherines, assigned through a clearly flawed process, directly usurped by the Cardinal, surely at the urging of cabinet members. I understand Parishioner concerns have been raised to to Bishop Edyvean, who has been interested and responsive, and has even met with the pastor. The gist of Msgr’s response was, “I’m doing nothing wrong”, (even though he admits changing the words of the Mass to more commonplace language), and there seems to be an air to his response that he is comfortable that nothing can be done about it, anyway. He is of course, correct. We will have to live with this assignment, as we become shell of our faithful self as a parish.

      • Anni says:

        Don’t get your hopes up, JJ. Bishop Edyvean will not do anything. He will meet with you and make you feel that he is listening and caring, but then he will go back to ignoring the problem. People from our parish have met with him countless times about our “absentee pastor” and nothing is done.

      • JJ says:

        I’m not expecting much at all. Not because I don’t trust or believe in Bishop Edyvean, but because his hands are tied, and his authority curtailed by The Cardinal’s lack of leadership, and his minions lack of spine and orthodoxy.

  9. qclou says:

    I find the metaphorical reference to our long suffering anew Red Sox to be rather amusing though I’m not sure if appropriate to such an important discussion.

  10. ANNE says:

    The real test of a good Bishop is how he “teaches” the Faith, since this is his primary task.
    If he does not encourage the reading of the “CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition” as instructed by Pope Benedict regarding this ‘Year of Faith’, then he is not doing his job, and it will be more of the same old stuff.
    Then each of us will have to follow Pope Benedict’s instructions without Bishop leadership.

    [Link to another website edited by BCI]

  11. ANNE says:

    CCC: ” 888 Bishops, with priests as co-workers, have as their FIRST TASK “to preach the Gospel of God to all men,” in keeping with the Lord’s command. They are “heralds of faith, who draw new disciples to Christ; they are authentic teachers” of the apostolic faith “endowed with the authority of Christ.”

    FIRST TASK (I put in caps above) is teaching. This is under the heading “teaching office” pg 235 of the CCC.
    I hope I did not give the impression that it was the ONLY TASK.

    • ANNE,
      Apparently, you did not even read our response. If you went to the first link we posted, you would see that we are well aware of CCC 888. We posted a link to it at 5:13pm.

      Given our reference to that exact same passage, hopefully you can accept that BCI is sufficiently familiar with the CCC that you need not re-instruct us on that which we posted moments earlier.

      BCI can appreciate your enthusiasm for the CCC, but it often comes across as though every time you see a “nail” here at BCI, the CCC is the “hammer” you pull out. It is not really necessary to have multiple hammers banging the same nail.

  12. ANNE says:

    The CCC seems to be the only book (document) that has the full complete exposition of Catholic doctrine. Without it we would have to search all over, and could miss something.
    You are right, I do consider it to be a great gift from the Magisterium.
    As a teaching tool it’s second only to the Bible.

    “….the Catechism has raised throughout the world, even among non-Christians, and confirms its purpose of being presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life.” – Pope John Paul II (CCC pg xiv)

    ” It (CCC) is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council. In the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, signed, not by accident, on the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Blessed John Paul II wrote: “this catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church … I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith.” Pope Benedict, Porta Fidei

  13. ANNE,
    BCI can appreciate your enthusiasm for the CCC, but in case it is unclear to you, we will state it clearly: BCI needs no further education on the merits of the CCC from you. We are now getting to a point where you seem more intent on lecturing BCI about the merits of the CCC or promoting the CCC in every single BCI post than simply contributing productively to a discourse about the blog post topic.

    Comments here are intended as a venue for discussing the blog post at hand. We ask all readers to keep their comments relevant to the blog post, and if they are unable to do so, then their comments are moderated.

    • Stephen says:

      I hope that Msgr. Deeley embraces the whole of tradition, not just the current CCC interpretations and pastoral guidelines, after all only a modernist would embrace newness for its own sake.
      His motto “Living the Truth in Love,” sounds a bit soft for what he is up against. I was hoping for “the hammer of heretics” or perhaps “Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.”

  14. Little Red Hen says:

    BCI, I’m with JJ — what’s going on at St. Catherine’s School?

  15. parishpal says:

    Have you read his CV online?


    I think “JJ” & Little Red Hen got lost….this is not a tabloid (i.e. the Globe.)

    Also, any person serious about the well being of this religion
    would not create the perception of serious problems if
    they do not exist.

    • JJ says:

      Not lost at all. Not interested in tabloid. I’m not asking for gossip, just asking that the relevant facts that are known be published here, as they have been in relation to other serious issues. This blog made the most headway when it was bold. It has lost a bit of it’s edge, and thus its effectiveness. This blog used to have an impact at 66 Brooks, but far less so these days.

      • JJ says:

        BTW, I think Bishop elect Deeley is rock solid, and think he would accomplish even more great things, if given the authority from the Cardinal. But as a management structure, the Pastoral Center is a mess. Cardinal gives more weight to what Hehir, Donilon and Kickham say than what Deeley says. I contend that they are the wrong group to listen to.

      • JJ, Sorry to hear that you feel BCI has lost a bit of our edge. 😦

        Earlier on in our blogging, there were a multitude of problems that were so egregious they begged for bold words and action–for example, excessive six-figure salaries, layoffs, missing the Catholic Appeal fundraising targets, the budget and financials, lay employee pension fund deception, the sale of Caritas Christi to Cerberus, the scandal and deception around the search for the new Secretary for Institutional Advancement, parish vigils, church closings, relegation to profane use decrees for certain parishes, Daughters of St. Paul pension lawsuit against the archdiocese, the previous Chancellor, leadership void with previous Vicar General, lack of anonymous whistleblower program, moving the tomb of Cardinal O’Connell and much more. Some of these issues have been addressed (perhaps in part, because of outside pressure from BCI), some have not been addressed and are still problems, and some are no longer in the news because the events have since passed. While things are still bad at 66 Brooks Drive, the pace of new incidents of egregious corruption, deception, and violations of trust has slowed somewhat.

        If you feel there is a topic we should cover in more detail or boldness that we have been missing, please let us know, and if appropriate, we’ll tackle it.

      • JJ says:

        I mean this with the greatest of charity, forgive me in advance for my lack of eloquence: I appreciate the great service you have provided our Archdiocese, though there are times when I have not completely agreed. (99% of the time I agree) Many of the items you mention do in fact still rest on the table. The uproar has died down, in my opinion, because the depth to which you you doggedly pursued issues, has diminished. At one point, you were considered a real concern, to the hierarchy of the Archdiocese, because you were on point, and there were real problems they were not handling appropriately. Now, to them, you have “jumped the shark”. Their strategy for dealing with the average guy in the pew; say nothing, do nothing and it will eventually blow over, seems to be the approach they are effectively taking with you.
        Each of the issues you mention still need to be addressed:
        Salaries, closings, Daughters of St Paul and the others.
        But I would add, you should look into the turnover in the Child advocacy office, the farce that is the compensation committee,the details of clergy assignments, whatever happened to the Seminary payments, and never quit talking about the scandal of Jack Connors( dig deeper there, there is lots of meat on that bone).
        You made a difference once, but they seem to have won this war of attrition. We are in tough shape here in Boston, if you are too tired to keep up the energy you once had, so am I, so I understand.

      • JJ,
        Thank you for your thoughtful comments. Time does not permit a longer response today. BCI believes some of the uproar has died down because some issues have been addressed (for example, former Chancellor gone, change in Vicar General), or with the passage of time–in some cases 2 years now–they have now become history and there is little of a practical nature that can be done any more (for example, Caritas sold off, pensions revalued and lump-sum payouts taken, Daughters’ lawsuit settled, everyone has moved past the “sham search” for the Secretary for Institutional Advancement). With the new Vicar General, some of the shenanigans have become less egregious and publicly verifiable. And yes, BCI is also not able to blog as frequently or as doggedly as we did early on, and some might argue that BCI has taken on other issues we felt important.

        Yes, we are still in tough shape in Boston. But, BCI is still here. If you or others you know would like to help BCI, or have insights you would like to share to help us, please send us confidential email at, or you can just fill out a Contact Us form. We welcome the help from like-minded Catholics to continue trying to get the ship sailing in the right direction.

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