Boston Globe: alleged accusers left off list

November 20, 2011

The “Catholic Church Attack Engine” at the Boston Globe appears to have filled up with gasoline this past week.  On Friday they published a rather biased “Editor steers church paper into controversy”  piece going after The Boston Pilot–quoting, of course, the standard-bearer dissenting Catholics the Globe apparently has on “speed-dial” who are invariably quoted saying something critical about the Catholic Church. Today, we have a journalistic rehashing of the complaints from August that the Archdiocese of Boston excluded in its public list of priests accused of sexual abuse, those priests who came from religious orders or other dioceses.

BCI has said this before and will say it again, if the Boston Globe is really concerned about the sexual abuse of children and about victims having the courage to come forward with claims of past abuse, why has there been no investigation whatsoever of the matter of sexual abuse of children in public schools, where the problem is reportedly far more extensive, or a call for public disclosure of the names of public school teachers accused of sexual abuse of children?  Why is that?

Front Page Hypocricy

This is to Michael Rezendes, reporter of the piece today in the Globe, “Many alleged abusers left off church list.”  Your carefully-worded Wikipedia entry–written by username “Script8″ who, coincidentally, has only contributed on Wikipedia to your profile and nothing else–says the following:

For nearly a decade Rezendes was also a member of the Globe’s Spotlight Team, where he shared a Pulitzer Prize for investigating the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. For his reporting and writing on the Church, he also shared the George Polk Award for National Reporting, the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, and numerous other honors.

Rezendes was the lead writer and reporter on the opening story of the Globe’s series on the Church…In addition, Rezendes broke the stories about similar cover-ups by Church officials in New York City and Tucson, Arizona…Rezendes and the Spotlight Team were also Pulitzer Prize finalists for a series of stories that uncovered abuses in the debt collection industry.

As a Spotlight Team member, Rezendes played a key role in many of the Globe’s most significant investigations, including those probing the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, financial corruption in the nation’s charitable foundations, and the plight of mentally ill state prisoners.

This background suggests reporting skills which are not at all in evidence in your article today or your coverage of the problem of child sexual abuse in society.

Catholics acknowledge the pain that hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by clergy in Boston have experienced. And the Globe report begrudingly acknowledges that the extent of disclosure by the Boston Archdiocese “compares favorably with the vast majority of the nation’s 195 dioceses, which have released no official lists at all.”  Michael, arguably the Catholic Church is now the safest institution in the world for children. You know that.  After nearly 10 years of disclosures of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, surely you are aware that your own work has made it easier for victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy to come forward and not fear they are alone. 

So, if you and the Globe really give a rat’s @#$ about victims of sexual  abuse, why have you not tackled the much greater problem of sexual abuse in public schools and other public institutions?

BCI is going to restate and add to what we said in this post back in August.

Why is there no effort by the Boston Globe and Attorney General Martha Coakley to have public disclosure of the names of public school teachers who have abused children?   This article on LifeSiteNews says that according to Charol Shakeshaft, researcher of a little-remembered 2004 study prepared for the U.S. Department of Education, “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.” According to the 2004 study “the most accurate data available at this time” indicates that “nearly 9.6 percent of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career.”

George Weigel, writing in First Things in 2010 said:

The sexual and physical abuse of children and young people is a global plague; its manifestations run the gamut from fondling by teachers to rape by uncles to kidnapping-and-sex-trafficking. In the United States alone, there are reportedly some 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse. Forty to sixty percent were abused by family members, including stepfathers and live-in boyfriends of a child’s mother—thus suggesting that abused children are the principal victims of the sexual revolution, the breakdown of marriage, and the hook-up culture. Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft reports that 6-10 percent of public school students have been molested in recent years—some 290,000 between 1991 and 2000.  According to other recent studies, 2 percent of sex abuse offenders were Catholic priests—a phenomenon that spiked between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s but seems to have virtually disappeared (six credible cases of clerical sexual abuse in 2009 were reported in the U.S. bishops’ annual audit, in a Church of some 65,000,000 members).

Remember that number–six credible cases of sexual abuse by priests were reported in 2009 out of 65 million Catholics.  In New York City, Archbishop Dolan shared word on his blog that the “rate of sexual abuse among public school teachers is 10 times higher than that of priests.” The statistics were from a NYS Special Commissioner of Investigation report that substantiated 78 abuse cases by teachers in 2009, and 73 such cases in 2010.  There were 78 cases in just NY City Public Schools in 2009, but 6 across the entire Catholic Church nationally.  Where is the problem, really?  Why does the Boston Globe not insist that similar work be done in Boston Public Schools or across the state, and that a list of accused teachers be published?

On March 12, 2011, the NY Times published a report about widespread abuse problems in more than 2,000 New York state-run homes for the developmentally disabled. Despite a state law requiring that incidents in which a crime may have been committed be reported to law enforcement, state records show that of some 13,000 allegations of abuse in 2009 within state-operated and licensed homes, fewer than 5 percent were referred to law enforcement.

One might argue that is New York, not Massachusetts. Here in Massachusetts, in 2007 then-U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan reported on his study of 11 years of records at the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission. Sullivan found “very concerning neglect and abuse trends”, especially sexual abuse, in state-supported vendor-operated group homes for the disabled. In the report, he said:

“Unfortunately, after reviewing data from the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, our office did note some very concerning neglect and abuse trends in Contract Vendor operated community residences, as compared to the ICF/MRs and State operated community residences. These neglect and abuse trends, particularly sexual abuse, were of great concern to our office and shows that residents in our community homes are at a greater risk of being abused and/or neglected.”

What are Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Michael Rezendes and the crack Spotlight Team doing about the “very concerning neglect and abuse” of the disabled in state-supported homes?  What is Attorney General Martha Coakley doing?  Nothing that we can find reported publicly.

This 2001 report from the Guttmacher Institute says, “Almost one-third of females and nearly one in 10 male high school students in Massachusetts say they have experienced sexual abuse.  Where is the outrage?  What is the Boston Globe doing about this?  What is Martha Coakely doing?  Nothing that we can find reported publicly.

Martha Coakley is quoted as saying, “By failing to name the visiting priests and those from religious orders they’re sending a mixed message to the public…’’  Martha, how do you justify the mixed message YOU are sending to the public by your complete and utter failure to investigate and publicly disclose names of those guilty of sexual abuse of children in public schools or of adults in state-run facilities?

Yet the drumbeat goes on and the criticism continues, asking for the release of yet more names by the Catholic Church.  How the Globe and Attorney General justify their front-page hypocricy to themselves personally and to the public is a mystery.

Shoddy Journalism

Is this paragraph by Rezendes an example of unbiased news reporting?

To many committed Catholics, his brown robe and sandals – the attire of a Capuchin friar – symbolized a refreshingly humble alternative to his predecessor, the imperious Cardinal Bernard F. Law, who resigned as archbishop and decamped for Rome after 58 of his priests signed a letter urging him to quit because of his handling of the burgeoning abuse crisis…

It is not even factually accurate.  “Decamp” means “to depart suddenly.”  Cardinal Law resigned in December of 2002 and he did not “decamp” to Rome after 58 priests signed a letter urging him to quit.  As reported in February of 2003 by the Associated Press, Law, in fact, went to Maryland a few months after leaving Boston and was chaplain to the Sisters of Mercy of Alma. Perhaps Mr. Rezendes should reread the Globe archives to see the Globe’s own story from November 2003 that acknowledged Law was living in a convent in Maryland. It was not until May of 2004 that Law was named to his post as archpriest at Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore.  And where exactly does the reporter get his facts to justify the opinion of “many committed Catholics” that Cardinal Bernard Law was “imperious”?  Would those “many committed Catholics” be the people he interviewed for this story?

Why Boston Archdiocese is Not Releasing Names of Religious Order Priests and Those from Other Dioceses

This is the explanation given by Cardinal O’Malley and the Boston Archdiocese in August 2011:

“Another issue to which I have given substantial consideration has to do with listing names of accused priests who are not priests of the Boston Archdiocese, but are religious order priests or priests from other dioceses.  After careful consideration, I have decided to limit the names that are being published on our website to clergy of the Boston Archdiocese.  I have decided not to include names of religious order priests or priests from other dioceses on our list because the Boston Archdiocese does not determine the outcome in such cases; that is the responsibility of the priest’s order or diocese.  I recognize that, over the years, many religious order priests and priests of other dioceses have served within the territory of the Boston Archdiocese, including in assignments at our parishes.

In its 2004 report, the Archdiocese published information with respect to the number of religious order priests and priests from other dioceses who had been accused of abusing minors while serving within the Archdiocese.  Archdiocesan policy is that, as soon as an accusation of misconduct is received against a religious order priest or a priest from a different diocese, we immediately notify law enforcement, as well as the superior of that order or the bishop of that diocese, and revoke the accused priest’s faculties to minister within our Archdiocese.  Under canon law, it falls to the superior or to the bishop to investigate and evaluate the accusation, taking appropriate canonical action. I urge the religious orders and other dioceses to consider their own policies with regard to publishing the names of accused clergy.  I hope that other dioceses and religious orders will review our new policy and consider making similar information available to the public to the extent they have not already done so.”

Bishop Accountability and SNAP

Terrence McKiernan, founder of BishopAccountability.org, is featured prominently in the Globe article. Yet oddly, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who wrote the Globe story tells us virtually nothing about McKiernan, or about his organization.  Who is McKiernan?  It is virtually impossible to find much about his background anywhere. This piece from the SNAP 2009 Conference brochure describes him as follows:

Terence McKiernan founded BishopAccountability.org in 2003 and is the organization’s president. Terry holds master’s degrees in Classics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Bristol in England. Before his involvement in the church crisis, he was an academic editor and a consulting firm manager.

What led to his “involvement in the church crisis”?  Various web searches turn up Terence McKiernan, 57, of Natick, and Terence McKiernan-White, a former copy editor for the Cornell University Press.  But why does the Globe not share whatever other credentials and background that give him credibility and standing to be quoted in matters of Church governance, besides McKiernan’s self-appointment as the “president” of BishopAccountability.org?  And who exactly are the main sources of funding for BishopAccountability.org?  What is their budget?  How is McKiernan compensated?

Then there is the matter of the agendas of McKiernan and his SNAP colleagues.  BCI and others have said it appears they will never be satisfied.

This September article from Our Sunday Visitor,”Report Questions Motives of Clerical Sex Abuse Victim’s Groups” bears reading. Here are a few excerpts:

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and their allies have “decided to wage war on the Catholic Church,” says a report released last month by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Catholic League President William A. Donohue said he sent two trusted friends in July to observe SNAP’s national conference in Washington D.C. What they reported back, said Donohue, was an event marred by open hostility toward the Catholic Church.

“For three days, people were talking about an evil institution,” he told Our Sunday Visitor…

Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who has represented abuse victims, also reportedly said, “This immoral entity, the Catholic Church, should be defeated. We must stand up and defeat this evil.” Garabedian did not return a message from OSV seeking comment.

The Catholic League report says McKiernan “went on a rant” against Archbishop Dolan, accusing him of refusing to release a list of 55 “predator priests” and saying he hoped to “find ways of sticking it to [Dolan].”

McKiernan — who told OSV he is an orthodox Catholic who attends Mass, prays the Rosary and goes to confession — said he may have been “too opinionated” in his Dolan comments, but stood by his statement that the archbishop is not releasing names of accused priests.

McKiernan is a regular speaker at SNAP Conferences.  SNAP, of course, has their own problems, like issuing a press statement Aug 10, 2011 to attack a falsely accused priest after he has been legally exonerated and the alleged victim found to have fabricated claims. (“The defense [for Rev. Borowec] produced evidence at trial that demonstrated the complaining witness fabricated the charges and was seeking attention with intent to obtain money from the church. Prior to trial, the prosecutor suppressed evidence regarding the complaining witness’s mental health history and prior false allegations she made against another priest”).

Here are a few pieces from TheMediaReport.com on BishopAccountability.org and SNAP:

Glaring Hypocrisy From SNAP in Penn State Abuse Story
“Do As I Say, Not …”
November 2011 –

Bravo! Archbishop of Kansas City in Kansas Slams SNAP
“My take is that they have a hatred toward the Church. Their mission is no longer to assist victims, but is to strike at the Church and wound the Church.”
-October 2011-

SNAP Misleads Public On False Accusations – Again
More frustrating dishonesty from SNAP.
-October 2011-

No Fairness For Innocent Priests at BishopAccountability.org
Tarnished. (w/UPDATE: Anti-Church site admits “error”!)
-September 2011-

Have Michael Rezendes or the Globe reported any of this information?   No.

Has the Boston Globe ever reported anything about those priests falsely accused of abuse–and the devastation to their lives and health that come from false accusations aired publicly?  No.

BCI will close by re-running this excerpt from the piece by George Weigel (“Scoundrel Times)” in First Things:

Yet in a pattern exemplifying the dog’s behavior in Proverbs 26:11, the sexual abuse story in the global media is almost entirely a Catholic story, in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young, with hints of an ecclesiastical criminal conspiracy involving sexual predators whose predations continue today. That the vast majority of the abuse cases in the United States took place decades ago is of no consequence to this story line. For the narrative that has been constructed is often less about the protection of the young (for whom the Catholic Church is, by empirical measure, the safest environment for young people in America today) than it is about taking the Church down—and, eventually, out, both financially and as a credible voice in the public debate over public policy. For if the Church is a global criminal conspiracy of sexual abusers and their protectors, then the Catholic Church has no claim to a place at the table of public moral argument.

BCI is sending this blog post to Mr. Rezendes at the Boston Globe. His email is rezendes@globe.com. At the end of this post, where it says, “Share this,” do us a favor today. Click on the graphic that says, “email” and send a copy of this post to Mr. Rezendes.  Or, better still, copy and paste the post into a new email, and ask Michael one question: When are you going to run a spotlight series about sexual abuse of children in Massachusetts public schools and call for the public release of names of public school teachers with credible claims of sexual abuse against them?  While you are at it, also send a copy to Martha Coakley <ago@state.ma.us>  and ask her the same question.

Let us know if you get a response.


Penn State and the Boston Archdiocese

November 13, 2011

The sexual abuse scandal at Penn State has dominated headlines this past week, and an AP articlepicked up by newspapers across the country drew parallels between what happened at Penn State and what hapened in the Boston Archdiocese. BCI sees further parallels with how the “protect the institution” mindset has contributed to the deception and governance problems we have been chronicling for more than a year, and we are continuing the “Vatican S.O.S. – Ask for Stronger Episcopal Leadership in Boston” effort described in our last post.

As far as the comparison between the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State and the same in the Boston Archdiocese, the AP article refers to the failure in both situations of officials to notify police and parents, the consequences of administrators resigning (Cardinal Law) or being fired (Joe Paterno and the President of Penn State), and the failure of respected leaders to take swift action to protect children.

“The sort of instinct to protect the institution is very similar. And of course, in both cases, it backfires horribly. If your idea was to avoid a scandal, you sure failed,” said Phil Lawler, who wrote “The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston’s Catholic Culture.”

In a recent Boston Herald column, Joe Fitzgerald cited a comment from the priest who is currently Assistant Vicar for Administration, Fr. Bryan Parrish.

At the height of the scandal in the Catholic Church, when Cardinal Law was featured in the role Joe Paterno now plays, a young priest named Bryan Parrish offered an interesting theory.

“I think part of this stems from the history of Irish Catholics in this part of the country, back to a time when protecting the institution was necessary,” he suggested. “That mindset of dealing with our problems internally has been perpetuated to this day, a ‘let’s keep it all in the house’ approach that led to a lack of openness.”

“Dealing with problems internally.” “Let’s keep it all in the house” approach. “Lack of openness.”  Sound familiar?

Today, instead of sexual abuse of children in the Boston Archdiocese, we have abuse of donor funds, deception, and failure to clearly teach the truths of the Catholic faith so as to save souls.

As we said in our most recent post, we are hoping that messages from faithful Catholics in Boston and other parts of the country to the Vatican might help Cardinal O’Malley better understand the urgency of these matters so he will take action on them. What happens in Boston often affects the rest of the country, so this is a matter of concern well beyond Boston.

Since the concerns below have been raised for some time with no response by the Boston Archdiocese, we have drafted a letter/petition asking the Vatican to take whatever actions deemed appropriate to help address the concerns listed below.  If you agree with these concerns, click on the “Vatican S.O.S” graphic, fill in your name, and a fax or email will be sent to the U.S. Apostolic Nuncio, and the Prefects for the Congregation of Bishops, Congregation for the Clergy, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Apostolic Signatura, and Pontificial Household.

Below is a shortened version of the key points. The whole letter can be found when you click on the “S.O.S.” link:

I respectfully request that the Holy See take steps to address the ongoing problem of weak episcopal leadership in the Boston Archdiocese.

In Boston today, we face challenges including declining Mass attendance (only 17% of Catholics attend Mass regularly), a declining number of priests, declining financial stability for parishes (one third of parishes operating with annual deficits), declining enrollment in Catholic schools, and declining influence of the Catholic Church’s voice in public policy. At the same time, in recent years, Boston Catholics have seen the following shortcomings in episcopal leadership in the areas of teaching and governance:

  1. Cardinal O’Malley publicly criticized pro-life Catholics in 2009 for their objections to a Caritas Christi hospital joint venture that required referring patients to abortion providers, saying the pro-life Catholics were “doing a disservice to the Church.”
  2. Cardinal O’Malley presided over the nationally-televised rite of Christian burial for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy which violated Catholic funeral rite guidelines, and he criticized pro-life Catholics who complained about his role in the public coronation of Kennedy, given his public policy support for abortion.
  3. Cardinal O’Malley has allowed a retired business executive, Jack Connors, to serve on the Finance Council and as chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee, despite Connors serving as Chair of Partners Healthcare, which profits by being one of the largest abortion providers in Massachusetts, and Connors public fund-raising for pro-abortion political figures whose policies work against the pro-life mission of the Catholic Church.
  4. Cardinal O’Malley, through his spokesman, failed to clearly articulate Church teachings on sexual morality, marriage, and the salvation of souls in the recent situation of St. Cecilia’s in Boston, where the pastor planned to celebrate a Mass commemorating Boston’s Gay Pride Month. Ambiguous, conflicting statements by the archdiocese led to a national scandal and failed to teach the faithful about the path to salvation.
  5. Since 2006, Cardinal O’Malley has squandered donor funds at the expense of ministry programs by paying millions of dollars in excessive six-figure salaries to lay archdiocesan executives, while the standard paid by other dioceses for these same roles is much lower than Boston.  The archdiocese spends $1 million annually on salaries and benefits to 3 late-career executives–including  $325K to the Catholic Schools Superintendent–and $2.7 million to just 10 lay executives.
  6. In 2007, Cardinal O’Malley approved the sale of St. John’s Seminary land and buildings to Boston College, against the recommendation of the Vatican’s Apostolic Visitation committee.  Furthermore, the archdiocese has failed to put a plan in place that will provide for repayment of some $40 million due to the seminary.
  7. For seven years, Cardinal O’Malley failed to force vigil protesters to leave closed church buildings they had been occupying at a cost of millions of dollars to the Catholic faithful, and neither the Cardinal nor his spokespeople, ever publicly cautioned the protesters that missing regular weekly Sunday Mass places the salvation of their souls at risk.
  8. Cardinal O’Malley allowed a widespread deception to take place in 2010 over the hiring of a new Secretary of Institutional Advancement by announcing an open search and installing a search committee, when the person slotted for the job had already been identified and no open search ever was intended or occurred.
  9. Cardinal O’Malley approved cutting promised pension benefits to lay employees by tens of millions of dollars, while not collecting what was due in pension contributions from participating employers.
  10. The Clergy retirement plan remains underfunded by several hundred million dollars, and no plan has been articulated for how this gap will be closed so as to provide for the retirement of our dedicated priests.
  11. A provision in the 2010 sale of the Catholic Caritas Christi hospital network to a private equity firm allows them to abandon the Catholic identity and begin providing abortions at these hospitals for a mere $25 million paid to a charity.
  12. Finance and Administration expenses for the 2011 fiscal year have increased to 36 % of the annual $28M Central Ministries operating budget, while  in the year  that Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year of Faith,” the Faith Formation and Evangelization budget has been reduced to 14% of the total operating budget.

Much good is happening the Boston Archdiocese. However, the actions described above have breached trust with the Catholic faithful and have compromised the ability of the archdiocese to carry out her mission of continuing the saving ministry of Jesus Christ.

With the future of the Boston Archdiocese and the salvation of souls at stake, I respectfully request that you act decisively in whatever way you deem appropriate to address these concerns over the episcopal leadership of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Canon 212 §2 and §3 tell Catholics we have “the right to make known their needs, especially spiritual needs, and wishes to the Pastors of the Church, and “the right, indeed at times the duty to…manifest to the sacred Pastors their views which pertain to the good of the Church.”  That is what we are doing.

Faithful Catholics in Boston have brought these matters to the attention of the Cardinal and his staff through every means possible and there has been no visible action taken.  It is for that reason that we are providing a means for Catholics to share their concerns with the Vatican in the form of this “S.O.S.”

Hit the “S.O.S.” button to the right, fill in your name and other information (optional) and hit “Sign the Letter.”  A fax and/or email will be immediately sent to the offices named, and only to those offices.

Please share this with your like-minded friends and family members and ask them to also sign the letter.

Lastly, RealCatholicTV had a news roundup item about this campaign on Friday.  We thought you might find their news report to be of interest.  See below:


Vatican S.O.S. – Ask for Stronger Episcopal Leadership in Boston

November 9, 2011

BCI readers know that we have asked Cardinal O’Malley and the leadership of the Boston Archdiocese multiple times to address concerns over the direction and leadership of the Boston Archdiocese  and have gotten no response.  And, as has been exemplified many times in recent years, what happens in Boston affects the rest of the country. In view of this, as well as our canonical responsibility to make our needs known to our pastors, it is time for an S.O.S. to the Vatican.

As a follow-up to the recent “ad limina” visit by Cardinal O’Malley and his auxiliary bishops to the Vatican, we are hoping that perhaps messages from faithful Catholics in Boston and other parts of the country to the Vatican might help Cardinal O’Malley better understand the urgency of these matters.

Those items listed below are ones that BCI has posted about previously and that readers have said matter to them. There are more that are no doubt important to BCI readers, and you can feel free to still address those to the Vatican yourself directly.

If you agree with the letter/petition below, click on the link to ask the Vatican for stronger leadership in Boston to address these concerns. A fax or email will be sent to the U.S. Apostolic Nuncio, and the Prefects for the Congregation of Bishops, Congregation for the Clergy, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Apostolic Signatura, and Pontificial Household.

I respectfully request that the Holy See take steps to address the ongoing problem of weak episcopal leadership in the Boston Archdiocese.

In Boston today, we face challenges including declining Mass attendance (only 17% of Catholics attend Mass regularly), a declining number of priests, declining financial stability for parishes (one third of parishes operating with annual deficits), declining enrollment in Catholic schools, and declining influence of the Catholic Church’s voice in public policy. At the same time, in recent years, Boston Catholics have seen the following shortcomings in episcopal leadership in the areas of teaching and governance:

  1. Cardinal O’Malley publicly criticized pro-life Catholics in 2009 for their objections to a Caritas Christi hospital joint venture that would have required referring patients to abortion providers, saying the pro-life Catholics were “doing a disservice to the Church.”  The arrangement was later rejected due to the exact concerns raised by those who Cardinal O’Malley publicly criticized.
  2. Cardinal O’Malley presided over the nationally-televised rite of Christian burial for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy which violated Catholic funeral rite guidelines–including three eulogies and politicized prayers of the faithful–and criticized pro-life Catholics who complained about his role in the public coronation of Kennedy. The tone of the funeral liturgy and public comments by Cardinal O’Malley also failed to teach Catholics that the Church, through the funeral rite, was to be praying for the forgiveness of Kennedy’s sins and the repose of his soul.
  3. Cardinal O’Malley has allowed a retired business executive, Jack Connors, to serve on the Finance Council and as chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee, despite Connors serving as Chair of Partners Healthcare, which profits by being one of the largest abortion providers in Massachusetts, and Connors confusing Catholics and publicly creating scandal by raising money for pro-abortion political figures such as President Obama and Attorney General Martha Coakley, whose policies result in taking the lives of the unborn.
  4. Cardinal O’Malley, through his spokesman, failed to clearly articulate Church teachings on sexual morality, marriage, and the salvation of souls in the recent situation of St. Cecilia’s in Boston, where the pastor planned to celebrate a Mass commemorating Boston’s Gay Pride Month. Ambiguous and conflicting statements and actions by the archdiocese allowed a local and national scandal to erupt as a consequence and failed to teach the faithful about the path to salvation.
  5. Since 2006, Cardinal O’Malley has squandered donor funds at the expense of ministry programs by paying millions of dollars in excessive six-figure salaries to lay archdiocesan executives , while the standard paid by other dioceses for these same roles is much lower than Boston is paying.  The archdiocese spends $1 million annually on salaries and benefits to just 3 late-career executives–including  $325K to the Catholic Schools Superintendent–and $2.7 million on compensation and benefits to just 10 lay executives.
  6. In 2007, Cardinal O’Malley approved the sale of St. John’s Seminary land and buildings to Boston College, against the recommendation of the Vatican’s Apostolic Visitation committee.  Furthermore, the archdiocese has failed to repay St. John’s Seminary for the land and buildings sold to Boston College according to terms of the agreement, and has failed to put a plan in place that will provide for repayment of some $40 million due to the seminary.
  7. For seven years, Cardinal O’Malley failed to force vigil protesters to leave closed church buildings they had been occupying at a cost of millions of dollars to the Catholic faithful.  Beyond this governance concern, neither the Cardinal, nor his spokespeople, ever publicly cautioned the protesters and their followers that those who miss regular weekly Sunday Mass are placing the salvation of their souls at risk.
  8. Cardinal O’Malley allowed a widespread deception to take place in 2010 over the hiring of a new Secretary of Institutional Advancement by announcing an open search and installing a search committee, when the person slotted for the job, a protégé of Jack Connors, had already been identified and no open search ever was intended or occurred.
  9. Cardinal O’Malley approved cutting promised pension benefits to lay employees by tens of millions of dollars, while not collecting what was due in pension contributions from participating employers.
  10. The Clergy retirement plan remains underfunded by several hundred million dollars, and no plan has been articulated for how this gap will be closed so as to provide for the retirement of our dedicated priests.
  11. A provision in the 2010 sale of the Catholic Caritas Christi hospital network to a private equity firm allows them to abandon the Catholic identity and begin providing abortions at these hospitals for a mere $25 million paid to a charity.
  12. Recent financial disclosures show that Finance and Administration expenses have increased to 36 % of the annual $28M Central Ministries operating budget, while  in the year  ahead that Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year of Faith,” the Faith Formation and Evangelization budget has been reduced to 14% of the total operating budget.  

Much good is happening the Boston Archdiocese. However, the actions described above have breached trust with the Catholic faithful and have compromised the ability of the archdiocese to continue carrying out her mission of continuing the saving ministry of Jesus Christ.

With the future of the Boston Archdiocese and the salvation of souls at stake, I respectfully request that you act decisively in whatever way you deem appropriate to address these concerns over the episcopal leadership of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Canon 212 §2 and §3 tell Catholics we have “the right to make known their needs, especially spiritual needs, and wishes to the Pastors of the Church, and “the right, indeed at times the duty to…manifest to the sacred Pastors their views which pertain to the good of the Church.”  That is what we are doing.

Hit the “S.O.S.” button to the right, fill in your name and other information (optional) and hit “Sign the Letter.”  A fax and/or email will be immediately sent to the offices named, and only to those offices.

Please share this with your like-minded friends and family members and ask them to also sign the letter.


Cardinal O’Malley Prays for Courage

November 6, 2011

The “ad limina” visit to the Vatican by the northeastern regional bishops is off and running, and BCI finds it interesting and ironic that Cardinal O’Malley started things out by saying he hoped that being together at the tomb of Peter would renew him and his fellow bishops “in our generosity, courage and faith.”

Sounds good at first and BCI would encourage all of our readers to also pray for generosity, courage and faith for our bishops.  But BCI and our readers are wondering how that courage thing is going in recent years for Cardinal O’Malley, since a lot of faithful Catholics in Boston have been looking for more in that particular department.  As St. Anthony of Padua said, “Actions speak louder than words, let your words teach and your actions speak.”

Here is most of the CNS story reporting on this:

Bishops from northeastern US begin ‘ad limina’ visits with prayer

By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Praying together at the tombs of the Apostles Peter and Paul and meeting Pope Benedict XVI should be a moment for bishops to reconfirm and strengthen their faith, said Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston.

The cardinal was the principal celebrant and homilist at a Mass Nov. 4 in the grotto of St. Peter’s Basilica in a chapel before the saint’s tomb.

In his homily, the cardinal told his fellow bishops that after Jesus’ arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, “Peter flees. He’s trying to follow the Lord at a safe distance, something we all try to do at one time or another. But Peter discovers it’s impossible; you can only follow the Lord up close.”

After the Resurrection, Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves him, because love is the measure of faith, the cardinal said.

“Jesus doesn’t ask Peter if he’s excelled in his intellectual prowess or his organization skills or his fundraising capacity or his Myers-Briggs score. Jesus only asks, ‘Do you love me?'” he said.

Cardinal O’Malley said love of the Lord was a prerequisite for Peter’s ministry and is a prerequisite for the ministry of bishops today.

Peter’s love for the Lord brought him to Rome, the cardinal said, but — according to legend — as persecution grew Peter decided to flee again. Leaving the city, he saw the risen Lord and asked him, “Quo vadis?” (“Where are you going?”), and Jesus replied he was going to Rome to be crucified again. Peter renewed his faith and returned to the city where he met a martyr’s death.

“Each of us has gone through a ‘quo vadis’ moment or two in our vocation as bishops,” the cardinal said. “Hopefully, our being together at the tomb of Peter and close to Benedict will renew us in our generosity, courage and faith in following Jesus up close so that we can say with all our hearts what Peter said, ‘Lord you know all things. You know that I love you.'”

If we bring this back to Boston for a moment, it is impossible to not observe that the words of Cardinal O’Malley a few days ago in Rome are not particularly well matched to his actual actions and leadership over recent years.  Perhaps it is that he has had a lot more than just one or two “quo vadis” moments.  When has our Cardinal Archbishop “fled” or not demonstrated courage?  Here are a few examples:
 
  1. Not forcing vigil protesters to leave the church buildings they have been occupying over the past seven years, at a cost of millions of dollars to the Catholic faithful–and never publicly stating the protesters who miss regular weekly Sunday Mass are placing the salvation of their souls at risk.
  2. Selling St. John’s Seminary land and buildings to Boston College, against the recommendation of the Vatican’s Apostolic Visitation committee which said no more land was to be sold.
  3. Failing to repay St. John’s Seminary for the land and buildings sold to Boston College and failing to put a plan in place that will provide for repayment
  4. Allowing a widespread deception to take place in 2010 over the hiring of a new Secretary of Institutional Advancement, by announcing an open search and installing a search committee, when the person slotted for the job had already been identified and no open search ever was intended or occurred
  5. Cutting promised pension benefits to lay employees by tens of millions of dollars, while not collecting what was due in pension contributions from participating employers
  6. Continuing to pay millions in excessive six-figure salaries to lay archdiocesan executives (i.e. $325K to schools superintendent Mary Grassa O’Neill), when the standard paid by other diocese for these same roles is much lower than Boston is paying.
  7. Refusing to acknowledge that the Boston Archdiocese mistreated the Daughters of St. Paul when the Daughters tried to recover millions in pension contributions for their lay employees, and then denying that his intervention with the Superior General in Italy was related to the removal of the U.S. provincial leadership team.
  8. Presiding over the nationally-televised Ted Kennedy rite of Christian burial–including the three eulogies, politicized prayers of the faithful, and celebrity musicians–and criticizing pro-life Catholics who complained about his role in the public coronation of Kennedy.
  9. Continuing to allow Jack Connors to serve on the Finance Council and chair of the Institutional Advancement Committee, despite Connors a) being front-and-center in the deception over the search for the new Institutional Advancement Secretary, b) serving as Chair of Partners Healthcare, one of the largest abortion providers in Massachuetts and c) publicly creating scandal by raising money for pro-abortion political figures such as President Obama and Attorney General Martha Coakley
  10. Failing to clearly articulate Church teachings in the recent situation of St. Cecilia’s in Boston (where the pastor planned to celebrate a Mass commemorating Boston’s Gay Pride Month) and allowing a local and national scandal to erupt as a consequence.

It is good that the Cardinal is praying for more courage, and we would urge readers to join with him in that prayer!  At the same time, it is not clear to us if he understands and acknowledges his actions have often not been matched with his words and where he has fallen short so he can do better in the future.

This is just a quickly drafted list BCI came up with of ten areas where the Cardinal could have demonstrated stronger courage and faith, where faithful Catholics may have wanted to see him demonstrate greater courage. What else do you think we have missed?


Ad Limina Ad Lib

October 23, 2011

As most BCI readers are no doubt aware, about every five years, the ordinary of a diocese needs to report to the Holy Father an account of the state of his diocese in what is called an “ad limina” visit.  That is taking place in early November for the Boston Archdiocese. This is one in what will be a series of posts offering ideas on what we hope will be discussed about Boston.

The “ad limina” practice started in 1911 during the pontificate of Pope Pius X.  These meetings take place in Rome with a variety of Vatican officials, and used to include one-on-one time with the Holy Father.  But maintaining the pace of these visits every 5 years slowed down considerably in recent years due to the declining health of the late Pope John Paul II, and the format has changed due to the increased number of bishops who would have to meet with the Holy Father. The new format is described in this Catholic News Service article:

In place of one-on-one meetings, the pope now usually holds more freewheeling sessions with groups of 7-10 bishops at a time, lasting about an hour. That is expected to be the format for U.S. bishops when they begin their “ad limina” visits in early November.

The ad limina visit for Cardinal Sean O’Malley and other Boston officials to review the state of the Boston Archdiocese is taking place in the timeframe of November 1-12.  In an ideal world, the Boston Archdiocese would be functioning so well that people (or blogs like BCI) would not feel a need to offer input and ideas at all.  But as we all know, this is not an ideal world in Boston.

It occurs to BCI that readers frustrated with the lack of responsiveness of the Boston Archdiocese to issues of importance to Catholic faithful  might wish to have some way of sending input to Cardinal O’Malley and various Vatican offices asking those officials to bring certain topics up with the Cardinal that are being neglected.  Those offices and officials include:

  • Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops, Cardinal Marc Ouellet
  • Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza
  • Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada
  • Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Cardinal Raymond Burke

There are ways to send a free fax overseas that we are investigating.  In the meantime, BCI thought we would start a running list of topics that we wish the Cardinal and Vicar General would address (for the benefit of the future of the Boston Archdiocese) and that the Vatican would address with the Cardinal, because frankly, we do not see much progress happening in these areas. Here are our first 3 topics:

  1. Teaching: The key responsibilities of the bishop are to teach, sanctify, and govern.  However he wishes to do it, the Archbishop of Boston should use the pulpit, The Pilot, Catholic TV, his blog, pastoral letters to the faithful and/or other mediums to teach on a regular basis.  This is not happening today.Maybe it is a written excerpt from the Cardinal’s homiletic preaching on the Sunday Mass readings, a message about the new liturgical texts, or clear statements about Catholic teachings and the intersection with the public square on faith and morals. It just should happen regularly and in an unambiguous, visible way.  

    As one reader said several months ago, “Give priority to teaching the fullness of the Catholic faith, even on the tough issues. I was so saddened to see you at Ted Kennedy’s funeral standing on the sidelines and not giving any witness at all to the Church’s teaching on life. Kennedy was an ardent supporter of abortion legislation throughout his Senate career. To me it was a terrible scandal that the impression was given that a politician can work with all his might to promote the “culture of death,” as Pope John Paul termed it, and then receive accolades as if he was some kind of saint.”   Those who complained about what happened were criticized by the Cardinal.

    The bungled PR and handling by the archdiocese of the recent situation at St. Cecilia in Boston is another example of confusing and muddled teaching from the office of the ordinary.Yet another example is the continued engagement in Church governance of Finance Council member, Jack Connors, who chairs the Partners hospital network (one of the leading abortion providers in Massachusetts) and who publicly fund-raises for pro-abortion political candidates.  As we all know, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, in a 2007 interview with the Boston Globe, acknowledged that Catholic voters in Massachusetts generally support Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, and said, “I think that, at times, it borders on scandal as far as I’m concerned.”  How is it that what bordered on scandal in 2007 is somehow not scandal in 2011?

    The failure of anyone from archdiocesan leadership to teach about the public sin by the “vigil” protesters in failing to fulfill their Sunday Mass obligation should be equally troubling. Has anyone heard the Archbishop of Boston or his spokesman, Terry Donilon, mention this concern and the state of mortal sin incurred by those who do not attend Sunday Mass?   A Catholic who (a) is able to attend Sunday Mass (i.e., who is not impeded by illness, lack of transportation, etc.), (b) knows the seriousness of this requirement, and (c) nonetheless freely chooses to miss Mass, thereby commits a mortal sin (cf. Catechism, no. 2181).  There is no indication that those attending “Communion services” in the closed parishes are also attending Mass elsewhere on Sundays.  Leaders of these protest vigils have urged other to do they same, which also creates the scandal of leading others to commit mortal sin. They have broken communion with their bishop and with the Vatican. Beyond the millions of dollars the protest vigils have cost Catholics across the archdiocese, after seven years, one would think that someone from the archdiocese would make a point of reminding all Catholics and teaching vigil leaders privately and publicly that they are harming their own souls and those of others by not attending Sunday Mass.  Nope.

  2. Excesive Six-Figure Salaries for Lay Executives: If we have said it once, we have said it a hundred times. It is costing the Catholic faithful in Boston nearly $1M in salary and benefits alone for 3 employees–all millionaires and late-career executives retired from their previous 25+ year careers. Mary Grassa O’Neill, superintendent of schools is paid a salary of $325K/year,  Jim McDonough, Chancellor, is paid $250K/year, and Beirne Lovely, general counsel is paid $300K/year.Add to this their benefits and the $180K-$280K+ paid in salaries and benefits to just 7 other lay executives–the Associate Superintendent of Schools, Communications Secretary, Secretary for Catholic Media, Secretary for Institutional Advancement, 2 VPs of Development, Executive Director of Finance and Administration–and you get about $2.7M or more in compensation and benefits for 10 employees. No other archdioceses pay at these levels, and their salaries cannot be justified under the premise of attracting the “best and brighest” because in many cases, independent searches free from conflicts of interest were never conducted, as previously documented at BCI.This blog has outlined many times how the archdiocese can cut $500K-$1 million or more in unnecessary expense from those salaries by capping lay compensation at $150K/year, so those funds can be freed for ministries and advancing the main mission of the Church in Boston.
    The only action taken to date to address these concerns has been formation of a Finance Council “Compensation Committee,” comprised mostly of wealthy multi-millionaire business executives. The committee is supposedly spending precious donor funds to do a study whose results will be released in 2012.

    Action this year should be a high priority for the Archbishop of Boston and the Vicar General, instead of what appears to be a back-burner effort by outside consultants and wealthy Finance Council members.

  3. Pastoral Leadership and Support for Priests: The Cardinal’s blog continues to chronicle an extensive amount of travel outside of Boston. If the Archbishop of Boston cuts his travel schedule outside of Boston and focuses instead on governance in Boston, some of that time savings could instead be put towards meeting one-on-one with 4 priests a week for 30 minutes each to listen to and respond to their needs and concerns. This is not the same as the group meetings we hear about with seminarians and recently-ordained priests, or group outings with senior priests at Regina Cleri to the circus or Fenway Park, but would apply to ALL priests. Via these one-on-one meetings, in a years’ time, he will have met with 200 priests and in two years, it will be 400 priests interacting with their bishop as pastor and shepherd of priests, not just a ceremonial figure traveling around the world participating in photo opps.
    Abiding by established diocesan guidelines for how pastors are appointed would also be an excellent idea to improve presbyteral morale, instead of allowing situations such as the recent circumventing of the normal process and direct appointment by the Cardinal of the pastor to St. Catherine’s in Norwood without the normal pastoral consultation. (By the way, the Vicar General should make his way down to Norwood some time to chat with the Parish Council members about all of the changes being made unilaterally by the new pastor without any consultation to the Parish Council, but that is a topic for another time. We digress…).

This is just one in our series to get started.  Yes, we know we need to also highlight issues such as:

  • Funding for the clergy retirement fund
  • Funding for lay employee pensions
  • The need for ongoing investment in evangelization and a higher priority placed on this area, including adult faith formation (not just RENEW), campus ministry, and other areas.
  • The mixing and mingling of funds from different archdiocesan entities to balance the budget
  • Parish pastoral planning
  • Catholic schools identity and mission
  • Selection of the right advisors and Cabinet leadership team, and need to move out other advisors
  • Fundraising, including the increasingly top-heavy and expensive fund-raising organization

Our intent with this is to help Cardinal O’Malley and Vicar General Msgr. Deeley better understand the seriousness of the concerns by Catholic faithful about the future of the Boston Archdiocese. Many people have raised these concerns privately for some time, and since there was no response, BCI has been raising them publicly for sixteen months. Still, there has been little reaction by the archdiocese except for criticism of this blog and attempts to determine who is writing, contributing to, or commenting on the blog, so the blog can be pressured to cease and desist.

Could someone from the archdiocese acknowledge the above concerns and let us know what you are doing about them? Or are the folks at 66 Brooks still in a sufficient state of denial that we should we ask Catholic faithful to start a letter-writing campaign to Rome?

What do you think?


Archdiocese airs list of priests accused of sexual abuse

August 26, 2011

On Thursday, the Boston Archdiocese announced publication of a web listing of clergy accused of sexual abuse of a child. BCI acknowledges the pain that hundreds of victims of sexual abuse by clergy in Boston have experienced and also understands there was a fair amount of outside pressure on the archdiocese to release this information. At the same time, BCI also feels compelled to offer a few of our own reactions to both this specific announcement and certain comments from critics of the initiative.  Notice the clear “Opinion” marking on this post.

The Merits of this Effort

First, BCI wishes to acknowledge the merits of this initiative. The sexual abuse of children by clergy was a terrible thing to have occurred, the harm to people in many cases irreparable, and the scandal was horrible. This initiative to post names of priests accused of sexual abuse to bring comfort and additional closure to victims has been underway for some time and required a great deal of work to get every piece of information correct. Even one error could be devastating to the reputation and vocation of an innocent priest. The reason for the effort was aptly summarized by Cardinal O’Malley in his statement:

“Having met with hundreds of survivors, I know firsthand the scars you carry. And I carry with me every day the pain of the Church’s failures.  I express once again my sorrow for your pain and my apology for any way the Church and its clergy have failed you,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley in the written decision document published with the list.  “My deepest hope and prayer is that the efforts I am announcing today will provide some additional comfort and healing for those who have suffered from sexual abuse by clergy and will continue to strengthen our efforts to protect God’s children.”

The above being said, there are a few aspects of this where BCI has issues and concerns.

1) Release of Names of Priests Publicly Accused with Unsubstantiated Charges

BCI understands the basis for publishing names of priests accused of sexual abuse and found guilty, and agrees with that.  But BCI struggles to understand why the Archdiocese felt compelled to publish names of clergy who were publicly accused of sexually abusing a child where the allegations were found unsubstantiated by the Review Board or where the priest was acquitted after a canonical process.  BCI looked at the websites of other dioceses such as Chicago, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia and could not find information disclosed about priests who faced public accusations and were cleared. If it is there, we could not find it.  Here is how the Boston archdiocese explained the decision to priests whose names were published who fall in this category:

“Our hope is this effort will be helpful to you in providing an official, clear and easily accessible statement that the complaint against you , which was the subject of previous publicity has been found unsubstantiated…

We believe that posting this information about cases such as yours separately from the other cases listed above will allow us to clarify that the past complaint against you has been found unsubstantiated, while also remaining consistent with our commitment to augment our present policies with regard to providing information about Archdiocesan clergy accused of abuse.”

That is one side of the story, and perhaps clergy who faced accusations that were made public and were cleared find this listing of benefit to clear their name.  But, what happens for those Boston priests for whom past publicity has died down and for whom wounds of a false accusation have healed who did not want their names published like this? Why do other dioceses not publish this? BCI has heard of at least one priest who faced unsubstantiated public charges for whom the appearance of his name on this list is deeply troubling and reopens old wounds unnecessarily.

In civil law, a person is presumed innocent until found guilty. Where else in secular society do we find that someone who was accused of wrongdoing and found innocent has their name published publicly in a database as accused and found not guilty?  Are public school teachers, police officers, lawyers or medical workers improperly accused of abuse or some other crime but found innocent placed on a public list for their entire lives for the whole world to see?  For what civil crimes or situations does that happen? Has the right balance of disclosure vs rights of the priests been struck here?


2) Odd Wording of Press Release

The headline reads, “August 25, 2011 – Archdiocese of Boston Launches Web-Based Publication With Respect to Its Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Child.”

(Braintree, Mass.) August 25, 2011… As part of Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley’s ongoing commitment to protect children and rebuild trust in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, the Archdiocese of Boston today launched a web-based publication with respect to its clergy accused of sexual abuse of a child (www.bostoncatholic.org).  The Cardinal’s decision to publish this information is detailed in a letter to the people of the Archdiocese (copy attached and available on the website) along with an open letter to survivors of sexual abuse and an open letter to the clergy of the Archdiocese.

Exactly how does the archdiocese publishing a listing of clergy accused of sexual abuse “respect” its clergy? Call BCI obsessive about grammar if you will, but if you were a priest publicly accused of sexual abuse who was cleared, how does the archdiocese launching a web listing that includes your name with an unsubstantiated charge “respect” you?  Why not just say “Archdiocese of Boston Launches Web Listing of Its Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Child”?

3) Misplaced Criticism by Attorney General Martha Coakley and others

According to the Boston Globe, Attorney General Martha Coakley and advocates for clergy abuse victims complained that this disclosure listed only those priests who had already been publicly accused, and omits the names of dozens of accused priests from religious orders and other dioceses, as well as those who left the priesthood before accusations were leveled againt them.

The reality as conveyed in the article is that Cardinal O’Malley omitted the names of religious order priests and those from other dioceses because the Boston Archdiocese does not investigate or resolve allegations against them. It is not “shameless hairsplitting” as SNAP complained. And how does Attorney General Coakley justify complaining about lack of disclosure of information that falls outside of the scope of cases the Boston archdiocese manages and deals with, when she apparently turns her own head the other way on pursuing local matters like the Partners Healthcare price-fixing case, which we described in this post as having been ceded to the U.S. Department of Justice?  BCI humbly suggests the Attorney General re-read Matthew 7:5.

And why is there no effort by Attorney General Coakley to have disclosure of the names of public school teachers who have abused children?   This article on LifeSiteNews says that according to Charol Shakeshaft, researcher of a little-remembered 2004 study prepared for the U.S. Department of Education, “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.” According to the 2004 study “the most accurate data available at this time” indicates that “nearly 9.6 percent of students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career.”

George Weigel, writing in First Things in 2010 said:

The sexual and physical abuse of children and young people is a global plague; its manifestations run the gamut from fondling by teachers to rape by uncles to kidnapping-and-sex-trafficking. In the United States alone, there are reportedly some 39 million victims of childhood sexual abuse. Forty to sixty percent were abused by family members, including stepfathers and live-in boyfriends of a child’s mother—thus suggesting that abused children are the principal victims of the sexual revolution, the breakdown of marriage, and the hook-up culture. Hofstra University professor Charol Shakeshaft reports that 6-10 percent of public school students have been molested in recent years—some 290,000 between 1991 and 2000.  According to other recent studies, 2 percent of sex abuse offenders were Catholic priests—a phenomenon that spiked between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s but seems to have virtually disappeared (six credible cases of clerical sexual abuse in 2009 were reported in the U.S. bishops’ annual audit, in a Church of some 65,000,000 members).

Remember that number–six credible cases of sexual abuse by priests were reported in 2009 out of 65 million Catholics.  In New York City, Archbishop Dolan shared word on his blog that the “rate of sexual abuse among public school teachers is 10 times higher than that of priests.” The statistics were from a NYS Special Commissioner of Investigation report that substantiated 78 abuse cases by teachers in 2009, and 73 such cases in 2010.  There were 78 cases in just NY City Public Schools in 2009, but 6 across the entire Catholic Church nationally.  Where is the problem, really?  Why does Martha not insist that similar work be done in Boston Public Schools or across the state, and that a list of accused teachers be published?

On March 12, 2011, the NY Times published a report about widespread abuse problems in more than 2,000 New York state-run homes for the developmentally disabled. Despite a state law requiring that incidents in which a crime may have been committed be reported to law enforcement, state records show that of some 13,000 allegations of abuse in 2009 within state-operated and licensed homes, fewer than 5 percent were referred to law enforcement.

One might argue that is New York, not Massachusetts. Here in Massachusetts, in 2007 then-U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan reported on his study of 11 years of records at the Massachusetts Disabled Persons Protection Commission. Sullivan found “very concerning neglect and abuse trends”, especially sexual abuse, in state-supported vendor-operated group homes for the disabled. In the report, he said:

“Unfortunately, after reviewing data from the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, our office did note some very concerning neglect and abuse trends in Contract Vendor operated community residences, as compared to the ICF/MRs and State operated community residences. These neglect and abuse trends, particularly sexual abuse, were of great concern to our office and shows that residents in our community homes are at a greater risk of being abused and/or neglected.”

What is Martha Coakley doing about the “very concerning neglect and abuse” of the disabled in state-supported homes?  Nothing that we can find reported publicly.

This 2001 report from the Guttmacher Institute says, “Almost one-third of females and nearly one in 10 male high school students in Massachusetts say they have experienced sexual abuse.  Where is the outrage?  What is Martha doing about this?  Nothing that we can find reported publicly.

4) Misplaced Criticism by SNAP, BishopAccountability and Lawyer Mitchell Garabedian

They complained about 91 accused priests omitted from Cardinal O’Malley’s list.  Of the 91 accused priests omitted from the Cardinal’s list, 62 are dead, have never been publicly accused of abuse, and have never been investigated by Church officials, and 22 faced accusations that could not be substantiated.

C’mon.  It sure sounds like nothing will ever be good enough for SNAP and the lawyers, and they will never be satisfied.  Why bother kow-towing to these folks?

SNAP has their own problems, like issuing a press statement Aug 10, 2011 to attack a falsely accused priest after he has been legally exonerated and the alleged victim found to have fabricated claims. (“The defense [for Rev. Borowec] produced evidence at trial that demonstrated the complaining witness fabricated the charges and was seeking attention with intent to obtain money from the church. Prior to trial, the prosecutor suppressed evidence regarding the complaining witness’s mental health history and prior false allegations she made against another priest”).

Then there is attorney Mitchell Garabedian complaining that three people on his list of priests with abuse allegations against them were not on the archdiocesan-published list. The Globe reports:

Church officials, underscoring the complexity of compiling such a list, said that abuse allegations against three of the individuals on Garabedian’s list were found to be unsubstantiated. But Garabedian said today that the Church made financial payments to settle the accusations against all of the priests on his list.

A reasonable person might ask, why did the archdiocese make a payment to settle an unsubstantiated allegation in the first place?  And if both sides know the accusations were unsubstantiated but payments made, who is working towards recovering those payments and the associated lawyer fees paid to Garabedian?

Here is another excerpt from the piece by George Weigel (“Scoundrel Times)” in First Things:

Yet in a pattern exemplifying the dog’s behavior in Proverbs 26:11, the sexual abuse story in the global media is almost entirely a Catholic story, in which the Catholic Church is portrayed as the epicenter of the sexual abuse of the young, with hints of an ecclesiastical criminal conspiracy involving sexual predators whose predations continue today. That the vast majority of the abuse cases in the United States took place decades ago is of no consequence to this story line. For the narrative that has been constructed is often less about the protection of the young (for whom the Catholic Church is, by empirical measure, the safest environment for young people in America today) than it is about taking the Church down—and, eventually, out, both financially and as a credible voice in the public debate over public policy. For if the Church is a global criminal conspiracy of sexual abusers and their protectors, then the Catholic Church has no claim to a place at the table of public moral argument.

The above is what BCI thinks.  Do we dare open a can of worms by asking what you think?

ps. Today, August 26, is the last day to vote in the Catholic New Media Awards. BCI has been nominated in several categories. To vote, click here, then click on the link to register, give a valid email address, go to your email account and click on the confirmation link, and you will then be able to vote. It will take you only a minute to vote on your favorite Catholic blog(s)!


Episcopal Leadership

August 12, 2011

Comments from several readers on our last post, and one reader in particular, lead BCI to repeat part of a BCI post from January of 2011. It was entitled, “Musings of the Future of the Archdiocese: Epispocal Leadership.”

Before we get there, BCI needs to offer some feedback for a moment about some commenters and we need to set forth a new groundrule. First, BCI is accustomed to criticism, but we are frustrated by a few recent commenters who recently sounded like “know it alls” presuming things about BCI, who authors BCI, and our approach with the blog that are simply inaccurate. If any readers think they have all the answers, please do not just “armchair quarterback” telling BCI what to do differently–feel free to take action on your ideas outside of BCI and please do not let BCI hold you back in any way. Have at it! Secondly, there were also a couple of personal attacks once again. If readers cannot follow our simple guidelines to avoid personal attacks, their future comments will be blocked or put in an offline moderation queue. From this point forward, it is “one strike and you’re out.” Period.  Lastly, when someone follows BCI only occasionally and has never posted comments before, invariably they say something inaccurate or with a non-specific criticism that fails to take into account more than a year of blogging history on a broad range of topics. The “one strike and you’re out” policy applies to you as well.

Towards that end, a commenter, “Martin,” today complained that all of our emphasis on excessive salaries misses the point that there is a problem with a lack of authentic Catholic leadership. Martin, thank you sooo much for that brand new insight which had previously eluded BCI and our readers up to now. BCI cannot believe all this time we missed that leadership might be a root cause of our situation in Boston.  Wow!!  We never ever suspected there was a problem with Catholic leadership amidst all of the other news about deception, corruption, and ethical breaches, so we really appreciate you now bringing this to our attention after reading BCI “from afar.”

All sarcasm aside, in January we posted what we thought was an important piece on the topic of Episcopal Leadership.  Maybe with all of the discussion of the lower-level instances of deception and corruption, BCI needs to remind everyone about the bigger-picture of the forest, not just the trees.  With a new Vicar General arriving in a few weeks, it is timely for us to repeat it.

What you are about to read was written by somebody else, not BCI.  It is an excerpt from a longer document, “Crisis and Reform in Boston,” apparently written between the time when Cardinal Bernard Law resigned (December 2002) and when Bishop Sean O’Malley was appointed Archbishop of Boston (July 2003).  We honestly do not know who wrote it or who has seen it.

Nonetheless, much of what was described in the document written about seven years ago still seems like it applies today.  It describes in some ways the author’s view of the ideal Archbishop of Boston to address the crisis in Boston.  Though it could be argued that no one person necessarily possesses this entire combination of characteristics, we still invite Cardinal O’Malley, incoming Vicar General Msgr. Deeley, and  trusted advisors to reflect on this:

To Teach, To Sanctify, To Govern

To respond to these problems in Boston, the next Archbishop must be a man:

+who grasps that this crisis is about faith in and fidelity to the Lord Jesus Christ. True reform is impossible without a direct challenge to the various false religions now in competition with revealed Truth. The next Archbishop must take nothing for granted and be prepared to engage in the New Evangelization almost as a First Evangelization, beginning with his presbyterate. To do this will require both clear and persuasive preaching of the truth and effective and direct refutation of error.

+whose life is blameless. If there are any scandals or habitual sins in his life, the…priests whom he must discipline will find them and use them in the media to destroy him.

+who is not afraid to be hated. Responding to the crisis in Boston will require the effective use of sanctions and discipline, and this will make the next Archbishop a man reviled by some.

+who is not afraid of controversy. There is no way to reform the Church in Boston without public controversy, some of which will be bitter and vitriolic. A man who runs from conflict cannot reform this Church. The Boston Globe will doubtless continue its campaign against Catholicism in various ways, and the next Archbishop must be prepared to be a stumbling block, not a media darling. And the internal opposition from Boston College will be even more crippling to any effort for reform.

+who is a radically obedient disciple of Jesus Christ. An Archbishop who is more conscious of the power and prerogatives of his office than of the dignity of his Baptism will make himself an object of public ridicule. He must be prepared to live a simple, evangelical life and to speak always in clear, evangelical language. The legalistic evasiveness and psychological jargon so common in the public utterances of many bishops can have no further place in Boston.

+who is a priest in every part of his being. An Archbishop who prays and celebrates the Holy Eucharist in a way that draws others into the heart of the Paschal Mystery will lead lasting reform by priestly example. A man without great integrity of life and faith, of personality and action, will not be able to sustain the sacrifices that must be made for genuine reform.

+who is an evangelist. Boston does not need a manager, a financier, or a consultant for an Archbishop; Boston needs a prophetic preacher of the Gospel who can convince other people of the truth of God’s Word because he both knows and believes it himself.

+who is not captive to Irish clericalism. Any priest who is bound to the “tribe” of Boston’s Irish clergy will be absolutely incapable of reforming the presbyterate.

+who is willing to make the Church smaller in order to make it larger. The cancer of dissent has created an (until now) invisible schism which has already made the Church in Boston much smaller than it appears to be. The next Archbishop must be prepared to acknowledge this fact (with canonical sanctions when necessary) and then preach the Catholic faith in its fullness and integrity. For this to happen some institutions may have to be abandoned, and some persons will have to be shown the consequences of their ideas, but absent such honesty, there will be no reform in Boston.

+who understands the essential and intrinsic connections among doctrinal clarity, moral probity, and ecclesial order. The disintegration of ecclesial life now unfolding in Boston is the result of the effective sundering of these three legs of one stool by the guild of dissent among priests, lay catechists, and theologians. Restoring the integrity of ecclesial life, therefore, will require the next Archbishop to restore in public and effective ways the connections among faith, life, and order, and such restoration will be impossible without directly dismantling the guild of dissent.

+who can be the pastor of the pastors. The Archbishop cannot be the pastor of every parish in Boston; he must be the pastor of the pastors, and he must make his highest priority the pastoral care of his priests and the recruiting and training of future priests. To reform the presbyterate, he must be personally involved on a daily basis in teaching his priests…in exhorting them, encouraging them, correcting them, and when necessary reproving them. He must also be directly and personally involved in selecting and forming seminarians for priestly ordination. While he will, of course, need help in such work, these tasks simply cannot be delegated to anyone else.

+who has a clear and authentically Catholic vision of the sacramental economy as a coherent whole and as the essential means for unveiling the eternal Plan of Salvation for God’s people. The liturgical, doctrinal, and disciplinary fragmentation and incoherence of the past thirty years have obscured from sight the intrinsic order and beauty of the sacramental economy and made much more difficult the task of teaching revealed truth. The next Archbishop should be a priest capable of elucidating for his priests and people the internal logic, immeasurable beauty, and divine wisdom of the Logos tou Theou.

Reasons to Hope

The Faithful

The lay faithful of Christ in Boston continue by the hundreds of thousands to “believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God”. These people deserve a shepherd willing to make personal sacrifices for the Gospel, and they will respond with heroic generosity and courage to his stewardship if he proves himself to be a fearless preacher and a genuine priest.

Young Priests

Despite the chaos in the Church and in large measure because of the witness of Pope John Paul II, many of the men ordained in the past 5 years are obedient disciples of the Lord Jesus and faithful priests of the Church. These young men will have to assume the burdens of leadership at an early age, and if they perceive in their next Archbishop a true father in God and witness to Christ, they will move heaven and earth to help him reform the Archdiocese of Boston.

Wavering Priests

Notwithstanding the decades of dissent, unchastity, and mendacity, many priests of Boston still hear the voice of God in their conscience and are yearning (even if unconsciously) for a prophet to come and lead them out of slavery to sin. A bold man of  God in the Chair of the Archbishop could ignite a divine spark in the hearts of those priests and bring them through conversion back to the grace of their ordination. The witness of such men would be a powerful force for reform.

Kairos

A providential opportunity is at hand in Boston—a rare moment of grace when dissent, confusion, degeneracy, and chaos can be challenged and overcome by the Word of God. For this opportunity to be seized, though, the Church in Boston needs a bishop who is not bound by clerical custom, tribal instinct, or personal fear. Given the causes of the crisis in Boston, business as usual will lead to disastrous consequences. The next Archbishop of Boston can and should be a bold disciple of the Lord Jesus who can bear powerful witness to the Resurrection of Christ and the truth of the Catholic faith; he must be a confident and persuasive teacher of the Gospel and a skillful shepherd of souls. Such a man in Boston, precisely because of the acute crisis and the public attention focused there, could help lead a true and lasting reform of the entire Church in the United States.

The next Archbishop of Boston should not be a “safe” candidate selected by the usual means from among the conventional candidates. Such men are largely responsible for the sorry state of the Church today; one more of that sort will not lead us out of crisis into reform. Boston needs an Archbishop who will teach, sanctify, and govern his people and priests with the courage, conviction, and confidence that come from personal conversion to Jesus Christ and a life-changing decision to follow Him in the Way of the Cross. For true reform to take place, the next Archbishop of Boston cannot be a chancery bureaucrat, an office manager, or a dialogue facilitator who understands his task as the mediation of internal disputes between “liberal” and “conservative” Catholics; he must be a passionately effective evangelist because he is first a thoroughly converted disciple of Jesus Christ.


Cardinal Makes Decisions on Future of Eight Closed Churches

July 15, 2011

Big news yesterday on several fronts.  Besides the appointment of a new Apostolic Nuncio to the U.S. the archdiocese announced that Cardinal O’Malley has made decisions on 8 closed churches.  Here is the memo distributed Thursday.  It would do an injustice to the information provided for BCI to edit it, so we publish the memo in its entirety.  Further below, we also comment on the Boston Globe’s article on the same topic.

CARDINAL MAKES DECISIONS ON FUTURE OF EIGHT CLOSED CHURCHES

Braintree, MA (July 14, 2011) – After several weeks of consultation, reflection and prayer, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley has made several decisions regarding eight Church buildings in the Archdiocese of Boston.  Six Churches have been relegated to profane use and two Churches have been designated or transferred by the Archdiocese for other future ecclesial uses.

In February 2011, Cardinal Seán initiated a broad consultation of the Catholic faithful about the future use of several Church buildings and their related properties.  Specifically, the Cardinal asked for comments on a possible “relegation to profane use” of the Church building.  The term “relegation” is used in Church law for the conversion of a Church building from sacred uses. Once a Church is relegated to profane use, it will no longer be used for Catholic liturgical worship, any remaining sacred items are removed, and the building can be sold for use in an appropriate and dignified manner. The funds derived from a sale of these Churches will be used for direct support of parishes of the Archdiocese.

The consultation process, begun only after Cardinal O’Malley allowed every means of civil and canonical appeal regarding closed parishes to be pursued over the past six years, involved the Catholic faithful who were former parishioners at the parishes to which these Churches were connected prior to their closure in 2004-2005.  The consultation process also involved priests, religious and other lay members in the wider community of the Archdiocese, including the parish pastoral and finance councils of neighboring parishes. The Archbishop then consulted the Archdiocesan Presbyteral Council prior to making his decision, as is required by Church law.

Cardinal Seán said, “The consultation process was very important and of great assistance to me in making decisions on each of these properties.  I am particularly grateful to those who participated in the online surveys and in the parish consultations, to the pastors and Catholic faithful of the welcoming parishes, and to the Presbyteral Council for providing great perspective on each Church property.  I know how difficult the parish closings were, especially for those parishioners directly impacted.  I want you to know I have heard you.  I appreciate your strong commitment to your parish.  What I have heard from these consultations is that we have reached a point as a community of believers where we must relegate these Church buildings as part of the continuing healing and rebuilding of the Archdiocese. I continue to put my trust and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ to help us come together as one Catholic family, inspired by the Holy Spirit and guided in our principles and commitment to do God’s work.”

Churches relegated to profane use:

Cardinal O’Malley issued canonical decrees today relegating each of the following Church buildings to “profane but not sordid use” (can. 1222 §2):

1.      St. James the Great, Wellesley

2.      St. Jeanne D’Arc, Lowell

3.      Star of the Sea, Quincy

4.      Our Lady of Lourdes, Revere

5.      St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Scituate

6.      Our Lady of Mount Carmel, East Boston

Very Reverend Richard M. Erikson, Vicar General & Moderator of the Curia said, “The Cardinal has shown strong pastoral leadership in providing for the consultation process.  Throughout this process the Cardinal has taken seriously the input of the faithful and made his decision based on what is best for the entire Archdiocese and the local Catholic community which is so important in the life of the Church.”

These decrees are being notified to the faithful today and they become effective on Monday, July 18, 2011. The future disposition of the Churches and related properties is still under consideration.  For each Church, a specific means will be chosen for preserving their memory and the important place they have had in the lives, hearts and minds of our Catholic faithful.  Whether through the relocating of stained glass windows, or religious statues or other sacred objects, the legacy of the closed Church will live on in other parishes of the Archdiocese.

The final formal steps regarding these Churches will be decided over the coming weeks by the Cardinal.  Prior to a possible sale and depending on the value of the property, the Archdiocesan Finance Council would also be consulted.

Churches designated for other uses

The Archdiocese is also announcing today Cardinal O’Malley’s decision to designate or transfer the following Churches for other future ecclesial uses:

1.      St. Therese, Everett

The Cardinal has designated St. Therese in Everett as an Oratory of St. Anthony Parish in Everett.  An “Oratory” is a sacred place that the bishop has designated for use by a particular group of the faithful for divine worship. Whereas in canon law a “Church” is open to all members of the faithful, an Oratory is used by the members of the group for which it is established.  An ethnically diverse parish, St. Anthony Parish includes English, Italian, Spanish and Brazilian communities.  The intention is that St. Therese Oratory will be used for worship by the Brazilian Catholic community.

2.      St. Jeremiah Framingham

The Archdiocese has been engaged in extensive discussions to transfer St. Jeremiah’s to the Syro-Malabar eparchy.  Terms are still being discussed.  The Syro-Malabar Church is East Syrian Rite in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.  The Syro-Malabars have allowed the use of the Church by the former parishioners of St. Jeremiah Parish.  The local Syro-Malabar priests will be responsible for making any further accommodations for a Latin Rite Mass.  To learn more about the Syro-Malabar Church please visit their website at http://www.smcim.org.

“The consultation process has been extensive,” said Very Reverend Arthur M. Coyle, V.E., Regional Episcopal Vicar for the Merrimack Region.  “Cardinal Seán instituted it because he has been committed to insuring that fair and just decisions would be reached regarding the future of sacred buildings. The process was an expression of his efforts to rebuild our Archdiocese, fostering a culture of trust, collaboration and cooperation.”

About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of nearly 2 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 291 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 42,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach.   Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit  www.BostonCatholic.org .

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FAQ

1.      What does relegation to profane use mean?

This term is used in Church law for when a Church building will no longer be used for Catholic liturgical worship.  Once a property has been relegated, any remaining sacred items are removed and the building can be sold for use in an appropriate and dignified manner.

2.      Before he can consider selling a church, does not the Cardinal have to relegate it to profane use?

If a church building is to be sold to a group that will not use it for sacred worship, yes, the Cardinal follows the canons on “relegation of the Church to profane but not sordid use” (canon 1222 §2). This means a secular use, but one that is not unbecoming, immoral, or offensive to Catholics.  If it is sold to a group that will use it for sacred worship, no, the Cardinal does not need to relegate it to profane use.  The process used for considering the possible sale of a church follows both Church law and civil law, taking into account that the church must be relegated to profane use prior to a sale for purposes other than sacred worship.

3.      What happens to these Church buildings once they have been relegated?

The buildings will be appraised and likely marketed for sale.  Prospective buyers will be invited to contact the Archdiocese.  For each building there will be a specific way in which their memory and the important place they have in the lives, hearts and minds of our Catholic faithful will be memorialized and preserved for future generations.  Whether through the relocating of stained glass windows, or religious statues or other sacred objects, the legacy of closed Church will live on in other parishes of the Archdiocese.

4.      Where does the money go from any sales of the closed Church properties?

The funds derived from a sale of these Churches will be used for direct support of parishes of the Archdiocese. The Cardinal is in the process of establishing a dedicated fund for this specific use.

5.      What happens to the sacred objects that remain?

All sacred objects are catalogued and they will be made available first to welcoming parishes and then other Catholic Churches and Church buildings which make such requests

6.      Why did the Cardinal choose a consultation process prior to making his decisions?

This extensive process is a substantial commitment of time and effort on the part of the Archdiocese. The Cardinal instituted it because he is firmly committed to insuring that fair and just decisions would be reached regarding the future of sacred buildings. The process was an expression of his efforts to rebuild our Archdiocese, fostering a culture of trust, collaboration and cooperation.

7.      How does the Cardinal’s decision relate to the previous appeals of parishes which were closed?

During the six or seven years since the closing of the parishes to which these Churches were connected, the Cardinal has kept his word that he would wait for the resolution of the appeals that were filed with the Holy See, and his personal representatives were in dialogue with the faithful who had appealed.  When the appeals were concluded last year, the Cardinal consulted broadly and extensively with the faithful regarding the possible relegation of the Church buildings. He now asks the faithful to accept his decision and he has again reached out in dialogue to those who earlier opposed the closing of the parishes.

8.      When did the Archdiocese begin the process of planning the consultation?

The Archdiocese began this planning for the consultation as soon as the appeals process was concluded in the Fall of 2010. The gathering of information for the consultation phase began long before February 18th.  This is not an entirely new consultative process. Some aspects of the current process are new, such as the use of Internet technology for collecting data (i.e. surveys). But the process itself is very much in continuity with past practices and in conformity with the law of the Church. As in the past, for example, this process included pastors consulting with their parishes and the Presbyteral Council hearing the results of these consultations through presentations by pastors and regional bishops/vicar. In every case of relegation of a Church, the Archbishop has heard the Presbyteral Council before making a decision.

9.      Will there be a consultation process for more churches soon? Why were some other churches not included in the first round of consultation?

The reason the Archdiocese considered so many Churches for sale at the present time is primarily due to the fact that a number of appeals on the parishes were returned at the same time last Fall.  At the present time, Cardinal Seán has received several other requests from pastors to consider the sale of other Church buildings. Prior to making his decision about further relegations, the Cardinal will ask that information be gathered on each Church building, followed by a consultation process that includes pastors, the faithful, and the relevant parish and archdiocesan councils. It is important that each process be thorough and deliberate in the gathering of information and consultation.

10.  How does the process for the sale of a Church conclude?

The final formal steps in the sale of a Church building depend on local circumstances. The building is listed for sale and negotiations are undertaken with potential buyers. Prior to a sale, and depending on the value of the property, the Archdiocesan Finance Council would also be involved. As stated above, no church which is relegated for profane use will be sold for any purpose which is unbecoming, immoral or offensive to Catholics.

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The Boston Globe had an article about the closings (both Thursday and today) which had two statements that BCI wishes to comment on.  First was a comment about appeals:

The protesters, who had anticipated the move by the cardinal, promised today to continue their fight .“Each of the six parish groups is ready to take this issue all the way to the Vatican’s highest court,” said Peter Borre of the Council of Parishes, a lay Catholic group that has contested church closings in the archdiocese.

Funny Peter Borre would say that, because last BCI heard, the people protesting the church closings had already been to the Vatican’s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, and been turned down. Peter Borre knows their appeals to the Vatican’s highest court were turned down, because, coincidentally, he acknowledged as much in May of 2010 in this article:

The Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura has denied the appeals of 10 Boston parishes…The Apostolic Signatura, comprised of cardinals and archbishops, is the final  canon court of appeal. The decision leaves parishioners with no other recourse within the church to  fight to keep open the churches, Peter Borre leader of the Council of Parishes, told the Associated Press today, adding he did not expect the parishioners to back down now. Borre said the group  is considering filing a federal lawsuit.

So, if he knew being turned down by the Vatican’s highest court in May of 2010 left no further recourse within the church, what exactly makes him believe he can go back to that same court and get a positive response this time?  The Apostolic Signatura upheld the closing decisions, so Borre and friends are not appealing those. This time, Borre and friends are apparently going to try appealing the relegation to profane use decrees.  But since the archdiocese has carefully followed the Vatican’s guidelines for relegating to profane use (see Vatican Warned Boston Archbishop: No Sale Without Due Process), it is rather unclear what gives Peter and the protesting parishes any sense that they will now succeed in appealing the relegation to profane use decrees to the same Apostolic Signatura. BCI thinks it is time to let this go and move on.

Second, the problem of what to do about the “vigil” protesters who still are occupying some of the churches during various times. The Globe said:

The vigil protesters could remain a tricky problem for church officials, who for years have steered away from confrontation and appear eager to avoid the unseemly sight of Catholic faithful being hauled out of church buildings or arrested en masse for trespassing.

“We’re going to continue to communicate with them,’’ said Donilon. He said that the archdiocese is not looking to force people from the buildings, and that “it will be some time’’ before the churches are sold. “But this is not going to go on forever.’’

It sounds like the big brains at 66 Brooks Drive in Braintree are still listening to Fr. Bryan Hehir and PR maven, Ann Carter, on this one, even though they were long ago proven wrong.  As we wrote in October of 2010 in our post, Vigil Vigilance, the solution is straightforward:

One simple recommendation for the vigils is already in the grasp of the archdiocese.  In case Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson, Cardinal O’Malley, and others responsible for ending the vigils have now been deluded by Fr. Hehir into thinking that this is still a time for putative dialogue, let this blog be on the record as saying we think that is the wrong approach.  It is time to simply say that no one may come into the building.  Anyone inside is free to stay, but no one and nothing may enter the building now.  That is how the archdiocese prevented all the attempted vigils after St. Jeremiah in Framingham started in 2005, and it is a civilized, non-confrontational, responsible way to deal with them.

Can someone at 66 Brooks explain why the process followed for years to prevent attempted vigils is now so difficult to stomach?

The vigils have been tolerated. The lawsuits and appeals have been exhausted. The dialogues and consultations have taken place. The active parishioners from these closed parishes have moved on years ago to worship in other welcoming parishes, and those who keep protesting are largely people who were never particularly active in the previous parish.

BCI does not often agree with the archdiocese, but this is one set of decisions where we do agree it is time to move on. As of Monday when the decrees go into effect, locks should be changed on the buildings (assuming the archdiocese still has the keys). Someone at 66 Brooks should declare that no one will be permitted to enter these churches, and the policy needs to be enforced until the occupied churches are unoccupied.


BCI Reader Messages to Cardinal O’Malley

June 24, 2011

A few days ago we asked BCI readers to write their messages to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, specifically concerning matters that will improve the ability of the Archdiocese to advance her mission.  (The mission of the Pastoral Center is “To continue the saving ministry of Jesus Christ”).  We said readers could submit a top priority or some top problems you would like for the Cardinal to address, it could be a compliment, a criticism, a mix of positive and constructive feedback, a suggestion, or anything relevant to his pastoral leadership in teaching, sanctifying, and governing the archdiocese.  The goal  was to share feedback or a message that you, our readers, believed would lead to the archdiocese being better able to continue the saving ministry of Jesus Christ.

We originally thought we would pick just a few of them to share, but found it tough to decide which ones to include vs exclude. So we went with all except any that suggested a change in Catholic Church teaching. We will also send these along to Cardinal O’Malley via email over the weekend and invite his response to them.

Thanks to all for taking the time to write your thoughtful and insightful messages.

Time for a change says:
Cardinal Law left when it was clear that he could not serve.  It’s time to go.  You know that.

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Chris says:

Cardinal O’Malley, I would urge you to clear your schedule and spend several days  in Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament, asking for the wisdom and discernment to perform your duties in a manner pleasing to the Lord.
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dotty banks says:
Dear Cardinal,

Please do something to help the many dedicated and grossly underpaid lay workers throughout your archdiocese. Many have served for forty or fifty years, knowingly accepting lower wages, without union protection, because of their devotion to Christian values. It is unjust to punish them by cutting their modest pensions while paying six figure salaries to numerous, newly hired, administrators.

Jesus would be ashamed of the way you’re allowing your workes to be treated! So please do something !!!!!!

Take the time to adress this problem instead of continuing to ignore it. It won’t go away!

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teddy ballgame says:

Cardinal O’Malley, I think you know this, but morale at 66 Brooks is terrible. I know, I worked at RCAB and dealt with parishes, schools etc. on a daily basis. The negativity was palpable! The 4 Pastoral Operating Principles are not only ignored but trampled on every day. The backbiting,finger pointing, lying, and abuse of power that occurs is the worst I have ever seen. And this is the Archdiocese of Boston? The individuals responsible, McDonough and Gustavason, are a major part of the problem. Therefore I suggest you appoint a senior person to tackle this very serious problem.

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Objective Observer says:

You give a great homily.  You had us at your installation — watching as BCTV broadcast that homily in July 2003, cheers went up all over the Archdiocese.  You had us in the palm of your hand.  It had been a long haul for 18 months (for absolutely everyone) and we were ready for the bright hope you articulated on that rainy day in July.

What happened?  How did all that goodwill and affection become rancor and division?  How does your pastoral goodwill end up looking like bases loaded, but then you hit into an inning-ending double play?  And what is the best advice one could offer you now?

As CEO of Corp Sole, it appears that you have overseen some serious misconduct.  The buck stops on your desk… or in your case on your tray table.  Based on the public record, it looks like a reasonable grand jury could find fraud, conflict of interest, undue influence and misappropriation of funds, before they got warmed up.  It would appear that many of these questions are governed by state law, but in Boston we have a U.S. attorney who is willing to do the A.G.’s job for her when she looks the other way.  Just ask Mr. DiMasi.

Dropping the reins and allowing whoever head butts you the hardest to pick them up is not a defense at law or in equity.  Nor is the sham of empaneling endless committees to make “recommendations” that you “accept” and put into force by letting someone else sign your name.  So if any of that sounds familiar as an m.o., you might start asking around for the right counsel… and I mean lawyer as well as Gift of the Holy Spirit.

The people who actually have held the reins in your case, Bryan, Ann, Jim, Carol, Beirne, Bob and Jack, like we saw with the cronies of DiMasi, would gleefully turn state’s evidence rather than take the fall themselves, don’t you think?  There really are a lot of parallels between your situation and the former speaker’s.

Once these things get going, the AUSAs tend to want to hold onto your passport.  That’s OK, mounting a defense wouldn’t leave you much time for travel anyway… at least if you have worthy counsel.

And for the rest of us, we can watch a replay of that installation homily and mourn what might have been.  That’s plenty of expiation for letting it happen on our watch — priests and laity alike.

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Another former employee says:

I hope that Cardinal O’Malley will remember his promise to fund the priests’ and lay employees’ pensions.

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Anonymous says:

Clean house at the top (McDonough, Gustavson, Donilon, Grassa O’Neill and her staff, McEnness et al.

Take care of the rank and file employees who have been systemmatically mistreated over the past sevreal years.

Announce a plan to fund the lay pension plan.

Appoint good Catholics to the Finance council and get rid of people like Connors

Then resign, you are not competent to lead the Archdiocese.

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“Just Wondering” says:

“JUST WONDERING” says:  you forgot another dangerous person,  the one and the only J. Bryan Hehir.

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Jack O’Malley says:
Cardinal O’Malley,

Drive the mercenaries from the chancery as Christ did the money changers from the temple.   And purge the smoke of Satan from those sanctuaries where it swirls thickest.  You know which ones.

Esto Princeps Ecclesiae.  Duc fortiter.  Fideles volenter sequentur,

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Anonymous says:
As St. Patrick, the patron saint of the Achdiocese did, drive the snakes out of 66 Briooks Drive.

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Little Red Hen says:

Dear Cardinal O’Malley, please pay a visit to the superintendent and the staff of the Office of Catholic Schools and thank them for their service to the Archdiocese, tell them their service is no longer required, and send them on their way.  Then contact the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (www.sistersofmary.org) and tell them that you have a mission for them here, which is to restore meaningful catechesis and authentic Catholicity to the few schools that remain in the Archdiocese of Boston.

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Lazarus’ Table says:

Cardinal Sean,
I don’t suppose it is easy for any man to be a bishop, especially in these times and particularly in Boston.   For all its supposed conservatism, Boston Catholics (clergy & lay) sure can pick and choose what they want to believe and when they will stand by their bishop… or not.

Cardinal Sean, clean house.  You’ve already tried that earlier by sending some priests back into the parishes (for which, I’m sure, the parishes thank you…).  But I think you’ve been “taken” by people you trusted who have their own agenda and who’ve surrounded themselves with people of their mind, not yours.   The perceived scandal and mistrust of those in Braintree has so  had a paralyzing effect on us that I would hope some of those men would voluntarily resign on their own pro bono publico and allow for fresh air and a renewed start.  Can’t they admit their presence  is hurting not helping the Church?  It’s not good when they give rise to rumors that you and/or the archdiocese are being blackmailed or held hostage in some other way.

Cardinal Sean, clean house.   You owe it to yourself and us.  You’ve sacrifriced alot for the Church but the current state of affairs make it seem like the Church is sacrificing alot for you.  And I’m sure that is not what you want or intend.

Cardinal Sean, please let us know how we can help you in a personal way.  We pray for you, of course.  But do you need a friend?  Do you need to be reminded that “Sean” is loved and needed? Does your morale need a boost?  Are you healthy, Cardinal Sean? How can we help you?  How can we help you to help us?  We’ll be there for you, Cardinal Sean.  Please be there for us now.

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Anthony says:

I believe as an urgent matter that the Cardinal should, personally, look to correct the wrong done to the Hispanic children of Lawrence by the closing of the St. Mary of the Assumption elementary school. Though it is true that the Augustinians no longer wish to support the school, there are others who will. Please Cardinal Sean, we beg you to reverse this faulty decision to close St. Mary’s. A high proportion of the 250 students there will no longer have a Catholic school formation.

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TalkWalker says:

Cardinal O’Malley – You do many inspirational things.  The way you handled the victims of the Abuse Crisis was admirable and sincere.  Your pastoral letter and your efforts at evangelization are clear and good.  How can the same person -you- permit things like St. Cecilia’s to occur, amd let some of your key people (McDonough, Hehir, Kickam) turn the Archdiocese into a political cesspool?  None of your priests respect or trust any of them, yet you keep them around?  Why?

You still have time to leave the Archdiocese better than you received it from a spiritual perspective.  Please stop allowing the “money guys” and “priests that sell-out and dilute Catholicism”  tell you its all about money.  You speak often as responding to the sex abuse crisis and balancing the budget are the two legacies you’ll leave.  You don’t talk about anything related to helping Catholics overcome 2 bad generations of evangelization and formation.  Luckily you are only 67 and, God willing, have 10 more years to fix this course.  As you said well in your letter at Pentecost – the primary mission of the Church is evangelization.  Now your sheep are asking you to make it your top priority.  Please walk the talk.

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Boston Priest says:

Cardinal Sean,
I know your job is a tough one and you’ve intimated to many people that you don’t want to be here.

Until such time as you decide it’s time to move on from Boston, more than a handful of diocesan priests would find it a morale boost if you’d  wear the clerical suit/cassock of a diocesan bishop instead of your Franciscan habit (ie. as Archbishop Chaput has chosen to do). I know canonically you have the option to dress in conformity with your religious community and sacred calling and it’s your decision. I see where for formal occasions, and trips to Rome you wear the diocesan bishop cassock. But, we’re all diocesan priests here, so by dressing other than we do, it makes a lot of us feel like you’re not really bought into being our diocesan bishop. It’s like you’re somewhere else, like an itinerant wanderer and not appearing as though you’re the one responsible for the diocese. We’re treated similarly canonically, with many left hanging in limbo continuing to serve as pastors with no formal renewal of pastoral terms.

It’s a lot more than the attire, but the what you wear symbolizes something to everyone.

As long as you’re here, it would dignify the office of Archbishop of Boston and be a boost to morale for a lot of the guys if you’d dress the part of diocesan bishop that the Holy Father asked you to play here, rather than dressing for the part you might want to play somewhere else.

  • Michael says:

    It would also be quite dignified to not continuously contradict your previously stated positions as you have on several occasions.

  • Jack O’Malley says:

I agree totally with Boston Priest about the attire of the Archbishop of Boston.  The exemplar of Archbishop Chaput is particularly à propos.

As I posted earlier, you, Seán Cardinal O’Malley are a Prince of the Church.  Princeps.  Princeps Ecclesiae.  You understand the Latin.  Who was called a Princeps?  Be a Princeps.  And you will have the loyalty of true Catholics. The piskie wannabes will abandon you in droves.  Tantum melius!

Continue on the present course and you will have schism in your archdiocese.  We are fed up.  We will revolt.  Why do you think the FSSPX are expanding and you and your V2 novus ordo protestantised church is shrinking?

You have the classical education.  You have the traditional formation.  You are not much older than I.  You have the linguistic gift and training to preach the Evangelion to many peoples.  I exhort you to restore the Traditional Mass in all parishes of your bishopric.  You will have altar boys.  You will then have vocations.  You will then have faithful masculine priests.  And when you die, you will be assured of your reward when you confront our Saviour.  And you will be remembered here on earth as the true Franciscan Repairer of the Church of Christ once gone to ruin.

What is holding you back, your Eminence?  Why are you so timid?  Fear nothing!  Audax atque strenuus.  Vivat Christus Rex!

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Mack says:

Cardinal O’Malley:
I know  you have a difficult ministry and believe you are sincerely trying. Yet something is grievously wrong in this archdiocese. Recently after Mass I was briefly speaking to a priest he said that “the archdiocese is imploding.” He didn’t elaborate, but we all know what’s going on.

I would urge you to do three things:

1. Give priority to teaching the fullness of the Catholic faith, even on the tough issues. I was so saddened to see you at Ted Kennedy’s funeral standing on the sidelines and not giving any witness at all to the Church’s teaching on life. Kennedy was an ardent supporter of abortion legislation throughout his Senate career. To me it was a terrible scandal that the impression was given that a politician can work with all his might to promote the “culture of death,” as Pope John Paul termed it, and then receive accolades as if he was some kind of saint.  Another important issue is homosexuality, and the proposed “gay pride” Mass at St Cecilia’s is another situation you need to address.

2. Stop listening to the advisors you now have, and find some other persons with better judgment and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Invest more time in personal prayer and make this a priority.

3. Publicly acknowledge the full extent of the injustice you did to the Daughters of St. Paul, and apologize to the sisters for: 1) having interfered in their internal affairs and brought serious trials to their leadership team and 2) for allowing the pension fund issue to drag on for 5 years. This sad situation shows how poorly you have led this archdiocese. The facts show that you did not intervene to help the sisters find justice when they and their employees were being unjustly treated. If you had used your influence, why would it have dragged on for 5 years? But when you received some negative publicity, you immediately called their superior general to complain because your ego was offended. I can only conclude from this that you care more about your public image than you do about doing justice. Shame on you!

  • Michael says:

To the contrary … Cardinal O’Malley was not “standing on the sidelines and not giving any witness at all to the Church’s teaching.”  He was on the field doing that trick play in football that we employed as kids … he stood on the field trying to make it look like he was standing on the sidelines – but instead he had a very big role in the play.

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JRBreton says:

Cardinal O’Malley, please tend to your priests.  They need your encouragement, and your discipline.  Consider, for instance, the great scandal caused by so many priests saying Mass in their own particular way.  That would not be the case if our priests were acting in personal Christi.  Nothing much good can be expected until we have a reformation of  our priests.  It is your job; please don’t shirk it.

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Anonymous Priest says:

Cardinal O’Malley,
Boston Catholic Insider has provided an incredible service to the Archdiocese of Boston. BCI has begun to confront the some of the corruption in this archdiocese . They do so in a manner that is professional, direct and charitable. The failure of this archdiocese to respond  responsibly to the issues raised by the BCI is a scandal which has a different face that the one of 2002 but nonetheless, still scandalous. The BCI discusses issues after doing  its homework and demonstrates a good knowledge of and commitment to the true mission of the church. Never relying on hearsay, it continues to speak the truth with  charity and clarity. Unfortunately, the archdiocese continues to dismiss the BCI as is  its customary response to people and ideas it does not like. It’s very encouraging for many of the priests  of this archdiocese to see  that the BCI will not be intimidated nor is it going to go away. If the archdiocese were willing to engage the BCI  and begin to “clean house” we could actually have a vibrant archdiocese. Please, Cardinal O’Malley, listen to the BCI.

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John A. Cronin says:

A suggestion if I may…..Advisors should be screened and one group who would help His Eminence would be the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance.  They are living the life of Francis, working the streets of Boston and Lawrence and should be asked advice on a timely basis, just to get to the truth.  Thier loyalty to Cardinal O’Malley is beyond questionable.

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H.O.T. says:

Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

I know you to be a good man, Your Eminence. I think you’re doing a basically good job administering the Diocese, these nattering carpers to the contrary. I understand you have a difficult job, and you’re caught between a rock and a hard place in terms of fixed assets you can’t liquidate, and immediate need and long-term debts.

I do think a lot of your advisers need to get replaced, though (for reasons different than most here). Inter alia, Fr. Hehir’s influence has been insidious for a long time, but it’s not just him. It might be time to just start over.

Outside of that, I wish there was even one person who is charged  with using your delegated authority to assure both the orthodoxy and fullness of doctrine is being taught and preached in the Archdiocese. It’s still not even close.

Your faithful son,

H.O.T.

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Kdgd says:

Dear Cardinal Sean,

What sorrow must fill your heart to see our Church shriveling away in Boston. Yet just like the rose bush is trimmed to an ugly stump to survive the winter, our church needs serious pruning. Only then can it thrive and bloom again in spring. There are many problems but top of the list is lack of formation & creeping secularization.

For starters, the CCD program in every parish and school needs to be evaluated. They teach that “God Loves You”, which is of course true, but little else. A love for the Eucharist and a basic understanding of the Catechism is scandalously lacking. Every parish needs adult formation, not just RCIA, but a “Catholic Answers” type forum to help answer the “why’s” of the what the Church teaches.  EVERY priest, Bishop and Cardinal should teach  CCD, confirmation, RCIA or adult formation classes.  At the present moment, our priests are asked to act more as fundraisers than evangelizers.  Who gives up a family for that?

Secularization has entered nearly all areas of the church, especially education and charity. Catholic schools and Catholic Charities have become almost indistinguishable from their secular versions. Recently a glossy Catholic Charities booklet was sent to my house- while professional looking, it didn’t mention one word about Christ and the Faith  in all its multicolor splendor.  Blessed Mother Teresa should be the roll model for service.

The Church is shrinking in Boston, but if it is secularized in hope that this will antagonize fewer people into leaving (and hence decrease the coffers even more) then there is no chance of renewal. Of the 20% of Mass going Catholics, how many attend less than 52 weeks a year, practice birth control, understand the Real Presence in Eucharist, understand the Church’s teaching on the Gospel of Life? How truly depressing – I cannot imagine presiding over this kind of decline. Even with bold leadership and action , renewal is unlikely to happen in our lifetimes, but it is the only hope.

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Marianne Keating says:

I agree with the many responses above about cleaning out the Chancery of the overpaid, scandalous, heretical employees.  Have courage, Cardinal O’Malley, and trust God to bring us through it all after the pieces fall!

On a positive note, I was delighted to hear Sr. Olga will be starting an order of nuns here in the Archdiocese.  Wonderful news as she is a holy and inspirational nun and will be a true blessing for our Archdiocese and the many lives she touches!

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Michael says:

Here is a suggestion if you are uncertain as to what to do.  Fire anyone stealing from the Archdiocese – that includes Mary Grassa O’Neill ($325,000/yr), her deputies and anyone making above a liveable salary — any salary does not clearly demonstrate a willingness to be a servant of Christ (i.e., anyone making over $50,000 – 60,000 a year).

Also, fire those new lawyers you got for giving you pathetic and wimpy legal advice — you know … the ones who say that HR cannot even ask a prospective employee whether or not the applicant is Catholic because doing so allegedly violates the law.

Hey smartypants lawyers — that is the most ridiculous legal advice ever offered.  With people like you boys fighting for us, who needs enemies.

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Bill Redmond says:

Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

Thank you for working with Holy Family Communications to bring WQOM to the Boston Archdiocese.  The Good Catholic Life program is wonderful.  I’d like to see a change in the format that would allow for callers to interact with Scott and the guests.

Bill Redmond

OK says:
Bill,
It’s not the format that would need to change their is a technical issue that doesn’t allow for taking calls from the general public…until that issue is resolved their will be no call ins.  I know this to be the situation.
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David says:

Thank you, Cardinal O’Malley, for coming to the Courage Conference held at Betania II in Medway in 2008.  The members of Courage and Encourage appreciate the work you have done publicly and behind the scenes in supporting our efforts to live chaste and holy lives.

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freda says:

Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

The media says that the Archdiocese has confirmed the re-scheduling of the St. Cecilia pro-gay-pride mass for July 10.  That is crazy.  How can you approve a mass in a holy place celebrating ANY sexual practices, let alone sexual practices that for 2,000 years the Church has called “intrinsically disordered”?  Even earlier,  much of the Old Testament teaches that God told the Israelites to stop pagan worships!   Pagan worship meant temple prostitutes and the celebration of adultery and  disordered sexual acts.  How can you possibly allow St. Cecilia’s to be turned into a pagan temple?????  How can you????  You really must stop this immediately.  It is scandalizing the faithful (and all converts and — imagine what message it is sending to all those Anglican and Episcopal priests bravely considering “coming home” to the Catholic Church!)

I have heard that the St. Cecilia mass  will now be called a “welcome” mass.  Are you kidding?  Do you think that lay Catholics are stupid? PLEASE put a stop to this.

  • anna says:

    Freda,  You bring up an excellent point about converts and Anglicans.  Losing converts is a price they are willing to pay to get the gays, lesbians and wealthy parishioners to achieve their big fundraising goals.

    But the thing is Freda, they are actually the stupid ones because they can’t figure out the reason why they are going bankrupt.  For every donor they get with their clapping fornication and sodomy mission statements, they lose 100 sane donors.

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anonymous reader

Dear Cardinal O’Malley:

A humble servant of Jesus is asking for your support on what I believe to be grave matters.

1.  Rebuilding the sanctity of St. Cecilia’s Parish in Boston.  In this case, I believe Fr. Unni, Bishop Hennessey are giving into a political culture rather than to the teachings found in the Old Testament.  No where in the New Testament does Jesus give approval of homosexuals living together.  This needs to be immediately addressed for the good of the whole Archdiocese.

Fr. Unni likened the circumstances to Love v Hate.  The Gay Pride ministry represents LOVE and those who object to the Holy, Catholic Church being used to chastise the Holy Eucharist are HATERS.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Terry Donilon said that you approved of Fr. John Unni, Pastor of St. Cecilia’s, and that the Gay Pride Mass is going forward as previously scheduled.  What do you have to say about this??????

John Connors, caused scandal to us when he opened his home for a $2 million fundraiser for the most Pro-Abortion President.  Pres. Obama said he would let his daughters have an abortion if they found themselves pregnant out of wedlock.  Why then, would Mr. Connors want to host a hugh fundraiser for him.  Where is Mr. Connors on this issue???????

Would you please look into this and CANCEL THIS MASS.  Mass should never be offered for a cause.

2.  Recently Fr. Pavone, a good and holy man preached at St. Paul’s in Hingham.  Becasue a person held up a sign showing a 23 week old fetus being dismembered, someone called the police and they took his license plate number.  A call then came to Fr. Rafferty saying that he shouldn’t have allowed Fr. Pavone to come and speak.

Fr. Pavone is a wonderful priest in support of life.  Our Archdiocese is certainly in need of the presence of PFL.  Why, did a spokesperson from your office call to nix it?????

Thank you for your consideration of these important issues to the flock who is trying their best to be faithful to Christ and the Holy Eucharist.

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williamh says:

The leadership of the Catholic Church needs to make it perfectly clear that:  they do not support homosexuality in any way (Maureen Dowd, unfortunately, hit right on the head in NYT article about homosexuality in Church; they need to own up to it ; discover why it occurred so rampantly; how to squash and deal with it now;  they need to strongly defend marriage; always speak out against abortion; speak out against same sex marriage; homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder and homosexual practices are mortal sins.  Their mission is to:  teach, govern, and sanctify.  Many of them get an “F” on all three.  Why are they gutless and wishy-washy.  Why have there been so many “feminized” clergy within the last few decades.  What about the faithful, straight clergy standing up to the gay,clerical mafia in each diocese.  We need it; it can reestablish the faithful’s TRUST in their clergy, from the cardinals on down.

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Jane M. Finn says:

Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

I thought the mission of the Catholic Church was about “saving souls.”  How is that mission being fulfilled at St. Cecilia’s?  Their Rainbow Ministry, with full knowledge of the Archdiocese, is hosting a specially named Mass on July 10th.  This Mass will be celebrating those of a sexual persuasion, that if practiced, is against the 6th Commandment.  So, shouldn’t  the Archdiocese be concerned for their souls? Or has the Archdiocese eliminated the 6th Commandment? Should the Ten Commandments now be called the Nine Commandments?  There seems to be so much ‘double speak’ coming from the Archdiocese….CONFUSION.

Right now, I think, is the perfect time for the Archdiocese to give real evangelization by way of the Boston Media to millions and millions here and across the country that would certainly save some souls. They should give witness to the successful Catholic Church sponsored program for homosexuality called COURAGE for the homosexual and ENCOURAGE for his/her’s family members.  This is an opportunity that should not be waisted!

Only the TRUTH and LOVE of Jesus Christ brings true peace and quiets the restless heart.  Spin will only keep poor souls spinning and will not save them.

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Alice Slattery says:

Dear Cardinal O’Malley,
If you look carefully at the parish bulletins and the activities of the Rainbow Ministry that are promoted by Fr. John Unni as pastor of St. Cecilia’s parish in Boston  and compare them to those of Fr. Walter Cuenin’s in his parish bulletins at Our Lady Help of Christians parish in Newton (which are in the archives from the time when Bp. William Murphy was Moderator), you will see that they are practically identical in the way that they advanced the cause of the desires of the members of his parish who  promote the  LGBT agenda. In fact,  in June of 2006, Fr. Walter Cuenin received the Pride Interfaith Award during Gay Pride week for his advocacy for the desires of the LGBT advocates by his “gay-affirming ” efforts in his parish and  “the religious community” in  Boston.(“Catholic priest to preach at Boston Pride Interfaith Service”,Bay Windows,2/02/06). To my recollection, there was nothing critical of this fact  printed in The Pilot .
I may be wrong but I also  don’t recall anything critical in The Pilot when Fr. Cuenin joined Fr. Thomas Carroll,rector of the Jesuit Urban Center,Boston, when they opposed the ban on gay marriage before the Mass. State Legislature in 2002.(“Three priests oppose ban on gay marriage”,Boston Globe,4/11/02,p.p.B1.B10).
Now that the members of the Jesuit Urban Center have moved into St. Cecilia’s parish, is Fr. Unni accommodating their desire for  acceptance of gay marriage?
Since Fr. Unni is ‘walking in the footsteps’ of Fr, Cuenin,  and is recognized by the GLBT advocates for his efforts to advocate for their desires, will you remain silent as you did when Fr. Cuenin was honored by those who gave him the  GLBT Pride award?  Would you be in agreement if the recipient of the LGBT Pride award next year is Fr. John Unni?The perception of your silence regarding the impact that such advocacy has on the parishioners of the Boston Archdiocese is very confusing. Please, as our Shepherd, clearly explain your position.


BCI Requests Your Input on Message to Cardinal O’Malley

June 22, 2011

Tomorrow, Thursday June 23 is the 1-year anniversary for BCI.  To mark the day, you are invited to provide input towards our First Anniversary survey by clicking here We realize some readers had technical glitches with the survey, and if you were unable to access it, click here.

Today, we also invite your feedback on a message to Cardinal O’Malley.

Using comments below, please write whatever message you would like to deliver to Cardinal O’Malley–with the constraint that there be no personal attacks and no harsh language unsuitable for a public blog. BCI suggests the focus be on matters that will improve the ability of the Archdiocese to advance her mission.  (The mission of the Pastoral Center is “To continue the saving ministry of Jesus Christ”).  So, it could be a top priority or some top problems you would like for him to address, it could be a compliment, a criticism, a mix of positive and constructive feedback, a suggestion, or anything relevant to his pastoral leadership in teaching, sanctifying, and governing the archdiocese.  The goal in the comments is to share feedback or a message that you believe will lead to the archdiocese being better able to continue the saving ministry of Jesus Christ.

Type the comments below.  We will aggregate them and email them to the Cardinal and his staff later this week, and we will also plan to re-post the best of them tomorrow.

Guidelines for comments–please no personal attacks or harsh language.  (e.g. Do not post, “Cardinal O’Malley is word we have to delete). If you have a criticism, please do not make it personal but rather express in the form of behavior/action observed (or not seen happening) and then what you would like to see happen, and why.  If you have noticed your comments moderated or edited in the past, please do BCI a favor and avoid such language.  (You probably know who you are).

What would you like to say to the Cardinal that you think will help improve the ability of the archdiocese to better continue the saving ministry of Jesus Christ?


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