Boston Archdiocesan Execs Fail to Support Defeat of Assisted Suicide

In our last post, “Inside the Defeat of Question 2”, we talked about defeating Question 2 (physician assisted suicide) from the perspective of the public campaign waged by diocesan PR firm, Rasky Baerlein.  Today we shift perspectives to tell you who from the Boston Archdiocese contributed financially to the campaign and who did not.  Public records show that nearly all of the Boston Archdiocese lay executives who are paid $150K+ a year from the archdiocese did not contribute financially towards the diocese-supported issue advocacy campaign to defeat physician assisted suicide.  For those high-paid lay diocesan execs who neither contributed financially to the campaign nor worked to defeat the ballot measure in other ways, this raises a number of questions.

This report from the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) gives a listing of everyone who contributed to the main opposition initiative, the Boston archdiocesan-backed Committee Against Physician Assisted Suicide, whose strategy and campaign was run by Rasky Baerlein.  The total contributions were $4.3M.  When you look at who gave and did not give, the inevitable conclusions are astonishing.

Here is who gave personal contributions from their own bank account:

  • Vicar General, Bishop-elect Robert Deeley (who makes about $41K/year) gave $200.
  • Secretary for Faith Formation Janet Benestad (who makes $140K/year) gave $500.
  • Secretary for Social Services and Healthcare Fr. Bryan Hehir (a Harvard Kennedy School professor paid $0 by the RCAB and paid only by Harvard, where the average professor salary is $198K) gave $200.
  • Pro-life Office Director, Marianne Luthin (who makes considerably less than $100K) gave $1,000.
  • Catholic Schools Campaign Vice President of Development, Mary Myers (Flynn) gave $100.

That is as far as we can tell quickly, but perhaps we missed someone. While we see a St. Johns seminarian, who earns no income and is planning to give his life to God, gave $200, only one of the 17-odd people making six-figure salaries above $150K gave a buck or more to this important initiative. (See “Up in Alms over Salaries” and “Bloated Payroll: Inaction).

Here are the highest-paid lay executives people who earn about $150K or more and who made no financial contribution to the campaign:

  • Mary Grassa O’Neill, Secretary for Education/schools superintendent: $325K
  • Beirne Lovely, General Counsel: $300K
  • Scot Landry, Secretary for Catholic Media: $250K
  • Kathleen Driscoll, Secretary for Institutional Advancement: $230-250K est.
  • John Straub, Chancellor: $200K-$225K est.
  • Mark Dunderdale: Director of Office of Professional Standards: $200K
  • James Walsh, Assistant Schools Superintendent: $185K
  • Francis O’Connor: Assistant Gen. Counsel: $180K
  • Terry Donilon: Communications Secretary: $162k
  • Jim McEnness: Director of Risk: $154K

The other people who make $150K+ a year have not had their salaries publicly published yet, but they include:

  • Joseph D’Arrigo, Executive Director, Clergy Benefits
  • Mary Doorley, Vice President of Development
  • Carol Gustavson, Executive Director, Lay Benefits and Building Services
  • Steven McDevitt, Director of IT

Add them all up, and, as we said in “Bloated Payroll” earlier this year, you get about $3.5M in salaries, not counting benefits.  A year ago September, their boss, Cardinal O’Malley called on Catholics to oppose physician-assisted suicide, saying, “We are called upon to defend the gospel of life with courage and resolve.”  Yet except for one lay exec, none of them could even muster $50 to give to a campaign to stop an initiative that Cardinal O’Malley recently called a “terrible assault on human life.

A lot of people should be asking why these high-paid lay executives did not give anything to the campaign. (Nor, curiously, did anyone who works for Rasky Baerlein, the folks who ran the campaign give to their own campaign).  One can only guess it must have been one of the following reasons:

  1. They knew about the campaign and its importance, but did not necessarily agree with the Rasky Baerlein strategy or how Rasky was spending money, and instead contributed their time and energies to other ways of helping defeat Question 2.
  2. They were somehow oblivious to the campaign, its importance and need for donations
  3. They felt they were working toward the defeat of Q2 in their day-job already and thus did not need to give any personal contribution
  4. They wanted to contribute but did not have the personal funds to give anything, despite earning $150K/year in salary, so they prayed instead
  5. They knew about the campaign, its importance and need for donations, but felt enough other people and organizations were giving, so their contribution was unnecessary
  6. They view their employment with the archdiocese as a job, not a vocation or part of contributing to the mission of the Catholic Church. They do their job and collect their substantial paycheck, and that is it.
  7. They did not support the defeat of Question 2, and were in favor of physician-assisted suicide
  8. Some other reason not listed above

Note, there were two other campaigns opposing physician-assisted suicide–those run by Second Thoughts or the MCFL-backed Massachusetts Against Doctor Prescribed Suicide- No on 2.  We checked both of those lists, and did not find donations by these lay execs there either. If someone gave but did not make it to one of these reports, please let us know and we will issue a correction.

If the reason above for folks not contributing was #1, that makes good sense, and we take back any implied criticism for those in that category.  Furthermore, BCI cannot judge what is in the hearts and minds of these lay executives who work for the Boston Archdiocese. But, for the vast majority of these people, their day jobs had them doing nothing whatsoever to help defeat Question 2. So, unless these execs were out there in the trenches trying to sway people in their local region (which our sources say most were not), it is tough to understand why they did not at least do something for the cause by contributing.  For someone paid extremely well by the Boston Archdiocese who embraces the saving mission of the Catholic Church, why would they not be able to dig into their pocket to donate even $50 to this crucial initiative that the Cardinal Archbishop was obviously very committed to and their own moral compass should have told them to oppose.  What does that say?

The problem of high paid lay archdiocesan execs is allowed to continue, in part, by folks who BCI will call “the enablers.” These are the big donors and supporters of the Catholic Appeal who keep giving and keep encouraging other Catholics to give money, when no action has been taken still to address the problem of excessive six-figure salaries (or many other problems) that have gone on for many years.  They never tell Cardinal O’Malley, “I am stopping my donations to the appeal until you take dramatic, visible action to cut the excessive six-figure salaries that are wasting my contributions.”Nor do they tell the Cardinal, “I am stopping my donations to the appeal until you remove people from your team and advisory circle whose efforts work against the Catholic Church in the public square.”  Instead, they attend or sponsor gatherings of big donors and get their photos taken with the Cardinal.  An example is seen in a recent blog post by the Cardinal and Pilot pickup.  John and Kristine DeMatteo recently hosted a Cardinal’s Leadership Circle event in their Wellesley home.  As best as BCI can tell from here, they are known to be solid Catholics with a strong commitment to their family and pro-life and pro-family causes.  John contributed $5,000 to the Committee Against Assisted Suicide. They give a lot to the Catholic Appeal and their names appear on lists of donors to other pro-life and pro-family causes. They will, no doubt, be upset to see their names published here at BCI.

Do the DeMatteo’s and others like them not believe their donations to the Catholic Appeal are being squandered on excessive six-figure salaries?  If so, what do they do to change that?  We also wonder how they will feel knowing they gave a generous contribution to defeat the ballot measure, but at the same time, none but one of the archdiocesan execs whose $150K+ salaries are, in part, paid by the DeMatteo’s generous support of the Catholic Appeal, gave a penny to that campaign.  If anyone knows the DeMatteos, drop them an email or drop a dime and ask them to bring this matter up with Cardinal O’Malley directly.

To be clear, our issue in this post is not about priests, who make low pay and work tirelessly in their parishes or other ministries, or with lay people who worked against physician-assisted suicide in ways other than financially contributing to the campaign. But when it comes to high-paid archdiocesan execs, BCI thinks Catholics should be rip-roaring mad that most of them neither gave a penny to support a highly visible, extremely important campaign opposing a “terrible assault on human life” nor gave their time and energies to opposing the measure in other ways.  If their job function did not give them a role to work against the measure,  and their financial means permitted it, the least we should expect is that their moral conscience and commitment to the saving mission of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church would have compelled them to do something or contribute financially. We think this is a big part of the problem in the Boston Archdiocese today. What do you think?

18 Responses to Boston Archdiocesan Execs Fail to Support Defeat of Assisted Suicide

  1. Boston Pastor says:

    BCI, you’ve written a very provocative post. I know many priests and lay people who worked actively giving of their time and talents to oppose Question 2. I preached on the topic multiple times and promoted every item provided by the archdiocese. In the city of Boston, people were out on street corners handing out materials. My sense is that the Secretariats for Faith Formation and Evangelization, Social Services, and Catholic Media pulled their fair load. The others who didn’t have any line responsibility should have at least contributed something financially if not with their time at work or in their parish.. It’s telling that they evidently didn’t.

  2. teddyballgame says:

    No surprise here. Most of these people are non-practicing Catholics who probably voted for the measure. Once again it demonstrates to me that the Cardinal will not lead. If RCAB were a corporation, do you think the senior people would refuse to contribute to this high priority objective?

  3. A Massachusetts Priest says:

    I think it’s a mistake to equate monetary contributions to the effort with support and work for the effort. I was very involved in this effort at a personal level and recruited over 100 people to get involved, I worked at the polls, got voters to the polls, taught, distributed materials, and a lot more, but the reason I didn’t give a penny to the actual fundraising arm of this campaign was because I disagreed fundamentally with the campaign strategy, which was a plain attempt by political consultants to drive all money toward those types of activities for which they could make a commission. I’d rather give my money to other good Catholic causes than to these political consultants. Moreover, once the campaign returned the AFA’s $250k, I certainly wasn’t going to try to make up the gap for their politically incorrect insult toward a group making a huge sacrifice to the cause. I dedicated my efforts rather to those means that I did believe in. I know that some of the names you list in this post must have been just as frustrated at the direction of the campaign and probably didn’t contribute financially for similar reasons.
    The real scandal, of course, would have been if you could have demonstrated any Archdiocesan employees contributed in FAVOR of Question 2. But there are two many reasons not to have given money to the campaign to imply hypocrisy or a lack of commitment.
    If I could be permitted, in light of Jn 8:7, to ask a provocative question in response to your provocative post: BCI also indicated that it had serious qualms about the whole Rasky Baerlein strategy; how much did BCI editors contribute financially toward a campaign strategy they didn’t believe in? If BCI editors didn’t contribute financially, but instead dedicated their resources and efforts to helping defeat Question 2 in other ways, then that’s the standard they should apply to others, including employees of the Archdiocese.

    • Massachusetts Priest,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It sounds like we actually share much in common with our perspectives.

      BCI wholeheartedly supports the efforts of priests like you and lay people who, whether they believed in the Rasky campaign/strategy or not, were out there in the trenches or active in their parish getting the word out and trying to get people to vote no on Question 2 through all means at their disposal. Praise God for those efforts!

      BCI likewise was miffed when we heard the Rasky folks returned the $250K from the AFA. (That happened, no doubt, with approval by Terry Donilon and Fr. Bryan Hehir, and perhaps even Cardinal O’Malley–of that last point, we are not certain) Though BCI posted on the assisted suicide topic a number of times, if you are a regular BCI reader, you may have noticed that we never suggested people donate to the Rasky campaign.

      BCI had our own qualms about the Rasky Baerlein strategy and use of funds, which will be the subject of yet another post. But, we did believe in certain aspects of the Rasky strategy and wanted to see it succeed. The pharmacist commercial dumping the 100 pills out into a bowl, for example, was very effective.

      Without disclosing whether BCI did or did not donate to the Rasky campaign, which was not your key question, your final point merits a specific response. If, hypothetically, BCI editors did not contribute financially to the campaign but instead dedicated our resources and efforts to helping defeat Question 2 in other ways, we agree that investing energies in other areas is very worthwhile and a reasonable standard to hold others to on such a crucial issue. So, yes, that standard could and should apply to others, including employees of the archdiocese.

      That said, how many of the $150K+ salaried employees were out there–outside of paid work hours–doing what you did, or similar? BCI has verified that near-nothing, if not nothing at all, was done in some parishes of the archdiocese, including parishes where certain high-paid lay execs of the archdiocese are parishioners and could have stepped up. Inside the Pastoral Center, how many emails went out from the Cardinal himself or his senior aides asking employees to contribute financially or give their time and energies inside or outside of work hours to specific “defeat Question 2 initiatives”, as compared to the #
      of emails sent earlier this year by the HR department inviting people to yoga or fitness-at-work classes? BCI admits that we do not have visibility or knowledge of what each lay exec did or did not do in their outside of work hours on this issue. But, if some the high-paid lay execs gave neither money nor time
      and energies on this crucial issue, would you not agree that is a serious problem?

  4. Michael says:

    Massachusetts Priest … nice try. BCI pulled its weight whether or not the editors donated financially to the cause.

    If you can match these highly paid Archdiocesan staff with the impact that BCI has had in getting the word out, do so. But your “provocative question” is really a red herring intended to distract the point BCI makes here.

    The point is, are we paying (with our hard earned donations to the Church) large amounts of money to people who do not share our Catholic values (the top paid employees of the Archdiocese). Or has the lack of leadership that Cardinal O’Malley instills, created an apathy where even “good Catholics” are left standing on the sidelines. I know for myself, after reading this post, I am ashamed of myself for not contributing financially. The reason that I did not give financially is because I am thoroughly convinced that our pathetic efforts in the Archdiocese to impact society politically have proven to be a huge waste of time and effort — usually just lip-service to appear engaged.

    We need leadership. We need good Catholics willing to boldly stand up for Catholic values. We will only get that to happen when our bishops and priests boldly stand up for Catholic values in our Churches. Our priests and Bishops are afraid to lose their 501(c)(3) status. They fear the IRS over God. They place their political reputation over the Truth. Look at the list of Catholic Colleges (recently posted at Spirit Daily) that aggressively promote the gay agenda (over 50% of Catholic Colleges). Look at the failure of leadership at Boston College High School where they now have a Muslim prayer room. Look at another local Catholic high school that reportedly recently invited the Dhali Lama to talk and “pray.”

    We either are afraid to be Catholic or we have no idea what it means to be Catholic in today’s society. BCI is at least, through Christian charity, opening our eyes to these realities. The Cardinal’s blog sadly isn’t even in the same league.

    • A Massachusetts Priest says:

      There was no implication in my post that BCI didn’t pull its weight. The point I was making by my question at the end is that if BCI editors didn’t contribute themselves and STILL worked very hard to defeat Question 2, then they shouldn’t hold all those whose names they listed in the post to a different standard (economically or otherwise) than the one by which they themselves are living.

      In terms of the rest of what you wrote in your post, it’s important, but irrelevant to the post’s criticism of RCAB employees who didn’t financially contribute directly to the defeat of Question 2.

      As for me, I’m not ashamed that I didn’t contribute financially, for the reasons I listed above, but also because I worked my butt off for eight months to help defeat it.

      But I would be embarrassed if BCI, for example, went through the list of contributors to Question 2 and then printed the name of every priest in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who had given and not given and then implied that priests like me who had not contributed financially somehow are suspect in their commitment to defeating doctor-prescribed suicide or to promoting, preaching and living the Catholic faith.

      That’s what I think the upshot was of the post itself with regard to lay employees for the Archdiocese of Boston. That unfair implication was what I was responding to in my reply.

      • Massachusetts Priest,
        BCI does get your point, and sees it as a valid one. We updated our post to reflect the perspective you shared. BCI recognizes a huge amount of work happened at a grass-roots level in parishes and in towns by both priests and lay people, who never would have given to the main campaign. In hindsight, we should have emphasized and recognized that more than we did.

        Our focus in the post was on high-paid lay archdiocesan execs, not on clergy. Not to worry–we will not be going further on the topic of who gave vs did not give, and there would never be any implication that priests who had not contributed financially somehow were suspect in their commitment to defeating doctor-prescribed suicide or to promoting, preaching and living the Catholic faith.

        But if high-paid lay RCAB execs neither gave financially nor worked to defeat the measure, we feel they set themselves up for criticism.

    • Gail says:

      Well said, Michael. We need leadership.

  5. Chris says:

    BCI, have you had time to look at political contributions and see if any of the highly paid employees of the archdiocese contributed to Obama, Warren, etc.? I would bet some vote Democratic. I also wonder about the executives in the PR firm.

    • Chris, The political fundraising databases are readily accessible to everyone. For example:

      Larry Rasky gave $5K to Obama in 2011 and another $5K to the Joe Kennedy Victory Fund in 2012.

      We have checked and did not find any lay execs from the Boston Archdiocese gave money to Obama or other pro-abortion politicians in the most recent cycle. A few gave checks for $500 to support the Romney/Ryan ticket. No story there right now as best as BCI can tell.

  6. Carol says:

    Mary Myers gave $100 on 9-27 to CAPAS. A Joseph D’Arrigo from Boston gave money to pro-abort, pro-gay marriage Tisei and Baker in prior elections.

    • Thank you for this information. We will adjust the blog post to reflect this.

      Sent from my iPhone

      • Carol says:

        You’re welcome. A little more info from OCPF — over many years –>
        Francis J. O’Connor of Pembroke gave to Rep Garrett Bradley, pro-abort and pro-gay marriage.
        Kathleen Driscoll of Hingham gave to Eileen Donoghue, Charles Baker – both pro-abort, Tom Menino – at least pro-gay marriage, and Mitt Romney in 2002 – pro-abort.
        Beirne Lovely of Milton gave to Brian Joyce in 2003 and 2006 — Brian Joyce switched from pro-life to pro-abort at some point. Brian Joyce is pro-gay marriage.

    • sheila says:

      Truth of matter is, if you give to any Democrat you are supporting abortion, and gay marriage.

  7. It’s hard to believe that these people making all this money cannot give one cent to something their boss said to “no” on. As a low-income person, I cannot afford to make any contributions to any political campaign. Even if I had the money, I don’t believe in buying elections. Your vote is what counts.

    Regarding the Catholic Appeal, I have never given to Boston’s appeal, and never will unless their is a revival of orthodoxy in all parts of the archdiocese (i.e. The Pope firing Cardinal Sean). If this so-called “Pastoral Plan” is to emphasize the parishes, and 40% of the parishes are in red ink, then why not discontinue the “Catholic” Appeal and put your money you would send otherwise into the collection plate?

    Besides, catechedrum (parish tax) is 17.5% in Boston, so the Archdiocese and the parishes will receive their fair share, while hopefully breaking even.

    I once gave to “Catholic” appeal in another diocese, and the money was not used for Catholic activities, but anti-Catholic activities the diocese sponsored. CCHD and CRS run the same way, stealing your money for non-Catholic uses such as paying for birth control overseas.

  8. Parishpal says:

    BCI–We appreciate your concerns. Do you think one solution
    may be a bifurcated approach for the 2013 Appeal?

    If the 2013 Appeal gave individuals an option to check off
    on or more boxes to direct how their donation flows, this may result
    in higher donations, clarity and a sense of more control.

    This problem is temporary. Eventually these individuals will
    retire, and, then volunteers can replace them. It is not their fault
    they accepted a position, and, were offered a salary.

    Please consider the possibility that you may not have other
    necessary information. For example, maybe they intend to
    leave a lot to the church, maybe they donate to their local
    parish and maybe the Christian think to do is scrap their personal information from this site?

    The ultimate solution is strong catholic education and formation.

    I found this for you:

    The date is Feb 2011. Narrated by Tucker Carlson.

    Can our “Don Draper” figure out a way to revive this
    great presentation and keep it viable?

    If you are sincere about strengthening the Church, why not
    serve as a national platform for catholic schools?
    We could brainstorm, and, inform interested persons of various
    catholic schools throughout the country that need some

  9. Parishpal says:

    BCI–spelling the Christian thing to do

  10. Mack says:

    Three cheers for Marianne Luthin. She is a wonderful Catholic and real pro-lifer. Her work for Women Affirming Life is a testimony to this. I’m not surprised she gave more money than anyone else, and presumably she makes a lot less than the others.

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