Boston Archdiocese Bloated Payroll: Inaction

February 21, 2012

BCI obviously struck a raw nerve with our last post, “Bloated Payroll” about the 17 people earning more than $150K a year.  We continue today with a brief recap on that post, and then below our commentary on how the Boston Archdiocese has managed to delay acting on this problem for years and continues to delay.

By means of a recap from last time, the annual report for the 2011 fiscal year (page 83), says the number of people making $150K or more in that fiscal year was 17. In the 2006 Annual Report, there were just 2 people in the Chancery paid more than $150K. So the number of people making $150K or more per year has increased by more than 8X since 2006.

In addition, the total compensation paid to people making more than $150K has also increased by a factor of about 9X since 2006. The Boston Archdiocese is paying about $3,500,000 in such salaries today vs $393,000 in 2006–$3.1 million more to people making $150K+ a year. The archdiocese has a fiduciary responsibility to be a good steward of donor funds, and this does not appear to be happening.

Once again, here are 11 of the 17 $150K+ salaries that were disclosed or implicitly disclosed in the 2011 annual report (pages 76-80):

* Note: Kathleen Driscoll is reported at $38,462, but she was on the payroll for only about 2 months in that calendar year, so we extrapolated for 12 months to get $230K.

As we have said before, if the archdiocese were to put a salary cap of $150K on all lay executives, that would cut $1M in salary expenses alone! 

What is happening to address the bloated salaries? Well, the Finance Council approved creating a Compensation Committee to look at executive compensation in November of 2010.  That was 15 months ago.

Their charter says, “The Committee shall submit to the Finance Council an annual report on the compensation practices of the Archdiocese, which shall be included in the annual financial release of the Archdiocese.”  In the 2011 annual report, the Compensation Committee did give a “report,” but it just talked about activity, with no results yet. Here are a few excerpts (see pages 83-84 for the full text):

“The Charter of the Finance Council establishes a Compensation Committee with responsibility for overseeing and making recommendations regarding the compensation of senior lay executive employees…

The Committee has determined that all employees of the corporation sole and all members of the Cardinal’s Cabinet paid $150,000 or more in annual salary will be treated as “senior lay executives.” At present, that group comprises 17 individuals. The Committee reached that decision because this definition captured all executives heading major departments and functions, as well as others with critical areas of responsibility…

A draft statement of Compensation Philosophy for Senior Lay Executives has been prepared by the Committee and will be submitted to the Finance Council for consideration at its regularly scheduled meeting in February 2012. In developing the draft, the Committee has placed the employment and compensation of senior lay executives in the context of the Church’s mission and challenges. It is the Committee’s belief that the Church is best served by senior executives who are distinguished by their competence, compassion, efficiency and effectiveness. We believe that the compensation of those executives should enable the Archdiocese to attract and retain highly talented and motivated people whose achievements and personal goals are in harmony with the teaching and mission of the Catholic Church. We will stress the importance of compensation that is just, both in terms of internal equity and external competitiveness. External competitiveness will be measured by comparison with other organizations in the same market for talent. For all positions, this will include Catholic dioceses and archdioceses and not-for-profit organizations. Hiring for some positions requires that the Archdiocese compete with for-profit businesses, and for those jobs, compensation practices in that sector will also be taken into account. The Committee recognizes that senior lay executive compensation must reflect economic realities within the Archdiocese, as well as regionally and nationally. We think it is critical that we achieve consistency and adherence to common reward principles within the executive leadership team and that compensation for this group be based on merit, and linked to clear descriptions of responsibilities and regular performance assessments.

The Committee has engaged the services of a senior consultant specializing in not-for-profit executive compensation at the global firm of Aon Hewitt. At the Committee’s direction, its consultant has undertaken a survey of compensation practices at nine other dioceses and archdioceses in the United States, and reviewed compensation information in public and proprietary databases of not-for-profit institutions and for-profit businesses. The 17 senior lay executive positions in the Archdiocese of Boston are being matched, based on job responsibilities and reporting levels, with those of other organizations, and pay levels are being compared. The survey results will also be used to create recommended salary bands for each position, as guidance in future compensation decision-making. We anticipate that the Committee will be in a position to make recommendations regarding salary levels in conjunction with the annual performance reviews scheduled for the end of the current fiscal year.

BCI finds it difficult to start addressing everything that is wrong with this whole effort. Here are a few examples:

  • The effort comes across sounding like they will justify many–if not all–of the high salaries on the basis that these people could be earning $X in a private sector for-profit company, and this is what the archdiocese needs to pay in order to attract “highly talented” senior executives.
  • The archdiocese staff used to maintain its own information about comparable salaries in other dioceses as part of the normal course of business in years past. Now it takes an expensive outside consultant to do that work.
  • Why is a comparison of salaries in for-profit businesses really relevant here?  The people are working for the Catholic Church.  If they choose to forego the salary they could make in the private sector in order to work to advance the mission of the Catholic Church, that is a noble choice, but it is their choice. The only comparable that should matter is a comparison to how other Catholic dioceses pay for these positions, consistent with what the Catholic Church can afford to pay.
  • Who is writing the clear descriptions of responsibilities?
  • Why are goals and measures of success not included in this?
  • Who exactly is performing the regular performance assessments against goals and expected results for the likes of the Secretary for Education, General Counsel, Secretary for Catholic Media, Chancellor, Secretary for Communications, Secretary for Institutional Advancement, etc?

Even if this whole effort does by some miracle result in something meaningful, at best, they will have a report and recommended salary bands by June of 2012–more than 20 months after the Finance Council created the committee to look into this.  And we only know that they “anticipate” the Committee will be in a position to “make recommendations” around the time of the annual performance reviews.

To BCI, it certainly does not seem anyone is in a big rush to act on this, and there is no sense that anyone will really take corrective action.   We would prefer to hear something more like, “We are deeply troubled by the wasting of donor funds on excessive salaries and bloated payroll at 66 Brooks Drive, and we commit we will have the report done by March 1, and will have reduced all salaries that are out of line by March 30.”

As we have said before and will say again, 40% of parishes cannot pay their bills, many low-salaried Pastoral Center employees have lost their jobs in recent years–meanwhile, the amount and number of $150K+ salaries at the Pastoral Center have grown by more than 8X over the past 5-6 years. The archdiocese paid $393,000 in 2006 for such salaries and is paying $3,500,000 today.

Members of the “Compensation Committee” include several multi-millionaire business executives, and two priests. They include:

Paul W. Sandman, Chair
John H. McCarthy, Vice Chair, Finance Council
Rev. Michael E. Drea
Rev. James J. Ronan
Brian P. Concannon
Mary L. Ryan
Leo V. Sullivan

If a few of these people hear from you, maybe they will move more quickly to take action.  Here are four email addresses for you:,,,

Please take a moment and copy/forward this blog post via email to these people with a short note asking them to take action on these issues, or just hit “Share this:” and the Email graphic below to send the blog post to these people. Let us know if you hear back from anyone.

BCI predicts that little will come from the Compensation Committee and their costly report/survey effort and we predict the excessive six-figure salaries for lay executives will continue to drain precious financial resources in the future. But it is worth it to write to them and see if you can get them to do more.

For the sake of the fiscal health of the Boston Archdiocese, out of fiduciary responsibility to be a good steward of donor funds, and for the sake of the ability of the diocese to carry out the saving mission of Jesus Christ for years to come, we hope and pray we are pleasantly surprised and some meaningful change occurs here.  What do you think?

Bloated Payroll

February 18, 2012

We got word that the Boston Archdiocese is not going to answer our questions about the deceptive claim of a “balanced budget” in the 2011 Annual Report, and that will be the topic of an upcoming post.  In the meantime, we thought we would take a closer look at the bloated payroll, which contributed to what the Annual Report shows is a $4.2M operating loss for 2011. We also look at the slow pace of action by the new Compensation Committee.

Number of People Earning More than $150K

According to the annual report for the 2011 fiscal year (page 83), the number of people making $150K or more in that fiscal year was 17. If you compare that to the 2006 Annual Report, before outgoing Chancellor Jim McDonough arrived, you will see there were just 3 people in the Chancery paid more than $150K. So the number of people making $150K or more per year has increased by nearly 6X since 2006.

The total compensation paid to people making more than $150K has also increased by a factor of about 6X since 2006. In 2006, those three people paid over $150K per year were paid $553K in salaries.  According to the 2011 Annual Report as well as information from other sources, the 17 people at the Pastoral Center making more than $150K today in aggregate are paid somewhere close to $3.5M a year in salaries. Just to reiterate, that is about 6 times more than was paid in 2006 in $150K+ salaries vs 2006.  

Here are the six-figure salaries that were disclosed, or implicitly disclosed in the 2011 annual report (pages 76-80):

* Note: Kathleen Driscoll is reported at $38,462, but she was on the payroll for only about 2 months in that calendar year, so we extrapolated for 12 months to get $230K.

The names of the 6 other people paid $150K+ were not published in the annual report, but you can just look at the Pastoral Center directory for the high-ranking titles to get a good sense for the likely suspects:

Joseph D’Arrigo, Executive Director, Clergy Benefits
Mary Doorley, Vice President of Development
Carol Gustavson, Executive Director, Lay Benefits and Building Services
Mary Myers, Vice President of Development
Steven McDevitt, Director of IT
John Straub, Executive Director Finance and Operations, Interim Chancellor

Add it all up, and you get pretty close to $3.5M in salaries alone not counting benefits, which add another 15% or so on top of that.  If the archdiocese were to put a salary cap of $150K on all lay executives, that would cut $1M in salary expenses alone in one fell swoop!  But not much is happening to address the bloated salaries, and what is happening appears to be progressing at a glacial pace. It could also end up being just window-dressing.

Long time readers will recall that the Finance Council approved creating a Compensation Committee to look at executive compensation in November of 2010.  That was 15 months ago.  What has actually been accomplished since then?  Not much.  They hired a consultant who is working on a report.  BCI is not making this up. (More on that in a separate post).

At best, the Compensation Committee says they will have a report and recommended salary bands by June of 2012–more than 20 months after the Finance Council created the committee to look into this.  To BCI, it certainly does not seem anyone is in a big rush to act on this.

Even with what is reported, we only know that they “anticipate” the Committee will be in a position to “make recommendations” around the time of the annual performance reviews.  How about, “We are deeply troubled by the wasting of donor funds on excessive salaries and bloated payroll at 66 Brooks Drive, and we absolutely commit we will have reduced all salaries that are out of line by date Y?”

40% of parishes cannot pay their bills. Meanwhile, at the Pastoral Center, the amount and number of $150K+ salaries have grown by more than 6X over the past 5-6 years. They are paying about $3,500,000 in such salaries today vs $5533,000 in 2006–$3.1 million more to people making $150K+ a year. 

Are we really getting our money’s worth from these “best and brightest?”  Why is the Finance Council fiddling while 66 Brooks burns through precious donor funds in excessive salaries?  Does anyone really care about doing something to address this problem?

For the sake of the fiscal health of the Boston Archdiocese and ability of the diocese to continue the saving mission of Jesus Christ, we hope and pray something changes here, and quickly.  What do you think?

Is Cardinal O’Malley Whitewashing the Gay Scandal Investigation of St. John’s Seminary?

September 3, 2018

Several BCI readers have asked what we know about the latest on the investigation into homosexual activity and sexual harassment at St. Johns Seminary.  Based on internal and external indicators, we get the distinct impression the outcome could end up looking largely like a “nothing-burger” and it could be set-up as a whitewashing. A few heads may roll, but not much else will change.

When the scandal hit, Cardinal O’Malley responded with great fanfare about the major investigation into St. John’s Seminary. BCI is told that the high-paid folks on the 4th floor of the Pastoral Center said he needed to look tough on such issues right now. The rector was put on leave so there could be a “fully independent inquiry.”  We first thought that was odd phrasing, as the members of the inquiry panel include:

  • Aux. Bishop Mark O’Connell, who, coincidentally, was on the faculty of SJS during the time of the scandal
  • Attorney Kimberly Jones of Athena Legal Strategies, who, coincidentally, happens to also serve on the Archdiocesan Finance Council.
  • Dr. Francisco Cesareo, President of Assumption College and President of the USCCB National Review Board,  who, coincidentally, is also on the St. Johns Seminary Board of Trustees.  His college also sponsors AC Allies, a “gay/straight alliance…support group for LGBTQ students and their allies, and the college’s director of campus ministry, serves as the advisor to the group.
  • Mark Dunderdale, director of the Archdiocesan Office of Professional Standards and Oversight. who, coincidentally, has been paid more than $200K/year by the archdiocese since 2011 (see our post “Bloated payroll“)

Other than the above people investigating the problem, the group is “fully independent.”

John Monaco, one of those who reported the homosexual activity at OnePeterFive issued an open letter to Cardinal Sean and public complaint about a possible conflict of interest by Bishop O’Connell :

Admittedly, I am a bit perturbed that you appointed a former member of the seminary faculty (who was on the faculty during my time at SJS) to lead this investigation. The Catholic faithful have seen how bishops policing themselves and conducting internal investigations can jeopardize the objectivity so desperately needed for the pursuit of justice.

And now we learn in the Boston Pilot that Bishop O’Connell is sidelined , and Sr. Janet Eisner, head of Emmanuel College, is now leading the investigation.  Is this change because of the complaint from the former seminarian, or because Bishop O’Connell could be a candidate to take over as seminary rector after the investigation, or both?  We’re not sure.

Anyway, sources say the behind-the-scenes hand of Fr. Bryan Hehir is all over the investigation approach.  O’Connell said, “the scope of the inquiry will be the past five to six years, and its priority will be to ensure protocols are being properly implemented.”

This is screwy in so many ways it’s tough to describe them.  First, in his open letter, John asked that the investigation focus on three areas;

  1. Immoral and unprofessional misconduct by faculty and students alike, including, but not limited to:
  • “Private parties” where certain faculty members would invite an exclusive clique of seminarians into their room late at night
  • Widespread alcohol abuse, including a bachelor party hosted at the seminary in which a faculty member, drinking with seminarians until 2 a.m., fell out of his chair.
  • Allegations of grooming and its subsequent cover-up
  • A mismanagement of seminary finances

2. A toxic culture of fear, intimidation, and discrimination at Saint John’s Seminary

  • Bullying by certain faculty members
  • Threats of a lawsuit against those exposing the misconduct
  • Certain faculty members seen as “untouchable” and who survived over a decade of credible allegations
  • Fear from seminarians, priests, and laity of speaking out

3. Subsequent cover-up of such misconduct and unhealthy culture by leadership

  • that my complaints — and others’ — went ignored and mishandled
  • The insistent denial by leadership regarding the basis of these allegations

And Bishop O’Connell says the focus is on “protocols being properly implemented”?!?  Seriously?!  What “protocols”?  That seminarians shouldn’t be admitted if they have homosexual tendencies?  That if a homosexual is admitted, they shouldn’t be engaging in that activity publicly in the lounge of a seminary or hitting on other straight seminarians?  That if someone reports an instance of homosexual activity or being harassed to seminary leadership, the policy would be for the leader to take it seriously and the seminary to expel the homosexual, rather than blaming the victim? That there wouldn’t be bullying by faculty members?  That the culture wouldn’t be as described by the former seminarian?

Then there is the matter of Sr. Eisner now leading the “independent” investigation.  Coincidentally, she is also on the Board of Trustees of SJS.   Worse than that, Emmauel College is on a list of New Ways Ministry’s 130 known “gay-friendly” Catholic Colleges and Universities.

Emmanuel College has a club, OUTspoken, for LGBTQA students to create a better understanding of their self-identity.  Every year there is a student-led Reaching OUT Retreat for LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning, Ally) students on Cape Cod sponsored by OUTspoken and Campus Ministry which has as one core principle, “Accepting and being proud of your sexuality and who you are.” Then one sees that Sr. Eisner’s religious order, the Sisters of Notre Dame De Namur had a GLBT activist lead a retreat at the order’s high schools in California in 2014.

Wouldn’t this investigation into a homosexual scandal be a bit more “independent” and objective if the leader of it wasn’t so closely associated with promotion of the gay agenda herself?  Why not tap someone truly independent to lead it, who also believes and promotes what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality, such as the National Catholic Bioethics Center?

In his 2006 Letter on Homosexuality, Cardinal O’Malley said the following:

If we tell people that sex outside of marriage is not a sin, we are deceiving people. If they believe this untruth, a life of virtue becomes all but impossible. Jesus teaches that discipleship implies taking up the cross each day and following Him with love and courage.

It is never easy to deliver a message that calls people to make sacrifices or to do difficult things. Sometimes people want to punish the messenger. For this reason we priests at times find it difficult to articulate the Church’s teaching on sexual morality… It is important to express the moral teachings of the Church with clarity and fidelity. The Church must be Church. We must teach the truths of the Gospel in season and out of season. These recent times seem to us like it is out of season, but for that very reason it is even more urgent to teach the hard words of the Gospel today.

We know that friends and relatives of homosexual Catholics sometimes feel torn between their allegiance to Christ and their concern for their loved ones. I assure them that these goals are not incompatible. As Catholics we profess a firm belief in the dignity of each person and in the eternal destiny to which God calls us. Calling people to embrace the cross of discipleship, to live the commandments and at the same time assuring them that we love them as brothers and sisters can be difficult. Sometimes we are told: If you do not accept my behavior, you do not love me. In reality we must communicate the exact opposite: “Because we love you, we cannot accept your behavior.”‘

Does Sr. Eisner believe this and can she show evidence her administration has helped convey this perspective to Emmanuel College students? If not, then she should resign from the investigation committee and Cardinal O’Malley should appoint a leader who does believe this.

BCI understands some heads will likely roll after the investigation–maybe the rector, vice rector, and perhaps a faculty member disliked by some bishops, as a sign that changes are being made.  But that’s all that we expect at this point from this whitewashed investigation.  And then the questions emerge, who will replace those people?  There isn’t a lot of bench-strength depth, so BCI assumes some priests will end up doing three jobs instead of the two they are currently doing.

We hope and pray it turns out better than this, but we’re not hopeful.

Can Boston Archdiocese “prepare the way of the Lord”?

December 9, 2012

The Gospel today is a favorite of BCI and also has particular applicability to the Boston Archdiocese.  This passage from Luke 3: 1-6 is the one that has always been powerful for BCI.

A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

During this season of Advent, in what ways in our own lives do we prepare the way of the Lord and make straight His paths?  What things in our lives need to be straightened out?  What mountains and hills should be lowered?  What “winding roads” should be made straight?  What rough ways made smooth?

Then there is the Boston Archdiocese.  As discussed in “Is Boston Archdiocese Violating ‘Motu Proprio’ on Charity?” as of Monday, December 10, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston, will be in violation of the new Motu Proprio issued by Pope Benedict XVI for paying salaries to 17 lay executives which are nowhere near “in due proportion to analogous expenses of his diocesan Curia.”  As we know from “Bloated Payroll” and numerous other posts, seventeen people at the Pastoral Center are paid salaries ranging from $150K to $325K today–about 4X-8X more per person than clergy are paid. In aggregate, they are paid somewhere close to $3.5M a year in salaries alone. This is about 6 times more than was paid in 2006 in $150K+ salaries.

Is Cardinal O’Malley willing to “make low” the mountain of excessive compensation paid to his lay executives and key employees, including the Superintendent of Schools, Assistant Schools Superintendent, Secretary for Catholic Media, General Counsel, Secretary for Institutional Advancement, two Development VPs, Chancellor, Director of Office of Professional Standards, Executive Director of HR and others?

Are Cardinal O’Malley and Vicar General bishop-elect Deeley willing to “make straight” the winding roads by removing senior people from roles where they are poorly suited to the task at hand, do not know or promote the full truths of the Catholic faith, or have mountains of controversy surrounding them?  For example, this be a great time to make “straight the winding road” and let go any or all of the following:

  • Jack Connors, for his public fund-raising for Obama (whose HHS mandate threatens the religious liberties of the Catholic Church) and his close ties to the abortion industry.
  • The Rasky Baerlein PR firm, filled with Obama and Biden supporters, fundraisers and former aides who work against the Catholic Church by supporting Obama and Biden, and who collect a lot of money for very little in output.
  • The overpaid Secretary for Communications who is closely tied to Rasky and who Rasky hired.
  • The controversial Cabinet Secretary for Social Services and Healthcare, who has no healthcare network anymore to deal with, has a full-time paid President running Catholic Charities and believes Catholic teachings on morality should be suppressed in the public square.
  • The Assistant Vicar for Administration and Special Assistant to the Vicar General, who, observers say does not seem to multi-task well or get along well with others.
  • The Executive Director – Human Resources, Benefits and Administration, who is a proud ex-Catholic, had no background in benefits, was a labor attorney prior to working for the Archdiocese, is massively over-paid in her role vs what other dioceses pay for similar functions, and who was the sponsor of the controversial Pastoral Center yoga class earlier this year offered by her own personal yoga instructor.

Is the Boston Archdiocese–specifically Cardinal O’Malley and Bishop-elect Deeley–willing to prepare the way of the Lord by making low the mountain of excessive compensation so as to conform to the Motu Proprio and making straight the paths by moving out people who are in the wrong senior roles so the right person could be placed instead?

We hope and pray they will, but are not holding our breath waiting.

Is Boston Archdiocese Violating ‘Motu Proprio’ on Charity?

December 4, 2012

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has just issued a “Motu Proprio’ , “On the Service of Charity.  Based on our read of it, we agree with the take of others that this could be one of the most important papal directives in the last fifty years, with the potential for significant impact in Boston if abided by.  It not only helps the Catholic Church more effectively speak with one clear voice in the defense of the most vulnerable in society–such as the poor and unborn–but it also sets clear guidelines for how Catholic Church organizations should and should not operate–in terms of compensation, adherence to the truths of the Catholic Faith and other important areas.  

Given everything we know is going on in Boston, a big question emerges–is Boston in violation of the “Motu Proprio” already? Between the the excessive six-figure salaries for lay executives, allowing a Finance Council member to work against the mission of the Catholic Church, allowing parishes to run faith education programs contrary to Church teachings, and sponsoring second collections that support organizations whose work has been shown to violate Church teachings, we have quite a mix to choose from here. Below we will highlight just a few passages from the Motu Proprio, with our commentary following.





The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia) and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable” (Deus Caritas Est, 25).

The service of charity is also a constitutive element of the Church’s mission and an indispensable expression of her very being (cf. ibid.)…

With regard to this diakonia of charity, in my Encyclical Deus Caritas Est I pointed out that “in conformity with the episcopal structure of the Church, the Bishops, as successors of the Apostles, are charged with primary responsibility for carrying out in the particular Churches” the service of charity (No. 32); …

In view of this, with the present Motu Proprio I intend to provide an organic legislative framework for the better overall ordering of the various organized ecclesial forms of the service of charity, which are closely related to the diaconal nature of the Church and the episcopal ministry.

Dispositive Part

Consequently, upon the proposal of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, and after consultation with the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, I establish and decree the following:

Art. 2. – § 1. The Statutes of each charitable agency referred to in the preceding article must also contain, in addition to its institutional offices and structures of governance in accordance with canon 95 § 1 CIC, the guiding principles and objectives of the initiative, the management of funds, the profile of its workers, as well as the reports and information which must be presented to the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Art. 4. .

§ 3. It is the responsibility of the diocesan Bishop to ensure that in the activities and management of these agencies the norms of the Church’s universal and particular law are respected, as well as the intentions of the faithful who made donations or bequests for these specific purposes (cf. canons 1300 CIC and 1044 CCEO).

Art. 7. – .

§ 2. To ensure an evangelical witness in the service of charity, the diocesan Bishop is to take care that those who work in the Church’s charitable apostolate, along with due professional competence, give an example of Christian life and witness to a formation of heart which testifies to a faith working through charity. To this end, he is also to provide for their theological and pastoral formation, through specific curricula agreed upon by the officers of various agencies and through suitable aids to the spiritual life.

[BCI Commentary] Given this, is the ongoing involvement of Finance Council member and Catholic Schools fundraiser, Jack Connors in the archdiocese a violation of the Motu Proprio?  How can Connors’ financial support for abortion on-demand and fund-raising for President Obama–who not only supports abortion on-demand but also is imposing laws on the country that threaten and violate our religious freedom–be considered to “give an example of Christian life and witness to a formation of heart which testifies to a faith working through charity”?  What program of theological formation would lead Connors to repentance and conversion?

§ 3. It is the duty of the diocesan Bishop and the respective parish priests to see that in this area the faithful are not led into error or misunderstanding; hence they are to prevent publicity being given through parish or diocesan structures to initiatives which, while presenting themselves as charitable, propose choices or methods at odds with the Church’s teaching.

[BCI Commentary] A look at our post, Boston Parish Adult Faith Formation: Good and Bad shows a few of the problems.  At St. Susanna in Dedham, Fr. Steve Josoma offers an adult faith formation program with discussions of Buddhism,  Mormonism, and nuns under attack by the Vatican.  At Holy Family in Concord, the faith formation series under pastor Fr. Austin Fleming features speakers from the recent Voice of the Faithful conference in Boston, including Thomas Groome , a national co-chair of “Catholics for Obama” and a former priest. At Blessed Sacrament in Walpole, under Adult Faith Formation their Book Club recently read the fictional sex novel, Prodigal Summer, by Barbara Kingsolver. 

Furthermore, the Boston Archdiocese continues to promote a second collection each November to benefit the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, even though there is a long paper-trail of evidence that their grants continue to go to pro-abortion and anti-family groups.

Art. 10. – § 1. It is the responsibility of the Bishop to supervise the ecclesiastical goods of the charitable agencies subject to his authority.

§ 4. In a particular way, the Bishop is to see that the management of initiatives dependent on him offers a testimony of Christian simplicity of life. To this end, he will ensure that salaries and operational expenses, while respecting the demands of justice and a necessary level of professionalism, are in due proportion to analogous expenses of his diocesan Curia.

[BCI Commentary] Two years after the Boston Finance Council formed a “Compensation Committee” to supposedly work on the matter of the bloated payroll filled with excessive six-figure salaries, there still has been no meaningful action taken. At long last, it sounds like there could be some canonical teeth as the basis for action.  Is the $325K salary of Schools Superintendent, Mary Grassa O’Neill in “due proportion” to the analogous expenses of the diocesan Curia, where priests are paid about $41K annually?  When exactly will the do-nothing Compensation Committee issue their long-awaited salary report and actually do something?

I order that everything I have laid down in this Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio be fully observed, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, even if worthy of particular mention, and I decree that it be promulgated by publication in the daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and enter into force on 10 December 2012.

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 11 November, in the year 2012, the eighth of my Pontificate.

With publication of the ‘Motu Proprio’, there is hope that these provisions will be codified in the Code of Canon Law at some point in the future. We also hope Boston takes action on these matters before that.

Just to help speed that along, please forward this post to the Apostolic Nuncio for the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò at nuntiususa(at)  Tell him you are a faithful Catholic in Boston concerned about violations to the Motu Proprio and are asking for his intervention to help Boston comply with the Motu Priorio.

Boston Archdiocesan Execs Fail to Support Defeat of Assisted Suicide

November 28, 2012

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?

Boston Herald: Up in alms over salaries

March 21, 2012

The Boston Herald has an article today reporting on the high executive salaries in the Pastoral Center that is worth reading.  We excerpt from it below, and offer brief BCI commentary after the article.

Up in alms over salaries
Church asks for more as top Catholic administrators see pay spike

By Erin Smith
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

With the Archdiocese of Boston in the middle of its 2012 Catholic Appeal fundraiser, the number of church employees earning upward of $150,000 has skyrocketed by more than threefold even as the church has been shuttering parishes, a Herald review found.

In 2006, the archdiocese listed only five employees earning more than $150,000, but its latest annual report shows 17 “senior lay executives” topped $150,000 last year. Among the latest eye-popping salaries and fiscal details the review found:

•     Total compensation for Mary Grassa O’Neill, superintendent of the archdiocese’s Catholic schools, last year topped $351,000, surpassing the $323,222 earnings of Boston Superintendent of Schools Carol R. Johnson. 

•    The top archdiocesan lawyer totaled $326,169.

•    The recently departed chancellor, the archdiocese’s top financial officer, grossed $276,486.

•    Since 2006, the archdiocese has cut 50 staff members but payroll costs increased by nearly $1 million.

“To focus on salaries and not look at the broader picture is vastly unfair,” archdiocesan spokesman Terrence Donilon said about the high-priced laymen. “These folks are immensely talented people who are helping one of the largest archdioceses in the country repair itself. The church is in a much better position than it was 10 years ago and that’s in no small part due to the talented people the cardinal has brought around him.”

Donilon, whose compensation topped $193,000 last year, said that even though the payroll went from $8.3 million in 2006 to $9.2 million this year despite dramatic job cuts, the church has actually saved $250,000 in payroll costs over the past five years when taking into account inflation.

Council of Parishes chairman Peter Borre, whose group fights church closures, said the hefty payroll runs counter to “the basic spiritual mission of the Catholic Church.”

“The crushing overhead weight at headquarters is becoming an intolerable burden for many parishes, and if the archdiocese wants to cut costs, it should start with Braintree, not in the churches,” Borre said.

Donilon credited school superintendent O’Neill with increasing Catholic school enrollment in Boston and Lowell while slowing an overall decline.

“Mary had a great job at Harvard,” he said. “She didn’t need to take on this assignment, which is one of the toughest Catholic school assignments in the country.”

Just weeks ago, the archdiocese launched its annual Catholic Appeal — which raised about $13.7 million last year — only months after proposing a parish reorganization plan. Donilon said it’s too soon to say whether it will result in more church closures.

“The Catholics throughout Boston are expecting a major round of church closings regardless of what the archdiocese says and that’s going to make people hang onto their wallets,” Borre said. “What’s the point of throwing good money after bad if the overhead of the archdiocese is eating up the cash of the diocese?”

The Herald got most of the story correct, but there are a few details they missed.

  • The Herald’s look at the number of $150K+ employees in the 2006 fiscal year incorrectly assumed there were 5 employees making $150K+, when in fact, two of those employees left that year (David Smith and Ken Hokensen) and were replaced (by Jim McDonough and Scot Landry), so the positions were double-counted by the Herald .(See 2006 Annual Report).  In reality, the number of people making $150K or more per year increased from 3 in 2006 to 17 in 2011, for an increase of almost six-fold.
  • If you add up the salaries for the 3 people (Smith, Hokensen, and Donilon) making more than $150K in 2005, the year before the former Chancellor arrived, they total $553K. Add up the $150K+ salaries from 17 people for the 2011 fiscal year and you get nearly $3.5M, also a more than six-fold increase.
  • The compensation for Barbara Johnson, Boston Schools Superintendent may have been misreported in the Herald article.   See this April 2011 press release announcing the renewal of the contract for Barbara Johnson, which puts her salary at $266,750.: “At Superintendent Johnson’s request, her annual salary will hold steady at $266,750 – a voluntary decrease from the original salary of $275,000 when she first arrived in 2007. Dr. Johnson has also requested the removal of a provision in the contract that entitles her to a $600 per month car allowance.  Superintendent Johnson has never accepted the stipend since beginning her tenure with BPS. She uses her own private vehicle for all work purposes. Superintendent Johnson has also never elected to accept a performance-based compensation of up to $20,000 annually that the contract entitles her to receive.”  [Update: in a private email exchange with the Herald, they maintain from this source, that her compensation is $323,222)

    By the way, Johnson has direct operational responsibility and authority over hiring, budgets, teacher contract negotiation, busing, curriculum, etc for all Boston Public Schools, while Mary Grassa O’Neill, does not have similar operational responsibility and authority over Boston Catholic schools–they are managed locally. New York and Los Angeles pay their school superintendents $250K/year to directly manage school systems that are 15-20X bigger.

  • Not mentioned in the Herald Report about compensation for Terry Donilon is the fact that he is paid about $50K more per year than the previous lay Communications Secretary–an increase of nearly 45%, for no apparent reason. The former Chancellor, Jim McDonough was paid 30% more than his precedessor. Mary Grassa O’Neill is paid 12X more than her predecessor, a religious sister.  Three fund-raising VPs today are paid in aggregate about 3X what one fund-raising secretary was paid in 2005.
  • The comment by Terry Donilon that the church has saved $250,000 in payroll costs over the past five years when taking inflation into account merits more scrutiny.  First, we know that some salary expenses have been shifted off Central Operations to other related entities (e.g. sexual abuse victim counseling, clergy funds).  It is impossible from publicly disclosed reports to determine how much of the claimed “savings” is real, or how much has simply been shifted to other entities. Second, to whatever extent the total payroll-related expenses might have remained flat, it is largely due to the headcount reductions of lower-level people and freezing of lower-level salaries, while the $150K+ salaries grew.  Long-time BCI readers will recall how former Chancellor McDonough said in December 2010, “employees have not had a raise in four years,” which really meant that lower-level employees were not getting raises, while certain higher-paid employees did get raises.
  • If everything is just fine with the $150K+ salaries, then why did the Finance Council form a “Compensation Committee” to review executive compensation, and why did the Compensation Committee hire an expensive consultant to work on the problem? (see “Boston Archdiocese Bloated Payroll Inaction).
  • Administrative expenses have apparently grown from 26% of the total budget in 2005 to 36% in 2011. Many of these expenses are indeed loaded onto the backs of parishes who are struggling to pay their bills.  As we reported in “How Your Money is Spent, ” in the 2012 fiscal year, 36% of the budget ($9.95M out of $27.8M) is consumed by Administrative Services. By means of comparison, in 2010, Administrative Services expenses were 30% of the total budget (see “Easy Come, Easy Go“).  As a further comparison, if you look at the 2005 operating results in the annual report here, you will see that Management and General expenses (equivalent to Administrative Services, as best as we can tell) in 2005 were $10.1M out of total expenses of $37.9M, or 26% of the total.

BCI is also aware of the spin in the Terry Donilon email sent around last night. It will require a separate post to go into that.

For the ability of the archdiocese to continue her saving mission in the future and not be encumbered by high executive salaries and administrative expenses, we hope and pray that Vicar General Msgr. Deeley makes it a high priority to address the $150K+ salary and administrative expense problems in the very near future.

2012 Boston Archdiocese Year in Review

January 5, 2013

Before we get too far into 2013, BCI thought we would offer a quick review of some of the highlights and lowlights of the past year in the Boston Archdiocese.

In our opinion, the most significant milestones were the departure of the previous Chancellor, the approval of the new pastoral plan that will shape parish life for many years ahead, the Question 2/Physician Assisted Suicide campaign, the continued inaction on excessive six-figure salaries even in the face of the new Motu Proprio, and the unwillingness or inability of Cardinal O’Malley to get rid of people like Jack Connors whose personal actions work against the Catholic Church.

2012 started with a bang in January with Fr. Bryan Hehir appearing on a panel “Truth, Lies, and Politics.” that featured anti-Catholic U.S. Rep. Barney Frank. A number of people complained to the office of Vicar General Msgr. Deeley. Fr. Hehir commented on the panel that “telling the moral truth about how we make decisions is important for people whose faces we will never see, but who are touched by American power.”  We are still unclear on how Fr. Hehir would expect political figures such as Barney Frank to possibly tell the “moral truth” about their decisions that are fundamentally immoral, such as supporting abortion.  The appearance with Barney Frank is not surprising, given the other venues Fr. Hehir has spoken at during his time as a priest.

Late January brought the Obama administration’s “unconscionable” birth control mandate upon Catholic institutions, which violates our religious freedom. This was a part of Obamacare, whose passage was supported by the Catholic Health Association. Naturally, Fr. Hehir had publicly praised the CHA in 2010 for their “intelligent and courageous leadership” in pushing for passage of Obamacare.

Late January also brought the first pass at the framework for the new pastoral plan, with the foundation being the new concept of Pastoral Service Teams to serve multiple parishes in a collaborative.

The really big news of January was that former Chancellor Jim McDonough resigned.  BCI had been pushing for his removal for some time, and we were pleased to see that happen. John Straub was named Interim Chancellor.

2011-2012 fiscal year results were announced just before the resignation of Jim McDonough. The archdiocese claimed a balanced budget, but the Chancellor prior to Jim McDonough did an analysis that found the budget was not actually balanced, and our analysis of the numbers found the same concerns.  A comparison between 2006 and 2011 found that Management and Overhead expenses were up $8 million or 71% and Pastoral Programs were down $6.1 million or 27%. BCI found that administrative expenses have grown from 26% of the expenses to 36% of expenses over the past 6 years.

The 2011-2012 annual report also showed that 17 people earn compensation of $150K+ a year. That sums more than $3.5M--and represents an increase of 600% in six years in the cost of compensation for people making $150K/year or more. The Compensation Committee that was supposed to deal with this problem wrote a short statement saying they had hired an outside consultant and were hoping to do something in June, when annual reviews would be done. No meaningful action has been taken as best as we can determine.

In March, the Catholic Appeal was launched and the previous year results were announced–another miss for the new fundraising “dream team.” The 2011 Catholic Appeal raised $13.7M, against their goal announced in April 2011 of $14M.  No explanation was provided for the team that is supposed to be “transparent and accountable.” Years after the Campaign for Catholic Schools 2010 initiative ended, we still heard nothing about how they did towards their original goal of raising $70M by the end of 2010.

In March, we also saw the Pastoral Center officially offer a yoga class to employees, even though the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had stated concerns that Eastern practices such as yoga, Zen, and transcendental meditation posed a danger, in that they could “degenerate into a cult of the body” that edged out “the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit.  It was offered by the private yoga instructor of the HR Exec. Director, a proud ex-Catholic, and this fell under the auspices of Interim Chancellor Straub, who did nothing to stop the class. Complaints to the Vicar General resulted in him acknowledging the spiritual dangers of yoga, but defending the class as just “stretching exercise.”  If it was just a “stretching exercise,” then why not just offer a stretching class?

In April, the Boston Herald wrote “Up in Alms About Salaries, noting how, since 2006, the archdiocese has cut 50 staff members but payroll costs increased by nearly $1 million. The payroll went from $8.3 million in 2006 to $9.2 million last year despite dramatic job cuts. Spokesman Terrence Donilon, with total compensation and benefits of $193,000, defended the excessive six-figure salaries saying, “These folks are immensely talented people who are helping one of the largest archdioceses in the country repair itself.”  Meanwhile, 40-50% of parishes cannot pay their bills and have to pay the archdiocese 18% of collections to help sustain the bloated bureaurcracy.

In April, the archdiocese also ended the seven-year parish vigil at Our Lady of Mount Carmel by changing the locks on the doors of the church–something BCI had been suggesting for almost two years.

In May, the archdiocese got more active promoting the cause of religious freedom and opposition to the HHS contraception mandate, including promoting the USCCB “Fortnight of Freedom” and a Boston “town hall meeting” with Cardinal O’Malley on June 25.

In June, the archdiocese announced a search for a new Director of Pastoral Planning. Consistent with almost all of their job descriptions and searches for key roles, they do not in any way  explicitly require that the person in the job be a practicing Catholic who believes what the Catholic Church believes.

On June 25, Cardinal O’Malley hosted the town hall meeting on religious freedom. The same day, his chief fundraiser for Catholic Schools and member of the Finance Council, Jack Connors, hosted a $40,000/person fundraiser for the campaign of President Obama. Faithful Catholics asked, “How we can have a member of the Archdiocese of Boston Finance Council responsible for Institutional Advancement who is working against the Catholic Church by publicly fundraising for a politician who wants to violate our religious freedom?  No response.

In July, it was announced that Holy Trinity was in the process of being relegated to profane use. Several months later, the beautiful neo-gothic style church built in 1877 was officially relegated to profane use, the last step before it could be sold, and likely demolished.

In August, the Boston Archdiocese explained how they justify keeping Jack Connors as a Finance Council member despite his support for anti-Catholic pro-abortion politicians and for abortion. As long as the money is green, it does not matter what Connors does in his “private” life, even if those actions publicly harm the Catholic Church.

In September, the final Pastoral Planning proposal was published. It reflects some changes from the original proposal to better address the need for evangelization.

In October, the archdiocesan effort to oppose Question 2, Physician-Assisted Suicide, kicked into higher gear, including a town-hall meeting on the topic. A narrow victory on Question 2 was ultimately achieved.

In November, the Pastoral Plan was approved by Cardinal O’Malley.The organization of parishes into collaboratives with one shared pastor will impact the diocese and how individuals worship for yearrs, if not decades to come.

In December, the Boston Archdiocese found itself in violation of the new Motu Proprio issued by Pope Benedict XVI.  The Motu Proprio says, salaries and operational expenses are to be in “due proportion to analogous expenses of his diocesan Curia.”  That is clearly not the case in Boston.

Last but not least, BCI hit new readership milestones in 2012.  In 2012, BCI was read by 234,000 unique visitors, with 313,000 pageloads.  In sum total since we started BCI, the blog has been read by 536,000 unique visitors with 764,000 pageloads.  With the majority of our visitors coming from Massachusetts, that means most Mass-attending Catholics in the Boston Archdiocese have read BCI at least once if not multiple times. About 1/3 of our visitors are repeat visitors. See below (click on graphic to zoom).

visitor report

When Cardinal O’Malley, Bishop Deeley, John Straub, Terry Donilon and others try to pretend that a blog like BCI does not matter or does not get much readership, they might want to think again.

We thank our readers for your continued readership and support, and hope and pray that BCI can continue to make a difference in bringing the Boston Archdiocese back to a stronger practice of the Catholic faith.

Catholic Appeal Accountability

March 9, 2012

BCI is on a lighter blogging schedule in March due to other pressing responsibilities.

Last weekend, Boston Catholics were treated to the sales pitch during Masses for the launch of the 2012 Catholic Appeal.  Here are a few aspects about the appeal that BCI thought faithful Catholics should know and Vicar General Msgr. Deeley might want to dig into a little more, for the sake of the future of the archdiocese.

  • Regarding the 2012 appeal, the Boston Pilot reported , “The archdiocese has not announced a goal for the 2012 appeal campaign.”
  • The Boston Archdiocese has also never announced the fund-raising results for the Campaign for Catholic Schools 2010 initiative that had a goal of raising $70M by the end of 2010.
  • When Boston Catholic Development Services was formed and announced in November 2010, the Boston Archdiocese said:

“The newly established 501(c) (3) organization will ensure donors of independence and accountability…BCDS will also be accountable to the respective boards representing the entities they serve such as the Archdiocese, the Clergy Fund and Campaign for Catholic Schools.”

The concept behind BCDS as pitched was to try and create a centralized more streamlined, efficient fundraising operation across several different entities, with the end goal of raising even more money at a lower overall cost per $ raised. A lot of well-intentioned people are working in that effort. Now that the archdiocese is 18 months into this experiment with two annual appeals under their belts, the Vicar General might want to dig in and see how well the costly experiment is really working.

A reasonable person might ask if the $2.3M budgeted expense in 2012 to pay fundraising staff and promotional programs is paying off as expected.  Also, how can a fundraising organization be considered ‘accountable’ when they do not announce their fundraising goals and compare results against those goals?

Is the fundraising problem still being attributed internally just  to “the economy”?  Even if that remains a factor, could part of the fundraising problem also be that Catholics have had it with the excessive six-figure salaries and bloated Pastoral Center payroll of nearly $3.5M in $150K+ salaries alone–and more people have stopped giving to the appeal? As we know from the new Catholic Appeal website, the Catholic Appeal funds 50% of the RCAB budget.

That being the case, then one might assume that the Catholic Appeal funds 50% of the $10M in administrative expenses below–either directly or indirectly via service fees charged back to the departments whose programs are funded by the appeal).


And one might also assume that the appeal helps fund about 50% of the $3.5M in $150K+ salaries we have discussed many times before.

It is good that the archdiocese is transparent in sharing where the money comes from and where the money goes to. But at some point, when will they take serious action to reduce the excessive six-figure salaries and reduce administrative expenses, so that more of the limited donor contributions will go to ministry programs that accomplish the saving mission of the Catholic Church instead of paying overhead?

At whatever point meaningful action is taken towards that end, hopefully people will feel more comfortable giving to the appeal again. In the meantime, withholding contributions from the appeal still appears to be the only way of trying to deliver a “wake-up call” to the archdiocese that they need to tighten their belts on the expense line. Instead, we suggest people give to their local parish and designate the contribution to pay a specific bill (e.g. heating, maintenance).  If some of the big donors in the Cardinal’s Leadership Circle would tell the fundraisers they are withholding contributions until the salary problem is addressed, we can only hope and pray that the folks at 66 Brooks will notice.

BCI hopes the Vicar General is able to address these issues, for the future of the archdiocese and ability to accomplish the saving mission of Jesus Christ in Boston in years ahead.

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