Kudos to Bishop Vasa

Kudos to Bishop Vasa

It looks like Bishop Robert Vasa of Bend, Oregon, is not going to let some USCCBureaucrat tell him what he must or must not do in his own diocese. The good bishop has decided that the “safe environment sex education” programs mandated by Teresa Kettelkamp in the Office of Child and Youth Protection leave some disturbing questions unanswered and so he’s not going to implement them, even at the risk of getting a “Non-Compliance” rating in his diocese’s audit.

Good for him. He’s standing up and saying that a bishop is sovereign in his diocese concerning these sorts of things and that no one can order him to do something immoral. The bishop does leave something ambiguous. He says: “In the diocese, we have indicated that such training must be made available to all children under our supervision in our Catholic schools but have not taken on the nearly impossible task of assuming responsibility for every child in the diocese.” If the programs are a problem for children, are they going to stop it in the schools? He leaves that unanswered, but based on his objections it would be very inconsistent if he didn’t.

  • In other words, (as I’ve said before), although they might not have realized it, the “inclusive, we love the poor” parish was basically screwing priests in poorer parishes.

  • Alice:

    But when I asked people from other parishes, such as Malden, Peabody, and other parishes on the north shore if their pastors were having the petition drive, they said that their pastors were not doing it and would not even talk about it at any of the Masses!

    At Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the letter from Archbishop O’Malley was not read at the September 25 Mass.

    At this same church, on October 2, the pro-life Mass was celebrated. Not one mention was made of the marriage petition. I might’ve said it elsewhere, but I had to sign the petition outside Holy Trinity Chuch on my way to the walk for life.

    That said, we’re a small parish. Everybody was pretty strained to just accommodate the nearly SRO worshippers who came for the pro-life Mass.

    Still, with that crowd, it would’ve been great if there were petitions available to sign.

    As an aside, ironically, members of “Know Thy Neighbor” were standing outside, waiting to intimidate people who signed the non-existent petitions!


    Also, all signatures on a sheet can only be from ONE town.

    Right. More than that? I understand that neighborhoods can’t count as towns. So, if one is used to saying “I live in Dorchester, or Roxbury, or the South End,” that won’t work…it has to be Boston, period.


    Some have suggested one signature per page, which I think is a good idea.

    I think it’s probably the only way to do it. The booby-traps inherent in these petitions are unbelievable!

    To all of who are doing this? It may seem like a thankless task…but I think you will be thanked, big time.

  • This brings to mind the diocese on the west coast where priests had private residences worth considerable amounts of money.  Was it Los Angeles?  This equality thing must not be universal.

  • Of course, the rich parishes pay their Music Directors, DRE’s, Business Managers, Custodians, etc… far better than the poor parishes.  They get ALL the talent, since the pastor and finance committee determing the compensation.

    Perhaps these salaries should be set and paid by the Archdiocese.  We had to let our “outreach” coordinator go for lack of funds (country parish), while the surrounding rich suburbs have lots of paid ministries… We country bumpkins see these things when we pick up a bulletin in another parish on those rare HOT DAYS when we miss Mass (on purpose) in the summer, and show up to sit in air conditioning at some of the more well compensated parishes.

    what is a “Pastoral Associate” anyway?

  • Based on Joe Soucy’s first comment above – exactly why the disparity will not end, since those with the means will always be able to entice the best personnel, etc. (no different than why the richest towns will always have the best education services).  One way or another the net compensation will not be equalized at the end of the day.  Perhaps, based on this reality, priests should be able to compete for compensation based on performance – listing their credentials, citing their views on important spiritual matters, and demonstrating their skills.  An open-market system would allow the parishioners to choose their priests, and give all priests a chance (if they so desire) to move up to higher-paying parishes.  For example, if sports players were paid (above some minimal threshold) based on current performance, it would bring the wide disparity down to an empirically palatable level.  Granted we’re talking the priesthood, not sports here – but there’s nothing sacred about the way priest’s get assigned to parishes anyway.  It seems therefore that an opportunity based system of free competition – where parishioners-as-consumers get to bid for their priests and pastors (allowing for an appropriate level of democracy, at the people’s level) would at least further the fairness of the entire compensation process.   

  • And poor parishes get stuck with the bad priests? That’s precisely why all priests are paid the same and assigned by the archbishop, to avoid the unfairness of the rich getting better priests and the poor getting left out.

  • The current system is just as flawed as what tom2 proposes would be, though.  Instead of money being the criteria, the criteria has become orthodoxy.  Look at the wealthy parishes and too often you find dissent.  It would appear that the bishops have opted to put the dissenting priests where the money, and thus the influence, is.  It’s not guaranteed, but too many have raised the issue for there not to be some substance to it.

  • On the other hand, I’ve noticed that the orthodox priests are often in the poor parishes. Money equals influence in some circles, but why should it be so?

    The Catholic Church isn’t like a business. Most businesses put their best managers in the most successful (i.e. profitable) branches or offices. But the Church puts her best priests in the places that are successful in other criteria, i.e. where there is great faith.

    It’s my experience that greatest faith and orthodoxy can be found not among the rich, but the poor.

  • Taking the money issue out of it for the moment, tom2 does raise an important idea – allowing parishioners a stronger voice in who will be their pastor.

  • And who decides who gets the better priest? I can’t imagine how this is a good idea. The way it’s supposed to work is that the bishop sends the priest the people need, not who they think they want. I don’t want popularity contests and politicking deciding pastoral assignments.

  • allowing parishioners a stronger voice in who will be their pastor.

    That’s exactly what “Voice of the Faithful (sic)” and other protestant-leaning groups want. Next comes lay folk picking their bishop…or, heck, the elimination of the role of bishop altogether.

  • I haven’t heard anything about this at my Parish to date (it doesn’t surprise me, living in Cambridge).

    Is there a place where one can _go_ to sign the petition?

  • “It07:52
    2005-10-10 00:07:52
    Maybe you’re right, GOR—you generally are. Still, here in Boston—heck, here on this blog!—I’ve heard +Sean O’Malley referred to as a “saintly man,” and I expect it fair to say that the archdiocese was, as the time of his assignment, “in need of sanctifying.”

    Of course, he was appointed by the Holy Father, not by a bishop.

    Even so, Father Chris Coyne is said to be—and I believe it to be true—a holy man…and he was assigned to a parish perhaps in need of a bit o’ sanctification.

    The exception that proves the rule, perhaps…

    Kelly <——-who is often moved to use elipses when responding to a GOR post wink

  • Dom,  I might suggest that you encourage people to send the Bishop a little note of support.  Granted a leader, a Bishop, shouldn’t need support to do the right thing, but when he does the right thing we Catholics in filial love ought to let him know we are praying for him, espeacially when he sticks his neck out.

  • Contact info from the diocese’s website…

    911 SE Armour St.
    Bend 97702

    Mailing address: P.O. Box 5999
    Bend 97708
    (541) 388-4004
    Fax: (541) 388-2566

  • Following Diogenes’ ‘hint’ on CWN I sent him (Bp. Vasa) a Thank You EMail. His EMail address is:

    vasa .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  • I don – the right man for Newton (and very much in need of our prayers!).

    I hope so…I certainly would’ve thought so…as for the prayers, I know so.

    (Parenthetically: What I don’t know:

    How GOR got the accent over the “e” in “touche.”

    How, in the comments boxes, to overwrite a link.

    The above is not, o’ course, a complete list wink)

  • Bishpo Vasa is one of my heroes.  He already has a strong program for weeding out sex offenders.  He also requires that every diocesan volunteer & employee swear a Mandatum.
    Here in the Diocese of Arlington, they require the VIRTUS program of *every* volunteer and employee.  Every week, my pastor whines in the bulletin about people not volunteering for the parish, and then two pages later there’s a note that if you volunteer, you’ll be treated like a criminal and subjected to a detailed lesson on sexual abuse.
    Gee—I wonder why people aren’t volunteering?

  • People aren’t just not volunteering, they’re quitting ministries, too. In Boston they now require new criminal background checks every year and ask all kinds of intrusive questions (height, weight, social security number). People are starting to say, “The heck with it” and quitting ministries like lector and Eucharistic minister.

    (And why do we need to run criminal background checks on them? Standing at the ambo or at the head of the aisle at Mass seems to be an unlikely position in which one can abuse a child.)

  • What I think is silly is how you have to have a background check (CORI) at schools and at parishes. Probably at libraries and the YMCA too. It would be nice if there was a common data bank and you only had to go through that process once… less red tape, too.

    Maybe there’s a reason the resources aren’t pooled?

  • Meanwhile someone somewhere is getting a nice database on dedicated Catholics.  Which of course may never be used for anything at all.  But then again it could be used if someone somewhere comes up with a reason that the courts would buy…  Under the circumstances, I wouldn’t volunteer because in my diocese VIRTUS is required.

  • Dom: And meanwhile we drive all the volunteers away because they donng the same info, what privacy could be violated?

    And I am in mind of the juvenile in my area who abused several little girls his mother babysat for (upper middle class families all) from the time he was 12 or 13. Finnally caught at 16, no record at all. Wonder if this would show on a CORI or background check when/if he volunteers to teach CCD at his parish or works with kids at the Y, etc.

  • How GOR got the accent over the them saying that they would not do it because they did not agree with the intent of the petition, not because they couldn’t get any parishioners to organize the gathering of petitions. It appears that they were taking the same position as the pastor of St. Luke’s in Westborough, that he did not agree with the intent of the Marriage petition.  Fortunately, at St. Luke’s the Bishop of the Worcester diocese came to St. Luke’s and said the Sat. evening Mass and the 10:00 Mass on Sunday and told the parishioners about the teaching of the Catholic Church on marriage and the reason for the petition drive. Two parishioners organized the drive.
    The MetroWest daily newspaper attacked the Bishop for doing that!  Thank God the Bishop had the courage to do it!!  Wouldn’t it be great if some of the Bishops in the Boston Archdiocese went to the parishes where the pastors refused to participate in the support for the Marriage petition and preached about the meaning of marriage from the altar and encourage the parishioners to support the marriage petition!!!

  • But the database is a government database supposedly protected by police, etc. When a CORI is submitted, all that the submitting agency gets back is a green light or red light under the criteria they submit.

    They aren’t told what’s in the record.

    Obviously different agencies have different criteria, so for them to share the database, they’d have to know what was in the records.

    As for the 16 year old, you can’t CORI someone under 18 so that’s another whole ball of wax. If a 17 year old wants to teach CCD, they have to have an adult present in the classroom.

  • Wow, thanks Dom.

    I will say that my now 16 yo daughter teaches CCD w/o an adult present (same last year except she was 15) it is an ‘open classroom’ atmosphere – large parish hall separated into small rooms with moveable walls.

    FWIW and off topic, there has never been any talk of TaT in my parish although we volunteers and the paid employees did have to take the VIRTUS course a few years ago. Any new volunteers since then have not taken the VIRTUS course (like my daughter). We are south of Boston – horrible CCD program (silver burdett’s ‘blessed are we’) w/ a liberal nun DRE but I don’t think they want to touch TaT with a ten foot pole.

  • “And meanwhile we drive all the volunteers away because they don[Domenico Bettinelli]]>


    Fr. John O’Donnell, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston, explained in the Boston Globe yesertday why it is wrong for compensation for priests to vary from parish to parish. Sort of like one priest we’ve been hearing about.

    The defenders of Fr. Walter Cuenin have said that since the parish approved the extra $500 kiss in his monthly paycheck and a multi-hundred dollar car lease, then should be just fine. It’s funny, but that goes right to heart of justice and accountability.

    O’Donnell gives us the history of why the archdiocese set up a uniform compensation policy for all diocesan priests.

    During the late 1970s I held the elected position of president of the Archdiocesan Priests Senate, an advisory body to Archbishops Cushing and Medeiros. At that time the issue of a salary and stipend adjustment was proposed. It had been the custom in every parish that the stipends and fees for weddings, funerals, baptisms, and Masses were placed in a common pot known as the ‘‘corbona.” At the end of the month the pot was divided among the priests of the parish.

    It was obvious that if one were assigned to a bustling parish, the monthly share, added to a basic salary, was much larger than if one were stationed in the inner city or a smaller suburban parish. It became a matter of equity and justice among a number of priests across the archdiocese.


    2005-10-08 12:38:02
    2005-10-08 16:38:02


    2005-10-08 14:17:11
    2005-10-08 18:17:11
    That we even have to repeat our efforts ( which I did) here in MA is a complete disgrace. We had the signatures before and it was supposed to be a slam dunk until Jane Swift, not voted in mind you, tabled the entire issue. Sorry I don’t know the correct political jargon. All I know is this, we should have already voted on this issue. To many back room, secret deals were made to make sure the question was never on the ballot the first time. With so many “strong” political gay figures in our state, See Barney Frank, I won’t be surprised at all to see the same thing happen yet again.