After 10 years, Cardinal O’Malley finally meets with Mass. lawmakers

BCI has quite a backlog to catch-up on.  We are going to go in reverse order on some of the more recent news.

The local media reported last week, “Cardinal O’Malley moves to raise Beacon Hill profile.”

BOSTON (AP) – Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley is moving to raise his profile on Beacon Hill by inviting more than 100 state lawmakers to breakfast.

The Boston Globe reports that the invitation said legislators would be given an overview of the church’s political, educational and social programs. The invitation to the continental breakfast at the Union Club on Park Street in Boston was sent to lawmakers who represent the 144 cities and towns in the archdiocese.

“We want them to get to know us better so they understand the broader value of the church in the community,” said Terry Donilon, spokesman for the archdiocese. “If the Catholic Church went away tomorrow, there would be millions upon millions of dollars put on the backs of cities and towns in Massachusetts.”

If we are to understand Terry Donilon correctly, the reason the Catholic Church and our ministries are important to the state is because if not for the Catholic Church, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts would be spending millions upon millions more dollars to support cities and towns?  Really?!  Could someone at 66 Brooks Drive please enroll Terry in a faith formation class so he can learn Catholicism 101?
The Globe gives more details on the actual meeting that took place, with more commentary from Terry Donilon:

Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley hosted some 60 state lawmakers at a breakfast meeting this morning that was meant to help rebuild his church’s rapport with the Legislature.

The meeting…was the first in which the cardinal has met with a large group of legislators since he became the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston in 2003.

O’Malley and his staff offered a broad overview of the archdiocese and its work, according to those who attended, highlighting the church’s youth programs, assistance to immigrants, parochial schools, and care for the poor in 144 cities and towns in Eastern Massachusetts.

Rushing said O’Malley devoted a great deal of time to speaking about immigration, and discussed his decade of work with Hispanic immigrants in Washington, D.C., before he became a bishop. The US Catholic church advocates reforming US immigration policy and offering a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

“It means they want to talk about everything,” Rushing said.

The cardinal, in a statement, called the meeting a good first step toward improving communication with lawmakers on Beacon Hill.

“It is my hope that today’s dialogue will strengthen the Church’s collaborative relationship with the citizens of the Commonwealth,” he said.

Among those who spoke was James F. Driscoll, executive director of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the lobbyist for the bishops of the four Roman Catholic dioceses in Massachusetts — Boston, Fall River, Springfield, and Worcester. But Driscoll talked only briefly, and he was followed by other church leaders.

“We share many common concerns about the poor, about education,’’ Donilon said. “We thought it was a good chance to open some dialogue so we can get to know each other better.’’

Donilon said O’Malley wanted to hold such a meeting earlier, but has been focusing on rebuilding and reshaping the archdiocese in the wake of the priest sex abuse scandal.

“We see the immense dysfunction going on in Washington,” he said. “It was to show what we do in those 144 cities and towns.’’

At long last we see James Driscoll, paid a handsome six-figure salary as head of the Mass Catholic Conference, doing something.  But it was almost nothing.  Speaking of almost nothing from the Mass Catholic Conference, we hear that MCC has not even issued so much as an email to people on their email list since March of this year. Is there absolutely NOTHING in front of the Mass Legislature that merits input from faithful Catholics?  What exactly is their staff doing these days besides arranging the first meeting with the Cardinal and legislators in a decade?
Then there is Terry Donilon’s explanation for why it took 10 years to schedule a meeting: Cardinal O’Malley has been focused on “rebuilding and reshaping the archdiocese.”  He forgot to mention all of the worldwide traveling outside the archdiocese and blogging of the photo-ops. Are we to also understand that the diocese is now sufficiently “rebuilt” and “reshaped” that the Cardinal is now ready to move on to something less important, like trying to impact the laws that affect our ability to live in a well-ordered society according to some semblance of a moral compass?
Terry and James, thanks so much for arranging the meet-and-greet with legislators now that the Cardinal has been here for 10 years to let them know what the local Catholic Church is up to and how much we are saving the state.  Could someone now arrange for the Mass Catholic Conference to communicate with faithful Catholics and let us know what MCC is up to?

39 Responses to After 10 years, Cardinal O’Malley finally meets with Mass. lawmakers

  1. Sue A. says:

    I do not understand your gripe. It is intrinsically good that the Archbishop of the Boston meet with our legislative leaders. I hope this happens on a regular basis, so when there is something on the agenda that merits a Catholic perspective, the relationship already exists to have a real discussion. And, unless you are in that group of elected state officials, James Driscoll is not concerned with you.

    • Sue A, In case it was not clear, we also think it was good for Cardinal to have met with legislators. Our gripes are that it took 10 years into his tenure as archbishop of Boston to do it, and his communications secretary positioned the value of the Catholic Church in terms of saving the state millions of dollars.

      Sent from my iPhone

    • Michael says:

      Sue A … “The meeting…was the first in which the Cardinal has met with a large group of legislators since he became the Roman Catholic archbishop of Boston in 2003.” Can you think of anything, maybe around the year 2004, where he could have met with a large group of legislators on a subject that impacted not only every Catholic in Boston, but worldwide? C’mon, Sue A, you can do it. Yes … it has to do with the destruction of the basic foundation of society … yes … you got it … Since you used the term “intrinsically good,” do you think it would be intrinsically evil to not have such a meeting during such an intrinsically evil event? You know, a once in a lifetime/history of the world never to be recovered from event? But alas, the Cardinal was busy writing checks to personal injury lawyers. Too bad, he didn’t have time. He really missed an opportunity.

      • Sue A. says:

        I think its unfair to blame the current Cardinal for the criminal acts of his predecessors. In 2004 there wasn’t a legislator that wanted to stand within a 100 feet of the Archbishop. If you were an elected official, Catholic or not, would you? The breakdown of trust of the hierarchy of the Church caused destruction that will take decades to heal. I cannot think of another bishop that could have saved what others sought to destroy, not by intent, but by neglecting the people of God.

      • Michael says:

        Sue A. I was talking about same sex marriage. And he is to blame for that.

      • Susan says:

        To Susan A Wow, are you ever RIGHT. Cardinal Law had his faults BUT if he was still there, Gay marriage would not have happened. They needed to get him out of the way and they did. FYI it was also Ted Kennedy who chimed in to make gay marriage happen.

  2. Susan says:

    Thanks so much for the information. You are driving the archdiocese crazy. They shut down churches and give others such high salaries. Then it turns out in some cases, the churches they shut down were solvent. But alas, they were too traditional, yea know with the marble communion railings etc.

  3. Susan says:

    Oh, before I forget, yes it is good to talk, but lets face it, the true definition of charity is proclaiming the truth of our Catholic Faith

    • Sue A. says:

      The primary function of a bishop is teacher. Proclaiming and teaching are not the same thing. Subtle, yet very important difference.

      • DBP says:

        Actually, Sue A., the bishop’s role is threefold: to teach, to sanctify and to govern (CCC 888-896). The point that BCI is attempting to make is that Cardinal O’Malley has failed to teach, has failed to sanctify and has failed to govern for over ten years, and that this “outreach” to state legislators was not to perform any of these three primary tasks but rather to “sell” the Archdiocese as a viable partner in the Democratic legislator’s welfare state.

  4. Mark Frances says:

    As usual, a good posting. After all, “it all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is”. You have to sniff out what is really going on. If you read Malachi Martin, Jesuit advisor at Vatican II, you have to know of a secret alliance between the U.S. Bishops and the Democratic Party. The issue is economic justice with high salaries for the “more equal among us” and not morality. Some of the statements by our new Jesuit Pope only reinforce this impression. Remember that Cardinal O is now one of the “inner circle” around the pope just like Christ and the 12.

  5. Justyn Tyme says:

    Really, 10 yrs before he has his 1st Meeting with these Legislators.
    Its a disgrace. What does he have those 5 Sorrowful Mysteries for (Auxiliary Bishops). Also now that Pope Francis has wisely decided to discontinue making Monsignors what are the careerists going to do. O’Malley is a dollar short and a day late and has been for some time now. Totally overwhelmed, highly over rated, extremely depressed. He has compromised his episcopal ministry to such a degree that he has lost all of his personal credibility to lead the Church of Boston. He knows it and can’t wait for a permanent assignment in Rome. O’Malley has already left the building!!
    He needs our prayers. It just so sad!

  6. He has a lot of catching up to do. In Philadelphia, Archbishop Chaput has been here about 2 years and has been in Harrisburg several times. Rumor has it that he’s championing the legislative proposals that would eliminate the statute of limitations both civilly and criminally for crimes related to the sexual abuse of children. Oops, I’m sorry, I must have been dreaming…….I thought our spiritual leader would most certainly want to act in the best interests of all PA children.

    • Gianna says:


      Your Facebook page has a link to Planned Parenthood. I guess we all know where you are coming from.

  7. Concerned Parent says:

    Ironically, the political/social positions for which Cardinal O’Malley and his colleagues in the USCCB advocate will ultimately decimate the Church’s financial ability to minister directly to the poor, due to the reduction in disposable income of the faithful, who are required to shoulder the enormous tax burden necessary to support socialized medicine and welfare for those who enter the U.S. illegally. (In Massachusetts, for instance, the estimated value of the average welfare package exceeds $50,000 per year). Rather than assisting the poor, the policies favored by Cardinal O’Malley et al are simply multiplying their numbers. This attempt to promote the Church’s value to society in terms of Her financial contribution is a losing proposition, both morally and practically speaking.

  8. Susan, no doubt is one Cardinal “manicures & the high life” Sean’s 6 figure paid tools, or an apologist for the same. The Lord spoke of wolves in sheep’s clothing, He called on us to be vigilant and protect the innocent. The cardinal is imposing the anti-Christian, and deviant Common Core in Catholic schools, he has given cover to false priests in the archdiocese. He’s paid ridiculous sums to people who advocate an anti-Catholic agenda, and funds a libertine lifestyle for himself, while abandoning retiring priests, nuns, and poor parishes. O’Malley’s not supposed to be depriving the poor of access to churches in their communities, to fund his closet queen lifestyle.

    Under O’Malley, the church does nothing for the poor in our respective communities across the state. They are providing funding to illegals, but when poor citizen families and others seek assistance, they’re told the church offers no such help.

    • Carol says:

      Welcome back, Boston Catholic Insider. You were really missed.
      Is it really true that parishes or the RCAB are turning away “poor citizen families and others”?
      I know Brazilians that went to Catholic church here in Boston. They had several jobs — a low-paying job that qualified them for tens of thousands of dollars worth of government assistance, and the off-the books, under-the-table jobs. Now, how is it honest for these Brazilians to not pay taxes on their earnings and to take the free government money that they lied to obtain? The Catholic church turns a blind eye, goes on and on about the immigrants’ suffering and misery, and basically, leads these people into sin. There is the unfairness and hypocrisy, which is pretty obvious to the native Catholics, who won’t come home. There is also the neglect of the immigrant or guest worker’s soul.

  9. Anni says:

    I feel that this was an appropriate thing for the Cardinal to do, and I hope that he continues to communicate with legislators and other political leaders. I was, however, disappointed in what was NOT discussed. This would have been a wonderful opportunity for the Cardinal to educate and evangelize as he explained to the legislators why the Church teaches against abortion, artificial contraception, embryonic stem cell research, and same sex marriage. In the words of the Prayer for the New Evangelization, which the Archdiocese made available at the beginning of the Year of Faith,

    “Make us valiant witnesses to the Faith of the Church
    and inspire us to speak the truth with love.

    Help us to communicate to others the joy that we have received.

    Permit us to be united, but not closed.
    humble, but not fearful
    simple, but not naïve
    thoughtful, but not overbearing
    contemporary, but not superficial
    respectful of others, but boldly Your disciples.”

    With all due respect, I feel that the Cardinal could have presented the works of the Archdiocese to show that the Church serves the poor and marginalized and then explained our beliefs on the other “social issues” and why they are not inconsistent with the Church’s public acts of charity.

    I am old enough to remember a time when the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston wielded great clout on Beacon Hill and when most legislators would be wary of voting in a way that would alienate Catholics. Times have changed and we can thank the sexual abuse crisis for negating much of the Church’s moral authority in public life, but this does not mean that the Cardinal should not have presented himself as “respectful of others but boldly (God’s) disciples.”

    I’d like to recommend an excellent book by Archbishop Chaput: “Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life”. I would like to send a copy to everyone at Brooks Street. Here’s an excerpt from the introduction:

    “People who take God seriously will not remain silent about their faith. They will often disagree about doctrine or policy, but they won’t be quiet. They can’t be. They’ll act on what they believe, sometimes at the cost of their reputations and careers. Obviously the common good demands a respect for other people with different beliefs and a willingness to compromise whenever possible. But for Catholics, the common good can never mean muting themselves in public debate on foundational issues of human dignity. Christian faith is always personal but never private. This is why any notion of tolerance that tries to reduce faith to private idiosyncrasy, or a set of opinions that we can indulge at home but need to be quiet about in public, will always fail.”


    • Concerned Parent says:

      I second your recommendation. Here’s another passage that seems particularly appropos to this discussion:

      “We can never let Catholic social doctrine become an end in itself. The Catholic faith is much more than just another public philosophy or useful set of social programs. The Church is not an association of social workers. She is a community of believers and disciples. In fact, the church’s social service has no meaning outside her Christ-centered faith.”

      Framing the Church’s function in utilitarian terms (essentially as a cash cow for the state) is destructive on many levels, and coming from a Cardinal it is particularly unfortunate. His seemingly overarching focus on illegal immigrants (many of whom come here expressly to exploit the U.S. welfare system, an act which many Catholics of good conscience consider stealing) is also unfortunate, especially with so many other serious (and more relevant) issues in the AoB that are presently receiving short shrift.

      • Susan says:

        I totally agree, the thing that some (higher ups in the dioceses) Charity according to Catholic teaching to proclaim the truth and do acts of mercy. We see this in the Visitation of the Blessed Mother to her cousin St Elizabeth. The Blessed Mother assisted St Elizabeth, and the first Baptism took place with St John the Baptist.

    • Susan says:

      Wow, good response and so true.

  10. Bill Redmond says:

    BCI, Why criticize Terry Donilon for talking about finance? I would not question your understanding of the faith because you speak of six figure salaries, and I would not question Donilon because he speaks of the Church’s financial contributions.

    • Bill, There should be no disagreement that the core mission of the Catholic Church is the salvation of souls. Along the way, we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick, but nowhere is it a part of our mission or a part of Catholic teachings that a key value-add of the Catholic Church to society is saving the state millions of dollars.

      As long as Terry Donilon is speaking or misspeaking on behalf of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, BCI feels perfectly comfortable commenting on what he says. Perhaps we will simply need to agree to disagree on this point.

      • Bill Redmond says:

        Let me see if I understand. Terry Donilon should not speak of these secondary things, but BCI should?

  11. Bill Redmond says:

    BCI. Sorry for being so contentious today.

    With regard to the Mass Catholic Conference. They seem to be fairly active on Twitter ( We ought to be following them.

    But I agree, they should be sending email too.

  12. Bill,
    Based on the news reports and public comments about the meeting with lawmakers, no one mentioned the primary mission of the Catholic Church. If that was missing from the discussion, we have a problem with that and feel we are justified in criticizing that omission.

    • Susan says:

      How true Bill. People should start reading Fr Luigi’s book. It explains alot.

      • David S. says:


        I just read most of the 64 page PDF called “Who is Fr. Luigi Villa” from the link you provided. Let me say that website and the information there is pure CRAP.

        Do you actually believe that nonsense? That Pope Paul VI was a Mason, that Pope John Paul I was murdered, that Pope John Paul Ii was a Mason? Regardless, I don’t see the contents of that website relevant to this Blog posting.

  13. Mary Reilly says:

    I just looked at the RCAB website. The statement issued post-event by Cardinal Sean is lame:

    “This morning I had the opportunity to visit with members of the Massachusetts Legislature, to share information about how the work of the Church can be helpful for the legislators and their constituents. Leaders of our Catholic schools and Catholic Charities discussed their programs and services in these areas which are essential ministries of the Church. The Archdiocese has a broad presence in 144 cities and towns through 288 parishes and seeks to contribute to the well being of those communities.”

    Sounds like this discussion was merely positioned as about what the Catholic Church can do to advance the interests of Caesar. The Catholic Church might just as well have been any secular social service non-profit. I agree with BCI’s assessment of the problem and appreciate BCI’s critical commentary.

  14. Minnie says:

    Why not consider another item on the menu besides YOGA?
    How about a weekly/monthly short film series, ideally personal documentaries about people who live in, or have escaped from
    Godless countries? Provide beer and popcorn.
    NO speeches will be necessary.

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