Boston Archdiocese Asking for Your Input Toward 2015 Synod

February 28, 2015

For readers wanting to give input toward the 2015 Synod on the Family, the Boston Archdiocese is asking for our input.

In view of the mountain of evidence that the synod is under the control of people at the highest levels of the Catholic Church who want to change Church practices around the indissolubility of marriage while pretending to not change doctrine, many readers may think they should just throw up their hands in frustration and not bother responding to the input survey. BCI suggests you still take the time to complete the survey and do either of two things with it: a) Give it to your local parish pastor, or b) Send it to Judicial Vicar Fr Mark O’Connell at synod2015@rcab.org.

Below is a message from Catholic Citizenship about the opportunity to give your input. It points folks to the synod questionnaire, which you can download here.

 Archdiocese Inquires with Laity before 2015 Ordinary Synod

Dear friends,

Cardinal O’Malley has asked pastors to send a questionnaire to parishioners for the upcoming Synod on the Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and contemporary world this October.  Pope Francis will convene an Ordinary Synod with Cardinals and Bishops around the world to discuss how the Church can better articulate Catholic teaching about the family.

The questionnaire is composed of 15 sections and 46 questions which highlight the anthropological, social, cultural and ecclesiastical understanding of the family.  This document is designed to help facilitate discussion about the Church’s teaching and how it may be effectively taught.

It’s important that the church hear from individuals who support its traditional teachings, as those who wish to alter them will surely make their voices heard.

Furthermore, the Boston Archdiocese has developed a mini-site which contains short videos on the following topics: evangelizing the family, how to better reach young people, encouraging cohabitating couples to marry, ministering to divorced Catholics, and pastoral care for those with homosexual tendencies.

Please visit the website to download a copy of the questionnaire and view instruction material at: www.synod2015.org

Thank you.

Editorial comment from BCI.  We wanted a few of the videos by Fr. Mark O’Connell. We found them mostly disappointing. They talk about how to have a cordial “dialogue” with those committing grave mortal sin (e.g. cohabitating outside of marriage, self-identify as homosexuals), but he avoids mentioning the grave state of sin in which those people place themselves and the consequences of that for their own salvation.  When and where does that get mentioned?

Once again, BCI suggests you take the time to complete the survey and either give it to your local parish pastor or send it to Judicial Vicar Fr Mark O’Connell at synod2015@rcab.org.


Rectory Reuse

September 26, 2012

With all the talk about the new Pastoral Plan, which will have one pastor for several parishes and thus result in fewer rectories open and occupied by priests, at some point people have to start thinking about what might happen with a vacant rectory.

Towards that end, BCI happened to be checking out a few parish websites recently and came across an innovative use of an empty rectory at St. Francis of Assisi in Cambridge.  Readers may recall that the last time we discussed St. Francis of Assisi was November of 2011, in St. Francis of Assisi Closing Confusion, when the parishioners were told the pastor from the Franciscans was retiring and the parish would be closing, but then the archdiocese would not confirm anything about the closing.

Here is the notice in the most recent issue of the St. Francis of Assisi parish bulletin about who is now occupying the vacant rectory:

There seems to be some confusion about what is happening at the parish and, in particular, the rectory. Last week there was a message about three young women who would be residing in the rectory. As stated they are members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way, an organization founded in Spain and invited initially to the Archdiocese by Cardinal Bernard Law. The welcome continues to be extended by Cardinal Sean to continue their work of evangelization here. It was at Cardinal Sean’s request that I opened the rectory for them to live. I think it a blessing to have a physical presence on the property. The young women are Alicia from the Dominican Republic, Linda from Portugal and Clara from Spain. They all speak English fluently. For the present they are residing on the 1st floor of the rectory.

We wrote about the NeoCats just a few months ago in May, in Neocatechumenate Questions.  With this arrangement and perhaps other similar ones to come, some of the previous questions are worth revisiting, plus we add a few new ones:

  • Who pays for the expenses of the Neocatechumenal Way missionaries here in Boston, such as their vehicles, gas, maintenance and insurance, and their food, utilities, and building expenses at this rectory?
  • Who pays for their medical and dental insurance?
  • Who paid for their airfares to get to Boston?
  • What exactly are they doing?  Are they going around from house to house, in a manner similar to Jehovah’s Witnesses, helping people learn about the Bible and the Kingdom of God, or instead, inviting fallen away Catholics to come back to Mass?  If so, which Mass–the regular Sunday Catholic Mass with the parish, a Neo-Cat community Saturday evening Mass  apart from the parish community where they are supposed to be tightly integrated, or a Neo-Cat non-liturgical celebration?
  • How exactly will success of their mission be determined? Three, six, or twelve months into their mission, how will it be determined if they were successful and if whatever financial investment was made yielded acceptable results so it should continue?

BCI does not know specifics about what is going on with the Neo-Cats at St. Francis of Assisi, and this is not a criticism of them. We just believe these are legitimate questions that should be asked and answered.

That same parish bulletin notice from the parish administrator happened to also mention another effort at evangelization. Read on:

We also welcome another religious community from Brazil. It was this group that I visited on my recent visit to that country. They are Comunidade Shalom, which was founded 30 years ago, this year. They are also involved in evangelization. You will see them using the chapel on Wednesday or (Thursday) evenings for a prayer meeting. In addition they will be opening the chapel for Eucharistic Adoration on Tuesday mornings for anyone who would like to come in to pray. The chapel will be open on Tuesdays for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament from 9:00am until 12:00 noon, ending prior to the 12:10pm Mass. Please join them. The people who will be there are a missionary family from Fortaleza, Brasil. Luiz and Liliana are the parents, with them from Brasil are 4 of their 6 children: Lucas– 22, Maria Clara– 15, Leticia– 12 and Luis Fernando– 2.5., and a Nanny, Mazei. The older two children are their married daughters who remained behind. They and the young women have been present at weekday Masses and also at the Macaroni lunch on Tuesdays. Please pray that the Lord will guide other missionaries to our country and archdiocese.

(Note: this family is not living in the rectory). Here is the Google-translated version of the Portuguese website for Comunidade Shalom. Without knowing more, at arms-length, BCI would generally view an effort rooted in Eucharistic Adoration as positive, but we know nothing more than this. Still, the same questions might be asked about this evangelization effort–who pays for the living expenses of these missionaries here in Boston, including round-trip airfares to Boston; what exactly are they doing; who assesses their level of formation for the mission; who from the Boston Archdiocese responsible for faith formation and evangelization knows what they are saying and communicating about the Catholic faith if their prayer meetings or evangelization efforts are in Portuguese; and how will success be determined?

Using vacant rectories to advance the cause of evangelization sounds, on the surface, like a good idea. BCI just wonders who is paying for it, exactly what the evangelists are leading the fallen-away to, and how success is measured.  In addition, if people are going to be formally engaged and officially designated in a role for the task of evangelization–whether they be native English-speaking Catholics born and raised in the U.S. or missionaries from a foreign country–and their expenses paid at least in part by the parish or Boston Archdiocese, a bit more is expected of them than of the average Catholic in the pews.  The concept of archdiocesan guidelines for the formation of the laity, proposed in this 2010 report,  seems like an excellent one.  We can’t find those guidelines anywhere. And there needs to be some checks and balances to ensure the people are properly formed, theologically well-catechized, and saying and doing the right things.  BCI does not know how that all happens.  Is anyone on the Pastoral Planning team thinking about all this, or is it just us?


St. Francis of Assisi Parish Closing: Response from Fr. Carreiro

November 29, 2011

BCI has gotten a fair amount of critical feedback on our last post, Cambridge Church Closing Calamity, where we discussed the news that St. Francis of Assisi in Cambridge will be closing.

Fr. Walter Carreiro, Vicar Forane and pastor of the designated “welcoming” parish, St. Anthony of Padua, sent us an email and posted an almost identical version of the email in comments. He took the time to write and to express concerns with the post by BCI, so we felt it appropriate to share his message in a dedicated blog post.  We will make brief comments following his letter, and we will post additional comments in a separate post. Here is his unedited message:

I would think that a journalist would at least attempt to get both sides of a story prior to publishing something with a potential to misconstrue events and statements.

I have included here the letter I wrote for our parish bulletin at St. Anthony Parish. This letter was written on Sunday, November 20, since it had to be at the publisher by November 21 due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Immediately following is a link to the publishers archive of our bulletin so that you may see it in the published format, including the Portuguese translation.

Greetings,

By now you have all heard the news about Saint Francis of Assisi Parish. It was in 2008 that the provincial of the Franciscans of the Immaculate Conception province wrote a letter to Cardinal Sean stating that when Fr. Norbert DeAmato retired they would no longer to staff the parish. At that time Cardinal Sean wrote a letter to the Vicar General, Bishop Hennessey and me stating that it was his thought that since St. Francis, being an Italian Personal parish and St. Anthony, being a Portuguese Personal parish that it made sense for the two to be merged with the eventual closure of St. Francis. At that time Bishop Hennessey and I met with Fr. Norbert to explain to him that at long as he chose to remain there that there would be no change in the status of St. Francis Parish. Just a few weeks ago Fr. Norbert, with his doctor and the provincial determined that it would be best for his health to step down as pastor. Another Franciscan Friar, Fr. Richard Donovan was assigned to be the temporary administrator. It was clear then that this was just to be temporary.

A couple of weeks ago a number of us, including Fr. Primo, the Franciscan Provincial from New York, met in Braintree to determine how we would go forward with St. Francis parish. It was prior to that meeting that I was asked to consider being administrator of the parish to work with the parishioners to bring it to closure. Realizing the difficulty of this transition I accepted this responsibility, naturally with a heavy heart of having to break the news to the parishioners. Cardinal Sean has continued in his belief that it makes sense for St. Anthony to be the welcoming parish for the people of the parish and for those things that are dear to the parishioners, statues, etc. It was because of this that I was at all the Masses this weekend at St. Francis. You can imagine the feelings that were present among the people. They were very kind to me but it’s natural that people would be angry, in tears, wanting to bargain and figure out how the parish could stay open. As you can well imagine it is as if they were being told that a loved one had a terminal illness and that death was inevitable and imminent. As I told them, there is no definite date when the parish will close. I will continue to meet with a group of parishioners there to determine what would be the best way to go forward taking into account any important events yet to occur there and how we will commemorate the move from St. Francis up the street to St. Anthony. I know that I can count on you to be welcoming to our brothers and sisters from there. I know that together we will make this as positive of an experience for them and make room for them here. As well, we will make room for their statues and those things which have made their experience as a parish dear to them. As the Archdiocese moves to a new model of parish configuration this is a good experience for us to challenge ourselves to be ever more open to all who come to St. Anthony to worship and, more importantly, to be a part of our family here.

As our responsibility as priests here expands this has necessitated a change in the schedule of Masses, which is included below. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Peace & Blessings, Fr. Walter

ST. FRANCIS ST. ANTHONY SACRED HEART
DAY TIME TIME TIME
Sabado/SAT. NO MASS 4:00 PM (& 5:30 PM) 5:00 PM
Domingo/SUN. 9:00 & 10:30 (8:00) 9:45 7:30, 9:00
(11:30 AM & 7:00 PM) & 11:00 AM
2a/MON. 7:00 AM (6:30 PM) 9:00 AM
3a/TUES. 12:10 PM (6:30 PM) 6:00 PM
4a/WED. 7:00 AM (6:30 PM) 9:00 AM
5a/THUR. NO MASS (9:00 AM & 6:30 PM) 6:00 PM
ADORATION: 9:30 – 6:00
6a/FRI. 7:00 AM (6:30 PM) 9:00 AM
Masses in parenthesis are celebrated in Portuguese Missas entre parenthesis são celebradas em português.

http://parishbulletin.com/Bulletins/935/935_Anthony_Cam_1127.pdf

There is much more to write and to refute, both in what was related to you, and how you chose to present that information. Let’s not forget that there are two sides to every story and an attempt should be made to not be so one-sided. I was not approached nor was an attempt to communicate with me made in any way.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Walter Carreiro (correct spelling)

We appreciate Fr. Carreiro taking the time to write.  We have time to just say a few things in response in this post for this moment.

He is correct that BCI did not approach him or attempt to communicate with him. Why is that?  Two reasons.  First, as we said in our previous post, we did call St. Francis of Assisi to ask about the rumor of the parish closing on Saturday Nov. 19, and the priest who answered the phone denied the rumored closing and said there would merely be a change in Mass schedule announced. Keep in mind, the closing had already been announced to selected parishioners a few days earlier, and it was announced several hours later to all of the parishioners. (As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”).  Secondly, the lack of response by virtually everyone in the archdiocesan hierarchy to inquiries by BCI over the past year–and to complaints by faithful Catholics–has led us to conclude it is generally not worth the time and trouble to even try reaching out to ask for comments or additional perspectives on a story. Based on Fr. Walter’s thoughtful and insightful response, we regret that we did not reach out to him.

Lastly for now, it also remains unclear to BCI, even from the response by Fr. Walter, what major details of our original post are considered inaccurate and thus would need to be refuted. Fr. Walter is a fine, honest devout priest, who confers the sacraments fluently in Portuguese. The Wednesday evening meeting with selected parishioners was blunt and confrontational as reported. Communications with St. Francis parishioners have not been good–as exemplified by the above letter being published in the St. Anthony parish bulletin, but NOT in the bulletin of  St. Francis, the parish actually being closed!  No written announcement has appeared in the St. Francis bulletin, and many of their elderly parishioners who are homebound rely solely on the bulletin for official parish news. A St. Francis parishioner commented to us via email, “Yikes, should I be learning of the process from him via your blog?? ”  A developer was apparently tipped off before the parishioners were notified. There has been no public decree.

The details that could potentially be refuted from our original post where we have now learned more are the following:
–Fr. Norbert is 89-years-old, not 92 and he apparently is not ill, but was advised by doctors and his provincial to give up the pastor role at the parish for health reasons
–Bishop Hennessey was apparently not notified of the Nov. 16 meeting at the parish
–The reason for St. Anthony being designated the welcoming parish is because Cardinal O’Malley thought it was a good idea
–Communications between the Franciscans and the archdiocese about what would happen to St. Francis after Fr. Norbert retired took place in 2008, (3-4 years ago) and not five years ago, as BCI said. Apparently the communications took place via letter correspondence at the time.

Though we do not believe any of those details are major in nature or would have substantially altered the message of our last post, we apologize for any errors.  More in a next post.


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.


Ad Limina Announcements

November 6, 2011

As BCI readers know, a contingent from Boston is in Rome for the quinquennial “ad limina” visit where they discuss the state of the Boston Archdiocese.  We see a few different stories about the visit in several different publications which talk about the visit, while offering no insights as to how Cardinal O’Malley is characterizing the actual situation and state of the Boston Archdiocese today. We suppose that leaves it to BCI and our readers to cover.

Here are three articles that give you a sense of what is going on.

Background on the Ad Limina

On Friday, Whispers in the Loggia offered the following commentary about the ad limina:

Seven years since the American hierarchy last made its required Quinquennial Visit to the Holy See, the bench’s first ad limina of B16’s pontificate began earlier today — three days ahead of schedule — as the Pope received 13 prelates of New England’s Region I in private audience.

While Benedict will meet with each of the bishops over the next week, this morning’s Apartment-bound group was led by the area’s top cleric, Boston’s Cardinal Séan O’Malley OFM Cap., joined by his five active auxiliaries.

BCI agrees with most of what was said above, except for the word “active” to describe all of the 5 Boston auxiliaries.  Yes they are all currently serving as auxiliary bishops; however, to call them all “active” could be subject to some dispute. (But we digress…)

Who is Attending

According to the Vatican Information Service, thirteen bishops from New England are there for the “ad limina.”:

VATICAN CITY, 4 NOV 2011 (VIS) – The Holy Father today received in audience thirteen prelates of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, on their “ad limina” visit:

– Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley O.F.M. Cap. of Boston accompanied, by Auxiliary Bishops Walter James Edyvean, John Anthony Dooher, Robert Francis Hennessey, Arthur L. Kennedy, and Peter J. Uglietto.

In addition, Bishop Salvatore Ronald Matano of Burlington, Bishop George William Coleman of Fall River, Bishop Richard Joseph Malone of Portland, Bishop Timothy Anthony McDonnell of Springfield, Bishop Robert Joseph McManus of Worcester, Bishop Francis J. Christian, auxiliary of Manchester, accompanied by Bishop emeritus John B. McCormack.

Of noteworthiness is that Vicar General Msgr. Robert Deeley did not go.  Apparently, he is staying in Braintree trying to prevent the inmates from taking over the asylum. (Though based on comments from the diocesan spokesperson this past week, that strategy may not be working so well).

The Agenda

This article in The Boston Pilot gives highlights of what will be done during the visit:

The greatest amount of time is taken up with the spiritual side of the visit: celebration of Mass, prayer, and visiting the various offices of the Roman Curia, who daily assist the pope in the government of the universal Church. Among those offices that the New England Bishops are slated to visit between Nov. 3-9 are those that deal with bishops, clergy, education, liturgy or Divine Worship, and consecrated life.

The newest agency created by Pope Benedict himself, the Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, is also on the list. This council and its mandate are especially close to the pope’s own agenda; and as he gives a series of addresses to the bishops, there is wide speculation that this will be the unifying theme woven through the five or so talks the pope will deliver to the various groups of American bishops over the next several months.

Prior to their arrival in Rome the diocesan bishops were asked for a report on the condition of their respective dioceses. These reports are usually due to Rome about six months before the visit itself. They are called “quinquennial” reports because traditionally they had to be submitted every five years. This time frame allows the report to be separated into sections and distributed to the offices of the curia that would be responsible for its particular activities. For example, the report on Catholic Education with its statistics and narrative section would be given to the Congregation for Catholic Education; the bishops will meet there on Nov. 7.

This is not a case of the central office checking up on the local branches. Rather as the reports are compiled, they can be seen as a kind of self evaluation of the diocesan bishop’s ministry and also of the diocese itself.

The bishop likely involves many of his staff and diocesan officials in the compilation of the report, so it can also help the various offices see how effectively they are performing their tasks and assisting the bishop.

In our next post, later today, we will update you on what Cardinal Sean O’Malley has said publicly so far during his time in Rome for the visit.

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)!


Feast of Pentecost, Pastoral Letter on Evangelization

June 12, 2011

Today we celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. Christ promised the Apostles that He would sent His Holy Spirit, and, on Pentecost, they were granted the gifts of the Spirit. This feast day has great meaning for us here at BCI, and we often pray that the Holy Spirit inspire and guide our work.

On Friday, Cardinal Sean published a 5,100+ word Pastoral Letter on Evangelization in The Boston Pilot.  The Cardinal obviously spent a lot of time working on this.  BCI has read it a few times and thought it was quite good. We have asked for more teaching from the Archbishop of Boston, and this certainly fits the bill well. In a way, it is unfortunate that a letter on this topic which is so important for every Catholic does not get more attention and visibility.

You can read the entire letter here.  We are taking today off from blogging to share excepts from the letter below:

A New Pentecost: Inviting All to Follow Jesus

Pastoral Letter on Evangelization
Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap.
June 12, 2011 – Pentecost Sunday

Dearly beloved in Christ,

Pentecost is often called the birthday of the Church because it is the day the members of Christ’s Church were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to boldly proclaim the Gospel, which means Good News. Three thousand were baptized on Pentecost. From that day forward, the followers of Jesus began to fulfill the command to make disciples of all nations, through baptism and apostolic work. Without Pentecost, the Christ event would have remained imprisoned in history. Pentecost is the moment of empowering. The disciples are called to live in Christ’s Spirit and do His works. We are called to do so ourselves today.

1. Pentecost: The Beginning of the Church’s Evangelization Outreach

Pentecost is born out of an intense experience of prayer in union with Mary and with Peter. The experience of Pentecost is one of unity and joy that transcends all ethnic and linguistic differences and is an expression of God’s universal love.

We remember particularly how the disciples were gathered in fear and confusion as they hid in the Upper Room. At that moment, they lacked a sense of outward mission and purpose. Christ then sent the Holy Spirit to them and a great transformation occurred.

The disciples were transformed. Courage replaced fear, as eleven of the twelve Apostles would ultimately die a martyr’s death. Understanding replaced confusion, and they gained a deep sense of purpose: they realized their experience of Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection was truly Good News and it needed to be shared. Their focus turned outward toward all those they were called to evangelize. They never returned to the Upper Room again!

2. The New Evangelization & Our Catholics Come Home Initiative

We are conscious of the fact that many Catholics here in the Archdiocese of Boston do not join us regularly for the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist. Much like the disciples on that first Pentecost, we see friends and relatives who are not deeply connected with our Church family. For that reason, I initiated the Catholics Come Home outreach effort this past Lent. The central element of this initiative was the broadcasting of inspiring television messages about the roots of our faith, the power of Christ’s forgiveness and the peace and joy that comes from a return to worshipping together. Pastors are reporting that individuals are returning to Mass and the sacraments after seeing these commercials. We are encouraged by pastors who have been sharing that many people are inquiring about entering the Church through RCIA or returning to the Church. God’s grace is allowing our initiative to bear fruit.

We are now in the post-television phase of this campaign, but we cannot relax our efforts to invite and welcome people back. In the same spirit of confidence and optimism that characterized this Lenten initiative, I ask you to continue to pray for those who are away from the Church, that their hearts may be opened to respond positively to our invitation. Continue to invite them to return home, reminding them that God has placed a longing for Him in their hearts and explaining that the community of faith suffers from their absence. Through one-on-one and parish-based initiatives, continue to listen to their questions and concerns and to ease their feeling of estrangement, born of years, maybe even decades, away from the life of the Church. Please share with them your own story of living the faith.

3. Evangelization Starts with Each Catholic’s Ongoing Conversion

We can only share what we have received. In preparing to evangelize, we are called to conversion, which means continually to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ individually and as a Church. The Good News nurtures us, makes us grow, and renews us in holiness as God’s people.

Conversion is ongoing in the hearts of believers and it consists in knowing not just about Jesus, but in actually knowing Jesus. It comes about through the power of the Holy Spirit who gives us the grace to invite Jesus into our lives, to put on the mind of Christ by rejecting sin, and to accept the call to be ever more faithful disciples of Christ in the Church. It is a fruit that comes from prayerful dialogue with Christ our Redeemer. Unless we undergo such a conversion, we have not truly accepted the Gospel.

One college student who entered the Church this Easter gave a beautiful testimony of her own conversion. “I have grown to recognize God’s presence in all people and all things, and I consistently find myself joyfully surprised by the action of His grace in my life and in the larger world. God’s light has infused and informed my perspective so deeply that I cannot fathom a life without it, and through my entrance into the Catholic Church, I hope to live my life as one unbroken gaze upon the face of God, and respond to our universal call to holiness.” This young woman’s encounter with the Gospel left her with a different vision of what life is and a new paradigm for how to live it. Her faith, well-nurtured, lively and deep, will make her a great witness to the truth of the Gospel. By her testimony, she is already a great evangelizer!

4. The Primary Mission of Our Church

Evangelization must be the first focus of our Church. I pray that each of us in our Catholic community will also practice the spiritual works of mercy (those that care for the soul) with as much fervor. Together as one Catholic family, we can do more to teach the uninformed, counsel the doubtful, help people turn from sinful to virtuous behavior, bear wrongs patiently, forgive offenses willingly, comfort the afflicted and pray for the living and the dead. Evangelization is a central way we incorporate the spiritual works of mercy into our lives and the activities of our parishes.

5. The Meaning of Evangelization

Evangelization involves handing on the faith to our own families; in other words, becoming mentors in this way of life to a new generation of disciples. As Saint Paul reminds us with passion, we are all called to be “ambassadors of Christ.”

I hope, through our efforts, that together we will restore the word “evangelization” to its proper meaning. It means simply to share the Gospel, the Good News, through word and deed. That is why the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, are called “Evangelists.”

The Church exists to evangelize, to share the Good News with all people. We are called to do many things in the Church, but our primary mandate given by Jesus and powered by the Holy Spirit is to evangelize. Correspondingly, every Catholic is asked to make it his or her own responsibility to reach out and encourage others to join with us in Christ’s family, the Church.

There are three ways to evangelize. We witness, which is the simple living of our faith through our good actions and virtuous deeds. We share our faith in an explicit way, typically by describing how God is working in our lives. We invite others to experience Christ’s saving love by walking with us in our Catholic Church.

6. Parishes: Centers of Evangelization

If the Church exists to evangelize, the parish is the chief venue where that activity must take place. Our parishes must be true centers of evangelization.

An evangelizing spirit must touch every dimension of Catholic parish life. Welcome, acceptance, the invitation to conversion and renewal, reconciliation and peace must characterize the whole tenor of parish life — beginning with Sunday worship. Every element of the parish should respond to the evangelical imperative–priests and religious, lay  persons, staff, ministers, organizations, social clubs, parochial schools, and parish religious education programs. Otherwise, evangelization is reduced to something a few people do as their particular ministry–rather than the reason for the parish’s existence and the objective of its apostolic work. The spirit of conversion, highlighted in the liturgy and particularly in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, should radiate through all the ministries so that the call to conversion is experienced and celebrated as part of each parishioner’s life of faith.

At this time, I ask that pastors, parish pastoral councils and parish evangelization teams re-commit themselves to advancing their understanding of their parish’s mission in a way that develops concrete evangelizing activities. In this effort, the Parish Evangelization Guide recently issued by the Secretariat for Faith Formation and Evangelization, will be a useful beginning. I know that you will continue to rely on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults in order to respond more effectively to Catholics returning to the
faith. As you know, continued emphasis on receiving the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist, Bible study, the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and encouraging ecclesial movements are a few proven ways in which you can continue to foster conversion and renewal of the faith among adults.

It is critical to emphasize that the work of evangelization cannot succeed if it is seen as the work of clergy and parish staff alone. Every one of us by our baptism and confirmation is called by Jesus to participation in this mission. Jesus is waiting for us to be willing to serve as an instrument to help Him lead others to joy, peace and love in this life and the next.

7. Pastoral Planning and Evangelization

Since evangelization is a central activity of our parishes, it will be a critical component in pastoral planning in our archdiocese.

There are many ways to identify a healthy, vibrant parish. A reverent and active sacramental life, strong and healthy programs of religious instruction and faith formation for young people and adults, vibrant apostolic and charitable activities rooted in Catholic social teaching, and a culture promoting vocations are some of those signs. However, one of the most important manifestations of vibrant parish life is having the resources and the spirit to evangelize, and particularly to reach out to those who have left the Church. I have asked our Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission and our Pastoral Planning Office to propose strategies to improve the capabilities and resources for parish-centered evangelization activities as we look to strengthen and renew our parishes and archdiocesan outreach ministries.

Evangelization challenges all baptized Catholics to a conversion to Christ, by living their faith fully, inviting others to faith, and living these Gospel values in the world. It gives us a new lens through which we can view our Catholic faith. This lens is threefold: spiritual renewal, missionary activity, and action for justice in the world.

Many parishes are truly mission-based today and they have fervor for this outreach. Others are maintenance-oriented because their parishioners often have a consumer culture mentality. They come to Church to get something, and they expect the leadership to provide it. All the energy and resources of the parish are oriented to serving the people who are present, rather than reaching out to those who are absent.

We must work to help our parishioners to move beyond being consumers to being disciples who share actively in the mission and the ministry of Jesus. We are called to evangelize out of love for Jesus Christ and of the people who will be graced by what His Kingdom of love, peace and justice will bring to their lives.

Our task in our parishes is to foster ongoing conversion, turning consumers into disciples and disciple-makers. We need to prepare men and women who witness to the faith and not send people into the witness protection program. Every Catholic can be a minister of welcome, reconciliation, and understanding to those who have stopped practicing the faith.

8. The New Roman Missal: An Opportunity for Evangelization

The changes to the Roman Missal that will be implemented this coming Advent should be seen as an opportunity to refocus our entire Catholic community on the centrality of the Sunday Eucharist. It is an opportune moment to study the liturgy and grow in our understanding of the central mysteries of the faith, making use of Teaching Masses and Family Masses.

It also provides an occasion for parishes to evaluate their current liturgies to make them even more beautiful and meaningful experiences. Our modern culture, so addicted to entertainment, can make it difficult to celebrate the Eucharist in a way that engages modern people. We must first teach people how to pray and encourage them to prepare for the Sunday Mass so that its mysteries will open up to them. The more people realize that Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist and speaks to us in the Word of God proclaimed, the more faithfully and fervently people will participate in Sunday Mass. In the Eucharist, the love of Christ gathers and builds us as living stones into the Church. Without the Eucharist, we remain as pebbles strewn on the beach. Saint Peter described this in his First Letter: “Come to him, a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Good work is already being done. Study of the Roman Missal and the changes in liturgical responses is leading to more careful liturgical planning and reverent liturgical practice in many parishes and chaplaincies; these revisions will bring about a renewed sense of the sacred.

9. New Church Movements and Communities

After the Second Vatican Council, the Church has witnessed an outpouring of the  Holy Spirit through the blossoming of new movements and ecclesial communities. They bring great vitality to the life of the Church. They are a sign of great hope for the Church in the new millennium.

10. Immediate Steps

Pastors, in consultation with their parish pastoral councils and staffs, will need to strategize on how best to evangelize in their local circumstances. Like  Pentecost, the process must be steeped in prayer and the desire to be led by the Holy Spirit. The outreach that needs to be done will require planning and training. Some parishes may want to establish evangelization teams and pastoral zones within the parish for the purpose of outreach. Those involved would benefit from reading Go and Make Disciples, a document from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has recommended goals, strategies and tactics for the work of evangelization.

Faith formation is central to the task of evangelization. Training evangelizers to visit homes, to contact the families of children in religious education programs and youth ministry, and to be involved in outreach and welcoming must be part of the process. The RCIA programs are ways of helping the entire parish have a sense of mission and welcoming.

I encourage all Catholic families to develop a spirituality of the home that renews the practice of regular family prayer. Spouses: pray with one another; parents: pray with your children. Reach out to extended family members and Catholic friends and neighbors, and invite them to attend Mass with you. What a stronger Church we would be if every family was able to help just one other family return to the practice of our faith.

I ask all Catholics to pray to the Holy Spirit this Pentecost and to ask for the wisdom to understand the particular gifts God has given you for building up the Church. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you to recognize those people for whom  God would like you to be the face of His Church. At the proper moment you can  then invite them to return home to our blessed Catholic family.

11. That All May Know Jesus

Blessed Pope John Paul II traveled to the ends of the earth to share the Good News so that the world could come to know Christ Jesus. Like the late Holy Father, we must be convinced that the Kingdom of God is spread by word of mouth. Jesus says: “He who hears you, hears me.”

In Blessed John Paul II’s letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, he challenged us with the words of the Gospel, “Duc in Altum,” to “cast our nets into the deep.” He wrote: “We must rekindle in ourselves the impetus of the beginnings of the Church and allow ourselves to be filled with the ardor of the apostolic preaching which followed Pentecost. We must revive in ourselves the burning conviction of Paul who cried out: ‘Woe to me if I do not preach the Gospel.'” Let us repair and strengthen our nets together so that we might better carry out the mission that the Lord has given us, to be his ambassadors. “Faith is strengthened when it is given to others.”

A missionary spirit can unite and energize our Church. Christ is the missionary of the Father, and we are Christ’s missionaries; we are fishers of men and women, not keepers of the aquarium. As Blessed John Paul II reminds us, we do not evangelize alone: “The risen Jesus accompanies us on our way and enables us to recognize Him as the disciples of Emmaus did in the breaking of the bread.(22) May He find us watchful ready to recognize His face and to run to our brothers and sisters with the good news: ‘We have seen the Lord.'”


Radical Reshuffle for Boston Archdiocese

June 7, 2011

An Associated Press story published in the Boston Globe last Friday and picked-up by USA Today and other newspapers has got people talking once again about what the archdiocese will look like at a parish level in the not-too-distant future.  (Sorry to disappoint those readers who might have thought from the title that this post has to do with a reshuffling of the archdiocesan cabinet leadership team–it is about a reshuffling of parishes, not lay executive bureaucrats).

Here are excerpts from the article, with a little bit of BCI commentary at the end.

Boston church weighs major reshuffle

BOSTON—The Boston Archdiocese is considering a radical reshuffling that would unite its 291 parishes into 80 to 120 groups so that each cluster could share resources and clergy, according to an internal memo obtained by The Associated Press.

The changes aim to save money at the parishes, which are “in a spiral of financial distress,” church officials say in confidential minutes of meetings where the plan was discussed. Archdiocese officials stress that the plan is still a work in progress.

Under the plan, more church closings would be possible, but they would be initiated by the new parish groups, not the archdiocese, as they were during the recent, painful round of closings.

In the minutes obtained by the AP, the Rev. David Couturier, director of the archdiocese’s Office of Pastoral Planning, says it must be “absolutely clear that the archdiocese is not going to be closing churches from above. That doesn’t mean that at the local level the recommendation may not come whereby the local parish says, `We really don’t need this building.'”

The archdiocese, however, would still have final say.

Parishes are broader territorial entities that include churches and other Catholic buildings, such as rectories. Under the plan, they would be assembled into groups of two to four.

The minutes also reveal Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s regret about how the archdiocese handled the closings that started in 2004, reducing the number of parishes from 357 to 291.

At the time, parishioners charged the archdiocese with shutting down healthy parishes without warning or reason. Some have since occupied their parish churches in round-the-clock protests…

No parish would be eliminated under the plan. But in anticipating problems with grouping parishes together, Courturier cited the sometimes “ugly” competition between them and “an adversarial relationship with the archdiocese.”

“We have to do something about the lack of trust that erupts from time to time in the archdiocese,” Courturier says in the minutes.

The memo was from the Archdiocese Pastoral Planning Commission, the group charged with proposing a new plan for the parish structure. It was sent to members of the Presbyteral Council, a group of priests advising the cardinal. The minutes were from seven monthly meetings of the Presbyteral Council, ending in April 2011.

The documents were given to the AP by Peter Borre of the Council of Parishes, which formed to fight church closings. He said he received them unsolicited.

Borre predicted any structural change would be followed by numerous church closings. He added that the reshuffling alone would meet heavy resistance no matter what, because people simply don’t trust the archdiocese anymore.

“If there were trust and openness, then you could rationalize this to a degree. But I will tell you that from the pews, they are headed into a buzz saw now,” he said.

Rather than realigning parishes, Borre said the archdiocese should reform what he said is a flawed and wasteful central office that’s weighed down by bloated six-figure salaries and which cripples parishes by taking too much of their collections.

Archdiocesan spokesman Terry Donilon hailed O’Malley’s financial management, including efforts to improve education and evangelization and erase an annual $15 million deficit in its central operations. (The archdiocese still has annual operating losses overall, including $8.2 million last year.)

The archdiocese has cited numerous statistics to show it must run differently. Among them: 40 percent of its parishes won’t be able to pay their bills this year; the number of available priests will plummet from 316 today to 178 in a decade; only 17 percent of local Catholics now attend Mass.

Under the new system, a senior pastor would lead each group of parishes, with charge over a “pastoral service team” that would include priests from the other parishes within the collection. The new group would have a single, merged staff; a single rectory; and a single parish center.

In theory, the streamlined parish would run cheaper, even as it’s being strengthened spiritually and numerically by an ongoing evangelization push, including the “Catholics Come Home” advertising campaign that aimed to draw lapsed Catholics back to church.

Monsignor William Fay, head of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission, emphasized the current restructuring plan is a work in progress. He said there’s no set timeline to complete it, and changes will come only after extensive consultation with local Catholics.

“We’ve got to move forward aggressively, but in a very thoughtful way,” he said. “We should be able to take the time we need to take to make sure this is done right.”Screen Options

American Catholics are traditionally loyal to their congregations and pastor, but not the hierarchy, and that makes it tough when archdioceses try to lead change, said David O’Brien, a church historian at the University of Dayton…

It’s also clear, though, that the current structure must be altered, O’Brien said. “You’ve got to do it, and they’re trying,” he said. “You have no choice.”

For the record, BCI had nothing to do with this article, or the leaking of documents to Peter Borre or the AP.

BCI feels the article accurately portrays the statistics about the situation with parishes and that status of the new pastoral planning initiative.  We agree that the archdiocese needs to do something about the lack of trust. (Note to 66 Brooks Drive: A good way to rebuild trust is to operate with integrity and transparency).  We would take issue with any “hailing” of Cardinal O’Malley’s financial management.

BCI also both agrees and disagrees with the comment from Peter Borre of the Council of Parishes.  We totally agree that the archdiocese should reform a “flawed and wasteful central office weighed down by bloated six-figure salaries” but at the same time, fixing that alone will not solve the problem. We face problems of a decline in church-going Catholics (1.3 million in 1960 compared to 294,000 in 2010), a decline in priests, and parishes (with associated church buildings) that once served 1.3M Catholics now only seeing 23% of that number of people.

The concept, as described at a high-level in this article and which we reported on previously, is to combine several existing parishes into one entity, while keeping as many of the church buildings open as possible.  One “Parish Pastoral Center” would serve several parishes with one pastor, one Finance Council, one Parish Council, several priests living in the rectory, and shared staff for religious education and administration. (BCI note: if the current archdiocesan Pastoral Center in Braintree cannot be made “pastoral” in the very near future, we would recommend they not reuse the term “Pastoral Center” in the new plans for parishes).

How this all plays out will be interesting. With appeals still in process from the last round of reconfiguration, Boston is treading carefully and cannot do exactly what other dioceses have done.

What you can expect to not see is a top-down plan worked out by the Archdiocese for some sort of “global merging,” whereby the archdiocese would set criteria for when parishes would be merged and suppressed. (That could have the canonically complicated result of 291 parishes being “suppressed” with the assets of several parishes combined into new entities). Instead, look for decisions to be made on a local level, with individual local studies done and recommendations made on an case-by-case basis for combining parishes.

What does BCI think of all this?  BCI agrees there is no choice but to do something. We voiced our skepticism about the committee in our Feb. 4 post, Pastoral Planning Commission.

  • Why so many money people?  (And when we say “money people,” we mean big money people)
  • Why the recycled cronies of Fr. Bryan Hehir and Sr. Janet Eisner–yet again?
  • Why the person who led the “sham search” that placed the current Chancellor?
  • Why the person who led one of the previous planning committees which solicited input from everyone, included input from only a few while neglecting to include some of the best ideas in the report, and basically got nowhere fast?
  • Why soak up one of the limited spots with someone from a parish that moreso resembles a part of a college campus rather than a diocesan parish? (and whose parish bulletin is currently promoting a June 19 Gay Pride Mass at St. Cecilia in Boston).

We still have these concerns, and wonder where a committee which includes members such as the above will ever get to, let alone considering there is no timeline for a deliverable or recommendation.

What do you think of the pastoral planning effort and direction reported above?


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