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Our pastor and those in neighboring towns refused to join the coup.


….to be continued

1592 refuse to join coup

The first thing officials in Rome likely noticed was that there are some 1,650 religious and diocesan priests in the Archdiocese of Boston; thus the signatories represented about 3.5% of the Boston presbyterate. Not exactly a landslide, that.


Letter from priests to Cardinal Law


The following is the text of the letter signed by 58 Boston-area priests and sent to Cardinal Bernard F. Law on December 9, 2002:


Dear Cardinal Law:


It is with a heavy heart that we write to request your resignation as Archbishop of Boston. We have valued the good work you have done here in Boston, including, but not limited to: your advocacy for the homeless, your outreach to the Jewish community, your opposition to capital punishment, and your leadership in welcoming immigrant peoples. However, the events of recent months and, in particular, of these last few days, make it clear to us that your position as our bishop is so compromised that it is no longer possible for you to exercise the spiritual leadership required for the church of Boston.


As leaders of many parishes that make up this Archdiocese, we hear from the people their call for a change in leadership. The revelations that have come to light a few days ago challenge the credibility of your public statements. The people of this Archdiocese are angry, hurt, and in need of authentic spiritual leadership. We believe that despite your good work in the past you are no longer able to provide that leadership.


While this is obviously a difficult request, we believe in our hearts that this is a necessary step that must be taken if healing is to come to the Archdiocese. The priests and people of Boston have lost confidence in you as their spiritual leader.





Rev. Richard C. Beaulieu, St. Mary, Winchester

Rev. James Bertelli, St. Eulalia, Winchester

Rev. Paul W. Berube, St. Mary, Chelmsford

Rev. Louis Bourgeois, St. Paul, Hamilton

Rev. Emile R. Boutin Jr., Immaculate Conception, Stoughton

Rev. Robert J. Bowers, St. Catherine of Siena, Charlestown

Rev. James M. Broderick, Sacred Hearts, Haverhill

Rev. Thomas J. Buckley, Holy Family, Amesbury

Rev. Timothy A. Butler, chaplain, U.S. Air Force

Rev. Robert W. Bullock #, Our Lady of Sorrows, Sharon  LINK

Rev. Charles E. Collins, St. John the Evangelist, Cambridge

Rev. Francis M. Conroy, St. Ann, Wayland

Rev. Ronald D. Coyne, St. Albert the Great, Weymouth

Rev. Richard J. Craig  #, St. John the Evangelist, North Chelmsford

Rev. Walter H. Cuenin  #  ** , Our Lady Help of Christians, Newton LINK

Rev. Francis Daley, St. James of Apostle, Arlington

Rev. Phillip B. Earley **, St. Thomas of Villanova, Wilmington

Rev. Alfred J. Ellis, O.S.A., St. Augustine, Andover

Rev. Harry J. Erdlen, O.S.A., St. Augustine, Andover

Rev. Scott A. Euvrard, St. Joseph, Needham

Rev. John P. Fitzpatrick, Deaf Community Center

Rev. Austin H. Fleming #, Our Lady Help of Christians, Concord

Rev. John W. Gentleman, Holy Family, Amesbury

Rev. Francis M. Glynn, St. Anthony, Lowell

Rev. Ronald A. Gomes, senior priest  LINK

Rev. Richard E. Gribble, C.S.C., Stonehill College

Rev. Msgr. Michael F. Groden, St. Cecilia, Boston

Rev. Roger D. Haight, S.J., Weston Jesuit School of Theology

Rev. Timothy A. Harrison, St. Ann, Gloucester

Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J., Boston College  LINK

Rev. Roger N. Jacques, St. Joseph, Waltham

Rev. Lawrence A. Jerge, C.S.C. Bridgewater State College

Rev. Stephen S. Josoma, St. Susanna, Dedham

Rev. William P. Joy, St. Angela, Mattapan

Rev. Thomas A. Kane, C.S.P., Weston Jesuit School of Theology

Rev. James F. Keenan, S.J., Weston Jesuit School of Theology

Rev. Timothy J. Kelleher, Blessed Sacrament, Walpole

Rev. Paul E. Kilroy #, St. Bernard, Newton

Rev. William M. MacKenzie, senior priest

Rev. THomas A. Mahoney, Sacred Heart, Middleborough

Rev. Francis X. Mawn, St. James, Haverhill

Rev. Sean M. McCarthy, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Acton

Rev. Richard R. Messina, St. Mary, Winchester

Rev. Richard S. Moran, St. Bernard, Newton

Rev. Robert E. Nee, chaplain, Children's Hospital

Rev. Scott C. Ness, O.S.A., St. Ambrose Friary, Andover

Rev. Francis E. O'Brien, St. George, Framingham

Rev. Francis P. O'Brien, St. Matthias, Marlborough

Rev. David M. O'Leary, chaplain, Tufts University

Rev. Leonard F. O'Malley, St. Malachy, Burlington

Rev. Richard J. Piatt, O.S.A., St. Augustine, Andover

Rev. Marc A. Piche, Sacred Hearts, Haverhill

Rev. Daniel J. Sheehan, St. Brigid, South Boston

Rev. Frank J. Silva, St. Ann, Wayland

Rev. Williams F. Waters, O.S.A., St. Mary-Immaculate Conception, Lawrence

Rev. James A. Wenzel, O.S.A, St. Ambrose Friary, Andover

Rev. William G. Williams, St. Mary of the Assumption, Hull

Rev. Walter J. Woods # , St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Acton



**   Participated in Companions Mass 1999  [ info being gathered ]

#   Member Priests’ Forum



Letter from the May 10, 2002 Pilot   Fr. Joseph Hennessey

The speakers that the BPF listen to, never, in my experience, give the hierarchy the benefit of the doubt.



It was from Fr. Joseph Hennessey, then at Blessed Sacrament Church in Saugus and now at St. Joseph's Church in Kingston. It is directed towards the "Priest's Forum" priests.


'Sentire cum ecclesia'


I am disappointed in my brother priests who have formed the so-called Boston Priests Forum. I say "so-called" because they do not represent the majority of Boston priests. To use and old cliche, some of my best friends are members. I think their actions are regrettable, though certainly well intentioned.


Do they have the right to associate? Of course. But in the Church, all rights are conditioned by prior obligations and I would point them to c.233 of the Code of Canon Law, there the common good of the Church is the value by which the exercise of their rights should be measured. And this is where I am sure we disagree: That in the current moment, their actions could be perceived as elitist and divisive. Others might say the division are already there, but such an organization will deepen and harden the divisions.


Should we discuss the issues? Absolutely; but we don't have to form separate cliques to have good, animated discussions. In fact, the formation of such groups will inhibit rather than contribute to the exchange of views.


In these extremely difficult days, the watch-phrase should be "sentire cum ecclesia", think/feel with the Church. Does this mean blind, unthinking obedience? of course not. But it does mean sticking close with our bishops who are near the heart of the Church, next to the center of the Church, which is not a debating society, but the Body of Christ. The speakers that the BPF listen to, never, in my experience, give the hierarchy the benefit of the doubt.


Fr. Joseph Hennessey


One priest laments lack of leadership at the archdiocese

by Peter Gelzinis

Thursday, February 20, 2003




``A strategy? I don't know,'' the priest sighed, ``I suppose one can claim they have a strategy. And the strategy is to delay and delay . . . and then, delay some more.''


He has been a local priest long enough to know something about the individual hubris that plunged his archdiocese into the current sexual abuse crisis.


When he substitutes the pronoun ``they'' for the men who held sway at the chancery - the superiors whose collective wisdom delivered the Archdiocese of Boston into a scandal of near biblical proportion - it is no accident. He was well aware of their egos, long before the rest of us saw them exposed in an endless series of deposition videos.


So, this priest was hardly surprised yesterday to hear the church's lawyers had failed in yet another attempt to insulate the archdiocese against the outrage of several hundred plaintiffs, who keep streaming out of the shadows with personal stories of faith perverted.


``Lawyers are calling the shots now,'' the priest said. ``The place is in chaos, really.''


Those archdiocesan lawyers were unable to convince Superior Court Judge Constance Sweeney to dismiss approximately 400 claims of sexual abuse by priests, on the grounds that the First Amendment granted the church civil immunity from intrusion by the secular courts.


What yesterday's decision made all too clear for one priest is that in the aftermath of Bernard Cardinal Law's exile to a convent in Maryland, the stone mansion on Lake Street is an empty place indeed.


``Rich Lennon is a nice guy,'' he said, ``but he's no leader. There's the sense we're treading water right now . . . and not doing that very well. Nobody really knows what he (Bishop Lennon) is doing.


``It's not nearly enough to have him appear in those careful choreographed photo ops, show him smoking a pipe and like I said, keep suggesting he's a nice guy.


``We're in the middle of a trauma, the likes of which nobody around here has ever experienced. We can't go on conceding things to lawyers like Wilson Rogers, or that other guy . . . Owen Todd. They shouldn't be left to run the show.


``And if they've got something in the way of a plan,'' the priest added, ``all it seems to be is tie things up in court and hope that sooner or later the plaintiffs lawyers will eventually dry up. Not much of a strategy, but there it is.''


In this period of indecision, legal stonewalling and treading water, speculation has intensified on the subject of who will be selected to give direction to this wounded, rudderless diocese.


``You hear a lot of talk about the guy in St. Louis, (Archbishop Justin) Rigali,'' the priest said. ``He's very close to the pope, spent years in the Vatican, and seems to be a likely choice to try and stop the bleeding here.''


Part of that bleeding, in the view of this priest, has to do with the tango of litigation. A true leader would have to transcend the court dance, perhaps by trying to speed it toward some kind of equitable closure.


But that is only the first step. Yesterday's court decision reiterated that ``Church doctrine and cannon law do not conflict with civil law on the subject of sexual abuse, particularly the sexual abuse of children.''


``The whole thing is going to change,'' the priest said bluntly. ``It simply has to. The relationship between bishops, cardinals and the people will change . . . because it must.''


In a year when the church's secret files were finally unearthed, when details of hushed legal settlements were revealed and the nurturing of pedophile priests was exposed, one cleric finds himself wondering about the place and the role of the so-called ``Catholic gentry.''


``I'm not talking about Voice of The Faithful, or people who infuse their parishes with a deep sense of life and love,'' he said. ``I'm talking about the people who fancy themselves as leaders . . . the elite, that circle of heavy hitters who were called to the chancery a year ago for damage control.


``Instead of crawling into the bunker, or trying to brainstorm new variations on damage control and covering your backside,'' the priest said, ``the church could've have used more leadership from them.


``In truth, I think these so-called leaders are actually so far away from the people of the church right now, it's sad in a way. It's as if they're infected by the same virus of power that afflicts all those geniuses at the chancery who keep losing their cases in court.''


It's no way to run a church.





From  10 March 03


I would not be who I am today if it were not for my religious upbringing. And, no I am not a recovering Catholic. I am a practicing Catholic. The very first person I came out to was my parish priest when I was only 16 years old. At the time, I have to admit I was expecting a miracle or a, "say ten-thousand Hail Mary's and you'll be fine." Instead, Father Ronald Gomes of Saint Anthony's Parish in Lowell, Massachusetts found the Boston Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Youth for me to meet other young gays and lesbians. My story is not unique. Unfortunately, it's been my experience that the gay community likes to chastise and blame organized religion for their human experiences. Father Gomes was a man who belonged to an order - a religion. But, first he was a man who practiced a spirituality that allowed him to see past human prejudices and offer the boy that I was guidance and support. No, Father Gomes was not gay, nor did he ever touch me. My heart goes out to those who had a different experience. Yet, I also want to acknowledge that their stories are more likely to end up in print or on the news. Those of us who have our organized religions to be thankful for almost end up harboring a shame or anger because we embrace all that is good about our organized religion.


For me and my community (Azorean, small group of islands off the coast of Morocco) it was all we had. Organized religion meant feasts and a coming together of people that I would never forfeit. We were a poor community of immigrants struggling to learn the language spoken here in the United States and working minimum wage jobs. My organized religion brought my family hope and meaning to our lives. We didn't have money, so we didn't have the luxury to worry about stupid shit like whether gays and lesbians should be allowed in our church. We were there and my community, which revolved around our church, was there to help us in our time of need.


So, yes I believe organized religion is a perfect place to start when reaching communities (not of color because racially some of us are white) that aren't the majority. Don't go in with a list of demands...walk through those doors with an open heart, mind and plenty of room to grow.



Date      Tue, 16 Dec 2003 22:05:26 -0500

From     Alice Slattery


Subject  co-leader of Priests Forum,Fr.Bob Bullock


  I find it odd that none of the viewers of the NECN documentary on Fr.

Paul Shanley on Dec. 3rd and 4th, have asked the reporters who are

investigating the scandal why they haven't asked Fr. Bob Bullock hard

questions about his failure to supervise Fr. Shanley as he acknowledged

he was supposed to do , during the time when Fr. Shanley was the "street

priest" and Fr. Bullock and he shared the same office.


Certainly Fr. Bullock had to know, when he acknowledged that he took many phone calls

for Fr. Shanley from parents and family members who were concerned

about their children's acting out in a homosexual manner and making

connections with other kids to engage in their acts, that Fr. Shanley

was advising the parents and friends to support their child's

homosexuality(which certainly included the behavior which characterizes

the condition).


Certainly Fr. Bob Bullock knows that this acceptance is

in opposition to the Church's teaching that homosexual acts are never

to be approved.


If that didn't send red flag warnings to Fr. Bullock that he had better

supervise Fr. Shanley very closely, then there was a reason for Fr.

Bullock to deliberately refuse to supervise him.


I wonder why no one is asking Fr. Bob Bullock hard questions about his failure to supervise

Fr. Shanley, especially since Elaine Noble, the gay Mass. representative,

said that many people in the gay culture in Boston were

very aware of the fact that Fr. Shanley was bringing his young male

charges into the gay bars and health clubs.


Also, who were the Globe reporters who were covering the Street Priest scene which apparently

was a big item in the newspapers at that time? 


Are there no reporters picking up on this failure to supervise by Fr. Bullock?