The saga of the Archdiocese of  Boston and the Daughters of St. Paul continues today with so many developments, BCI can barely keep up.

We posted yesterday in, “Daughters’

Lawsuit Against Cardinal Settled, But…” how the legal action was settled, but the provincial leadership team was removed. It is tough to see that move as anything but retaliation.

Today, the Boston Globe is running an article, “Daughters of St. Paul replaces local leader” that is reasonably accurate and sheds some new light on who did what, but there is still a lot of misinformation. So, BCI will try to fill in the gaps.

Bottom line is that Cardinal O’Malley and the Archdiocese of Boston are asking you and me to believe some things that defy believability–and it appears that the new U.S. provincial of the Daughters is also.  The archdiocese is asking us to believe there was no connection between the Cardinal calling the Superior General of the Daughters in Italy to complain about the legal action by the U.S. province and the ultimate sacking of the U.S. provincial and most of the provincial leadership team.  And now, we have the new U.S. provincial of the Daughters apparently asking us to believe the same thing.

We only have time for a few points today, so we will have to come back to this in our next post.

Everyone needs to remember that the U.S. province did not sue the Archbishop of Boston.  The Daughters asked the court to order a full accounting of their contributions to the plan by the plan trustees (that included Cardinal O’Malley), or to order that their contributions be returned. They did not sue the bishop, they brought action against the Board of Trustees, of whom the Cardinal was a member.  As the Boston Globe reported initially back in March,” the nuns have asked the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to order the pension plan trustees, who include O’Malley and several of his top aides, to provide them with a full accounting of the nuns’ portion of the fund, or to rule that the nuns were technically never part of the church-run plan and to order the archdiocese to reimburse the nuns’ contributions, plus returns.”  Taking care of their lay employees is required under civil law and there is nothing canonically wrong or disrespectful with this either, especially since the Cardinal’s own staff stonewalled the Daughters for 5 years.  Based on what BCI has heard, it appears to BCI that neither the Cardinal nor the Daughters Superior General completely understand how both canon and civil law work.

The sequence of events and timeline for the sacking of the U.S. provincial merits clarification.  First off, according to this article, the appointment of the previous U.S. provincial was in the first week of July of 2008.  Thus her 3-year-term would have ended in July of 2011.  That same article also states that there was the possibility to be appointed to a second 3-year term.  Was the provincial government near the end of the term?  Yes. At the end of the term?  No.  There is no question that the Superior General’s decision to remove the provincial two months before the end of the 3-year term was unusual.  There is also little question that the complaint from Cardinal O’Malley contributed to that move.  Did the Cardinal specifically ask the Superior General to remove the provincial leadership? Probably not.  But was it because of Cardinal O’Malley complaining to the Superior General that the removal action followed?  Put another way, had the Cardinal not called the Superior General to complain, would the Superior General have removed the provincial? Probably not.

Here is what the Globe article says:”Richard Nicotra, a Staten Island hotelier who is a significant benefactor of the Daughters, said in an interview with the Globe Monday that Sato and other nuns were deeply distraught about the leadership change. He said they told him that the cardinal had called Bruscato in Rome and told her that he was embarrassed by the lawsuit. As a result, Nicotra said the nuns told him, Bruscato came to Boston and ousted Sato. “What the nuns in Boston were so upset about was that she didn’t have their back,’’ he said.

So for the new U.S. provincial, Sr. Mary Leonora

Wilson, to say of the ouster, “This is such a normal procedure. It’s done each time. At the end of my three years, it will be the same thing” is simply not accurate–unless perhaps Sr. Lenora has reason to stand up to Cardinal O’Malley as well and she gets taken out.According to this short biography, Sr. Leonora has been out of the U.S. for most of the past 28 years (in Russia and Germany) and away from the motherhouse for all of that time.  Just now back in Boston, apparently she may not completely understand the current situation, politics, deception and corruption in the Archdiocese of Boston, and current level of discontent amongst the other Daughters locally and in the U.S. over what has just happened.

As for the timeframe of exactly when the previous provincial and new provincial were informed, there really is not nearly as much in dispute as the Globe report suggested.  Sr. Leonora says the Superior General decided to not reappoint the previous provincial “shortly after Easter.”  Easter was April 24, so “shortly after Easter” could have been within a week or two after Easter.  As best as BCI can determine, the U.S. province learned about the change in provincial government during the first week in May (probably the latter part of the week). Terms of the settlement were also finalized during that timeframe. The Superior General arrived the following week (during the week of May 9)  and met with Cardinal O’Malley at the Cathedral Rectory on Saturday, May 14.

The various communications from the archdiocese, including Terry Donilon’s late-night communication Thursday night to warn priests and employees about the Globe story appearing on Friday will have to be the subject of a different post.

Suffice to say that Donilon saying to the Globe, the Cardinal, “feels a particular bond with the Daughters and strongly supports their mission of communicating the Gospel” rings hollow.  If the Cardinal felt a particular bond with the Daughters, then why did he fail to take responsibility for resolving this and instead let their situation drag on for 5 years, leading to the legal action?  Why did he deny he knew of their level of frustration? Why did he not get personally involved to try and expediently settle the matter with the U.S. province? Why did he allow the patriarchal church to attack faithful women religious? What is he doing to address the problem of the collateral damage to the U.S. province that happened after he called the Superior General?

Something needs to change around the Archdiocese of Boston soon. Please keep the Cardinal and Daughters of St. Paul in your prayers.

About abyssum

I am a retired Roman Catholic Bishop, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi, Texas
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