Friday, June 10, 2005

O'Malley on the Ropes

Just when we thought things were getting better in Boston, we have this from the Globe....
A group of 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children, holding blue-and-yellow balloons to match their parochial school colors, yesterday marked the end of their year and the closing of their school with a graduation ceremony in the middle of a traffic circle, as police and private security guards made sure the children and their parents did not try to enter the locked building.

How far the once-proud flagship of American Catholicism has fallen, changing school locks in the middle of the night and circling the building with guards.

The image of the archdiocese has taken yet another self-inflicted beating -- in the same week six more predator priests were laicized. The parents are beyond livid, and the story has dominated print press and talk radio in Beantown for the last two days. Lots of anger there, and sympathy for the kids, who graduated this morning in a public ceremony at Faneuil Hall at the invitation of the city of Boston.

From on-the-ground, this seems a turning point, one that could possibly doom Sean O'Malley and torpedo the goodwill for whatever else he seeks to do.

Richie Lennon (who, I'm told, made the call here) isn't immune, either.

Check this snippet from columnist Brian McGrory:

I want to like O'Malley, I really do. I want to like him because he seems like a thoughtful, serious-minded man who inherited a miserable situation. His initial actions were laudable. He reached settlements with the victims of pedophilic priests. He sold tens of millions of dollars in archdiocesan property, including his own mansion. He moved into relatively austere quarters in the South End.

But time and again, he pulls another lunkhead move like this. First the church hierarchy looked the other way as priests abuse children, and now they lock a group of 3-to-12-year-olds out of their school during the last week of class. Seriously, what's next?

All across town yesterday, civic leaders seethed. ''The church is built on compassion and caring," Mayor Thomas M. Menino barked into the telephone. ''Where is the compassion? Where is the caring?"

Other community leaders with close ties to the church privately expressed sharp irritation with O'Malley, who they said was overly reliant on a group of longtime archdiocesan aides who couldn't be trusted to make thoughtful decisions.

In other words, the flock is losing faith in O'Malley -- fast.

Could an encore performance of 2002 be coming? Voice of the Faithful might just have an opportunity to redeem itself.... The chancery has no one to blame but themselves -- again.

Buckle your seatbelts.



Blogger patrick said...

I am not in the Boston scene. However, McGrory's equation of the Mayor and Irish Boston elites with "the faithful" is just too much.

The Archdiocese is in a damned-if-they-do, damned if they don't position. The Archdiocese was faced with the prospect of agitators squatting on Archdiocesan property. If the Archdiocese evicted the squatters, the press would have screamed "big, bad Catholic Church." Instead the Archdiocese decided to pre-empt the agitators by closing early. I, personally, would not have done it that way. If I were bishop, I would bring sheriff's deputies or marshalls to arrest the agitators and take my lumps in the press, but that is not the O'Malley way of doing business. The fact of the matter is that the Archdiocese had no good alternatives.

Patrick Rothwell

10/6/05 17:46  
Blogger Gyrovagus said...

I live in the Boston Archdiocese.

Patrick is quite right about SOME of the civic leaders not being "the faithful" - most are blowhard, "pro-choice/Catholics" - but Mayor Menino, (dubbed "Mumbles Menino" for his butchering of the language) actually is a practicing Catholic and quite a devout one, says his former pastor.

But however bad the politicians look, the Chancery Think-Tank - headed by Auxiliary Bishop Richard ("but everyone calls me Dick") Lennon - must have a Stupid Chancery Tricks Committee that has been meeting uninterruptedly since the days of Cardinal Law and whose only agenda is to ask: "Now, what can we do today to give the media some more nails to crucify us and to make sure we alienate our practicing-donating base at the same time?"

Amazingly, they've hardly missed a day!

So where is O'Malley in all this?

One of my elderly Irish relatives, looking at O'Malley's framed photograph (of his installation day) at the entrance of the nursing home said, "Poor dear man! He looks like a big, depressed Santa Claus!"

By the way, the SIGH you hear every few months from another corner of New England is yet one more diocese reacting to the news that it DIDN'T get Lennon as its new bishop, as the various Ordinaries have died, retired, or fled for their lives.

But again, with all due respect to Patrick's accuracy, the LAST thing the Stupid Chancery Tricks Commmittee should have provided to the media was a crowd of crying children, angry parents, and teachers trying to get past security to rescue their classroom goldfish.

With Lennon & Friends Limited (VERY limited) at work, Hollywood didn't need to hire Ted Danson and dye away his grey. The Boston Chancery singlehandedly managed to make even Mitchell Garabedian, surely the smarmiest creep ever admitted to the bar, look likeable.

11/6/05 00:38  

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