Archbishop O’Malley revealed last year that the Archdiocese
of Boston had an unfunded pension liability for retired clergy
of $55 million.
Then on May 12, 2005 articles in both the Boston Globe
and the New York Times disclosed that donations made by
parishioners at the Christmas and Easter collections for
the pension benefits of retired clergy had not been used
exclusively for that purpose since 1986. There is credible
evidence that the Archdiocese has diverted donations - you
may have made - for purposes other than those you designated.
Had they been used for the exclusive purpose of clergy retirement
benefits, then we would not be facing the dire situation
that we are in today. Similar concerns exist for the lay
Numerous questions surrounded the original disclosure last
year. How did this happen and who was responsible? When
did this all start? Why were we being informed of this at
the time parishes were closing and not before? Why didn’t
the Archdiocese ask for help?
More troubling questions surround the recent disclosures.
What were these collections used for if not their intended
purpose? Where did this this money go? Additionally, the
un-funded pension liability had increased to$70 million
in less than one year - how could this accounting discrepancy
have occurred? Why hasn’t the Archdiocese publicly
provided a complete and independent financial accounting
of the clergy pension funds, knowing that these grave concerns
exist? Why isn’t the Archdiocese asking for help?
The Archdiocese has provided incomplete and ambiguous
information. The drawn-out time frame of the disclosures
- over one year - can be construed as an attempt to obscure
the significance of them.
These disclosures - and lack of financial transparency
- have only further eroded an already broken trust in the
Archdiocese and its ability to address the both the financial
and pastoral problems we face. This continues to demoralize
Catholics, clergy and laity alike.
The time has come for answers - answers that the Archdiocese
is not providing. Therefore, as concerned Catholics who
care deeply about the future of the Catholic Church and
who seek to take responsibility for it, we are asking the
Attorney General to investigate these disclosures. Accountability
will only come through truth and this is necessary so that
trust can be restored, healing can begin, and the Church
can grow again.
defends use of pension trust funds, Boston
Globe, June 9, 2005
lifeline for the church, Boston Globe, May 27, 2005
parishes rebuild, protest year after closing announcement, Catholic
Online, May 26, 2005
argue churches owned by parishoners, Boston Globe,
May 24, 2005
seek probe of priests' pension fund, Boston
Globe, May 22, 2005 (PDF)
dealings$: Catholic group charges pension-fund abuses, Boston
Herald, May 22, 2005 (PDF)
in Boston plan suit, New York Times,
May 21, 2005 (PDF)
changes eyed for priests, Boston Globe, May
- Boston Catholic Archdiocese may cut pension
funds, New York Times, May
widens to parish closings, Boston Globe,
May 8, 2005
- Five parishes to keep vigils, April 11,
torn by parish closings, Washington Post, November
- When Churches Close, Boston Globe, December