Boston “Catholic” Hospital Flying Rainbow Flag

July 17, 2013

BCI has been on vacation for the past two weeks. We came back to find an inbox full of issues to be addressed.  These include Steward Health Care’s flagrant disregard for their commitment to maintain the Catholic identity at the Caritas Christi hospitals they acquired in 2010. The poster child for this problem is Carney Hospital in Dorchester, which has been flying the rainbow flag that symbolizes “gay pride” and so-called  lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) pride and LGBT social movements.  A Catholic Action League press release tells us they flew the rainbow flag from the flagpole in front of the hospital for two weeks following the June 26th U. S. Supreme Court decision on DOMA and California’s Proposition 8.  According to a report from a concerned Catholic who called the Carney, a hospital representative said it was being flown to “celebrate” the court ruling.

Photos can be found below and more information is here.

Even though the hospitals are owned and operated by Steward Health Care, they are legally bound to maintain a Catholic identity. The person on Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s leadership team responsible for overseeing their maintenance of Catholic identity is Fr. Bryan Hehir, Secretary for Social Services and Health Care.  Are both the Cardinal and Fr. Hehir aware of this?  What have they done?

In addition, as reported at The Tenth Crusade, Carney Hospital just gave financial support to some kind of sex-themed carnival in June sponsored by a local homosexual political activism organization, DotOUT, that featured “strong men and fortune tellers”:

Carney Hospital, which is supposed to be maintaining a Catholic identity, was a Corporate/Platinum sponsor of the carnival.  We are not making this up.

To help Cardinal O’Malley, Fr. Hehir, and Vicar General Bishop Deeley remember the terms of the sale agreement, we excerpt from a few BCI posts and The Pilot:

In Removing Christ from Caritas Christi (2011), we wrote:

The goal of the stewardship agreement that set out conditions of the sale was said at the time to preserve the Catholic identity of the hospitals forever.

Christopher Murphy, a spokesman for the network, said the stewardship agreement would be designed to permanently maintain the hospital’s Catholic identity….“The main point is that it’s designed to last forever,” he said. “That’s the prevailing hope of everyone involved, that . . . the Catholic tradition of Caritas Christi stays in place forever.”  (Boston Globe, April 28, 2010)

“We announced yesterday that an agreement has been reached with Cerberus that ensures the Catholic identity of the Caritas Christi hospitals… this stewardship agreement was a key component for us because it will preserve the Catholic identity of Caritas.” (Cardinal Seans blog, May 7, 2010)

In “Caritas Christi: Is Catholic Healthcare in Boston Being Sold-off for a Few Silver Coins?” (2010) we wrote:

9. Does the Archdiocese acknowledge or deny that the Catholic identity for Caritas will likely disappear after 3 years?

A blog at the Wall Street Journal said, “In Hospital deal, How Much is a Catholic Identity Worth: Just 3%.”  Despite comments by Vicar General Fr. Richard Erikson and Fr. Bryan Hehir saying the stewardship agreement “memorializes” the commitment to maintain the Catholic identity of Caritas Christi and represents a strong commitment to operate the hospitals according to Church religious and moral directives, the exit clause that allows Cerberus to pay $25 million to drop the Catholic identity negates what both officials have said.  So, let us be realistic that the proposed guarantees for maintaining the system’s Catholic identity beyond 3 years are lacking in substance and credibility. It feels like the tale of “The Emperor Has No Clothes.”  Everyone says the emperor looks handsome in his new clothes.  Perhaps it would be better to stop pretending this arrangement is something which it clearly is not.

The Catholic Action League message on this one from 2010 seems to merit repeating, just as a reality check:

This impending transfer of ownership means that the future of 150 years of Catholic health care in Boston will be within the discretionary authority of a non-Catholic, for profit, out of state, capitalist corporation.  It is now clear that Caritas Christi will be rapidly secularized, that such iconic Catholic institutions as Carney Hospital and St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center will no longer defend the culture of life, and Catholic and other pro-life doctors, nurses, and administrators will lose their conscience protections.”

This comes just five years after Catholic Charities withdrew from adoption services in Greater Boston.   Beautiful and historic churches are being closed, the parish based Catholic school system is being effectively downsized into ‘consolidated’, lay-governed regional academies, and now the Catholic hospital system, which dates back to 1863, is about to be abandoned.  A two hundred year legacy of Catholicism in Boston, as reflected in an institutional infrastructure, is being systematically dismantled and improvidently discarded.

Then there is this, the pièce de résistance from The Pilot, “Agreement will assure Catholic identity of Caritas hospitals” (May 2010):

BRAINTREE — After a lengthy process, the Archdiocese of Boston says it has reached an agreement with a venture capitalist firm that will keep hospitals of the Caritas Christi Health Care afloat as well as maintain their Catholic identities.

“The Stewardship Agreement memorializes Steward’s commitment to maintain the Catholic identity of the Caritas Christi Healthcare system and its fidelity to the mission of the Church’s healthcare ministry,” Father Richard Erikson, the archdiocese’s vicar general and moderator of the Curia, said in a May 6 statement announcing the agreement.

Father J. Bryan Hehir, the archdiocese’s health and social services secretary, said that the ethical and religious directives provide the framework by which Catholic health care operates in the United States. They include sacramental and pastoral care for all patients regardless of religious denomination as well as contain key social justice components and bioethical provisions aimed at preserving the sanctity and dignity of human life.

The recently-signed agreement between the archdiocese and Steward provides that the Archbishop of Boston will oversee that the Caritas hospitals run in accordance with the bishops’ directives. The agreement allows the archbishop to have final authority in disputes involving the directives.

“This is a substantive and structural commitment by the archdiocese and Steward to operate this hospital system by the religious and moral directives of the Catholic Church,” said Father J. Bryan Hehir.

The agreement may be terminated by the archdiocese if it finds the hospitals are not being run according to Catholic practices. However, the archdiocese must provide 90 days notice for Steward to correct the problem.

Conversely, Steward would also be allowed to opt out of the contract if complying with the bishops’ directives is found to be “mutually burdensome.” Murphy said that clause was inserted into the deal in case future medical advances hampered efforts to comply with Catholic directives.

Today, the Catholic Action League said:

Under Section 1 of the Agreement, “all hospitals will be operated in accordance with the moral, ethical and social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church as expressed in the Directives (Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) and as interpreted solely and exclusively by RCAB.” These directives mandate adherence to the “Catholic moral tradition.”

Under Section 2.3 of the agreement, the hospitals are required to “maintain appropriate signage and other symbols of Catholic identity.”

Public display of the Rainbow/Pride flag at Carney Hospital clearly violated the Stewardship Agreement, contravened the Ethical and Religious Directives and compromised what remained of Carney’s Catholic identity. It was also a brazen act of defiance to Catholic moral teaching and an insult to faithful Catholics, living and dead, who supported the Carney for the last one hundred and fifty years.

Is there any question that by flying the rainbow flag and supporting organizations who advance positions contrary to Catholic teachings the hospitals are NOT operating by the religious and moral directives of the Catholic Church?  Assuming we all agree on this point, then the Boston Archdiocese can terminate the agreement and is supposed to tell Steward they have 90 days to correct the problem.

Have Cardinal O’Malley or Fr. Hehir put Steward on notice?  Not likely, but we will ask.  What do you think about this situation?

The Politics of Fr. Bryan Hehir

April 10, 2013

Fr. Bryan Hehir, Secretary for Social Services and Healthcare, is off to Washington DC April 9-10 for a conference on “peacebuilding.”  In view of this conference and a piece that appeared during the time of the papal conclave, “Another American pope candidate embraces the far-left”, we are highlighting some aspects of Fr. Hehir’s political leanings. Given these leanings and publicly expressed views–as well as the lack of any real job for Fr. Hehir do any more–one might reasonably ask Cardinal O’Malley and Vicar General Bishop Deeley why they keep Fr. Hehir around.

At a high level, there is no real job that requires Fr. Hehir in the Cabinet at the Boston Archdiocese. Catholic Charities of Boston (“social services”) has a full-time paid president who runs the organization. And there is no longer Catholic “healthcare” because Caritas Christi was sold off to Cerberus/Steward. Yet Fr. Hehir remains the most important advisor to Cardinal O’Malley and involved in almost every major decision. Since he spends part of his time in his roughly $200K/year job at Harvard and associating with people and organizations that support left-leaning Democratic politicians and causes, why should this archdiocese keep Fr. Hehir as a cabinet secretary?  After you read the piece, you will probably ask the same question.

Now, here are excerpts from the piece, published in the run-up to the conclave, It was also published with the title, “Is God a Marxist? Top American Catholics and the far left“:

A top aide to a left-wing American Catholic Cardinal, reportedly in the running for the job of pope, taught a course called “Matthew, Marx, Luke, and John” at a pro-Marxist think tank in Washington, D.C. The course included a discussion of “the future of the Christian alliance with Marxism” and the “theology of the oppressed.”

The aide, Fr. J. Bryan Hehir, is described in the book Religious Leaders and Faith-based Politics: Ten Profiles as “one of the most important and influential voices in U.S. Catholicism.” A professor at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, Hehir spent 20 years working for the Catholic Bishops and crafting policy positions on a wide range of domestic and foreign policy matters.

Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley of Boston, who hired Hehir as the Archdiocese of Boston’s Secretary for Social Services in 2003, has been “generating buzz in Rome as a possible contender to be the next pope,” says a recent report from NBC News.

If Hehir follows O’Malley to Rome, he could be in a position to exercise considerable power from the Vatican over global affairs, such as by promoting President Obama’s vision of a world free of U.S. nuclear weapons. But even if O’Malley doesn’t get the nod, Hehir could be a force in the Vatican. He has connections to Cardinal Peter Turkson, another candidate for the papacy, and played a role in formulating a Vatican document calling for creation of a “central world bank.” One of Hehir’s Harvard courses is “The Politics and Ethics of the Use of Force,” reflecting his desire to be taken seriously as a global affairs expert.

Hehir led the bishops in writing a 1983 letter titled “The Challenge of Peace – God’s Promise and Our Response,” which called the building of nuclear weapons “a folly which does not provide the security it promises.” Hehir was a member of a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) task force which produced a 2009 report on “U.S. Nuclear Weapons Policy” saying that while “the geopolitical conditions that would permit the global elimination of nuclear weapons do not currently exist,” steps could be taken “to diminish the danger of nuclear proliferation and nuclear use.”

But Cardinal O’Malley is not without controversy himself. He had to personally explain and defend himself after presiding at the funeral Mass for Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal Catholic who undermined church teachings on social matters such as abortion and homosexuality and lived a personal life characterized by debauchery.

A controversial figure in the American Catholic Church, Hehir has been the subject of fawning coverage in the liberal press. But blogs run by conservative Catholics in Boston have targeted him for years, with the Catholic paper The Wanderer once urging his ouster from church affairs because of his “relentless advocacy of left-wing politics.”

It was the “Bryan Hehir Exposed” blog which noted that his left-wing activities included lecturing for “a Socialist, pro-Communist think-tank back in the 1980’s.”

That think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), is where Hehir taught his course on “Matthew, Marx, Luke, and John.” Hehir was then the director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Catholic Conference.

The IPS came under strong criticism in the 1980s, even from a New York Times Magazine article “Think Tank of the Left,” for being a mouthpiece for anti-American and communist regimes from Cuba to North Vietnam. It conducted joint conferences with Moscow entities considered conduits for Russian KGB propaganda.

At the same time IPS was sponsoring the “Matthew, Marx, Luke, and John” course, it was featuring a “Liberation Theology Lecture Series” with Gustavo Gutierrez, author of A Theology of Liberation.

Hehir’s history of involvement in Marxist causes includes not only lecturing at the IPS on several occasions but receiving its 7th Annual Letelier-Moffitt Memorial Award in Washington D.C. in 1983. It was named for Orlando Letelier, a Marxist IPS fellow who was assassinated in 1976 in Washington by the Chilean government’s secret police. Letelier was exposed as a Cuban agent in briefcase papers found by law enforcement authorities after his death.

Hehir was known as a critic of U.S. foreign policy in the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan was preventing a Communist takeover of Central America and countering the Soviet Union’s nuclear buildup by deploying U.S. nuclear missiles in Western Europe. The IPS was then the center of much of the opposition to the Reagan agenda.

For example, in Nicaragua, where a Marxist regime that included Catholic advocates of “liberation theology” had seized power, Reagan armed freedom fighters to take back their country. Hehir and the U.S. Catholic Bishops opposed the use of military force to stop the Communists in Central America or anywhere else.

Even without an O’Malley appointment as pope, Hehir has exercised considerable influence in the Vatican and can be expected to do so in the future. He participated in a symposium hosted by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican in October 2010.

This is significant because the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is the arm of the Vatican run by Cardinal Peter Turkson, another possible candidate for pope. In the 2011 document, “Towards reforming the international financial and monetary systems in the context of global public authority,” Turkson endorsed a “central world bank” that “regulates the flow and system of monetary exchanges, as do the national central banks.” It spoke of “the need for a minimum, shared body of rules to manage the global financial market which has grown much more rapidly than the real economy.”

A “world political authority,” a euphemism for a world government, was endorsed in Caritas in Veritate (“Charity in Truth”), a papal encyclical issued by Pope Benedict, who was considered “conservative” by some. The new global structure is supposed to “manage the economy,” bring about “timely disarmament,” and ensure “food, security and peace,” his document said.

The Turkson document expanded on this concept, saying, “In a world on its way to rapid globalization, orientation towards a world Authority becomes the only horizon compatible with the new realities of our time and the needs of humankind. However, it should not be forgotten that this development, given wounded human nature, will not come about without anguish and suffering.”

Hehir and Turkson are scheduled to participate in a major “Catholic peacebuilding” conference in April to commemorate the 50th anniversary of another paper encyclical, Pacem in Terris (“Peace on Earth”), and promote a “just world order.” More than a dozen Catholic universities and agencies are involved in the event.

Pacem in Terris called for world disarmament under the auspices of the United Nations and other global institutions. It said, “Nuclear weapons must be banned. A general agreement must be reached on a suitable disarmament program, with an effective system of mutual control.”

It also declared “[o]ur earnest wish that the United Nations Organization may be able progressively to adapt its structure and methods of operation to the magnitude and nobility of its tasks.”

All of this fits in perfectly with the global approach of the Obama Administration. Obama himself talked of a “world without nuclear weapons,” while his new Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, was involved in the “Global Zero” approach that would eventually dismantle the U.S. nuclear deterrent.

Not surprisingly, another scheduled speaker at the upcoming “peacebuilding” conference is Stephen Schneck, the “Catholics for Obama” operative who serves as director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America. He had invited Cardinal Turkson and former AFL-CIO boss John Sweeney to one of his own left-wing conferences at CUA.

It looks like Stephen Schneck may have since dropped off the conference program , but a look at just a few other speakers confirms the concerns:

  • Scott Appleby (Notre Dame): said the Nobel committee chose “brilliantly” in selecting Obama for the Nobel Peace Prize.. He said, “consider a president who acknowledges human dignity based not on color, faith or citizenship, but inherent in our common humanity. Decidedly not a man who closes his eyes and ears to evil.”  How about the dignity of human life and the evil of abortion? Appleby also supported the decision of Notre Dame to have Obama as their commencement speaker in 2009.
  • John Carr (former Executive Director, USCCB Dept. of Justice, Peace & Human Development, now at Harvard’s Kennedy School): This piece, “The Scandal of John Carr at the USCCB” reports, “Mr. Carr has, while serving the USCCB, also chaired the board of the Center for Community Change, not to mention other leadership positions with this progressive, pro-abortion political group. During this time, the USCCB awarded $150,000 to the Center for Community Change through a 2001 Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grant, promotes the group on its website, and has exchanged speakers at various events. Furthermore, at least 31 other CCHD grantees have worked with the Center, giving the Center’s political work unofficial but very substantial support from a powerful Catholic body.”
  • Fr. Drew Christiansen (editor of America magazine): This article describes how USCCB leaders clashed with America magazine over America’s criticism of the bishops’ strategy forcefully opposing the HHS contraception mandate.  America magazine apparently thinks the HHS mandate, though imperfect, fulfills Catholic social teaching and preserves the common good, and that the U.S. bishops were overreaching and being too political by threatening lawsuits and demanding the mandate be rescinded. Bishop William E. Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., chairman of the USCCB’s Ad-Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, complained that the magazine’s editorial board believes the bishops are at their best when they speak in generalities and “go along to get along…Maybe Moses wasn’t at his best when he confronted Pharaoh. Maybe the Good Shepherd was a bit off his game when he confronted the rulers of his day.”

Not to be forgotten is this overview of Fr. Hehir’s history from “The Eminence Grise“, summarized with this passage:

 “At a moment when the Church is striving to launch a “new evangelization” in this Year of Faith, the Archdiocese of Boston under Fr. Hehir’s leadership is more concerned with conforming to the secular culture, appeasing a hostile liberal media, and protecting renegade pro-abortion Catholic politicians and their apologists in the Catholic community. Hehir calls this “rebuilding trust” with civil society, but that is a ruse for enabling dissent, as Fr. Hehir’s record over 40 years illustrates.

Many people have told Cardinal O’Malley he should remove Hehir. Yet he remains–with more power and influence than the Vicar General, Bishop Deeley. Hehir helps consolidate power in the Terry Donilon/Rasky Baerlein/Jack Connors coalition, does his best to thwart efforts around spreading the authentic truths and moral teachings of the Catholic faith, and ensures the continued inefficacy of the Mass Catholic Conference and or any efforts to communicate Catholic moral views in the public square and political process. And unlike diocesan priests who are paid about $42K/year with limited benefits, Hehir is paid an estimated $200K/year as a professor at Harvard (average full professor salary is $203K) with full pension and medical benefits.
BCI thinks Fr. Hehir should at last be set loose from his official Cabinet secretary role and duties. He can continue to collect his big paycheck from Harvard, but not sully the name of the Boston Archdiocese with his public excursions into left-leaning politics. We further suggest he be assigned as a parish parochial vicar in an inner city area such as Roxbury, Lawrence, or Chelsea where he can practice social justice much more effectively than living in the rectory at St. John’s in the affluent town of Wellesley.  Email this post to Vicar General Bishop Deeley at

The Eminence Grise of The Boston Archdiocese

November 13, 2012

This piece was published in The Wanderer on October 25, 2012. If you want to know why the Boston Archdiocese still has a lot of problems, here is one of several big contributing factors.

The Eminence Grise of The Boston Archdiocese


Thirty-four years ago, on March 16,1978, The Wanderer published an editorial by its editor, A.J. Matt Jr., calling on  the United States Catholic Conference/ National Conference of Catholic Bishops to fire Fr. Bryan Hehir, associate secretary for international justice and peace, for his relentless advocacy of left-wing politics, especially his role in steering the U.S. bishops away from a principled and forthright opposition to abortion, contraception, and national and international “family planning” programs.

During his 20-year tenure at the USCC/NCCB, from 1972 to 1992, Fr. Hehir was a coordinator and facilitator for the 1976 Call to Action conference in Detroit; he advised the U.S. bishops, and the Holy See, to “regard contraceptive practice as an issue of private morality” — the poisonous fruit of which was episcopal and clerical silence when the purity of children and the rights of parents were assaulted by condom distribution programs in public schools; he advised the bishops, as the presumed originator of the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin’s “seamless garment” theory, that pushing the abortion issue would cause the Church to lose allies on other social justice issues; and he was instrumental in formulating New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s infamous 1984 address at Notre Dame, where he articulated the “personally opposed, but” con game on abortion that Catholic politicians could subscribe to Church teaching, but ignore it and oppose it in public policy.

After leaving the USCC/NCCB, Hehir’s influence continued. He was, for example, cited by the Playboy-funded Catholics for a Free Choice for his position that Catholic hospitals should not be exempt from providing contraceptive services to their clients and employees.

Fast-forward: Fr. Bryan Hehir, after leaving the USCC/NCCB, went to Harvard University to teach, and then, after Sean Cardinal O’Malley, OFM Cap., was appointed archbishop of Boston, was brought into the inner circle of archdiocesan leadership, as the head of Catholic Charities and as Cardinal O’Malley’s informal but influential adviser on a host of public policy questions.

Hehir would subsequently join the archdiocesan cabinet as secretary for Health and Social Services. But his portfolio is much broader than that. He was the decisive influence in selecting a new executive director for the Massachusetts Catholic Conference, the lobbying arm for the state’s four Catholic bishops, and has become, effectively, the episcopal moderator for the conference.

Many people believe that most public expressions of Catholic teaching in the archdiocese bear the influence of Fr. Bryan Hehir

Prior to Cardinal O’Malley’s arrival in Boston, the former archbishop, Bernard Cardinal Law, kept Hehir at arm’s length from the central administration of the archdiocese, and even objected to his hiring by Harvard Divinity School. As The Boston Globe reported, September 27, 2003, after O’Malley announced he had hired Hehir as president of Catholic Charities, “Cardinal Bernard F. Law, then archbishop of Boston, made it clear he was unhappy with Hehir being stationed at Harvard, a historically Unitarian school with a reputation for progressive theology.”

During his tenure as president of Catholic Charities in Boston, and then as secretary for Health and Social Services, Hehir has presided over a number of fiascos, including the notorious 2005 “Man of the Year” award to Boston’s fanatically pro-homosexual, pro-abortion, pro-contraception Mayor Thomas M. Menino. After a memorandum by the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts to Cardinal O’Malley detailing and documenting Menino’s decades-long opposition to Catholic teaching was leaked to the press, O’Malley withdrew from the dinner. Hehir persisted in presenting the award to Menino, which resulted in the annual banquet of Catholic Charities being picketed by the Catholic Action League, Operation Rescue Boston, and numerous pro-life groups.

The archdiocese and Catholic Charities were further embarrassed when an aggravated Menino decided to unburden himself to the media on Catholic teaching. Menino explained that abortion, after all, was just “choice,” that pro-lifers were filled with “hate,” and most memorably, “Jesus, you know, didn’t go around all the time talking up God.”

In April 2005, Hehir also criticized the U.S. bishops for threatening to withhold Communion from pro-abortion Catholic politicians, such as Massachusetts’ Sen. John Kerry. At the same time, according to The Boston Globe (April 30, 2005), he expressed his fears of the “conservative” papacy of newly elected Pope Benedict XVI. Other fiascos include Catholic Charities advertising in the viciously anti-Catholic, homosexual newspaper Bay Windows, the decision of the Holy See to order Catholic Charities to cease placing children in homosexual households, the subsequent end to adoption services by the Archdiocese of Boston — viewed by some as Hehir putting a thumb in the eye of the Vatican, and, finally, the infamous Commonwealth Care contract of 2009 in which Caritas Christi Healthcare (the chain of six Catholic hospitals affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston) was to implement health-care programs for low income residents which included abortion, sterilization, and contraception.

The Boston Globe gleefully broke the story of Catholic complicity in abortion in February 2009, igniting a firestorm in the pro-life community. Instead of immediately pulling the plug on the contract, which was scheduled to go into effect in July 2009, the archdiocese, under Hehir’s influence, needlessly protracted the controversy, resorting to every trick to preserve Caritas Christi involvement in the program. Using Clintonian language, the archdiocese claimed Caritas Christi would not be involved in abortion referrals despite the testimony of officials of the Caritas subsidiary. Because of Hehir’s decision to go through with the contract, it was the end of June 2009 before Cardinal O’Malley ordered Caritas to withdraw, vindicating the very pro-life critics whom the cardinal had castigated a few months earlier as doing “a grave disservice to the Church” with their charges.

There is no question in Boston that Fr. Hehir is the eminence grise of the archdiocese; his fingerprints are on everything.

Under Cardinal Law, all those involved in the Massachusetts Catholic Conference and in the archdiocesan communications office — that is, anyone involved in articulating positions on Catholic issues — were known as conservative, orthodox, and pro-life. Now, under an O’Malley episcopate influenced by Bryan Hehir, Boston Catholics have Terry Donilon — a former aide to Rhode Island’s pro-abortion Gov. Bruce Sundlun and the brother of President Obama’s national security adviser — as the spokesman for the archdiocese; a major Obama-Biden fund raiser, Jack Connors, who serves on the archdiocesan Council of Finance, leads the Catholic schools foundation; and, under Hehir’s leadership at the health secretariat, there was Barney Frank fund-raiser James Karam as chairman of Caritas Christi.

Bottom line: The Archdiocese of Boston has taken a sharp left turn since Cardinal Law’s departure, and there is no indication that will change as long as Fr. Hehir, the ultimate liberal apparatchik, remains in power.

At a moment when the Church is striving to launch a “new evangelization” in this Year of Faith, the Archdiocese of Boston under Fr. Hehir’s leadership is more concerned with conforming to the secular culture, appeasing a hostile liberal media, and protecting renegade pro-abortion Catholic politicians and their apologists in the Catholic community. Hehir calls this “rebuilding trust” with civil society, but that is a ruse for enabling dissent, as Fr. Hehir’s record over 40 years illustrates. + + +

(C. Joseph Doyle is the executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts; Paul Likoudis is news editor for The Wanderer.)

#   #   #   #

Does this key advisor to Cardinal O’Malley–who influences everything from public policy to parish configurations–embrace all of the truths of the Catholic faith? His record indicates not. From the perspective of BCI, this is a cause for grave concern.

What Did Boston Diocesan Official Advise Mario Cuomo for 1984 Notre Dame Speech?

October 12, 2012

The comment made by VP Joe Biden in the debate, “I can believe what the Church believes in my personal life, and not my public life” really gets under the skin of many faithful Catholics. What many people may not know is that Fr. Bryan Hehir, Secretary of Health and Social Services, and a senior aide to Cardinal O’Malley has some history of helping a prominent Catholic politician advance that same position. Since Fr. Hehir was a guest speaker  at Sacred Heart in Quincy, on Thursday night on the topic of “Election Discussion,” and  in view of the question of religion asked in the vice presidential debate tonight, BCI thought it would be timely to share with our readers a bit of history sent our way you may find of interest.

The bulletin and calendar notice in The Pilot said: “Fr. Hehir is a nationally recognized authority on social justice and the Church. He will speak about important issues facing voters in the upcoming election, looking at these issues from the perspective of Catholic social teaching.” Question is, what perspective of Catholic social teaching is Fr. Hehir advancing?  You might reach your own conclusion based on a few things Fr. Hehir has written or said in the past. We go back to 1974 and 1984 for historical perspective.

In 1974, Fr. Hehir was associate secretary for the International Justice and Peace office at what was then known as the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (or U.S. Catholic Conference). It was the United Nations Population Year, and the Third World Population Conference was organized by the UN and held in Bucharest, Romania in August 1974. The Holy See, represented by then Archbishop Edouard Gagnon, was rallying Third World countries against population control mandates urged by the Henry Kissinger National Security Study Memorandum 200. Fr. Hehir instead urged the Holy See to take a “low profile” regarding means of population control. Fr. Hehir wrote this article, “THE CHURCH AND THE POPULATION YEAR: NOTES ON A STRATEGY” in Theological Studies which formed the position of Catholic bishops and the Vatican at the UN Population Conference:

“…the Church should not oppose nor seek to prohibit public authorities from designing and implementing policies which employ a range of contraceptive techniques. In other words, save for the issues of abortion and sterilization, the strategy of the Church would be to regard contraceptive practice as an issue of private morality which the Church continues to teach for its members, but not an issue of public morality on which it seeks to affect public policy. (Theological Studies, March 1974).

Fast forward to the 1984 presidential race. Here is an excellent article that summarizes the situation.

In March 1984, John O’Connor became archbishop of New York. That summer, Walter Mondale nominated New Yorker Geraldine Ferraro for vice president. Ferraro attempted to justify her pro-abortion position as being compatible with her Catholic faith, and Archbishop O’Connor corrected her. It became a high-profile controversy. The Catholic Church, in the person of the archbishop of New York, was at odds with a Catholic candidate for national office on a matter of fundamental importance. The Church’s pro-life public witness was clear — painfully clear for some.

It is well known that Mario Cuomo went to Notre Dame to argue that faithful Catholics could in good conscience, as legislators and executives, defend abortion rights, pass laws facilitating abortion, and even fund it with tax dollars. Yet his “Religious Belief and Public Morality” speech was as much about Notre Dame as it was about Cuomo. Notre Dame’s leadership put its prestige on the pro-choice side of American politics.

Cuomo did not just happen to use a lecture at Notre Dame to address abortion politics. He was brought to Notre Dame in a flagrantly provocative manner to undermine the Church’s pro-life witness in politics. Cuomo was then among the most prominent Catholic politicians in the nation. His political star was rising rapidly after he gave a celebrated keynote address at the Democratic National Convention that summer in San Francisco. His address at Notre Dame was scheduled for Sept. 13, 1984, hosted by Father Hesburgh and Father Richard McBrien, chairman of the theology department.

So the stage was set. After the archbishop of New York had clarified that a faithful Catholic could not promote abortion rights, the nation’s premier Catholic university, led by two of the most famous Catholic priests in America, invited the leading Catholic politician in the country to explain why the archbishop of New York was wrong — all this two months before a presidential election in which a vice-presidential candidate was a pro-abortion Catholic. It almost did not matter what Cuomo said; the message Notre Dame sent was clear: The archbishop of New York and his brother bishops did not speak authoritatively for the Church in the United States; Notre Dame had an authoritative voice, too, and she would be heard on the pro-choice side.

In the speech, Cuomo in essence said that what the Catholic Church teaches on abortion was a matter of personal morality, while his public position—in support of legalized abortion–would not be impacted or affected by that private morality. He said:

“The values derived from religious belief will not — and should not — be accepted as part of the public morality unless they are shared by the pluralistic community at large, by consensus….what is ideally desirable isn’t always feasible, that there can be different political approaches to abortion besides unyielding adherence to an absolute prohibition.”
For his pro-choice political position, Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor considered excommunicating him.

Here is a bit more background on the speech, including the role of Fr. Hehir, that BCI has just received from an unimpeachable source.

In November 1983, early into Cuomo’s first term, he delivered a speech about stewardship of political power in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. It got press visibility at the time because it was apparently the first time since John F. Kennedy’s famous Houston speech that a Catholic politician had addressed the issue of religion in public life.

As a result of that speech, Cuomo was contacted by Fr. Richard McBrien, from Notre Dame, who invited him to Notre Dame to expand on it. In the meantime, Cardinal O’Connor, newly named as New York archbishop, went after Cuomo and other pro-choice Catholic politicians about their stances on abortion. The issue got a lot of attention in the 1984 presidential campaign. The address at Notre Dame grew in prominence and importance since the national media gave it a great deal of attention.

The speechwriter for Gov. Cuomo was Peter Quinn, and he is on record as having helped craft the Notre Dame speech. Fr. McBrien, who, coincidentally, preached at Fr. Bryan Hehir’s first Mass after his ordination as a priest, came to New York where he discussed the issues involved and Catholic approaches to the issues with the speechwriter.  The original draft was written in collaboration with a former Jesuit student, Bill Hanlon, to reflect what they felt Cuomo believed, as well as their own beliefs as Catholics. Then Gov. Cuomo saw the draft, and after that, Fr. McBrien and Fr. George Hunt, S.J. (then editor of America magazine),.  It then went to Fr. Bryan Hehir, Peter Steinfels at Commonweal Magazine  and others for review and feedback.

We repeat, this information comes from an unimpeachable source, with first-hand knowledge of, and involvement in the 1984 speech and speech-writing effort.

A reasonable person might ask several questions.  Why was Fr. Hehir on the review list for a speech given by a pro-choice Democratic politician, defending their public pro-choice position?  What did Fr. Hehir think of the message then, and what did he advise Mario Cuomo and the speechwriter for that 1984 Notre Dame speech?  What does Fr. Hehir think of the message today?  Why was Fr. Hehir part of an effort to help undermine the U.S. bishops authoritative voice on abortion? How does Fr. Hehir feel that Catholics for a Free Choice cited his statement that contraception was an issue of private morality, not public morality to support their position that Catholic hospitals should not be exempt from having to offer contraceptive coverage? Why has every attempt to run 40 Days for Life in the Boston Archdiocese been rejected by the group responsible for this area, which happens to fall under the authority of Fr. Hehir?  Why does the Pro-Life Office report into Fr. Hehir? Why is the public policy voice of the Massachusetts Bishops, the Mass Catholic Conference, under the authority of Fr. Hehir, when his stated views have been that Church teachings were a matter of private morality, not public morality? To what extent are his views muting the voice of the Catholic Church in Massachusetts today?

If you would like to do something about this situation, click Email icon below and forward this blog post to the U.S. Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano at, or drop a dime and call him at 202-333-7121.

This is what BCI thinks.  What do you think?

Update on Barney Frank Panel

January 4, 2012

Readers, our post today will be a short one.

The appearance Tuesday evening by Fr. Bryan Hehir, cabinet Secretary for Social Services and Healthcare, on the panel with outgoing Rep. Barney Frank proceeded as planned.

US Representative Barney Frank took part in a forum last night with Robert Kuttner (center) and the Rev. J. Bryan Hehir. The men discussed whether truth in politics is possible.

Turns out the event was sold-out as of this past Sunday from previous advertising and promotion by the Jewish Community Center, so the BCI team was unable to attend the event live. From what we are told, those who contacted the office of the Vicar General were met with any of several reactions. Here is a sample:

  • One caller was asked by an administrative assistant who answered the phone about whether he had children and loved them.  Here is the comment, which the person by name verified to BCI. We are not making this up:

“I called the Vicar General’s Office this morning. His secretary very politely listened to my concerns and then asked if I would mind if she asked me a question. She asked how many children I had. I told her 3. She then asked what were their ages, so I told her 11, 9 and 7. She then asked if I loved my children unconditionally.”

After hearing this, BCI was feeling, well, rather outraged. So were other readers.  One commenter objectively observed:

“One can unconditionally love one’s children, and still discharge the duty to speak out against the child’s behavior. To do otherwise is to abdicate one’s vocation as a parent.

The unmitigated gall and lack of professionalism of a chancery employee to ask you about your children when you called to state a concern and ask for recourse to the VG, has no place in the Church’s discourse. If a person calls with a legitimate concern, and is gracious but firm, the person receiving the call needs to listen, take a message and follow through by giving the VG the message with any request that the call be returned.

Msgr. Deeley, heads up. Someone taking your calls is overstepping her role and making you look like a lightweight. (The same would be true if the person who answered the phone were male, obviously).”

  • Another caller informs BCI they had a good, respectful conversation with the person they spoke to, and the issues raised will be looked into.  It was mentioned that the blogs were not a good way to communicate–they were causing problems.   Hmm.  There seems to be some confusion in the archdiocese about what is causing the problems.  In case it did not occur to folks at 66 Brooks, it is the officials in the archdiocese who are creating and causing the problems.  BCI and other blogs are merely reporting on the problems caused by the archdiocese.  If the archdiocese would like to cease the problem of blogs reporting on their wrongdoing, they should operate with integrity and in a manner that the Catholic Church should operate.
  • Others who sent email say they did not get any response.

Here is a report in the Boston Globe on the event, “Barney Frank laments political attacks.”

The only comment printed from Fr. Hehir is the following:

And Hehir urged voters and the news media to insist on accountability and honesty from elected officials.

“Telling the moral truth about how we make decisions is equally important for people whose faces we will never see, whose names we will never know, but who are touched by American power,’’ said Hehir. “It is a consequence of being an American.’’

BCI does not exactly understand the logic behind how Fr. Hehir would expect political figures such as Barney Frank to possibly tell the “moral truth” about their decisions that are fundamentally immoral, such as supporting abortion. We lack full context for the panel discussion, but from this excerpt, it appears that Fr. Hehir is letting Rep. Frank and others off the hook for their bad decisions, including those that support immoral acts, by merely asking them to be honest about how they make their decisions.  Not good.

In addition, we hope Fr. Hehir will at least carry his message about accountability and honesty back to the archdiocese, Chancellor, and one of the Boards of which Fr. Hehir is a member, Caritas Chriti, now owned by Steward Healthcare. They have more than a little bit of explaining to do about how they valued unfunded pensions for the transfer of Caritas to Steward in 2010.  But that is a story for another day.

BCI Reader Messages to Cardinal O’Malley

June 24, 2011

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

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

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

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


Chris says:

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

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

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

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


teddy ballgame says:

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


Objective Observer says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Another former employee says:

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


Anonymous says:

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

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

Announce a plan to fund the lay pension plan.

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

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

“Just Wondering” says:

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

Jack O’Malley says:
Cardinal O’Malley,

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

Esto Princeps Ecclesiae.  Duc fortiter.  Fideles volenter sequentur,


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


Little Red Hen says:

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

Lazarus’ Table says:

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

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

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

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


Anthony says:

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

TalkWalker says:

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

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


Boston Priest says:

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

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

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

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

  • Michael says:

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

  • Jack O’Malley says:

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

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

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

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

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


Mack says:

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

I would urge you to do three things:

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

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

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

  • Michael says:

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


JRBreton says:

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


Anonymous Priest says:

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


John A. Cronin says:

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


H.O.T. says:

Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

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

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

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

Your faithful son,


Kdgd says:

Dear Cardinal Sean,

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

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

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

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

Marianne Keating says:

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

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


Michael says:

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

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

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


Bill Redmond says:

Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

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

Bill Redmond

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

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


freda says:

Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

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

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

  • anna says:

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

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


anonymous reader

Dear Cardinal O’Malley:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


williamh says:

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


Jane M. Finn says:

Dear Cardinal O’Malley,

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

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

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


Alice Slattery says:

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

Temporary Truce?

May 24, 2011

Before we get into our topic for today, we would like to just let readers know we are well aware of the latest news from Lawrence regarding St. Mary of the Assumption School–we are in the process of doing some fact-checking before we determine in what manner BCI might weigh in.

As for our topic today, after reading a comment left on the blog yesterday, BCI had an idea this morning we are proposing to Cardinal O’Malley.  This can be thought of as a temporary truce in our criticism of Jack Connors and the Cardinal over a) Jack’s support for pro-abortion political candidates and b)  the inaction by the Cardinal in this grave matter. Here is an excerpt from the comment:

To the point raised by BCI, can Jack Connors, who certainly endorses abortion by making it available and failing to offer a real alternative, as well as by unfailingly supporting those who continue to legislate it as “safe and legal,” wrap himself in the mantle of promotion and protection by the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston?  Is Sean O’Malley morally bound, both by his Baptism and by his vows, to have the guiding councils of the Archdiocese free of those who actively support abortion as the answer for women and their children?

The answer is, the cardinal cannot morally or within the prescripts of his vows, foster and promote Jack Connors.  But he does it anyway.

The answer is, quite seriously, for Sean to witness an abortion, and accompany the remains (or “specimen” as the clinics call what’s left of the child) to the pathology lab bench where all tissue removed from a human during surgery must go for scrutiny.  Let the cardinal ask the pathologist about the tiny feet, and tiny skull, and the heart so large it takes up most of the body.  Then send him straight to some dinner where he will present Jack Connors, who presides over any dealings of RCAB to do with financial or managerial weight, with an award for being a wonderful person, nevermind Catholic.

Jack Connors got the real estate he needed for BC by sitting on the finance council while heading the BC board of trustees.  He got the Caritas hospitals a bit lower hanging on the branch (via Cerberus) for Partners to cherry pick in the not-to-distant future by returning to the finance council.  And he has thereby, in my opinion, compromised the ordinary to the point of risking his salvation.  This has not to do only with abortion, and the failure to provide a real alternative.  This has to do with scores of matters large and small, civil and ecclesial, where Sean has cooperated in the fraud crafted by Connors and his henchmen, to avoid the messier work of doing the right thing.

To bring the thought full circle, those six newly ordained men deserve an ordinary who can lead by example.  It’s the least they are owed in exchange for giving their lives over to the salvation of souls.

Pray for Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley, Jack Connors, Bryan Hehir and their many minions.  They are in desperate need of our prayers.

Though we cannot solve all of the problems described above with this proposal, we would like to try and at least tackle one problem by offering the following proposal to Cardinal O’Malley, Jack Connors, and Fr. Bryan Hehir:

For the next 30 days, BCI will hold back from publicly criticizing the Cardinal, Jack Connors, and Fr. Hehir over the issue of Jack’s support for pro-abortion candidates–provided that the Cardinal, Jack, and Fr. Hehir all agree to witness an abortion as described above (preferably a late-term abortion) within the next 30 days, visit the pathology lab as described, and write a reflection that is published in The Pilot on the experience.  Optionally, Chancellor Jim McDonough and Finance Council Vice Chair, Jack McCarthy, could also be invited to observe this.

  • Scheduling: we assume that scheduling should be relatively easy, in that Jack is the Chair of Partners Healthcare, whose Brigham and Women’s Hospital performs 4,300 abortions every year (3,600 first-trimester and 570 second-trimester).  This averages 14 first-trimester abortions per business day and 2 second-trimester abortions per business day.
  • Finding a Doctor to Observe: Dr. Michael Greene, director of obstetrics at Mass General, might be a good starting point.  An alert reader recently passed us a link to this article from the Boston Globe that describes how Greene and other doctors at Mass General, Brigham and Women’s and Beth Israel Deaconess “perform” abortions at 20 weeks gestation or later and “avoid any chance of a live birth and prosecution” by making “lethal injections in the womb a standard operating procedure.” In case Greene is difficult to reach, we suggest that Fr. Bryan Hehir contact him using what we are told is his Boston College connection to Greene from this April 2010 BC panel discussion where they both spoke.

The archdiocese is annoyed by BCI and mistakenly thinks BCI is out to hurt the archdiocese.  In reality, BCI is just trying to find ways to encourage Cardinal O’Malley and his advisors to operate consistent with Catholic Church teachings and the archdiocesan Code of Conduct–and to do the right thing ethically and morally in governing the archdiocese.

BCI believes our proposal is simple and should be compelling for everyone involved.  If the Cardinal, Jack, and Fr. Hehir commit to witnessing an abortion (preferably at 20-weeks gestation or later) and writing about it publicly in The Pilot within the next 30 days (by June 24, 2011), BCI will commit to a temporary truce on criticism of those individuals regarding the issue of Jack’s support for pro-abortion politicians and the Cardinal’s inaction.  Depending on what they experience and write about, BCI might commit to a permanent truce on criticizing the aforementioned people regarding this specific issue.

Seems like a Win/Win proposal for all involved.  We will email it to the Cardinal, Fr. Hehir, and others who we believe should be able to forward this to Jack Connors.  BCI hopes to get a quick “yes” and will keep you updated on what we hear back by the end of this week.

What do you think of the truce proposal?

Top 10 Myths About BCI: #1

April 3, 2011

Every few months we find people asking questions about BCI–why are we doing what we are doing, who exactly is behind BCI and what “agenda” does BCI have, where do we get information, why are certain archdiocesan officials frequently singled out for what they see as “personal attacks,” what sort of readership do we have, and more.  Since our critics–and there are many–will often float their own assumptions and answers to these questions, we thought we would share the “Top 10 Myths About BCI” over the course of a few different blog posts.

We start with just Myth #1 today: “BCI is out to destroy the Church.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Our hope is to make the Catholic Church in Boston stronger by holding archdiocesan officials accountable for the promises and commitments they have made, for the good of the Church.  We wish the blog was not needed at all. It is a big time commitment and BCI hopes at some point we can give this up.  If various archdiocesan officials operated in a manner consistent with the mission of the archdiocese and policies already set forth, the blog would have nothing to write about.  Unfortunately, that is not happening.  Instead, we have a situation more akin to that described in the 2nd reading today, from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians:

“Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;  rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.” (Eph: 5:8-14)

BCI did not make commitments such as the following to transparency and accountability. The archdiocese did.

October 21, 2005 – Financial Transparency Letter From Archbishop O’Malley

This commitment [to financial transparency] was motivated out of respect for people of the Archdiocese as donors and members of our Church and to demonstrate to the general public that the Archdiocese is fulfilling its fiduciary responsibilities.

April 19, 2006 – Archdiocese of Boston Launches Financial Transparency Initiative

“Our commitment to financial transparency and accountability is an important step in the process of healing the Church of Boston and rebuilding the trust of the people of this Archdiocese” said Cardinal Sean “In releasing this financial information, we hope to achieve a shared understanding of both the challenges and the opportunities we share as a faith community. Together, we can work together to solve our problems and strengthen the Archdiocese’s ability to continue the good works it performs each and every day of the year.”

November 1, 2010 – Cardinal O’Malley Appoints Kathleen Driscoll Secretary for Institutional Advancement

“In order to strengthen and enhance the resources needed to fulfill the mission we received from Jesus Christ and His Church the Archdiocese is establishing a more effective, coordinated and strategic development approach.  The new entity…will ensure donors of independence and accountability.”

Since financial transparency and accountability are important to rebuild and maintain trust in the Church, why is the BCI attention on accountability not considered helpful?  For example:

  • 63 days have now passed since the 2010 Annual Appeal closed, and results have not been released to the Catholic faithful.  Here are the annual results dating back to 2002, and here is an article citing the 2001 figure.  This is the first time in a decade that results have not been disclosed. Why has the transparency and accountability disappeared in this area?
  • The archdiocese is claiming they have a plan for a “balanced budget”; however, as we wrote here, no provision has been made for the annual expenses needed to pay back the $41 million debt to St. Johns Seminary, the $70 million needed to re-fund the employee pension fund, or the roughly $95 million needed to re-fund the clergy retirement fund.

If the archdiocese came out and acknowledged these in the spirit of transparency and accountability and said exactly what they were doing about each situation, BCI would have had nothing to say.  But the archdiocese did not.  Instead, officials said one thing and did something entirely different, so we call out the individuals by name who are involved.

BCI is trying to keep people accountable for what has been promised by exposing deception, conflicts of interest, unfulfilled promises, poor stewardship of assets and temporal goods, and inconsistencies between words and actions.  We are also not perfect. When we make mistakes and learn about them, we issue a correction and apology, and we invite readers to let us know about any inaccuracies either via comments on any post or via email.  That being said, people from across the archdiocese tell us that our record of accuracy and credibility on key issues over the past 9 months is much better than the archdiocese on those same issues.

As BCI said on September 9, 2010:

“the archdiocese has expressed no concern whatsoever over the harm done to the individuals or the Christian community by the well-documented climate and instances of deceit, cronyism, ethical and financial conflicts of interest, excessive spending, and unanswered questions over management of donor funds. These are the sorts of “negative attitudes of the world” that the Holy Father describes as the “greatest danger” to the Church.”

In summary, to those who think BCI wants to hurt the Church or is hurting the Church, we strongly disagree. Archdiocesan officials promised to conduct business in the light and instead those works are being done in secret. That is what hurts the Church.  BCI is simply exposing these works to the light.

Jim M, Jack C, Terry D, Carol G, Cardinal Sean, Fr. Erikson, and Fr. Hehir: Are you willing to start conducting such business in the light as promised instead of in the dark?  The sooner you fulfill the promises made by the archdiocese, the sooner BCI can go away.

Dishonest Diocese?

March 28, 2011

In Luke 16,  Jesus said the following to the disciples:

” The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? (Luke 16:10-11)

Only God can judge the state of each of our souls.  But anyone with access to factual information can tell when someone (or an organization) is being honest or dishonest.  Sadly, it does not take an awful lot of digging to reach a conclusion about whether the Archdiocese of Boston is being honest with Catholics lately.

What do Catholics do, hypothetically speaking, of course,  if they were to find a consistent pattern of their diocesan leadership not being honest with them?

This is particularly relevant because the Archdiocese just released a Code of Conduct policy on Friday that says, “Church Personnel will exhibit the highest Christian ethical standards and personal integrity” and “The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Boston…places the highest value on the integrity and high moral standards of each of the bishops, priests…pastoral ministers, administrators, lay employees, officers, directors, trustees, governors, members, and volunteers (collectively, “Church Personnel”) in our parishes, agencies, schools and organizations sponsored by the Archdiocese.”

The policy has some problems that we will address in a separate post.  At the same time, if these standards are to be believed and taken seriously, they may need to start preparing letters of dismissal for a few people with offices at 66 Brooks Drive soon.

In a moment, we will go through the announcement about the renewal of Chancellor Jim McDonough’s term, but first, let us just review some recent history and questions BCI has for the archdiocesan code of conduct enforcers:

  • Does the deception propagated to all Catholics and members of the presbyterate by Jack Connors and the Vicar General, with help from Chancellor Jim McDonough, about the “sham search” for a new secretary for institutional advancement last year qualify under “highest Christian ethical standards and personal integrity”?  If not, then what are the consequences for those who propagated the deception?  Or are violations of the code of conduct that occurred prior to its promulgation excused?
  • Does the deception propagated in the Catholic Schools Admission Policy to all Catholics by the Catholic Schools office also qualify for “highest Christian ethical standards and personal integrity”?  Long-time readers remember we pointed out in November how the policy says, “In creating this policy we are guided by the words of the Holy Father…”, but unfortunately, the words of the Holy Father were in a totally different context.  And besides that, Fr. Bryan Hehir had already told everyone what the direction was back on May 20 in his WBUR interview (listen at 10:00-10:15, “Are we doing it already?  Yes.   And we intend to do it as the Cardinal indicated, with formal policies”) well before anyone met to start drafting the policy. What are the consequences for everyone who propagated this deception, or is everyone also excused from practicing integrity up to now?
  • Does the deception used to explain the “for sale” listing on Sothebys of Holy Trinity Church also qualify for “highest Christian ethical standards and personal integrity”?

Now we get to the email communication from the Vicar General and the reappointment notice attributed to the Cardinal.  You can read the whole notice here.   We will comment on just selected parts of it.

Cardinal O’Malley said: “Among his many accomplishments, he has taken the lead in addressing clergy pension funding, insuring funding for clergy support, and implementing transparent financial reporting for the Archdiocese.”
BCI response: These are areas of responsibility, not accomplishments.  How can it be even suggested that the Chancellor has “accomplished” transparent financial reporting when for the first time in more than a decade, the results from the 2010 Catholic Appeal have not been publicly announced nearly two months after the campaign finished?  Nor have the results from the Campaign for Catholic Schools 2010 Initiative.

Cardinal O’Malley said: “In 2008 Jim oversaw the move of our central administration from the former Brighton campus to the Pastoral Center in Braintree.   Our parishes, schools and ministries have greatly benefited from the services provided at the new location.”
BCI response: Um, those were basically the same services provided at the previous location, weren’t they?

Cardinal O’Malley said: “Jim has also initiated an effort to overhaul our technology systems and institute efficiencies that benefit our parishes.”
BCI response: Would that include the $5.5 million spent over 5 years on the ill-suited Lawson system that everyone hates?

Cardinal O’Malley said: “During his first term, we have moved from systemic annual budget deficits to a plan for achieving a balanced budget.”
BCI response: This one is the real doozey.  Where is the “plan for achieving a balanced budget?”  If there is a plan for achieving a balanced budget, then that plan obviously needs to take account for paying back debts:

Maybe BCI is missing something, but where exactly is the plan for a balanced operational budget that shows how the Archdiocese plans to pay back about $183 million to these entities owed money? Is that plan going to be released shortly, along with the 2010 Annual Report?
Cardinal O’Malley said: “While we have experienced difficult reductions in work force in recent years, Jim led by example in making significant cuts in his secretariat to minimize the reductions in mission-based agencies and departments.”
BCI response: Does this include the hiring of John Straub (as essentially the “Chief Operating Officer” to complement the “CEO/Chancellor”), at more than $200K in salary + benefits, and lowering the Chancellor’s headcount by moving Carol Gustavson’s salary of about $149.9K into the benefits trust, so the former employees’ pension benefits get hit with the cost instead of Corporation Sole?  And if Jim “led by example,” why has he, a multi-millionaire who said 5 years ago he “didn’t need the job” not cut his own $250K/year salary to, say, $1/year, and cut his six-weeks paid vacation to the same level as the peons in the Pastoral Center?

Cardinal O’Malley said: “As Chancellor, Jim oversees the financial and material goods of the Archdiocese; he is also a dedicated and faithful Catholic who leads  by example in promoting a welcoming and evangelizing Church.
BCI response: The long-time Chancery employees pushed out in HR, finance, the Cardinal’s Office, and elsewhere would disagree that he has promoted a welcoming and evangelizing Church.  Does his rampant dropping of “F-bombs” in conversation also exemplify his welcoming attitude?

Cardinal O’Malley said: “Jim is first and foremost a man of God, a family man devoted to his wife and children and an experienced professional who has never lost sight of our mission to build a community of love in the image of Christ.”
BCI response: No comment on the “man of God” part.  As for the “family man devoted to his…children,” that part we can affirm.  In fact, he is so devoted to his children that he found a way for the “no nepotism” policy in Pastoral Center hiring which his department put in place to somehow apply to everyone else in the Pastoral center EXCEPT him and his children, so his son and daughter could be given jobs after they graduated from college.  We also struggle to understand how building a community in the image of Christ would allow for paying salaries in Boston that are unprecedented in other U.S. dioceses that also have built their communities in the image of Christ.  Did Christ imagine wasting the assets and temporal goods of the Church in Boston and taking scarce funds away from parishes, ministry to the needy, evangelization, and retirement needs of priests and former employees by paying three lay executives more than $1 million/year in combined salaries and benefits, and the top 10 archdiocesan employees  nearly $3 million in salaries and benefits?

BCI just does not understand how there can be such a disconnect between the words of the Cardinal and the actions of the Chancellor and diocese overall. If Cardinal O’Malley, Chancellor McDonough, Terry Donilon, or anyone else can explain this for the benefit of the Catholic faithful, please response via comments or just drop us a line.

What do you think faithful Catholics should do if they find a consistent pattern of their diocesan leadership not being honest with them?

Pastoral Planning Commission

February 4, 2011

From the archdiocese that lacks the leadership and fortitude to summarily shut-down a handful of “Invisible Vigils”–which continue to waste millions of dollars in scarce donor funds six years after they began and six months after their last canonical appeals were exhausted– now we have yet another committee to talk about the future parish and pastoral configuration of the archdiocese.

Before we dig into this new committee, how is that new Finance Council Compensation Committee coming along that is supposed to look  at the $1M+ in excessive six-figure salaries?  They approved it Nov. 4, but the names still are not even posted anywhere like, say, the Finance Council page of the RCAB website, so it sounds like there is stunning progress to report there.  So now we have a yet another new committee–at least this time with names publicly announced, rather than the anonymous committees the folks at 66 Brooks Drive seem to have favored in recent years, like the anonymous search committees that chose Mary Grassa O’Neill and Terry Donilon.

Here is the notice from Wednesday announcing the new committee:

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley today announced that he has formed an Archdiocesan Pastoral Planning Commission.The work of the eighteen member commission is to present a final recommendation to the Cardinal for a pastoral plan for the Archdiocese of Boston that identifies the resources available for the foreseeable future and allocates these in a manner that will allow the mission of Christ and his Church to grow stronger in our Catholic community.

In case you are wondering what this means they will do, in principle, they are to come back with a plan to create a much smaller number of “parishes” and pastors of those newly-defined “parishes” comprised of mostly the same number of church buildings as we have today. The Boston Globe described is as follows:

Under a draft proposal, neighboring parishes would be merged into a single parish, with worship at multiple church buildings. Each clustered parish would be run by a pastor, with help from a team of priests, as well as a consolidated lay parish council, finance council, and parish staff.

BCI’s take on this as of now is that the commission will meet…and meet…and meet, and not really get any place. Last time around in 2004, there were recommendations made by clusters, there was a central committee, there was a review by the Cardinal and his advisors like Fr. Bryan Hehir, Jack Connors and a host of others weighed in behind the scenes, and a lot of “recommendations” never made it through the quicksand and political snares.  What did we learn from that effort, and what will make this one different to avoid the snares of the past?  Not clear.

There are some good people on the committee, and some that we do not see as adding meaningful value.  One person familiar with the composition of the group  described them in an email to BCI as a “circular firing squad.”  Lest BCI be accused of personal attacks, we will make observations about the committee without mentioning specific names.

  • 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?  Are these people the only ones considered qualified or sufficiently politically-connected to serve?
  • Why the person who led the “sham search” that placed the current Chancellor?  Are we so pleased with how that choice has turned out that we want this person’s wisdom and insights once again?
  • 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? Do we really want a plan for  “priestless Sundays” in which hostesses distribute pre-consecrated hosts to those who show up for a “communion service”?
  • Why include someone on the committee from a particular religious order when one of that same order’s members instructing a Masters of Arts in Ministry (MAM) class on immigration not long ago asked Catholic students to role-play being a foreigner in a strange land by assuming the identity of a gay or lesbian on another planet?
  • 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?
  • Why will the committee work not be transparent and public as it progresses?  What is the means of public comment and parish input before the merger plan is communicated?
  • What about the charter, composition and operating approach of this latest committee and effort is to instill such confidence by clergy and laity that a redo of any “recommendations”  will not occur this time around?

If the Cardinal and his leadership cannot make a decision to cut the salaries of overpaid bureaucrats to save $500K-$1M+/year when the supporting information is objective and clear, and if the Cardinal and his leadership cannot make a decision to end “Invisible Vigils” costing $500K-850K/year after all appeals are done, then who in the world thinks this new pastoral planning effort–operating behind closed doors under no deadlines–will reach a set of recommendations and decisions that are acted on?

We hear from multiple sources that the Cardinal is on-the-road for a good part of the next 3-4 months, perhaps in the diocese only 14-20 days between now and the end of May.  The Vicar General may be heading back to the military in the spring.  With an absentee archbishop, who is setting the future direction of the archdiocese?  Is that responsibility now abdicated to this new committee?

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