Boston Diocesan Denial and Deception by Donilon

September 19, 2018

In our last post, Why Did Cardinal O’Malley Cover-Up Gay Abuse Scandal?, we shared insider news about Fr. Walter Cuenin’s scandalous actions that got him removed from Brandeis in early 2015, as well as the cover-up by Cardinal O’Malley, other archdiocesan officials, and senior Brandeis officials,  Despite the fact that an archdiocesan official confirmed the key points before BCI posted the story,  Secretary for Communications, Terry Donilon, has been parsing words to try and deny the story to reporters and also discredit BCI.  That’s been his modus operandi for years. Today we’re going to debunk his response and ask readers for help expose this scandalous situation.

First, a quick note about Terry Donilon. He came into his position – where he is paid nearly $200K in salary and benefits – as the result of a rigged search (see BCI post “Sham Search: Terry Donilon” and do read the comments)  Ann Carter, then CEO of PR firm Rasky Baerlein, led the “search.”  Beyond the obvious conflict of interest of an archdiocesan vendor hiring the person who would manage their services and decide on their continuing employment, the founder and then-Chairman of the firm was Larry Rasky, who had known the Donilon family for years from his political work starting with the Joe Biden campaign back in 1988. Terry needed a job when he left Shaw’s Supermarkets. Resumes of far superior candidates interested in the job never made it to the full search committee. Terry’s is known to be spelling and writing-challenged, and most press releases or statements from him have required the proof-reading and spin of Fr. Bryan Hehir and/or outside PR folks.

Oh, and he also is comfortable deceiving to deflect attention from the truth.  Back in 2010, BCI accurately reported about another rigged search months before the outcome of the search was publicly announced.  When Terry was asked about the BCI post by a news reporter, he responded, “I have no intention of responding to anonymous and unfounded claims and attacks posted in Boston Catholic Insider.”  (See Diocesan Deception from Donilon).  The truth was that it was a rigged search, just like the one for Terry’s own job–he just didn’t like that we exposed the truth and moral corruption. He was never able to give one example of an “unfounded claim” on BCI, including the post he complained about.  Now onto the Walter Cuenin scandal.

Our post about the scandal originated with this tip from an anonymous reader, “Truth Teller,” on a different post about coddling of homosexual priests, including Fr. Walter Cuenin:

Cuenin did not leave Brandeis because of “health.” He was removed because he took a young man away, plied him with alcohol and molested him. Both Brandeis and the Archdiocese wanted to keep it quiet. Shouldn’t they have been concerned if there were other victims?

Via private emails, we got some additional information from “Truth Teller,” and we were then able to validate enough of the story that we published it.  In a phone call on Sept. 11, Fr. Bryan Parrish, episcopal vicar and secretary for parish life, confirmed to another Boston blogger that Cuenin’s official status with the archdiocese is a “restricted Senior Priest”, which means no ministry is allowed and no church housing is provided.  Cuenin has a very public problem with alcohol and the restrictions were related to that. He also confirmed that the allegation of sexual misconduct with a Brandeis student reported on Boston blogs (including Conquered by Love) did happen.

After we published the story and reporters started asking questions of Fr. Parrish, they were directed to Terry, who went into damage control mode and issued the following deceptive statement to reporters:

There has been no charge of molestation of a minor or young adult. Fr. Cuenin has faced serious health issues in recent years. It has been our experience with Boston Catholic Insider, an anonymous blog, that the information they distribute is consistently false and misleading as is the case in their September 13, 2018 entry.

For the record, the Archdiocese of Boston is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of children and young people in our parishes and institutions….Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley encourages any person in need of pastoral assistance or support to contact the Archdiocese’s Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach by calling 617-746-5985.

We never said there was a “charge of molestation”–we said all the student wanted was to ensure Cuenin left campus and couldn’t do this again.  Terry used the word, “charge,” so he could pretend his response was true.  Here’s what we sent back to Terry:

I’d like to clarify what you mean so we can make any required corrections. With regard to the Sept 13 entry, can you share specifically what is inaccurate?  Obviously, all of the bullet points are accurate and are well-documented and have been shared with the RCAB previously, so there can’t be any disputing those points.  So, your issue is obviously with our saying a student was plied with alcohol and then molested.  Your statement says there was no charge of molestation of a minor or young adult.  You also have said there was no allegation.  We verified the report of the molestation with an archdiocesan official last week before publishing it, so something is not adding up. Hopefully you can clarify exactly what did or did not happen.
We know for a fact that Fr. Cuenin’s ministry is restricted, and it’s for a reason more grave than just a minor alcohol problem. We know the expectation is that since he’s in ill health today and wheelchair-bound that it’s highly unlikely he will engage in inappropriate activity with others.  We also all know he left Brandeis very abruptly, and for someone so popular on campus with students, faculty, and administration to leave without a farewell party, the reason was gravely serious.  Brandeis has had multiple opportunities to tell us our story was inaccurate before it was published and they declined to refute the story.
Is the word “molestation” the problem?  We’ve now removed it from our post.  Would it be more accurate for us to say that there was an incident reported where a student was drinking with Fr. Cuenin, and Fr. Cuenin engaged in inappropriate sexual activity with the student or non-consensual sexual activity with the student?  …
Lastly, I must say that your comment about BCI publishing consistently false and misleading information rings hollow.  Since you’ve been in your job and BCI has been writing our blog, never once has one of your claims that BCI published “false information” proven to be correct.  Never once. You’ve said we made “unsubstantiated claims” but invariably that’s because we published the truth and the RCAB simply didn’t like seeing the truth published or the media attention.

Carol McKinley sent this message to him:

Let me predict how this statement will play out:
1.  Already enraged Catholics will conclude the Archbishop thinks a priest plying someone’s college age child with alcohol to lower resistance to his sexual advance is not molestation.  Might want to google “Bill Cosby”
2. The victim, who instead of suing or pressing criminal charges, who made the unbelievable sacrifice of  agreeing to just letting them get Walter into supervised treatment, is now going to…read the archdiocese is calling him a liar.  I don’t think the statutes have run out, but you are going to take the gamble.
The likelihood everyone is lying about the allegation is quite low.  (and it is an allegation, but Walter’s faculties were stripped and he was ushered off to treatment).  But if that is the case, you have a duty to tell us so we will correct and retract errors.  This is the Catholic Church you work for and there are Sacramental issues at play, for people who live by them.
If stupid PR strategies could fly, this would be a jet.  Go back to the bunker and come up with a truthful statement that doesn’t violate the trust of this victim by calling him a liar.
No response from Terry.  So here’s where we sit.
  • “Truth Teller” assures us the story is 100% accurate. Out of respect for the victim’s right to privacy, we are not pressuring anyone to speak out publicly, but if the victim forward, both the Archdiocese of Boston and Brandeis will be forced to acknowledge what happened.
  • Despite multiple messages sent to various senior administration officials at Brandeis including those involved at the time asking them to confirm or deny the story, they refuse to respond. If this scandalous story was inaccurate, why wouldn’t they just respond and say the story is not true?
  • If any reporter asks Fr. Parrish at this point what happened, he’s sending people to Terry Donilon, and Terry is responding with the deceptive statement to deflect attention from what actually happened.  He’s parsing words and refusing to acknowledge there was an incident of inappropriate behavior by Cuenin with a student–and that led to his removal from Brandeis.

We see two ways for the impasse to be broken and the full truth to come out, and need your help.

  1. The victim — even with their name not being released — publicly tells their story to a newspaper.  We can direct the victim to any of a variety of publications who would maintain confidentiality, take their testimony and write the story.
  2. Readers pressure both the Archdiocese of Boston and Brandeis administration to admit what happened.  Here’s who to contact:

Archdiocese of Boston:
Terry Donilon, Secretary for Communications
Work: 617-746-5775
Cell: 401-480-0171
tdonilon@rcab.org

Vicar General Bishop Peter Uglietto
617-746-5619
vicar_general@rcab.org

Brandeis University
Jamele Adams, Dean of Students
781-736-2600
deanofstudentsoffice@brandeis.edu
Ira Jackson, Executive Vice President, Communications and External Relations
781-736-3993
Here’s what you should ask:
Can you please confirm that the reason for Fr. Walter Cuenin’s removal from his role as Catholic chaplain at Brandeis in January of 2015 was an incident with Fr. Cuenin involving alcohol and inappropriate sexual behavior with a male student?  If this description is not completely accurate, please correct whatever is inaccurate to give the correct description of the incident.

And what policies and protections are in place today to ensure that similar incidents don’t happen again to other students?

If Terry responds back with the canned statement above, call or email him back and ask him to answer the actual question you asked directly with a Yes/No answer.  You might also remind him that his salary is being paid by Catholics like you.
Let us know how you make out.

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.


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

 

 


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