More on Cardinal O’Malley’s Vatican PR Campaign, gay network of priests in Boston

March 7, 2013

In our last post we talked about Cardinal O’Malley’s Vatican PR campaign, and how his communications secretary was looking for stories so he could feed the press.  Cardinal O’Malley also said he was reading the National Catholic Reporter as an “interesting” source of information in preparation for the upcoming conclave. Today we update you with several new developments.

First, we ask the question, why is there a big international media campaign around Cardinal O’Malley? Cardinal O’Malley has apparently brought a few members of his media and communications team to Rome.We know the editor of the Pilot was on the plane to Rome with the Cardinal, and Communications Secretary, Terry Donilon, is in Rome to coordinate the campaign. We called his office to volunteer BCI to brief reporters looking for Boston-related stories on our ministry and got his voicemail saying he is in Rome. No return date is indicated on the voicemail.  Why the big international media campaign, with no apparent bound on how long Donilon will stay?  Beyond that, why are thousands of dollars in Catholic Appeal donor funds being squandered to pay travel and expenses for the Boston media guys to be in Rome?

Secondly, couldn’t the Cardinal’s time be used better to prepare for the critical vote than in press briefings? In an interview with the Boston Globe, published Wednesday, we heard the following:

O’Malley also seemed to ache for a little down time. He had just finished a long press conference and had more report­ers to speak with before a dinner with cardinals. He said he had not been able to spend much time going out to dinner or otherwise enjoying the city. “If I didn’t have all these interviews,” he said with a laugh, “I could be in a bookstore right now.”

In a briefing Tuesday, Cardinal O’Malley said they should not rush to schedule the start of the conclave, and then joked, “And it is hard to get a bad meal in Rome.”

At a time when Cardinals are to be prayerfully considering the needs of the universal Catholic Church, along with the qualities needed in the next Pope, two things seem odd and raise further questions. Why does Cardinal O’Malley “have all these interviews” and have to spend so much time in interviews and briefings? Also, if he was not spending the time in interviews, are we to understand that he would instead be in a bookstore, going out to nice dinners or otherwise enjoying the city?  Dinners with other cardinals are a way to assess the field of candidates, but are interviews, bookstore browsing and enjoying the city the best use of his time in advance of electing the next Pope?

As of late yesterday, the kibosh has been put on press briefings.  “”The College (of Cardinals) as a whole has decided to maintain a line of an increasing degree of reserve,” said Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi. Some say it was because of the daily briefings by the American cardinals and some say it was leaks to the Italian publication, La Stampa.

But one other interesting comment by Cardinal O’Malley merits additional discussion.  In “O’Malley: Church must discipline bishops,” he said the Catholic Church needs global standards for disciplining bishops–referring to the need for a uniform policy to deal with bishops who failed to move against abusive priests. We agree.  But we wonder if this same principle should extend to bishops who fail to move against priests who are openly gay, are part of a gay network of priests, or who commit a form of spiritual abuse by publicly blessing “gay marriages” and lead souls away from salvation.

In response to our post last week, “Does Boston Archdiocese have a “gay network” of clergy too?“, a number of readers pointed us to a book by a writer of gay pornography that helps answer the question which was the title of our post. The book includes commentary from interviews with diocesan and religious priests who acknowledge they are gay. One priest admits he has come out to other priests, and has attended and blessed four “gay unions.”  Two diocesan priests tell how they were not supportive of the effort several years ago to gather signatures for a constitutional amendment banning “gay marriage.”  The book by Scott Pomfret is called “Since My Last Confession: A Gay Catholic Memoir.”  The real names of many priests are listed in the book. A simple google search on passages from the book reveals rather clearly who one of the key pseudonymous characters is in real life. Here is an excerpt from the chapter that talks about “Fr. Butterballino” and his blessing of the gay unions (3rd page of the chapter preview):

He admitted, “I’ve been to four civil weddings of gay people…After the rite is over, I do some kind of prayer or blessing. If I’m called on it, I can say I was there and I performed a prayer. I didn’t perform a wedding.”

This priest is still a pastor today, as are other priests known to have performed blessings on gay unions. These situations mislead the faithful, lead souls away from salvation and scandalize the faithful. Sources indicate Cardinal O’Malley has been made aware of this information, and BCI has also sent an email to the archdiocese about the situation with an excerpt from this blog post.

Why did diocesan priests agree to be interviewed for a book by a known writer of gay pornography?  Why is that not a problem for the Boston Archdiocese?

Given there was a shake-up with Cardinal O’Malley’s Franciscan brothers at St. Anthony Shrine right after the book was published–with the Franciscans having acted on the information in the book by removing the author as lector–and since  local and national media reported that the book suggested some local clergy, given fictional names, are sexually active, what was done at the time of publication to investigate and address the revelations in the book?

Why is Cardinal O’Malley apparently not so troubled by pastors blessing “gay marriages” that he has not removed these priests from pastoral leadership roles and/or corrected their false teachings?

If bishops should be disciplined for failing to move against sexually abusive priests (which BCI agrees with), what should happen to bishops for failing to move against “out” gay priests or those in a “gay network” whose public actions can lead the faithful to sin (and to think those sins are permissible and worthy of public blessing)–and lead souls away from salvation?  Is that not a form of spiritual abuse that needs to be disciplined and corrected?

If there are any more interviews with Cardinal O’Malley, we invite the reporters to ask these questions of His Eminence and to publish the responses. We invite all to pray for the discernment of Cardinal O’Malley and all of the cardinals on the election of the next Pope.

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