Parallels between Vatican politics/corruption and Boston diocesan corruption
In follow-up of the abdication announcement by the Holy Father, a number of news reports about Vatican politics and corruption have coincidental parallels to what we have been seeing in Boston in recent years.
This piece in the Washington Post discusses, “Pope Benedict XVI’s leaked documents show fractured Vatican full of rivalries.”
VatiLeaks, as the scandal came to be known…exposed the church bureaucracy’s entrenched opposition to Benedict’s fledgling effort to carve out a legacy as a reformer against the backdrop of a global child sex abuse scandal and the continued dwindling of his flock.
It showed how Benedict, a weak manager who may most be remembered for the way in which he left office, was no match for a culture that rejected even a modicum of transparency and preferred a damage-control campaign that diverted attention from the institution’s fundamental problems.
“We can reveal the face of the church and how this face is, at times, disfigured,” Benedict said in his final homily on Ash Wednesday. “I am thinking in particular of the sins against the unity of the church, of the divisions in the body of the church.” He called for his ministry to overcome “individualism” and “rivalry,” saying they were only for those “who have distanced themselves from the faith.”
A radical transformation of the culture is unlikely. “We’re talking about people who have given their life to this institution, but at the same time the institution has become their life,” said one senior Vatican official. “Unlike parish priests, who have the personal rewards that come with everyday contact, their lot is not as human. It’s bureaucratic, but it becomes all-consuming.”
The Washington Post piece discusses how the powerful #2, Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone, has consolidated power and pushed out Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, who was helping drive financial and operational reforms desired by Pope Benedict XVI. The pope’s butler sought an unconventional way to get the pope’s attention by leaking confidential memos, in the hopes that a shock, “perhaps through the media, could bring the church back on the right track.”
We also hear separately, from Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne, that he had pleaded with Pope Benedict XVI to replace the Secretary of State, Cardinal Bertone, but the Pontiff firmly refused:
Cardinal Meisner told Frankfurter Rundschau that he approached the Pontiff, speaking on behalf of several cardinals, to demand a change at the Secretariat of State because Cardinal Bertone had proven incapable of handling his office. The German cardinal said that Pope Benedict dismissed the suggestion immediately, showing his loyalty to Cardinal Bertone. Cardinal Meisner recalled:
During the Williamson affair, I even once, on behalf of a number of cardinals, went to the Pope and said: “Holy Father, you have to dismiss Cardinal Bertone! He’s in charge–as would be the responsible minister in a secular government.” He looked at me and said, ‘Listen to me carefully! Bertone remains! Basta! Basta! Basta!” After that I never brought up the subject again.”
A number of pundits and writers are opining that Benedict has been a great teaching pope, but he has a mixed record as a manager, governor and administrator. Do long-time BCI readers see any parallels with Boston?
Cardinal Sean O’Malley gives a good homily. He writes a good pastoral letter. When he spends time and energy on teaching, which BCI thinks is insufficient, he can be a good teacher. But governing is another story. He has created a bureaucratic diocesan hierarchy and organization where internal politics rule far anything having to do with the saving mission of the Catholic Church. He has surrounded himself by people whose actions in many cases suggest they have distanced themselves from the faith or care little about the Catholic faith. When people have complained about the bad eggs in the cabinet and problems with some of his senior cabinet officials, in all but one case, he has ignored them and kept supporting the problematic officials. To his credit, he brought in a new Vicar General, who moved out the former Chancellor.That is the only one of many needed changes he has allowed.
But look at who still remains:
Fr. Bryan Hehir, who by his own admission at a talk several years ago, “couldn’t organize a 3-car funeral procession.” He has had his fingers in nearly every public scandal or fiasco since he returned to Boston to work for Cardinal O’Malley–honoring Mayor Menino at a Catholic Charities fundraiser, inserting himself into decisions on parish reconfiguration of 2004 and mucking-up that process, insisting that parish vigils not be broken up–thus costing millions of dollars to maintain and heat the occupied properties, hiring a lobbyist to head the Mass Catholic Conference who had given donations to pro-abortion politicians, advising the Cardinal to attend the Ted Kennedy coronation funeral, engaging and keeping Jack Connors, being involved in the initial Caritas/Centene deal that would have had Caritas profiting from referrals to abortion services, and the list goes on. Given his track record of mismanagement at St. Paul’s in Cambridge as pastor and at Catholic Charities Boston, as well as his history of involvement in Marxist causes and views on suppression of the Catholic Church’s moral views in the public square, he belongs on a list of people to not have in a Catholic archdiocesan cabinet. Yet despite many people telling Cardinal O’Malley he should get rid of Hehir, 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 (which is all about political power and money), does his best to thwart efforts around spreading the truths of the Catholic faith , and ensures the continued inefficacy of the Mass Catholic Conference and inefficacy of communicating Catholic moral views in the political process or the public square.
Terry Donilon: now paid $184K in salary alone, up from $166,304 a few years ago. Challenged by spelling, grammar, and basics of the Catholic faith, he is now overpaid by at least $70K for this role. He is an excellent example for how the Compensation Committee report flat-out lied about performance and compensation of diocesan staff.
Jack Connors: multi-million dollar Obama fundraiser and abortion supporter, as a key member of the Finance Council and Catholic schools fundraiser
Carol Gustavson: Executive Director Lay Benefits:paid $169,190. A proud ex-Catholic who lacks qualifications for this job (prior experience was as a labor attorney for a newspaper), paid about double what the position would be paid elsewhere, and who was unable to respond to basic questions about pensions in 2011 public meetings around cuts to the lay pension funds.
We could go on and on about the problems. As a parallel to VatiLeaks, this blog was created for the main purpose of exposing the moral and financial corruption and deception in the Boston Archdiocese, in the hopes that perhaps through public exposure of the problems, we could help bring the Catholic Church in Boston back on the right track.
Despite the similarities, there is one big difference. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI said it was his declining mental and physical strength that led him to abdicate the papacy and resign from the office. The next step is a conclave in March where a new pope will be elected. Cardinal O’Malley long ago abdicated governance of the Boston Archdiocese. The next step for Boston is….?
bostoncatholicinsider | February 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Tags: Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal Sean o’malley | Categories: Archdiocese of Boston | URL: http://wp.me/pYaYk-1kj