Sometimes you have to wonder

Sometimes you have to wonder

Sometimes you have to wonder who’s running things in the Boston archdiocese. Why do I say this, you ask. Consider the following: The Archdiocese closed St. Mary’s parish in Salem more than a year ago, and this year sold it to a local Congregational church that runs the city’s largest homeless shelter. So far so good. But now we learn that that church allowed the former St. Mary’s to be used by a schismatic Catholic group for the illicit ordination of a priest, a direct slap in the face of the Catholic Church.

Meanwhile, former St. Mary’s parishioners who’ve been protesting in front of the church for the past year in defiance of reality went to the just-closed St. Joseph’s parish and took some of the statuary and other goods to use at the former St. Mary’s for the schismatic Mass taking place there.

Now we move to another parish elsewhere in the archdiocese. I don’t have independent verification of this so the details will remain anonymous. This is NOT about a parish in Salem. The pastor of a parish in one of the major neighborhoods of Boston died some time ago and the curate has been administrator. Well, a few weeks ago the administrator was named as pastor. Just one week later, he sent a letter to all his parishioners saying that he was resigning because he’d had an illicit relationship with a CCD teacher who was now pregnant. I can’t imagine that he only found out about the pregnancy after he was appointed as pastor, but maybe he had a crisis of conscience after his appointment. In any case, no one at the archdiocese was the wiser before the pastor’s admission. Oh yeah, and there are big questions about the now-closed parish school’s finances.

These are just two stories of many I’m hearing about the archdiocese. I’m just getting the sense that there isn’t a firm hand on the tiller at the top. I hope I’m wrong.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
  • Perhaps the pope sees himself as trying to apply the brakes to a situation that he knows very well almost certainly calls for force.  Poverty is not the cause of terrorism, hatred preached by some of the comfortable and educated in Islamic societies does.  If it were just the poor who were attacking those kids in Russia or our solders in Iraq, then they would be attacked with sticks and stones not bombs and rockets. 

    JPII, I think, is trying to moderate the situation that has horrified the world – I think he fears that start of an all-out war.

  • This is supposed to be a response to Beslan?

    “Peace is always possible!”

    Yes, it’s possible after all the terrorists have been killed.  Really, is there anything one can say to people who actively seek their own deaths while causing the deaths of countless others?  Can one “dialogue” with those who shoot children in the back after dehydrating and starving them?

    Dialogue is possible only between civilized people.  For other people, physical force is the only thing that will deter them.  You can’t reason with a rabid dog, after all.

  • John Paul II reminded the conference participants that in 1993, at another meeting in Milan, world religious leaders had united in a call for peace, insisting that violence should never be motivated by religious faith.

    Since that time, the Pope observed, “unfortunately, new conflicts have arisen.” But he insisted: “Peace is always possible!”

    The spread of terrorism across the world “calls for firmness and decision, in fighting the workers of death,” the Pope said. But he quickly added that the decisive action against terrorism should not take the form of a military campaign. “Violence begets violence,” he said.

    So if our kids are being held captive by bomb-wielding murderous thugs, we should respond with platitudes?

    “Peace is always possible!” Oh, joy.

    I was already feeling sickened from seeing the captures from that video taken inside the school. This morally vacuous pronouncement from the pontiff—if he did indeed say what is attributed to him—doesn’t help.


  • We seem to have the Bill Buckner of Popes—-Hall of Fame career, catastrophic ending.

    And I wish I had a penny for ever post over the last few years that began along the lines of, ” Perhaps what the Pope means is…” or ” My theory of what he must mean is” ….or ” I wonder if what he is trying to get at is…” or, ” My speculation about his intent goes like this…” or, ” I bet he is attempting to…“or, ” I think the odds are that he is motivated by…”

    The variants go on and on, but they all add up to everyone guessing, and it is sho nuff tiresome, and, even that ain’t the worst of it all. The worst of it all is too disturbing to type out.

  • I appreciate CWN’s “Glossary Terms” which often appear at the end of an article. Here’s a good example.

    The Holy Father’s words were spoken at an event sponsored by the St. Egidio community.

    Nobody can tell who wrote this article, just like nobody can tell who generates UPI and AP reportss, for example. It could have—and this is just a guess here, what do I know from journalism?—a press statement from the St. Egidio community.

    This is not at all a criticism of said community, understand. But it may explain the slant given to the Holy Father’s words.

    In any case, as others have noted, John Paul II was not speaking ex cathedra. He was, I believe, expressing his profound—and correct—desire. It’s my desire, too, even though I support America’s efforts in this war. What’s to like about war? It sucks.

    Dom. I don’t think the Pope was literally asking for a global legislation “against war.”

  • Kelly Clark is right – the “headline” does not seem to agree with the Holy Father’s actual words.

  • Congradulations to JP2, he like Jimmy Carter, a former Nobel Peace Prize winner, as himself,  has managed to render his opinions irrelevant in the eyes of many Catholics who know their Faith.  Jimmy never met a dictator that he didn’t like.  Is JP2 now saying that no country has a right to use the military to defend itself.

    His opinion in this matter is about as binding on Catholics as his National League pennant pick.

    Dom, in 1571, we had a Holy Father that didn’t follow the advice of JP2 today.  That is why we all are not Muslims.

  • The problem with the Archdiocese of Boston was their seminary.  St. John’s for years neglected their responsibility to offer a solid formation, especially in the area of human formation.  I know because I graduated from their college seminary in the late 90’s, now closed.  However, I believe there has been some great improvements at their House of Theology.  The morale has improved despite the scandal and Archbishop Sean knows that the seminary is the heart of every great archdiocese.  He has both eyes on the seminary.  If there isn’t great improvements, he will close the seminary.  The road to renewal is long and difficult.  To be fair, St. John’s was undergoing change shortly before I got there.  The priests were good men and the rector at the time did his best to provide for us the best formation he possibly could.  There were a few faculty members and seminarians who were problematic but have since gone elsewhere.

    I’m not sure what to think of the strange events in Salem.  I’m not a big fan of giving our closed churches to ecclesial communities.  Also, the newly named pastor, whom I probably knew or had met, had a choice.  Sadly, he chose the thing.  The spiritual directors in both my college seminary and at Mount Saint Mary’s in Emmitsburg, both warned us that we will “fall in love” with another women at least once every 10 years.  That is why frequent confession, spiritual direction, daily prayer, fidelity to one’s vocation, and a daily examination of conscience are all very important and all inclusive in the life of a priest.

  • Dom,

    I am a parishoner at this parish as well as a good aquiantance with this priest.  I want to set a few things straight. 

    First of all, there was no letter from this priest to the parishoners stating that he had gotten a CCD teacher pregnant.  The parishoners were given no reason for his resignation other than, (and I quote him personally), “I have issues that cannot be resolved within the parish”. 

    Second, my wife, I and my children have been in this parish for only 1 year.  We went to this parish specifically because of the orthodoxy of this priest and his associate priest.  They are both under 40 and spoke the truth week in and week out.  However, we found the parishoners to be less than receptive to him.  Week after week, we witnessed long time parishoners attack this priest after mass.  We saw him slandered, accused of being a liar, yelled at and treated like a jerk by countless people in our parish.  Many parishoners have been out to get him for years. 

    My feeling is that your information, even if it is true, is being broadcast by these same parishoners for the purposes of screwing him and driving him further into the dust. 

    The fact is, nobody but this priest and the archbishop know why he left.  I beg you not to further any hearsay without solid factual evidence. 


  • Michael,

    This isn’t simply hearsay. I didn’t just hear from “some parishioners out to get him” but from a disinterested third-party who would have reason to know why he left.

    And since I never mentioned the name of the man or the parish or even where it is, I don’t think other people are going to deduce what parish I’m speaking of. In fact, I’m not sure if you and I are speaking of the same parish.

  • To follow up on Fr. Ethan’s comments.

    The seminarians from Boston are currently sent to St. Charles Borromeo in Philly for their undergrad years. They have an 11pm lights-out curfew, must stay on campus except for high holy day vacations, daily mass and office, and wear cassocks (sp?) etc. 

    The downside is frequent razzing regarding their Boston accents by the Philly and Jersey guys. smile

  • It is ia different type of war, but I think that undermines the Holy Father’s point. If it was just about “things” then you could negotiate and dialogue an end to it.

    But when it’s just about hate, there’s one practical solution: Defeat them. Capture them and put them in jail or kill them.

    As for preventing more terrorists, that’s where diplomacy and root causes comes in. I’m not saying we shouldn’t have dialogue or care about why they became terrorists. But once they have become hate-filled evil men bent on the wanton murder of anyone and everyone, the political leaders of free states don’t have the luxury of dialogue with them. The president has an obligation to defend our country.

    When a policeman is confronted by a suspected criminal, he tries to get the man to surrender through the implied use of force (that’s why they carry handguns after all). But if the suspect turns out to be a homicidal maniac willing to die as he tries to kill others, that cop will likely have to use force. It’s not his first choice, but it is a decision forced upon him by the perp. We’re in the same situation.

  • Dom:

    Don’t expect miracles from O’Malley for at least the first year. He’s got twenty or thirty years of baggage to uncover, and closets of skeletons to go through. I’m surprised he’s doing as well as he does.

    Oh, and if going to Rome to talk them into allowing women to have their feet washed on Holy Thursday is the worst mistake he makes, he’ll still be doing alright. (I’ll be dealing with that subject on my own weblog one of these days, for all those of you who don’t know enough about liturgical law to know what’s really involved.)

  • The root cause is Original Sin. That is why people—rich, poor, or in between—delight in tormenting and cruelly dominating their fellows. Its effects on humanity are not subject to abolition, not this side of the Second Coming anyway. Geez, even ameliorating them often just brings them back in a different form, sometime a worse one than we started out trying to improve.

    What is permanent is that our intellects are dimmed, our wills weakened, and we have this inclination towards self-exhaltation.

    The above is why we needed a Rescuer, not a General Assembly. This side of the New Jerusalem, actual sin won’t be abolished. What kind of a nut hopes that alterations of the poltical and economic systems we live under can elminate man’s age-old woes?

    Aquinas tells us that peace is the fruit of virtue, not a virtue. Humanity is not virtuous enough to sustain peace for long. God offers us grace, not magic.  On a good day, God’s grace can strengthen us enough to carry our cross a bit further, not to turn earth into Heaven. 

    Beat a sword into a plowshare and some SOB will beat someone to death with the new plowshare.  You can turn a spear into a pruning hook, but a pruning hook will kill someone just as dead as a spear.

    How the Hell the leaders of the Catholic Church, which preserved and nurtured such measure of spiritual health as we are capable of, could have forgotten all this is baffling. They were drumming the truth into the Faithfuls’ heads as recently as 1960. 

    They haven’t helped people by babbling on about “A new spring for humanity” or a “new age of the Holy Spirit.” They’ve made things worse. They’ve turned loose a zillion nuts who think their every utterance has the same status as the prophets. By trivializing the mess humanity is in they’ve made things even more dangerous than they were when we went around “mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.” They’ve created people who expect progress, as though man’s soul could be tinkered with, or just placed in a different light, and then it would flourish.

    Aquinas talks of war in the context of justice, not as a “failure.” He speaks of the soldier’s charity, which seems invisible to this Pope and the zany characters who surround him.

    I don’t know what will wake them up, but I am sure it is not reading their own press clippings. If you went by their fawning toadies, you’d think they were the only ones who’d ever suffered, or observed suffering, or thought about suffering.

  • Well said, as usual, George.

    Meantime, re the action of love: To love your neighbor is to treat him as you would wish to be treated, no?

    Well, if I string myself with explosives and hold my neighbor’s children hostage, I’d expect my neighbor to shoot me between the eyes, if he could.

    A terrorist who targets innocents and is killed for his pains can’t say he hasn’t been treated with due respect.

  • While the “voice of the faithful” rages for priestesses and pansexuality, and a “faithful voice” screams bloody murder, the true, prophetic voice of the Church in Boston is weeping.  All is not well, and all will not be well, until we remember that we are sheep and we have a good shepherd now who will lay down his life in front of any wolves that may approach us.  Our job is to eat when we’re put to pasture, grow wool and raise our lambs, be shorn from time to time, and pray to God for our shepherd.

    This Archbishop is a holy man and a competent man, and he is in charge of perhaps the worst diocese in the world, a diocese in civil war.  All the faithful should accept his leadership, because perhaps the only thing all members of the Mystical Body can agree upon is that Jesus Christ Is Lord, and He is the only person this Archbishop represents.

    Ie conditions that create violent men are fine, but that changes the future. We must still take firm action to stop the men who perpetrate evil today. If we had followed the Holy Father’s advice back in 1571 when the Turks were invading Europe, we would all be Muslims today. It also seems to contradict the Holy Father’s own position back in 2001 when he supported US military action in Afghanistan.


    2004-09-08 14:48:31
    2004-09-08 18:48:31

    2004-09-08 16:16:04
    2004-09-08 20:16:04
    There has to be some just way of combating terrorism. The Church has never taught, and can never teach, that the response to the murder of innocents is to sit on our hands.

    Yes, war is a defeat. But terrorism *is* war. To suggest that the victims must not respond is to deny the full value of their humanity.

    I understand what the Holy Father is trying to say, but that will be twisted by pacifists to suit their ideological needs.

  • I thought that Catholics had a serious obligation to follow the Pope whenever he speaks on faith or morals.  Wasn’t this the teaching before Vatican II? Has this teaching changed since Vatican II, so that Catholics are free to disregard what the Pope says when he speaks on a moral issue involving violence or hatred?

  • We have scriptural guarantees that at least one Catholic will remain on earth at any time.  We are never, and have never, been assured that Christian culture will endure if we are not willing to work for it.

    We are not protected against the domination of Muslims by scripture.  Nowhere does it say that.  If we understand that to be inimical to Catholic family life—and it’s an understatement that it would not be—then we have to get off our fat butts and fight for it.

    Perhaps the pope doesn’t understand this.  However, I too, am sick of interpreting what the Pope says in the best light.  What the motives are, I don’t understand. 

    It is fine to live in peace with Muslims IF they permit that. However, we do have an obligation to protect people and live out our faith, come hell or high water.  Previous popes seem to have been grounded in reality enough to realize that.  I’m not sure what the deal is with this one.

  • Let’s be clear here folks.  There is a big distinction between Muslims and terrorists.  To blur that distinction is akin to saying that the Army of God ( a much lesser funded terrorist group) is representative of all Christians.  To lose sight of this means (to borrow a phrase) the terrorists win. 

    Nowhere does the Holy Father say anything against defending oneself or one’s country.  Again there’s a huge difference between warring and defending a nation. 

    And by the way folks, let’s give a little more credence to what the Holy Father is speaking to on this subject. THE GUY WAS SHOT FOR CRIMINEY’S SAKE!!  He’s got more personal experience with violence than probably a lot of folks around these parts.  And he forgave the guy!!

    I am 100% certain that the Holy Father understands A LOT more than folks want to give him credit for.  These aren’t the mutterings of an old man in the last days of his life.  Its the flippin Vicar and he’s been pretty hands on since he started this adventure.

  • The Holy Father is hopelessly pacifist. I found it obscene that he was babbling on about “outlaw[ing] war” before all the bodies of the Beslan children killed by the Islamists were even in the ground. There will always be Mottramists who believe that if the Pope says it, it must be true, no matter how foolish, unfaithful to tradition, or skull-crackingly imprudent it is. But it’s just infuriating that he says these things. The hootenannies with witch doctors and mullahs at Assisi, the Koran-kissing, and all of it signals one long, slow capitulation. I’m emotional about this, because three years ago tomorrow, I stood on the Brooklyn Bridge and watched thousands of people die in a matter of seconds as the north tower came down, thanks to the Islamists. As with the sex abuse scandal, I believe the Pope lives in a dream world.

  • The difference between the Army of God and Christianity is far different than the difference between Islam and Wahhabist terrorists. I’m not claiming that all Muslims are terrorists or that we should be indiscriminate in going after them. And I don’t think the Holy Father was even talking about all Muslims. He was talking about the terrorists and the radicals who support them.

    But whereas the Army of God is violating the very fundamental principles of Christianity, Wahhabists are not necessarily violating the tenets of Islam. Let’s not forget that Islam is a heresy and a false religion that has violence at its basis. It doesn’t mean that all Muslims are violent, but that the religion itself is based on lies and thus susceptible to being twisted to support evil acts.

    And in this case there isn’t a whole lot of difference between warring and defending a nation. Today’s terrorists are not much different than the pirates of old, just in their motivations. The former are motivated by religious convictions, the latter by profit. But both were independent groups that often had state sponsorship. Was the US wrong for attacking the Barbary states to stop piracy? If not, then why is terrorism different? Because religion is the motivation? That would be a scary thought.

    Finally, I don’t understand what the Pope being shot has to do with this. He was shot by a homicidal maniac probably sponsored by the Soviet Union. He’s a hero and a martyr, but what does that have to do with whether it’s right to pursue terrorists with a military response?

    Treating terrorists like criminals doesn’t work. Treating them like legitimate parties at a negotiating table doesn’t either. What’s left?

  • I smell a rat – the article appeared to contain a flat-out lie.  I could find no mention of the Pope saying “decisive action against terrorism should not take the form of a military campaign.” 

    In fact, the Pope conceded that very necessity by saying “The fight against the death-makers doubtless requires firmness and resoluteness.”  This was in a paragraph referring to the U.S., and we know he doesn’t mean fight in the sense of light, verbal sparring in that context. 

    The Pope also labeled terrorists as “death-makers” – hardly a term of endearment.

  • Thank you, Dom.  Every time I hear of a terrorist act, it recalls the history of the passage to India for spices.  That far back there were marauders who were, guess who?  This is not a new phenomenon.

    The terrorist attacks are about a jealous culture trying to overtake a more successful one.  The religious talk is only cultural talk in disguise.  Islam is the cultural replacement for Christianity, too in a culture always at war with the Jews and Christians.  Read the history of Muhammed’s life and about his army—yes, he had one of his own.  It is essential to Islam.

    It’s all about cultural jealousy and piracy committed by a culture ultimately doomed to fail by its fundamental inferiority.

    Terrorism is a tool they have latched onto, that works in the modern era because of peoples’ dumb attitudes about globalism, equality, etc.  They cannot manage a regular offense, but terrorism has worked for them.  We need to confront them with overwhelming force which they cannot mitigate.  This includes not only conventional warfare, but it also includes surveillance and watchfulness which they will not be able to handle.  And a certain amount of political action and political defense.  Preventing the building of mosques by property regulations, etc.

    They will try the fifth column approach too, since it has worked for them before and is a weak offense in normal times, but a strong one now.  We need to be vigilant about immigration of groups.  We cannot take them on faster than they will truly assimilate into American culture.  If we become a mixture of foreign cultures, we will have constant violence in places like Omaha, Chicago, etc. 

  • No he doesn’t directly say that. But he does say: “Peace never requires violence, it always calls for dialogue. Especially those who come from Countries whose soil is stained with blood know well that violence constantly generates violence. War throws open the doors to the abyss of evil.”

    That seems a pretty clear statement against any military action.

    By the way, who do we dialogue with? There is no Muslim “Vatican” who has control over these people. Dialogue is all fine and good, but if we’re talking to some “moderate” Muslims in Cairo, how does that change al Quaeda?

  • BTW, terrorism has a long history in the Middle East.  It’s been a modern problem through most of the 20th century there.  It’s just new to US, that’s all.  We were busy making them rich with our oil drilling til just lately and it was in their interest to play nice.  Now they think they have some control over that, American educations bought at American govt money, etc.

    You will sometimes hear Islamic commentators claim that we are weak, and these chinks in our cultural armor are what they are speaking of—the modern ideas, globalism, etc.

    You will sometimes hear them say that they attack us through our own structures—internet, tv cameras, airplanes, openness, education, etc.  and yes, we must find ways to counter these sorts of attacks.  It may mean we get more thoughtful and decisive about public policies and security, yes.  Not popular to the western mind.

    We need to think about our immigration stuff too.  Also not a nice thought for many Americans.  But necessary.  It’s how they took over Spain in the 8th century—infiltration by immigration.  Spain was a Muslim territory for 700 years afterward til the Spanish managed to fight them off again.  Only then could the exploration that brought about the colonization of the New World begin.

  • BTW, in an age where people were less modern (with all the baggage that entails), famous battles were fought in Greece and Austria to fend off the Ottoman Empire—enemies of the CAtholic faith.  The efforts to fend off the Moslem forces were completely and totally backed by the Vatican through the reigns of many popes.  Efforts were paid for and recruited through the Church. 

    In fact, the massing of forces before the Siege of Vienna occurred on September 11, 1683.  The battle was a turning point in the repulsion of Islam from Europe, and it has been remembered by Moslems as a moment to revisit when possible.  We saw it 3 years ago in fact. 

    Make no mistake—this is the agenda. 

  • MC, just a reminder that you should try to get all your thoughts into one comment and not post several comments in a row. Thanks.

    I also want to distance myself from some of your suggestions. I don’t necessarily endorse the idea of a war of cultures. I don’t think Muslims see it that way. I think a minority of extreme radicals are the major problem and that if we could eliminate themem fat and watch the apathy grow!! 

  • Perhaps this Pope knows of whom he speaks or to whom he speaks. We are capable of destroying a single enemy post in the midst of a neighborhood with little collateral damage.  The Russians have no concern for such niceties. they will eliminate the entire area and not think twice about it. Enemy destroyed, Da? this Pope understands why there was no terrorism in red Poland – because the Russian army understood brutality.  John Paul’s comments came when we all expected a turn by the Russian Government toward a two eyes for an eye policy. Why didn’t he speak in Latin so Dom could rattle off a perfect translation.

  • Mottramist… wow, its hard to get insulted by such an obscure reference.  Its like blogging with Dennis Miller. 

    Why do I agree with the Holy Father?  He won me over.  Love the guy!! Am I biased towards following his lead?  You betcha!! Is it blind loyalty?  Not particularly.  I still can think for myself.  Speaking of thinking, that’s one of the most wonderful things about the Church.  We have a long standing tradition of thinking through things and not just acting upon them.  For a lot of folks, that just takes too long.  (i.e. the recent scandal)  With terrorists, its our gut reaction to strike back and stomp’em down.  The Holy Father’s message of peace inflames folks almost as much as the terrorists. 

    But these are people who have nothing to lose but their own lives.  And they’re convinced that there’s a major payoff if they give that up.  This is an unholy bastardization of early Christianity.  If we’re faced with the prospect that killing one terrorist will create ten more, then how do you defend yourself against them? 

    The Holy Father is right.  Countering hate with love is not coming from a position of weakness, its coming from a position of unlimited power. You here the phrase “tough love” as it pertains to holding others accountable.  Tough love is also showing love to those whom our natural inclination is to despise.  The Holy Father is a living example of that. 

    (stepping of the soap box)  Here’s a question.

    if the Pope says it, it must be true, no matter how foolish, unfaithful to tradition, or skull-crackingly imprudent it is.

    How in the world are the Holy Father’s comments unfaithful to tradition Rod?


  • FLASH!  Kissing the Koran (no matter how tired of hearing about it you are) is not in the least faithful to tradition.  I don’t care how you explain it.  We have saints that have been canonized for refusing to do less honor to the very same Koran.