Paper tigers

Paper tigers

My hope that things in the Boston archdioceses would be different under Archbishop Sean O’Malley took a blow yesterday. The archdiocese announced that it was lifting a year-old ban on archdiocesan meetings at Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in Newton. That is the parish whose pastor, Fr. Walter Cuenin, publicly questioned the Church’s teachings on women priests and homosexuality and who led the dissent among archdiocesan priests against Cardinal Law. He is a driving force behind Voice of the Faithful and the Boston Priests Forum. And there are numerous liturgical irregularities at the parish of the type and scope that could be invalidating the sacrament.

The parish, which I will admit is thriving with all kinds of ministries, its own high school, and donations, has often been called the second cathedral. Because of its large size and central location right on a major highway, the archdiocese often scheduled meetings there. Last year, however, Cardinal Law, in one of his final acts, imposed the ban without any public fanfare. But now it’s gone.

“Archbishop Sean (P. O’Malley) said it was time to move forward and lifted the ban,” the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, a spokesman for the archdiocese, said yesterday.

How is this moving forward? Fr. Cuenin has not recanted his heretical positions, the sacraments are not being celebrated correctly. Nothing has changed at the parish or with Fr. Cuenin to warrant a change in the policy.

This is typical of modern-day bishops. Rather than take action and remain firm against those who undermine Truth they capitulate assoon as they think no one’s watching because they agonize over the appearance of strife in the Church. It’s like a dysfunctional family. As long as everything looks like everyone’s happy and on the same page, it doesn’t matter whether everyone really is.

It’s not like either Cardinal Law or Archbishop O’Malley even took the strongest action possible. Neither one attempted to remove Cuenin from his parish. It makes you wonder what he might know that would make them think it’s better to appease him than to anger him.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
10 comments
  • The reason is probably because they don’t clean out the dusty corners of the chancery of the previous occupants. Maybe they should take a hint from government administrations which clean out the political appointees when they take office. Can you imagine, for example, Bush having kept Madeline Albright on the payroll?

  • If he’s so smart then why does Cuenin remain in place? If the ban was lifted because some change had been effected that would have been one thing, but there’s no hint of public repentance by Cuenin.

    I’ll agree that the meeting ban was a pretty lame punishment to begin with, but is pretending that everything is hunky-dory there better? Because that’s the impression you get when the archdiocese lifts the ban with no evident change on Cuenin’s part.

  • The only thing that surprises me is that Our Lady Help of Christians is recognized as a “Catholic” parish. Not too long ago, parishioners, under Father “Call-Me-Walter” Cuenin, announced a meeting to decide whether they would actually stay with the Roman Catholic Church or not.

    Oh sure, Colleen…they have a “bread baking ministry” (gotta love those “ministries”) and advertise bread made for those with celeac disorder as well.

    The abuses go on. Last Lent, the “Ministers of the Eucharist” received the sacrament and please note the small “s” last on accounta that’s what good hosts do.

    But, as Dom points out, the building is convenient and large.

    By the way, you’ll all be happy to know that the renovations to the once-humble Cathedral of the Holy Cross Rectory are going splendidly. I chanced to speak with some plasterers, floor sanders, and other renovating professionals just today. Ka-ching!

  • That’s all well and good Carlo, except in this case, this isn’t just one bad pastor. He has his hands in both the formation and continuation of both the Boston Priests Forum and Voice of the Faithful and is one of the major voices telling the state Legislature that Catholic teaching says they must legalize gay marriage.

    Archbishop O’Malley can do all those things you suggest and still remove one pastor. Why wait a year when you can send the message now that dissent and undermining of the bishop’s authority won’t be tolerated?

  • Those things may happen, but it might also hearten the rest of the Catholics in Boston to know that we have a new archbishop who’s going to defend the faith vigorously. More subtle ways? Yeah. More effective? I don’t think so.

  • What a bunch of whiners. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who do and those who can’t do, so they whine about those who can.

    You all need to get a hobby, like perhaps reading the Gospels and seeing what Jesus teaches.

  • Or trolling through two-year-old blog posts and posting comments that no one but the blog owner will read.

    It’s reading the Gospels and what Jesus teaches that shows me that Fr. Cuenin is preaching and acting contrary to them.

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