NEWSFLASH: Cardinal O’Malley named to Vatican Reform Committee

Today, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has set up a committee of eight cardinals from around the world to advise him on how to reform the Roman Curia. Cardinal Sean O’Malley is one of the eight.  Here is the Vatican statement:

The Holy Father Francis, taking up a suggestion that emerged during the General Congregations preceding the Conclave, has established a group of cardinals to advise him in the government of the universal Church and to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, ‘Pastor Bonus’.

The group consists of:

– Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State;
– Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa, archbishop emeritus of Santiago de Chile, Chile;
– Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay, India;
– Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany;
– Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya, archbishop of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo;
– Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Boston, USA;
– Cardinal George Pell, archbishop of Sydney, Australia;
– Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, S.D.B., archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, in the role of coordinator; and
– Bishop Marcello Semeraro of Albano, Italy, in the role of secretary.

The group’s first meeting has been scheduled for 1-3 October 2013. His Holiness is, however, currently in contact with the aforementioned cardinals.

News reports say that the committee will advise Pope Francis on how to reform the Catholic Church’s “troubled central administration.”  Reports say, “The basic failings of the Curia were aired, sometimes passionately, at closed-door meetings of cardinals before they retired into the conclave that elected Francis.”

BCI finds it ironic that Cardinal O’Malley has been appointed to a committee to reform the Roman Curia, when his own central administration is troubled and he has failed to effectively govern and reform it for the past decade.  Someone just suggested to BCI that Cardinal O’Malley serving on a committee to help reform the Roman Curia would be kind of like Hillary Clinton serving on a committee to help reform international embassy security.

In Boston, for nearly 3 years we have been documenting the ongoing problems of:

  • Nearly $4M annually in excessive six-figure salaries paid to lay executives
  • Moving around of funds from originally designated purposes to someplace else
  • Skyrocketing administrative expenses
  • Cronyism in hiring
  • Deception in communications and in policy making
  • Retention of Finance Council members and key advisers to the Cardinal who work against Catholic Church teachings
  • Routine violations of the archdiocesan Code of Conduct
  • Incompetence by high paid cabinet members
  • Draining of capital reserves to pay operating expenses
  • $140M in unpaid debt, with no plan to be able to repay the debt
  • 34% decline in Mass attendance between 2000 and 2012
  • 40-50% of parishes operating in the red
  • Abdication of leadership by Cardinal O’Malley and a failure by him to teach through his actions and words.

Other than those minor matters, everything is just great in Boston.  Just a few of these problems are described in this recent blog post.

As Cardinal O’Malley embarks on this new assignment, we humbly put forward the Gospel of Matthew 7:3-5:

Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite,remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.

We hope and pray that Cardinal O’Malley takes time during the next 5-6 months before the Vatican committee meets to first clean up the house in Boston and remove some of the largest wooden beams here.

44 Responses to NEWSFLASH: Cardinal O’Malley named to Vatican Reform Committee

  1. jbq2 says:

    Sean O is like “Columbo” and knows exactly what he is doing. I would like to know more about the Archbishop of Honduras who is the “coordinator” of this “gang of eight”. There is still a lot of unknowns about the new pope. We all have to pray that it is for the best. “Be ye as simple as doves and as wise as serpants”.

  2. […] des catholiques bostoniens critiques vis-à-vis du cardinal O’Malley, le Boston Catholic Insider, s’étonne, après l’annonce officielle, du choix de leur archevêque comme conseiller à la réforme de la […]

  3. Objective Observer says:

    Sean has happily cooperated for years with the notion that he is the guy to solve all clerical sexual abuse problems. This is a carefully crafted fiction — he is the faceplate over the wiring built and operated by others. Matter of fact, he quaked in his sandals about abuse as far back as the “Fr.” Porter cases in Fall River. He was bailed out there by Boston, and he was bailed out in Boston by those who did the difficult work of sorting out the maelstrom of accusations here.

    But he’s happy to take the credit for the work of others. So likely he was appointed to this committee for a competence he does not truly embody.

    He’s also multi-lingual, and has insinuated himself into every Spanish speaking circle in Rome, from the neo-Cats to the South Americans. So he’s the Spanish speaker in the group — a real twofer. He also speaks Portuguese, French and German, so he can instill unfounded confidence in five languages.

    The concept that he is one of eight cardinals who will sort out the Vatican and make us all proud really is troubling. The only succor it avails is that from his perch on this committee, he will finally be able to pick a permanent job in Rome so he can shake the dust of Boston from his sandals. And Boston can start praying now that it gets an Archbishop who can lead this archdiocese, not just stare at his notebook while the moneychangers stuff their pockets.


    ‘JUST WONDERING’ how can our Cardinal help resolve the problems in Rome: many as their are — yet he continues to pay those high salaries, while he asks his Priest to attend a Conclave in June for a cost of $125.00 per. Makes no sense to me!
    “JUST WONDERING” how he can help solve the problems of Rome and thus the entire Church. Boy am I going to be extra busy in prayer to that Holy Spirit to guide them and especiall HIM here in Boston and then in Rome.

  5. DBP says:

    Maybe I’m not paying as close attention to all this as I should, but I seem to recall that there were two major issues with the Curia’s administration of the Church: first, the byzantine nature of the processes employed by the Curia virtually ensured that rapid action on any issue was impossible; and second, that the Curia had become too “inbred,” so to speak. The overly-close friendships among certain groups in the Curia (and consequent internecine rivalries that those overly-close friendships spawned) not only compounded the difficulties in doing the legitimate work of administering the Church, but also resulted in some extremely ugly public scandals.
    My issue with Cardinal O’Malley being part of the group charged with overseeing reform of the Curia is that he has enabled the same type of dysfunction in Boston that he is supposed to reform in Rome. It is not difficult to detect the machinations of the “lavender mafia” at 66 Brooks Drive and elsewhere in positions of responsibility and power in the Archdiocese of Boston; is it really wise to put someone who (at a minimum) tolerates “overly-close friendships” in his own backyard in charge of weeding them out elsewhere?

  6. Stephen says:

    I have to admit Francis initially gave me hives. As a traditionalist his ‘new sheriff in town’ style has been a bit unnerving.

    His sense of Catholic Identity carries global gravitas. His feet washing of the Muslim girl was profoundly paradoxical. He exercised the privileged of his office, acted above the canon and at the same time poked the Mohammedans in the eye. Is Francis finally the dangerous Pope the world so desperately needs?

    His selection of Cardinal O’Malley is perhaps brilliant. I wonder if the true Catholic leadership we all crave is right under our nose. Could it be, that in private today’s true apostles in leadership share the thought “We must keep our heads until this Modernist craze blows over”

    Could Cardinal Sean want Hehir around in order to keep an eye on him? Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer?

    I’ll pray for a knuckle bump of Francis and Sean. And like the Blessed Mother may they crush the head(s) of Satan(s) in our midst.

  7. Ferde Rombola says:

    Since he was exiled to Rome from St. Louis, I’ve had the hope that Cardinal Burke would be the gate-keeper when it came to the assignments of US bishops to various jobs, whether it be to another diocese in the USA or, as in this case, a Vatican assignment. Can it be he is ignorant of the goings-on in Boston? Or perhaps he has no clout in Rome. Next queston. Can it be that our Cardinal got this job because he’s a FRanciscan?

    Next queston

    • Ferde, You can be rather certain that Cardinal Burke knows what is happening in Boston. A number of BCI readers tell us they have written to him.

      • JUST WONDERING says:

        Does’t mean that just because “they have written to him” that he has seen them, I truly believe that his mail is closely monitored
        and given only what is “nice”. JUST WONDERING sharing this. In face, IF he does read it and it is difficult, he does not reply. He is well protected and covered.

  8. Wow! This proves that the Pope is NOT infallible in appointment of bishops. Clearly, Sean and a few others on the list do not deserve to be on a committee like this.

    • Vernon Murphy says:

      I’d doubt the Pope’s picks for bishops are made as an infallible act, namely because the choosing of a leader is not definitive on a matter concerning faith and morals. Important? Definitely. Infallible? Likely not, especially considering what disgusting wrongs some bishops have done after being named. The last time I am aware of it being invoked would be Ordinatio Sacerdotalis by Blessed John Paul II.

  9. Liam says:

    Not at all surprised by this. Cdl Sean is well-regarded by a significant number of his peers, whose perspective is rather different than ours (and I have no doubt many of them are aware of things raised here, but consider that things are not necessarily different on their respective turfs….). And, in a hierarchical church, it’s their perspective that counts more than ours.

    • Liam says:

      PS: It’s pretty clear that the distribution is geographic and that the members will be charged with gathering and relating feedback from their respective areas – Cdl Sean’s bailiwick would be North America (Pell, Oceania). He’s probably also meant to vocalize the issues for dioceses that have collapsed post-Scandal. The “coordinator” role is a red flag that members of the group are likely to be engaging in more one-on-one with the Pope than might be the case if there was a stronger leader role, like the old Holy Office, perhaps.

      As for this being a light at the end of Cdl Sean’s tenure here, I seriously doubt it means anything of the sort, and would not raise hopes about that.

      As for Cdl Burke, he has some influence on episcopal appts, especially the central USA, but is not nearly as influential in governance matters as some would like. The conclave was a huge signal that most of his peers don’t share his liturgical predilections.

  10. Rondre says:

    Couldn’t have chosen a better Cardinal than Cardinal Sean. Burke was is and always be a looser.

  11. Caroline Walcot says:

    It seems to have escaped your ADHD attention entirely that this 8-man group of Cardinals is simply a committee to advise the Pope on what to do next. There’s no need for any of them to go cleaning up their back yard first because their backyards are not the subject of discussion. Yes, the world can ignore Boston entirely because the focus is on the Vatican. Sad for you lot, but true.But the Pope will listen to Cardinal Sean. And that’s a good thing, as he can tell him all about gossip and scandal-mongering from first hand experience.

    • Ferde Rombola says:

      Caroline, If you have any evidence what BCI posts here is simply gossip and scandal-mongering, those of us who read the blog would be interested to see it. Thanks

    • Caroline,
      We are well aware this group of Cardinals is a committee to advise the Pope. Perhaps it did not catch your attention that we communicated that point in the first paragraph of the blog post.

      You sound like you are new here and missing all of the history in Boston, or perhaps you are not even from Boston. Where there has been scandal in Boston, it has been created by people in the hierarchy of the Boston Archdiocese. This blog informs people of the objective incidents where moral or governance corruption has occurred, with links and documentation so people can verify the information themselves. There is no “gossip” or “scandal-mongering” by BCI. Do you believe that moral and governance corruption should simply be kept quiet, and your issue with BCI is that we are exposing the deception and corruption to the light of day?

  12. RomanCircus says:

    Cardinal Walcot, Cardinal Sean came home from the conclave saying he was glad he wasn’t elected pope because “he’s a prisoner in a museum” . Perhaps this appt is to soothe his injured feelings or prevent them from festering. On the other hand, maybe the prisoner wants some help destroying the jail. A fire sale of the museum could pay a lot of liberal hirelings, killer keehans and homo rectors (aka meth selling, porn shop buying, cross dressing “priests) 6 figure salaries.

  13. breathnach says:

    A few items that Cardinal Sean will propose as recommendations in his final report to Pope Francis:

    1) appointment of a laymen, Jack Connors, as head of the Vatican Bank;

    2) allow members of the Curia to fundraise for President Obama and the Democratic Party;

    3) transform the New Evangelization from it’s inspiration in the Living Word of Jesus Christ towards a technocratic and public relations project;

    4) retool the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith into a blog that highlights the positive things about heretics, dissenters and wayward theologians-with lots of fun photos!

    • breathnach says:

      last but not least,

      5) increase budgets and staffing of curial offices by 1000%……

  14. […] Burdick, Igntm Tdy Advisory Group First Big Step Toward Real Reform at Vatican – Jn. Thavis Cardinal O’Malley Has Failed to Govern & Reform – Boston Catholic Insider The College of Super-Cardinals – New Catholic, Rorate Cæli […]

  15. ubipetrusest says:

    What bad news. You Bostonians have the sympathy and prayers of one of Cardinal Dolan’s black sheep in NY (which is not much better). Thanks BCI for a well-moderated and informative blog, and thanks to breathnach for my laugh of the day.

  16. Anni says:

    Rocco Palmo has some interesting observations on Cardinal O’Malley’s selection…

    It could all be very simple and practical…

    “In that light, the choice can be explained on three fronts:

    Language — Put simply, Francis’ English is cursory at best; before his election, Cardinal Bergoglio conceded that it was the “toughest” tongue for him to grasp. Ergo, with a doctorate in Spanish and Portuguese literature and having spent the bulk of his priesthood happily engaged in Hispanic ministry, O’Malley – who still says his private prayers in Spanish – is the most fluent North American cardinal in the Pope’s home-idiom, at least until Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles receives the red hat.

    Relationship — Asked the day after the election whether it’d be “fair to say you know [Bergoglio] very well,” O’Malley answered with one word: “Yes.”

    Reform — This July marks a decade since O’Malley was thrust into the most thankless US assignment of the modern era… at least, until his Capuchin classmate was sent to a certain point south in 2011.

    It was an epic situation – Boston, the cultural “flagship” of 160 years of Irish-dominant Catholicism in America, roiled by a tidal wave of sex-abuse and cover-up that served to engulf the landscape from coast to coast. And as the brown-robed friar arrived to take the chair whose prior occupants were household names – O’Connell, Cushing and Law – it’s not a stretch to say that the world was watching.”


    • Anni, We saw that piece. One has to wonder where Rocco Palmo develops his viewpoints from. The language and relationship points may be valid, but the one on reform has obvious errors that one could drive a truck through. He wries:

      The latter would be the greatest battle it took the better part of three years for O’Malley to start turning the tide in the office, and so bruising was the struggle that, in a 2004 letter, he wrote that “At times I ask God to call me home and let someone else finish this job, but I keep waking up in the morning to face another day.”

      >>>Exactly what evidence is there the tide has turned or started turning?

      Almost eight years later, the hard-won result doesn’t just act different, but looks different a land of fiefdoms once arrayed in buildings spread across the Brighton campus, the vaunted plot was sold to neighboring Boston College for $172 millionand bolstered by several top-flight hires from the private sector (who took pay cuts to join the project), the Chancery relocated to a consolidated hub in a suburban office-park.

      >>>What “land of fiefdoms” once arrayed in buildings in Brighton? They could not fit everyone in one building. Does Rocco naively believe that because they are now all in one building in Braintree there are no fiefdoms? Is he totally clueless about the current state of dysfunction in the Pastoral Center, and how much worse the dysfunction and fiefdoms are today vs in Brighton? And who exactly are the “top-flight hires”? Who exactly took pay cuts to join the project? Mary Grassa O’Neill? Mark Dunderdale (who made less than half his current salary when he worked for the District Attorney’s office)? Jim McDonough, who was not employed when he was appointed Chancellor?

    • Please read our comment above. If Rocco is wrong on the above, it makes one wonder whether he is wrong on other points as well.

    • Mary says:

      I never realized this until now, but I think Rocco Palmo at Whispers leans to the far left. At Wikipedia, his profile says that in 2010 Palmo received an honorary doctorate from the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St Louis, MO.

      Aquinas is described by CatholicCulture as “a hotbed of Dominican dissidents in America, whose previous president openly defended “gay” priests and seminarians. The Aquinas Institute is affiliated with St. Louis University, a “Jesuit University” which was one of the first to abdicate itself to lay leadership in the “spirit of Vatican II” in 1967.

      That’s something Mr. Palmo should be proud of!.

      Wikipedia goes on to say “Aquinas has never awarded an honorary degree to a journalist, and the only other journalist who has given Aquinas’ commencement address was Peter Steinfels of The New York Times in 1993.”

      No orthodox Catholic would accept an award from Aquinas in St. Louis or want to be closely associated with Peter Steinfels. Palmo shows his stripes to be a left-leaning liberal, so you have to discount anything and everything he writes. Not surprising he was so positive about Cardinal O’Malley when you understand the distorted lens Palmo sees the world through.

  17. Mack says:

    This news disturbed me. I think O’Malley is a very poor choice, for the reasons you’ve documented above. My only hope is that associating with the obviously holy Pope Francis might bring Cardinal O. to a conversion of mind and heart, so that he will start to deal with all the problems in this archdiocese in a truly Catholic way.
    I keep thinking of how Francis said he wants a poor church. How does the sky high salaries of all those people at Braintree square with that? Maybe Francis just might bring O’M. to an examination of conscience.
    And I remind myself that being appointed to a Vatican commission does not make anybody a holy person. History has ample examples of that.

  18. RomanCircus says:

    Mary, I too have been wondering about Rocco ever since I read his rave reviews for Uncle Ted McCarrick. Unfortunately, I am not so sure that it is that he is a liberal as that other word running through your comment. His constant referring to Benedict as “his fluffiness” and finding out he was “discovered” by Bevilacqua at the age of 8 & swiftly given the run of the diocese (because he wanted to be a priest!) merely added to my suspicions about the sources of his ‘whisper’ (gossip) column:

    “That changed in July 1991, when Anthony Bevilacqua celebrated his first Mass at home after having been elevated from archbishop to cardinal. While greeting a line of well-wishers, the prelate got down on one knee to chat with 8-year-old Rocco.

    The boy later wrote a thank-you letter, a correspondence began, and the family was invited to visit Bevilacqua in his office. The cardinal started mentoring the young boy with the inquisitive mind, and before long, Rocco had the run of the archdiocese.”

    His connection w/Michal Sean Winters also adds to my suspicion:

    “Michael Sean Winters was a very flamboyant gay man in the seminary. ”

  19. Alice Slattery says:

    While many of us in the Boston Archdiocese who support Courage/EnCourage, the only Vatican-approved organization to address the needs of those who seek the truth regarding the way that activities inherent in the same-sex sex cultural invasion need to be cast behind them, there has been very little support for Catholic parishioners to learn about this way. But, this lack of support for Courage/EnCourage is more apparent when we see how there is presently strong support for the practice of same-sex sex acts in the Boston Archdiocese.
    We have only to look at the April 13,2013 bulletin notice printed in this past weekend’s bulletin p.4 for St. Cecilia’s parish on Belvidere St. in Boston.( “Your thoughts and opinions matter” which announces the” Saint Cecilia Rainbow Ministry will celebrate its sixth anniversary this July. Over the past six years lesbian,gay,bisexual, and transgender people have been welcomed warmly to Saint Cecilia Church and consider it their “home”.”….Parishioners are invited to attend a parish meeting on Sunday, April 21 after the 11:15 AM Mass to “learn what has worked well for you”.
    Do you think that there will be any mention of the way that is accepted by the Catholic Church,namely Courage/EnCourage? The way that is supported by the Saint Cecilia Rainbow Ministry has been just the opposite of the way that helps people to live chaste lives in accordance with God’s plan for human sexual behavior. Why is this “,bisexual,and transgender” behavior, which leads to depressing, life-stifling behavior, being allowed to be “celebrated” in our Boston Archdiocese ? Why is there no evidence of support for parishioners learning about Courage/EnCourage? Is celebrating the Rainbow Ministry the direction that Cardinal O’Malley wishes for his own archdiocese? Is this the direction that he wishes for our universal Catholic Church?
    What is he trying to tell us?

  20. Came Home Catholic says:

    O’malley’s a poor choice to reform the Curia. He is as the expression goes a bishop more suited to bless than to budget. I think O’Malley has the purest of motives. However he is a part of the system that produced the excessive secrecy, the strangling bureaucracy, and the generally poor management we see in the Curia as well as our local diocese.

    O’Malley is more of a feel-good ambassador who effectively steps in to clean up the messes left by the more dishonest and inept of his fellow cardinals. The only reason he has the reputation of a reformer is because he takes Takes over for Cardinals who are some of the worst administrators and shepherds the institutional church has produced in recent years. That is he looks better by comparison.

    He is hardly the one to restore integrity to the institutional church. This is a Cardinal who a few years ago when Boston College was removing Crucifixes from its classrooms stood by and said nothing.

    O’malley is not in charge of Boston College, however he might’ve taken a public stand and said something as this barely Catholic institution became even less Catholic.

    • JUST WONDERING says:

      Welcome Home “Came Home Catholic”….We need your insight and wisdom to help cure the illness that has crept into our Chruch of Boston. AND as you re-enter the Catholic Church I am “JUST WONDERING” how it will treat you and let you know you are a new gift to us. PEACE my “Came Home Catholic”!!!

  21. Chris says:

    I’d like to post this link to a homily by Cardinal Wuerl in support of a campus chaplain who had preached on the need to honor traditional marriage. Homosexual activists were demanding his removal. The cardinal intervened. Acccording to his blog:

    “On Sunday, April 14, I delivered the following homily at a Mass with GWU students in support of their chaplain, Fr. Greg Shaffer.

    “Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is always a pleasure for me to come to this campus ministry program Mass here at Saint Stephen’s Church that serves all of you who are part of the George Washington University family.

    In a particular way, I want to offer a word of support and encouragement to your chaplain, Father Greg Shaffer. All of us have come here this evening for two purposes: to celebrate Mass and to stand in solidarity with a good priest.

    I am inspired by the ministry here. I often use Father Shaffer and you students of the Newman Center as examples of the New Evangelization. In fact, my recent book entitled New Evangelization: Passing on the Catholic Faith Today begins by describing my visit here and witnessing the vitality of this chaplaincy.

    In today’s Gospel, we are reminded of two very important elements in the life of the Church, foundational elements: that Jesus is risen from the dead and offers us a whole new way of life, and that Jesus chooses, appoints and empowers shepherds of his flock.

    In the encounter between Jesus and Peter, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me?” and in answer to the affirmative response of Peter, Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”

    For 2,000 years Successors to Peter and those who work with the bishops – priests all over the world – have that same charge, feed Jesus’ flock.

    The whole world watched one month ago as the Church chose the most recent Successor to Peter – Pope Francis. He continues to do the same work that was assigned to Peter – to every priest. “Feed my sheep!”

    With what is the flock to be fed? There are two great sources of nourishment for those who claim to be a part of the flock of Jesus, those who wish to be associated with the risen Lord, those who have encountered Christ alive in their hearts, in the world, in the Church today. Those two sources are the Word of God and the sacraments – the Eucharist.

    But before we even begin to talk about the Word of God and the sacraments of the Church as that substance with which the flock is fed, we have to ask, who are the members of this flock? Who are the sheep of Jesus’ flock?

    If anything is clear from the Gospel, it is that some have chosen to follow Jesus. Jesus has chosen some to work with him in guiding his flock. But the choice to follow Jesus and his visible presence in the world today, that is, the Church, is rooted in the free will of people who say, “I would like to be your disciple. I want to be with you. I want to be a part of your Church.”

    Not all who hear the words of Jesus, not all who hear the words of the Church, not all who hear the words of the Gospel, the Word of God, choose to follow.

    With respect to those who do not choose to follow, we do not impose those words of the Church on anyone. We propose the ways of the kingdom of God in terms that the world can understand and examine, in terms they may freely accept or reject.

    There are recorded in the Gospel many episodes of those who found what Jesus said to be simply “hard sayings” and they would no longer walk with him.

    When Jesus was proclaiming his teaching that his own Body and Blood would be food for his flock, that the Eucharist that he would establish the night before he died would be the sustenance of his family, there are those who simply walked away. They said we cannot take this, we cannot accept this, we are not going to follow this.

    Jesus did not respond by changing the teaching. Even when they said to him you need to be current, you need to be contemporary, you need to be politically correct, you need to be with the times, Jesus did not say, “Oh, then, I will change my teaching.” He simply said, “No, this is my Body, this is my Blood, this is food for you, this is sustenance for eternal life.” And some simply walked away.

    Jesus continued to be a countercultural voice. Jesus did not change his teaching – indeed he could not change his teaching because what he teaches is truth.

    He announced with firmness that he had come from God, that God loves us, that there is a way to live that is in conformity with God’s plan and will. He proclaimed that he had come to confirm the commandments of God. He proclaimed that he had come to bring us new life and a way of walking with him. He announced the Beatitudes. He announced his law of love.

    All of this Jesus offers to us. What he does not offer to us is the right to change his words, his vision, his revelation, his teaching of truth and love to conform with any particular cultural demand today.

    Priests, your chaplain, pastors all over this diocese, bishops all around the world are trying to be faithful to that Gospel teaching. That is what they announce. This is who they are – preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They cannot change our Lord’s message. They pass on the Good News.

    Yet, there are those who claim that voices for the Gospel should be silenced, that we should be silenced. There are those who say there is no room for any other view but their own. As the first reading for the liturgy today reminds us, “When the captain and the court officers had brought the apostles in and made them stand before the Sanhedrin, the high priest questioned them, ‘We gave you strict orders, did we not, to stop teaching in that name?’” (Acts 5:27-28). But the text goes on to point out, “But Peter and the apostles said in reply, ‘We must obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29).

    We are not talking about ancient history and faraway lands. We are talking about our own lived experience in our country.

    The Church’s long history recounts many examples of efforts to silence her teaching. Pope Francis is the 266th Pope. Nearly all the first 60 Popes were put to death for the faith – by those in political power who disagreed with Jesus, his Gospel, and therefore his Church’s shepherds.

    We have seen this over and over again, in various forms of narrow-minded discrimination and blind bigotry.

    Catholics have suffered at the hands of all kinds of movements, the Ku Klux Klan, the Know Nothing Party, the burning of Catholic churches and convents in various parts of the then-Protestant colonies. This history teaches us that, like any freedom, religious liberty requires constant vigilance and protection, or it will disappear.

    And so, here we are.

    The idea that the pastor of a parish today or the chaplain of a religious community and campus ministry today should simply be silenced because he faithfully announces the Gospel of Jesus Christ – that he should not be allowed to engage in dialogue with our culture, even in a place that is dedicated to the free and diverse expression of ideas – may seem somewhat radical today, but you have to remember there have always been those who try to force their totalitarian views on all of us.

    When we talk about marriage, when we speak about the dignity of human life, when we teach about the natural moral order, these are all elements that we find deeply rooted in the consciousness of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Just because someone wants to change all of that today does not mean that the rest of us no longer have a place in this society.

    Remember after someone says you cannot speak here, then comes the sentence, “And you do not belong here.”

    I want to make something very, very clear. Our response must be the response of Jesus Christ, the response of his Church, a response rooted in love. When we are attacked, there will always be the temptation to respond in kind. But we must respond out of who we are. We are followers of Jesus Christ.

    But we also need to remember that we all know people – homosexual and heterosexual alike – who may disagree with particular teachings of the Church, but do not express that disagreement by demanding that the Church and her ministers be silenced.

    We all struggle to live up to the demands of the Gospel – even when we fail – because we know that what Jesus and his Church teach are the words of everlasting life.

    The Church calls us to keep trying to draw closer to Christ. This we do – not because we are perfect – but because he is the way, the truth and life.

    We must be inclusive, we must recognize the bonds of mutual charity and we must continue to reach out to all of those brothers and sisters who come to Mass to be with us. We must be allowed to do so freely.

    The Catholic Church welcomes everyone and tries to walk with them on life’s journey while at the same time upholding a moral law by which we are all obliged to live.

    We have so much more to offer and so does America. There should be tolerance and respect among all people. There has to be room enough in America in a society as large, as free and pluralistic as ours to make space for all of us.

    Dear brothers and sisters, never be ashamed of Christ, his Gospel, his Truth – or your identity as Jesus’ disciples. Always be proud of who you are.

    Thank you for standing up for the freedom to speak our faith and thank you for standing up for your chaplain.

    God bless him and all of you.

    • RomanCircus says:

      Chris, If you “believe” there are TWO orientations or 2 sexualities– homosex & hetersex–it is because Wuerl & his WOLVES have fed you lies! To quote “But we also need to remember that we ALL know people – homosexual and heterosexual alike –” From my days at University, this True/False statement would immediately be false, because of the word “all” – but see how he convinces us to follow his path to hell – and people like you (probably working for him) seed this crap in blogs.

      He is NOT defending Fr. Shaffer, he is preaching TOLERANCE and that is why he does NOT work to make abortion illegal. The church has worked (Cushing worked w/planned parenthood) to decriminalize contraception, abortion and homosexuality. The church (McCarrick, Dolan, O’Brien & Wuerl) advocate for homosexual CIVIL unions (and in Illinois also). The church has required Spain and Portugal to tolerate abortion, divorce, etc.

      “We must be inclusive, we must recognize the bonds of mutual charity and we must continue to reach out to all of those brothers and sisters who come to Mass to be with us. We must be allowed to do so freely.

      The Catholic Church welcomes everyone and tries to walk with them on life’s journey while at the same time upholding a moral law by which we are all obliged to live.

      We have so much more to offer and so does America. There should be tolerance and respect among all people. There has to be room enough in America in a society as large, as free and pluralistic as ours to make space for all of us.”

      Tolerance for sin is a fatal misunderstanding of Jesus’ words concerning “tares”. It’s HARD to tell the difference between tares & wheat. Any weed (sin) that is obviously a weed MUST be rooted out. It is NOT hard to tell homosexuals, abortionists, etc. are in active sin. Therefore, they are NO longer tares, but CANCER and must NOT be tolerated. If these weeds are not plucked up they will choke the wheat–which is what has happened in the Roman Catholic Church today.

      People identify sodomites w/homsexuals. But ALL of Sodom was destroyed (except for Lot & his 2 virgin daughters). Not all of Sodom was gang raping visitors to the town, but everyone else was NOT fighting the gang rapers, they were assenting and/or silent — and so God destroyed ALL of them. A Sodomite was thus ANYONE who lived in Sodom.

      I hope all who are reading these blogs is remembering this during the trial of Dr. Gosnell – God imputes the guilt to ALL of us.

  22. Chris says:

    Roman Circus,

    No, “people like (me)… are NOT “working for him.” Nor am I “seeding” blogs. I’ve been commenting at BCI since it was founded. I’m not particularly a fan of Wuerl, but he’s standing up this time and supporting his guy and his faith in a probably hostile forum of a university campus. The tolerance he’s asking for is from those students who want the chaplain’s head on a platter for speaking the truth about the gay lifestyle. GOOD FOR HIM.

    Would that our Cardinal O’Malley would get out to support the Catholic understanding of sexuality where it is under attack here in Boston: St. Cecilia’s, Holy Family in Concord, the Paulist Center, Brandeis…

  23. Mack says:

    I just saw a news item that Pope Francis has nixed bonuses for the Vatican staff, a bonus which is traditionally given upon the election of a new pope.

    Will Cardinal O’Malley learn from the Pope’s example and reduce the outrageous salaries being paid? I doubt it but he would do well to give this matter serious thought.

  24. snell h says:

    Really? Advise POPE BENEDICT?

    News reports say that the committee will advise Pope Benedict on how to reform the Catholic Church’s “troubled central administration.”

  25. Fr. Roger Jacques says:

    I am Fr. Roger Jacques. Wondering if you would be kind enough to feature some of the material of The Media Report by David Pierre as well as some of the back and forth between Dave, myself and (Terry Mekerinan and Anne Barrett Doyle. Here is the reason why….they have posted material about myself and other exonerated clergy of the Archdiocese of Boston, if not the country at large. They claim they are simply posting articles which have already appears in the newspapers by they also write their own comments, often without having made necessary verification with respect to whether or not the information is truth/correct. It is my belief they are guilt of libel toward me and other clergy.

    Have already spoken with David Pierre on my contacting you to consider such coverage. I have much to say on the matter as well as the website the Archdiocese of Boston having listing names of all clergy accused whether they have been exonerated or not. I would be happy to meet with anyone, anywhere, anytime, to see if your blog can put pressure on the Archdiocese and Bishopaccountability to remove the posted names of clergy exonerated as well as to force the hand of Bishopaccountability to verify before they post information.

    I was exonerated unannimously in April 2006 and confirmed by the Congregation of the Faith (Rome) in October 2006. Of course, Cardinal O’Malley does me (us) no service or stands behind me (us) when he then published names of the exonerated ….”allegation unsubstantiated”. It makes it sounds as if they could no prove I (we) guilty of the said allegation….which leaves a cloud over my (our) heads. Many thanks for your consideration on this very important item.

    Fr. Roger Jacques (Ordained 1978)

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