A number of readers have asked us to share a bit about what is happening in the Archdiocese of Boston’s search for the new Superintendent of Schools. As you may recall, Mary Grassa O’Neill stepped down from the position last summer. She went back to Harvard. At that time, the archdiocese said: “A process will be implemented for the selection of a new Secretary for Education/Superintendent and further announcements will be made regarding an interim appointment for this position.” Now we find that the search firm retained by the Boston Archdiocese is advertising to fill the role in none other than the National Catholic Reporter, a publication known for professing views that are against Catholic Church teachings.
The search is being run by Bellwether Education, and the position description can be found here. The first responsibility listed is: “Strengthening the Catholic identity and the quality of religious education in the schools.” That is great! (though other aspects of the job description raise questions for us). So,if they want to strengthen Catholic identity in the schools, it is exactly why the search firm would be advertising in a publication read by people who like to read a paper condemned by the local bishop last year, who admonished that it should not advertise itself as a “Catholic” publication:
In a column appearing in his diocesan newspaper, Bishop Finn notes that he, as the bishop of the diocese in which the Reporter is located, has the duty to “call the media to fidelity.” He cites the Code of Canon Law, which (in #1369) calls for “a just penalty” for anyone who “excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church.”
The National Catholic Reporter, Bishop Finn remarks, has taken an editorial stance that puts the publication at odds with the Church, by “officially condemning Church teaching on the ordination of women, insistent undermining of Church teaching on artificial contraception and sexual morality in general, lionizing dissident theologies while rejecting established Magisterial teaching, and a litany of other issues.” He reveals that he has received numerous complaints about the Reporter’s editorial policies.
One might reasonably ask, who from the Boston Archdiocese is leading the search? Who is on the search committee, and who is leading the search? Is it someone such as Sr. Janet Eisner (again) or Fr. Bryan Hehir? Why must an outside search firm have been engaged–at a cost of typically 20-25% of the annual salary for the position–which will probably amount to some $40-50K? Is the Boston Archdiocese aware that the search firm they have engaged is advertising in a newspaper known for dissent from Catholic Church teaching? What do they plan to do about that? Is the search firm also advertising in the National Catholic Register and other pubs known for Catholic orthodoxy? Will it be made a requirement for the job that the person not only be a “practicing Catholic” but that they also accept and support all of the teachings of the Catholic Church?
Authentic Catholic education is very important, and it is extremely important that the Boston Archdiocese gets the right candidate for this role, who enthusiastically embraces and supports all of the teachings of the Catholic Church. If you have a moment, drop an email to the new Vicar General, Bishop Uglietto (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let him know you would like for a leader of Catholic Schools who supports all Catholic Church teachings, and ask him the questions above while you are at it.