St. Pauls School Closing Saga Continues

August 12, 2015

The saga over the mismanagement by the Boston Archdiocese of the closing of St. Paul school in Wellesley continues. Here is an article in The Swellesley Report, “With faith shaken, St. Paul School parents try to set record straight on closing.” Below you’ll see the letter that parents sent to all St. Paul parishioners:

Dear Parishioners of St. Paul Parish,

On Sunday, July 26, a letter from Fr. Sepe appeared in the St. Paul Parish bulletin announcing the closing of St. Paul School. This letter implied that a lack of commitment on the part of school families was the cause of the school’s failure. This implication could not be further from the truth, and the parents of St. Paul School once again find themselves deeply disturbed by decisions and communications with regard to our school. We write to you now to set the record straight and make you aware of the following:

  • The school did not close due to a lack of commitment on the part of the parents, or because demand for the school did not exist. It was certainly not “clinging to only 32 students,” as you are being led to
  • The closing of Paul School was completely preventable. In fact, great strides had been made over the course of the year to turn it around and set it up for a bright future.

It is true that over the past several years the school has experienced a decline in enrollment. The cause of this decline is well­documented as due to the actions as well as inaction of our pastors under the advisement of the Boston Catholic Schools Office. However, the actions of the parents, under the leadership of their principal and the guidance of an independent consultant, were to engage in a series of initiatives to breathe new life into the school. To alleviate financial pressure on the parish, we undertook an ambitious Annual Fund campaign. The end result is the largest Annual Fund balance known to St. Paul School. Sixty thousand dollars of the reported $85,000 balance was raised only among the parents and teachers of St. Paul School. It is very likely that this fund would have exceeded $100,000 if the requests to speak at Masses were granted.

On two occasions ­­ in March from Fr. Rafferty and in June from Fr. Sepe ­­ parents received written commitments that the school would be open for the 2015­2016 year. These commitments had no other stipulations. The expectations were that our pastors’ written words would be their bond.

In the last week of April, school parents ­­ who had already submitted re­enrollment deposits in March ­­ received a letter from the Parish office raising the initial $200 non­refundable deposit to an unprecedented $1,500 due July 15th. This policy was described as coming directly from the Boston Catholic Schools Office. It was flawed, ill­conceived and poorly communicated, causing uncertainty relative to the commitment to St. Paul School’s continued mission. Countless requests to reconsider the deposit increase were ignored.

Adding to the fears and uncertainty of parents, on April 23rd our principal was terminated effective immediately, despite a clear upward trajectory and measurable achievements in fundraising and admissions. On the Thursday of Spring vacation, she was told to clean out her office by Saturday, and an interim principal was in her place the returning Monday with no explanation. The timing and manner of our principal’s forced exit demoralized our community, and in this mailing we share with you our collective communication responding to the event.

Following the termination of the principal, school parents pleaded with Fr. Sepe to reach out and engage the school community to assuage their fears and concerns. By ignoring these pleas, he cast further doubt about the long­term plan for St. Paul School, and previously­committed families started to pull their enrollment.

It wasn’t until the evening of the day he announced the school closing that Fr. Sepe finally afforded parents the opportunity to meet with him. It became clear at this meeting that more than 32 deposit increases had been paid; in fact, our polling after the meeting has shown that close to 50 deposit increases were paid. Additionally, there were a number of parents who did not pay for financial reasons or out of principle, but who indicated to the Parish office that their children would attend St. Paul School in the fall. At no point were parents notified that if they didn’t turn in this deposit increase, the school would close. The rushed nature of the closing and obvious disregard for due diligence regarding a decision with such resounding ramifications leaves us in utter disbelief.

Parishioners should be concerned about the closing of St. Paul School for many reasons. First and foremost, the manner and timing of the school’s closing has caused great distress and grief among children, families and dedicated teachers. Parents and teachers were told numerous times that the school would be available, and are now scrambling to find alternatives. For many, their faith is shaken. We believe that our parishioners and alumni would have risen to the occasion to prevent such a devastating event if they had only been given the opportunity to decide whether to come to the school’s aid.

Our children are the future of the Church and Catholic schools are the cornerstone of the church’s mission of evangelization. The children of St. Paul School have been the lifeblood of the parish for over 60 years. We ask you now to stand by St. Paul School by contacting the office of Cardinal Archbishop Sean O’Malley and voicing the following:

  • Your objections that the school was closed ­­ a consequential and far-­reaching decision for the parish ­­ with no consultation or outreach to you, and for the manner in which this closing was carried
  • Your support in the return of all Paul School Annual Fund monies raised under the “Believe in Our Future: 60th Anniversary Fund” campaign.
  • Your request for intercession on behalf of our principal, who was inexplicably terminated under conditions that leave us concerned for her
  • Your insistence that a thorough investigation into the role of the Boston Catholic Schools Office be undertaken, and that individuals are held responsible for failing to carry out the mission of strengthening Catholic

Please help us shine the light on St. Paul School so that what happened here will not happen to another Catholic school in this Archdiocese.

Yours sincerely,

# Parents of St. Paul School in Support of this Letter

To engage with the Parents of St Paul group on Facebook, click here.


The Inside Story of the Closing of St. Paul School in Wellesley, MA: Part 2

July 29, 2015

This post is a follow-up to our first post, The Inside Story of the Closing of St. Paul School in Wellesley, Part 1. The Boston Globe wrote an article about the closing today and got a statement from Terry Donilon at the Archdiocese of Boston.  The article repeats the generic statement from the school, “An attempt to secure solid commitments from parents for the upcoming school year was not sufficient.”   We think the reporters covering this story should ask a few more questions of Terry Donilon and the Boston Archdiocese.

Announcements blaming the closing on the parents or implying the blame rests with the parents do not sit well with the parents. The parents were asked to make a commitment of $1,500 by July 15th, and about 65% of the parents did. Fr. Sepe never specified just how many deposits would have to be turned in to make it “fiscally possible” to open in the fall.  Nor were parents informed of what the consequences would be if the parish didn’t receive a sufficient number of deposits. In addition, during the Annual fund raising drive (to celebrate 60 years of Catholic education with a $60K goal), the parents — who, according to the announcement did not commit to the school — raised about $67,000 to be used for the 2015 -2016 school year.  The latest tally of Annual Fund donations is $85,000, the lion’s share of which came from the parent community.  To BCI, parents, and others close to the school, this should be proof enough of commitment.

One might reasonably ask the question, “What will happen to those funds now that the school is closing?”  When asked about these monies in the parent meeting (which occurred on Thursday), BCI has heard several varying recountings of what Fr. Sepe told the assembled parents, neither of which is good. One source reported that Fr. Sepe told the assembled parents this was a donation and would not be subject to return.  Other sources recall Fr. Sepe equivocating and saying that if it was the “understanding and the stipulation” that Annual Fund monies were intended to benefit the school in the 2015-16 school year, then maybe the money would be returned. This answer did not set well with the donors or lawyers in the audience.

The full-time faculty were given contracts on July 9th. It is now known by those involved in the situation that they were at-will contracts, not the binding contracts that have been used in the past. Faculty were then called to the meeting on July 23rd and told there would not be an opening of the school due to lack of parent commitment to the school as noted above.  During this timeframe, positions which had been posted as open positions at St. John School were filled.  So good luck to the faculty!  In addition the school secretary who had to work at the rectory one day a week for the 2014-15 school year had been offered her regular full-time position at St. Paul school for the 2015-16 year, but was also then  terminated.  When she asked if she could work at the rectory in an open two day position, she was told the position had been offered and accepted and thus was no longer open.  A reasonable person might ask, if the future of the school was this uncertain in June and July, whey were these open positions filled by outsiders rather than kept open so those who would lose jobs could potentially fill them?

BCI is told that these are just some of the “shenanigans” that are surfacing in just the few days after the announcement.  In addition, Father Sepe is also on retreat for two weeks, leaving the school closing in the hands of a teacher at the school who has never handled any responsibilities such as this that would require administrative, legal or leadership expertise.

Here you have it. The downfall of a once great Catholic school largely because of missteps and bungled management by the Archdiocese of Boston, yet blamed on others. Meanwhile,here is a short video interview with new schools superintendent, Kathy Mears, telling Catholic TV how hard she works to help Catholic schools.

The St. Pauls situation and others similar to it suggest that Mrs. Mears has her work cut out for her. BCI is now hearing of other Boston-area Catholic schools in decline because of mismanagement by the RCAB. Drop us an email in confidence to pass along details if this is happening in your area.


The Inside Story of the Closing of St. Paul School in Wellesley, MA: Part 1

July 27, 2015

NOTE: This post was updated at 10:15pm ET on July 27.

BCI is sad to report to you that St. Paul Catholic School in Wellesley is closing effective this September.  The announcement is somewhat deceptive as to the reason for the closure:

For 60 years, St. Paul School faculty, staff and administrators have worked in partnership with parents to build a faith-filled Catholic school experience for students in PreK through Grade 8.

Over the past several years, St. Paul School has faced a steady decline in enrollment. An attempt to secure solid commitments from parents for the upcoming school year was not sufficient.

This suggests, erroneously, that the biggest problem was insufficient commitment from parents for the upcoming school year and reveals nothing of the mismanagement that led to this place. Several readers had recently reminded us about a question we raised about the future of St. Paul School in Wellesley in a response to a reader back in June of 2013, and we did not have the chance to blog about the latest problems. Because the Boston Archdiocese and local parish are telling only a little bit of the story, in this post and our next post tomorrow, we will give you the rest of the story.

As BCI noted in this June 2013 post and comments, previous pastor Fr. Richard Fitzgerald left with little advance notice and was transferred to another parish.  We were told in May by a source, “there has been nothing but turmoil within the school since Father Fitzgerald left” and that the pastor who replaced Fr. Fitzgerald, Fr. Thomas Rafferty had literally “decimated the school.” The enrollment went from approximately 165 in 2012 to about 97 in 2015 and it continued to plummet.  The story is sad and unbelievable but true.  Here is what we have been told:

“To take a parochial school that was consistently ranked among the 5 highest performing schools academically in the Archdiocese, artistically (for 3 years running a student from the school won the Cardinal’s Christmas card design contest) and nationally (as being the only parochial school in the nation to produce a MacArthur Scholar –the Genius Award) as well as many other social achievements for those in need, and destroy it might be worth a look see especially in light of the evangelization push in the diocese. Evangelization is the passing on the faith and SPS did that magnificently.”

“The story begins in the late winter of 2012, when the long serving principal (17 years) suddenly resigned to accept another principal position within the Archdiocese. The former principal was very well connected at the Pastoral Center in Braintree.  This resignation was a shock to the school community.  A search for a replacement was immediately undertaken under the auspices of the Catholic School office headed by Sheila Kukstis, who was then the Assistant Superintendent to the then-Superintendent Mary Grassa O’Neil.  There was a short list of candidates presented to the committee–a committee, composed of faculty, parent, parish member and pastor.  Among the list of “light weights” was the woman who was selected.  She did not have the required basic tickets for the position which the other candidates did.  She had only been a guidance counselor at her school,(St. Francis in Braintree with the pastor being Fr. Sepe) and headed up the after-school program.  She was not certified nor did she have the leadership courses required to be certified.  In addition, she was 7 months pregnant.  She was hired anyway and given a strong recommendation by Fr, Sepe who was a classmate of Fr. Fitzgerald (the then-pastor at St. Paul). She started July 1, and was in the building through July 17. She only took two weeks maternity leave.”  BCI conveyed the situation of the principal not being the most qualified for the job in this post and comment to the post.

“The first major crisis occurred when a same-sex couple applied for admission of their child to the school.  St. Paul School enrolled the child of the lesbian couple, and the “two mommies” were introduced to the school body at First Friday Mass and welcome coffee for prospective parents in February of 2013, where they happily presented themselves for, and received, Holy Communion.The couple was introduced as a same-sex couple to ensure that the family would be socially accepted. This caused a major issue among many of the “orthodox parents” (Note BCIs description of St. Paul vs. St. John’s  noted in post of June, 2013).  This resulted in a mass exodus of long time families from St. Paul.  At the end of the school year, as BCI  reported, Father Fitzgerald (who was a strong supporter of the school, as was his predecessor Mgsr. Lind, who was then in residence in the rector) was suddenly transferred to St. Colombkille in Brighton.

The school opened in September 2013 with an enrollment of approximately 125 students (Sept. 2012 enrollment was approximately 165) and the soon-to-be announced pregnancy of the principal.  The new pastor, Father Tom Rafferty, did not come to opening day prayer service (which was well noted by the parent community). The parent community was concerned that the school was on the downslide and they wanted to be assured that Fr. Rafferty would reaffirm the support of the school that had always been evident from the pastor.  A group of parents met with him and offered to work long and hard to increase enrollment by marketing the school, get his assurance that he would support their efforts, and also support the Pre-K to 8 configuration of the school (meaning that the middle school would continue as part of SPS). They received this assurance on more than one occasion. The group met over a 4 month period, did an incredible amount of marketing, website updating, holding open houses etc. to support the school.  This resulted in an increase in enrollment of six students during the school year.  However, as this was going on, Father Rafferty was meeting with Mary Moran (RCAB Interim Superintendent) and James Walsh (RCAB Assistant Superintendent for Finance).These meetings resulted in a serious study as to whether the school would continue, and Ms Moran and Mr. Walsh concluded that the school was a financial burden to the parish. If it continued, it should be a PreK 6 school (in the model of St. John the Evangelist School).

Parents attempted to meet with Fr. Rafferty to have him assure them that SPS would continue.  He refused to meet with them and would not give them assurances of the school’s continuing (unlike his previous statements).  The principal during this time was seen as ineffective and leadership was non-existent. (The parents had contacted the Catholic School Foundation to see if they could help.  A meeting occurred with a large group of parents and a representative of the Foundation to which the principal was invited.  The principal was only invited to the introduction of the meeting and had a prior commitment, but with the principal having left early, many of the parents were left dumbfounded and without guidance on how to proceed with the Foundation).  The school community was in turmoil.  In February 2014, a group of parents met at the Wellesley Library trying to save the school.  (BCI is told that faculty members, who were very concerned about the future, were instructed not to attend or to take any part in this under the unspoken threat of losing their positions).  This parent meeting was precipitated by the fact that the pastor’s confidential statement delivered to the newly constituted School Board (made up of 90% of parents), at their first meeting, that the middle school would be closed. This statement got out and there was revolt, since, in previous meetings with the parents, he had intimated that he would support the school. At the Board meeting, Fr. presented three options for consideration, one of which was closing the middle school. It was this option that he asked them to seriously consider to keep the school financially viable.

The school year continued.  Father Rafferty met with 5th and 6th grade parents and still did not give the assurances the parents needed—namely, a continuation of grades 7 and 8 at St. Paul. The result was that 14 out of 16 sixth grade families did not reenroll. (Other grades experienced similar decreases in enrollment for the 2014-2015 school year).  This resulted in an opening of the school with about 92 students.  The principal went out on maternity leave and was replaced by an interim principal.  The plan was then announced to decrease faculty, combine 7th and 8th grade, and eliminate the library. This was left to the interim principal to implement. As the part of decision to close the library the collection of resources were first made available for faculty to take what they wanted for their classrooms and the rest (about 70%) was taken to the Wellesley Town dump and disposed of in the dumpsters there at the Leave and Take.  No other schools (inner city or suburban) were contacted to take the remaining part of the extensive library collection.

The school opened in September 2014 with (as noted before) an enrollment of about 92 students.  The parents continued to be concerned about the destiny of the school.  A long time parent introduced an individual who had experience in school marketing to the principal, and the principal decided to enlist her help. The individual and the principal worked closely together on initiatives throughout the yearThis individual worked pro-bono on a major professional marketing plan and campaign which seemed to generate a interest in the school.  A survey was done to determine the needs and desires of the community.  During this time (former interim Superintendent) Mary Moran and Assistant Superintendent Martha McCook became involved.  They did a six week study of the feasibility of SPS and met, along with Superintendent Kathy Mears, twice with the parents of the school.  There was no commitment made at any of these meetings.

As all of this was occurring, the two parishes (St. Paul and St John) went into collaboration.  Father Rafferty was not appointed pastor.  The priest who was appointed was Father Sepe (above).  In addition, the school celebrated its 60th anniversary and the school community raised $60,000 for its annual fund as an indication of the community’s support of the school. (The amount currently stands at $85,000). Then, in the middle of spring vacation, the principal was terminated (effective immediately), and the former interim principal was brought on as acting principal, Father Rafferty refused to meet with parents, but parents who had reenrolled their children were been asked for a further $1,500 deposit to be paid by July 1st (an unprecedented demand). (The principal was terminated for stated reason “We do not have confidence in your ability to lead the school through its current crisis”. No option to finish the school year was given. Several times it was described that the BSCO was actively helping her find a job, but to date she has not heard from them. It should be noted that, under this principal, the Annual Fund reached $70,000 and enrollment was on pace to stay level and possibly increase for the 2015-2016 academic year.)  He also stated that he would leave the future of the school to Father Sepe, who is scheduled to assume his new position on June 1.  In addition, the former principal was told by Father Rafferty that there would not be a search made for a new principal at St. Paul (as an aside, St. John the Evangelist school was seeking a new principal based on a posting on the Archdiocese’s website at the time and hired Michael Dibbert, a former English teacher and coach at BC High who got a Masters in Education from BC).

So in a period of three years, a stellar, high performing Catholic school with a 60-year history was allowed to disintegrate.  A school that was the only Boston Archdiocese Catholic school that, in addition to innumerable doctors, lawyers, priest, religious, teachers, nurses and other professionals, had a MacArthur Fellow among its alumni and which had passed the faith to generations of the faithful was left to implode.

Next Post Part 2: The Closing and Keeping of $60K+ Raised for the School


On the strange situation of Fr. Walter Cuenin and the Brandeis Univ. Chaplaincy

May 29, 2015

A number of readers have been asking us to share news and commentary about the strange situation of Fr. Walter (“Call me Walter”) Cuenin and what is currently going on with the Catholic chaplaincy at Brandeis University. Cuenin left Brandeis in January on short notice for undisclosed health reasons, and Brandeis is balking at having the Boston Archdiocese appoint a replacement.  To paraphrase Shakespeare, something smells rotten in Denmark.

As BCI readers may recall, last October we called Fr. Cuenin out for flying a GLBTQ banner over the Catholic chapel at Brandeis.   We wrote:

There are so many things wrong with what is going on there, it is tough to express in words. How can a Catholic priest be allowed to promote “gay pride” and gravely sinful, immoral behavior and remain in active ministry?  Imagine a 17 or 18-year-old child away from home for the first time who might be confused about their sexual identity going to talk to Fr. Cuenin for a Catholic perspective–and instead of hearing about how Christ calls them to chastity and holiness, they see the gay pride flag there with a Catholic priest advocating for the gay lifestyle and the sinful, disordered, medically unsafe behaviors that are a part of it.  This crap from Fr. Cuenin has been going on for at least 12-15 years, if not longer. His public testimony to the Mass Legislature in 2002 opposing a ban on “gay marriage” should have gotten him permanently removed from ministry.

We also urged readers to write to various archdiocesan officials to call for his removal. Well, by and by, about 2 months later, in January Fr. Cuenin left Brandeis on short notice for undisclosed health reasons. All that Cuenin has said is he is “in a clinic in Michigan for treatment.”  Cuenin previously left Brandeis temporarily in 2012 to undergo treatment for cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. In the October 9, 2012 issue of the Brandeis Justice, he described the treatment program as a Church-sponsored course for priests “to get them in better shape” and said he hoped to address not only his cancer but also “other psychological and spiritual issues.”  It is unclear whether this year’s permanent departure is related to the health issues of 2012.

This brings us to what Brandeis has been doing to block the filling of the vacant Catholic chaplaincy role with a faithful Catholic priest.

In the original announcement of Fr. Cuenin’s January departure, Brandeis said that Sr. Marie Labolitta would be helping ensure “Services are available this weekend…there will be transportation provided to attend Service in Newton.”  Beside their failure to properly refer to the Catholic Mass, Sr. Marie Labolitta, formerly at Our Lady Help of Christians when Fr. Cuenin was pastor there, is bad news. She is a founder of a non-denominational womens’ spirituality group called “Sacred Threads.”  One look at their website, which promotes a local talk by dissident Joan Chittister, and you know she is problematic. BCI heard that since Cuenin’s departure they have been transporting students to Our Ladys in Newton, even though St. Marys in Waltham and other more orthodox Catholic Churches are much closer to the Brandeis Campus.

Sources tell BCI that in leaving Brandeis, Fr. Cuenin  organized a student “initiative” to change the nature of Chaplaincy. Initially, Brandeis said they would be working with the Boston Archdiocese to fill the role. Fr. Dan Moloney was proposed by the Boston Archdiocese and started saying Masses at Brandeis in early February. But Brandeis said they wanted to consider a new vision for the chaplaincy. We are told that Fr. Moloney was found by the “Cuenin acolytes” to be “inadequately liberal, aka Cuenine” and rejected. He is not longer there, sources also tell us there is no regular Catholic Mass on campus, and students are still being directed to “progressive” Churches that may not be anywhere near Waltham.  We have also heard that Cuenin is still “advising”, aka undermining, the Brandeis Catholic students, even sending them to WomenPriests for Mass. The person coordinating Mass arrangements is Allison Cornelisse, described as “a member of the Brandeis Catholic community.”  A Google search on her name reveals nothing whatsoever about her background, but if she is the one bypassing nearby Catholic churches in Waltham and Newton (St. Marys, St. Charles Borromeo, Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted, Mary Immaculate of Lourdes) that are true to the Catholic faith in favor of churches farther away where the tenor is not so true to the Catholic faith, then we see her as problematic.

As for the search for a new Catholic chaplain, Brandeis said there is a committee working on it–in the context of looking at campus Chaplaincy across religions and faiths.  The faculty chair of that committee is Prof. Wendy Cadge. A brief look at her CV shows a number of articles she has about Buddhism and in support of the gay agenda in churches. (e.g. her chapters in a book Gay Religion, entitled ““Reconciling Congregations Bridging Gay and Straight Communities” and “Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Buddhist Practitioners”).  BCI cannot fathom how a secular college committee of any sort–let alone one set-up like this–would be in a position to set the requirements for a Catholic priest/chaplain. Given this is the way Brandeis seems to be operating, BCI thinks the only thing that could be done for the Catholic students on campus would be for the Boston Archdiocese to appoint an orthodox Catholic student to help coordinate transportation to Masses at nearby parishes faithful to the teachings of the Catholic faith.


Holy Trinity Church in Boston Being Turned into Boutique Condos

April 29, 2015

For those who have not yet heard, Holy Trinity Church, the former home of the German Catholic Community and the Traditional Latin Mass is being redeveloped into boutique condos.  We posted last June that the property was up for sale, and in November we learned it had been sold, however the identity of the developer was not yet publicly available. Oddly, the archdiocese has not announced the sale price, or what will become of the millions of dollars of proceeds. Now the plans are up for approval by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. A picture of the proposed development can be found below.

Here is what has been written about the proposed plans.  In “You Could Soon Live in This 19th Century South End Church” we learn:

Finegold Alexander + Associates, Inc. is hoping to transform the former Holy Trinity German Catholic Church and Rectory – located at 136 Shawmut Ave. in Boston’s South End – into an eight-story structure boasting 33 residential units. (The firm is acting on behalf of owner 136 Shawmut LLC, formed out of New Boston Ventures, according to the Boston Globe.)

According to a report filed by Finegold Alexander principal-in-charge James G. Alexander with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, this particular housing development will keep the church and rectory’s exterior facade while the interior of the building will be completely demolished and rebuilt – assuming, of course, the project is approved by the BRA.

Atop the building, however, will rise a glass and steel structure that, the report notes, is expected to “blend old and new, creating a bold centerpiece for this developing neighborhood.”

Not counting the basement containing 24 parking spaces, some 57,000-square-feet of residential space could be built, more than 69,000-square-feet in total (counting the basement lot).

The BRA a held public hearing to gather community input on the project on Monday, April 27.

Regarding the “eye-popping design,” the Boston Globe reported:

“You could tear it down and start over, which would be a tragedy — you’d lose the details, the social and religious history,” said architect James Alexander, who led the building’s design team at Finegold Alexander + Associates. “But re-using it as it was, with the shape of the roof and the square footage, it just wouldn’t generate the return.”

Alexander and his team, along with New Boston Ventures, fine-tuned the design over several consultations with the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Officials there asked the designers to move the front of the new structure back from the street, so the church’s central tower would remain visually prominent.

As we have said before, BCI thinks the sale and loss of this magnificent church (see pictures here) has been a great tragedy. The conversion to boutique condos would appear to now put the nail in the coffin. Any chances of this great Catholic church ever being a Catholic church and place for Catholic worship again are probably forever gone.


Boston priest puts GLBTQ rainbow flag on Catholic chapel

October 30, 2014

In our last post, we reported on how Boston priest, Fr. Walter Cuenin, promoted a petition to have the gay “rainbow” flag cover the Oval Office in Washington, but we learned hours later that we missed some even more scandalous things this priest has done.

For the month of October, Fr. Cuenin has had what he describes as “an enormous gay pride flag” displayed outside the chapel to “recognize both Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer History Month. A photo is below.

flag

Here is what Fr. Cuenin had to say about this in an interview with the Brandeis student newspaper, The Justice:

In an interview with the Justice, Rev. Walter Cuenin, the University’s Catholic chaplain and coordinator of the Interfaith Chaplaincy, explained the chapel’s display and its significance in detail. He described the flag right beside the chapel as an “enormous gay pride flag.” He also mentioned that a pink cloth covers the altar and added that there are also pink candles in the chapel. Cuenin said that he wanted students to be aware of issues regarding discrimination pertaining to the LGBTQ community and breast cancer awareness and research.

Cuenin acknowledged that a priest hanging an LGBTQ pride flag outside of the chapel might be a bit of a surprise, stating that many believe “a priest would never do that,” given the Catholic Church’s stance that homosexuality is morally wrong. He said he feels deeply that there needs to be more focus on how people act outside of the Church as opposed to good deeds and social activism being confined to the Church.

As we all know the gay rainbow flag is a symbol of “gay pride”  and LGBT social movements.  This is commonly associated with gay pride parades and gay pride weeks, where the following is typically on display:

  • Sado-masochism
  • Profanity and vulgarity, much of it in an angry tone
  • Homosexual sex; condoms and anal lubricant given out almost everywhere
  • Horrible “gay” diseases and psychological problems
  • The problem of “gay” domestic violence
  • Hatred of traditional religion, particularly Catholicism
  • Perversions such as cross-dressing and transsexual body mutilation
  • An obsession with children and teenagers

This is what Fr. Cuenin promoted outside the church in October.  One article reports that when one enters the church, inside the foyer year-round he also proudly displays a multicolored gay pride flag, while this article says he has the rainbow flag inside the chapel. The article continues, “Father Cuenin is also a official LGBT ally on campus, through his work with Trisk (Brandeis’ GLBTQA student group). He also continuously makes himself available and accessible to struggling students in his role as a confidential resource.  This article says, “Father Cuenin has always displayed a rainbow peace flag inside the chapel, as a statement that the chapel is friendly to people of all sexualities. That will continue to be the case when the pride flag outside is taken down at the end of the month. Cuenin also commented that he takes his role as a confidential resource on campus very seriously, and hopes that more students will feel welcome to talk with him as a result of these displays.”

There are so many things wrong with what is going on there, it is tough to express in words. How can a Catholic priest be allowed to promote “gay pride” and gravely sinful, immoral behavior and remain in active ministry?  Imagine a 17 or 18-year-old child away from home for the first time who might be confused about their sexual identity going to talk to Fr. Cuenin for a Catholic perspective–and instead of hearing about how Christ calls them to chastity and holiness, they see the gay pride flag there with a Catholic priest advocating for the gay lifestyle and the sinful, disordered, medically unsafe behaviors that are a part of it.  (The matter of the pink cloth on the altar for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and using the altar to advance his own ideology and agenda is an entirely different issue).

This crap from Fr. Cuenin has been going on for at least 12-15 years, if not longer. His public testimony to the Mass Legislature in 2002 opposing a ban on “gay marriage” should have gotten him permanently removed from ministry then.  Write to the following people and ask for his immediate removal.

Dir. of Campus Minisry, Fr. Richard Clancy: frclancy@mit.edu
Vicar General, Bishop Peter Uglietto: vicar_general@rcab.org
Terry Donilon, Secretary for Communications: tdonilon@rcab.org.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley: archbishopsean_o’malley@rcab.org
U.S. Papal Nuncio Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano: nuntiususa@nuntiususa.org

 

 


Boston priest promotes petition for LGBTQ banner over White House

October 30, 2014

This came in to BCI in mid-October and we are just getting to post it.  Fr. Walter Cuenin (call me “Walter”), currently Catholic Chaplain at Brandeis University and formerly pastor at Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton sent the following email to members of the Brandeis Catholic Student Organization promoting an initiative to have the gay “rainbow” flag covering the Oval Office in Washington. But there’s more beyond that.  Read on below, and also see our most recent post about how he is displaying the gay pride flag over the Catholic chapel.

——— Forwarded message ———-
From: Walter Cuenin
Date: Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 9:41 PM
Subject: [cso] PETITION for GLBTQ awareness month
To: cso

One of our students is trying to organize an initiative to have the gay flag or banner to cover the Oval Office in Washington.  He is a fine young man and a senior and a friend to me.I am sending you a link so that if you wanted you could lend your voice via email. They need a lot of people to sign up. Thanks
The message:  For the full month of October, we the people respectfully request that LGBTQ History month be honored publicly by hanging a full sized banner – to cover the entire White House oval office exterior – as a  show of solidarity and support from the Executive branch of our government. Men, women and ungendered Americans across the country are often marginalized from their communities due to their personal identification. A strong message of support- by way of visual symbolism- would make hundreds of thousands of Americans feel represented in our Capitol, and has the potential to save the lives of those who are struggling with their  identities.   email https:// petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/drape-full-sized-rainbow-colored-banner-white-house-oval-office-exterior-lgbtq-history-month-october/XQnzH3BN  THANKS

(Thankfully, in the end, the petition failed to get enough signatures). Still, Fr. Cuenin has long been a supporter of the GLBT agenda and other agendas other than what the Catholic Church teaches. In 2002 he provided testimony to the Massachusetts Legislature opposing a ban on same-sex marriage. This piece from the Brandeis Hoot gives more background on him. Here are a few excerpts:

It may be rare to encounter a multicolored gay pride flag upon entering a church. But Brandeis’ Catholic chaplain, the Rev. Walter Cuenin, proudly displays the rainbow flag in the Bethlehem Chapel’s foyer. With the word “Peace” written across the middle, the flag symbolizes a proclamation of acceptance and unity for each person who may walk through the Bethlehem Chapel’s doors.

Cuenin bases his decision to exhibit a gay pride flag on a tale about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. According to Christian tradition, when Mary and Joseph arrived at a Bethlehem inn, Mary was forced to have her baby in an outside stable since there were no rooms left at the inn. Cuenin connects this story to Brandeis’ Bethlehem Chapel by using the multicolored flag to portray that “in this Bethlehem, there’s always room for everyone in the inn.”

Cuenin is currently an ally of Brandeis’ LGBT group, Triskelion. He claims that while the Catholic Church does not support gay marriage, it does welcome gay people to its churches. In fact, when he was a pastor for a larger church nearby, Cuenin had even performed a baptism for the baby of a gay couple.

“The Catholic Church opposes gay marriage, so I cannot directly say I support it, but I have seen from my experience that for many people it creates a much healthier environment … For example, if you were to go to Provincetown in the summer time, where a lot of gay people go, it’s a radically different place today than it was 20 years ago,” Cuenin said. “They are there with children and married, raising kids, so they go home at night. In other words, it has transformed the whole gay scene … it hasn’t led to total debauchery. In some ways, it has pulled people back together,” Cuenin said.

“When I was a pastor of a large church … I would always say I welcome everybody to this church, whether you’re gay or straight, divorced or remarried. Sometimes people in authority can take that the wrong way, but my understanding of being Christian is someone who welcomes everybody.”

No, Fr. Cuenin, your understanding is missing something important. Jesus commanded his disciples to go out into the world and preach the gospel. The mission is to save souls by carrying out the saving ministry of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15 (1-4) says: “Now I am reminding you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you indeed received and in which you also stand. Through it you are also being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.”  You as a priest are to be a shepherd and help save lost souls. You will be held accountable for that before God. It is fine to welcome people, but you need to let them know about sin, discipleship, taking up the cross, confession, conversion, and how the path to salvation of souls comes by rejecting sin.

Beyond that, it is heresy and scandalous to equate the birth of Jesus Christ by the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bethlehem with welcoming gay people committing grave sins. That Cardinal O’Malley and the Boston Archdiocese allows Cuenin to continue leading souls astray like this is also scandalous. What does it say about Cardinal O’Malley?

It is obvious that Fr. Cuenin should not be in any position of teaching or public ministry. We ask readers to send a message to the Director of the Boston Archdiocese’s Campus Ministry, Fr. Richard Clancy <frclancy@mit.edu> and the Archdiocese of Boston Vicar General, Bishop Peter Uglietto <vicar_general@rcab.org>. Forward this blog post and ask them to take action to remove Cuenin from a position of public ministry. Please let us know what kind of response you get.


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