Upcoming marriage vote, Catholic appeal success and religious brothers’ jubilees

I would like to begin by addressing a very pressing issue here in Massachusetts: the defense of traditional marriage. Next week a proposed amendment to the state constitution will be taken up by the legislature that would limit all future marriages in the state to the union between one man and one woman. According to our state constitution, the amendment must be approved by the legislature in two consecutive sessions before it can be placed on the statewide ballot. It was approved in the last legislative session but only after many delays and attempts at avoiding a vote altogether.

The amendment faces the critical second vote in the constitutional convention scheduled for June 14 and we are very hopeful that a vote will take place and that the legislators will allow the voters of Massachusetts to express their concerns about marriage and the redefinition of marriage.

This issue should not be seen as one of discrimination, but rather as the protection of an institution which is crucial for the common good. The best way for children to be raised is in a stable and loving marriage between a man and a woman. This image of marriage is the one that we want to present to future generations of children and one that needs to be protected by law. It is an institution that is older than the Church and older than the state. Marriage should not be blithely undermined by an overactive judiciary.

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Last Friday evening, I had dinner at the Harvard Club with Mary Ann Glendon and a Korean couple. Mary Ann, of course, is the president of a pontifical commission and has contacts around the world, but particularly in Korea. She was there with her husband, her daughter – whom she adopted in Korea – as well as her daughter�s husband and son.

The Korean couple was James Chan-Jin Kim and Gloria Young Ae Lee. They are both lawyers who recently have been placed in charge of Korea�s new pro-life movement by Cardinal Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, the Archbishop of Seoul. It was a very interesting evening and we were so pleased to hear of the successes of the Church in Korea.


James Chan-Jin Kim and his wife Gloria Young Ae Lee

In a very dramatic gesture, the cardinal of Seoul last year announced he would a very large amount of money, $10 million, to scientific research involving adult stem-cells. The gesture shows how the Church is indeed promoting scientific investigation but takes into account the ethical demands of respecting human dignity. The Pilot interviewed James and his wife Gloria and you can read the story here.

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On Saturday, we had our annual Mass and breakfast for religious brothers who are celebrating 25 and 50 years of religious life. This year we had a rather large group, and a number of brothers were there at the chapel in Bishop Peterson Hall. These are men who have given so many years of service in a variety of different ministries.


Posing for a group photo


The breakfast following the Mass

Many Catholics are unaware of the important role of our religious brothers. We are very happy to have an event like this that underscores this very beautiful vocation in the life of the Church and to recognize these men who have served the Church so faithfully for so long.


Those celebrating their jubilees are:

Top row: Brother Edward P. Babinski, SJ; Brother H. Francis Cluff , SJ; Brother Thomas Cruise, OMI; Brother Justus Frazier, OFM

Middle row: Brother Charles J. Gilbert, OMI; Brother Thomas McGowan, OFM; Brother Cornelius C. Murphy, SJ; Brother Donald J. Murray, SJ

Bottom row: Brother Edward L. Nizolek, SJ; Brother Paul Santoro, OFM

We thank these brothers for their service to the Church!

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On June 3, we celebrated the closing Mass for St. Philip Neri Parish in Newton. Several former pastors were there, Fathers Alves and McCoy as well as a recently arrived Korean priest, Father Dominic Jung. The St. Philip Neri community will merge with Sacred Heart Parish in Newton. Father John Connolly, the pastor at Sacred Heart and a number of Sacred Heart parishioners were there to be a part of the Mass and to welcome the St. Philip Neri parishioners into the new community. Sacred Heart is the parish that St. Philip Neri parishioners chose after visiting with all of the different communities in Newton. Father Charles Higgins, the pastor of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Parish in Newton, was very helpful to them in the process as well.

It was a beautiful Mass, and afterwards they had a picnic with the families. Everything went well. Of course it is always hard to leave a parish you are attached to, but, at the same time, there was an enthusiasm and a great hopefulness about their new life as merged with Sacred Heart Parish.

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In the evening on Sunday, I ordained two deacons � Brothers Andrew and Benedict � for the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance. Many relatives and members of the Third Order of St. Francis were present for the ordination, which was held at Mission Church or the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston.

The church really is one of the most beautiful churches in Boston, and it is our only basilica. It certainly has a wonderful history and a great devotion to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. There have been many novenas carried out there. The Redemptorist community has done very fine work in serving that parish and in their preaching and healing ministry throughout the archdiocese.

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Last Thursday I participated in the Provincial Chapter of the Capuchins held at Wheeling College in West Virginia.



During the chapter, we sent one of our brothers to mission territory. At a mission sending service,the Mission cross was given to Brother Don Lippert who is leaving to serve in Papua New Guinea.


To the left of Brother Don Lippert is Brother Nicholas
who is a native of Papua



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We are pleased by the Catholic Appeal results in the month of May and thank the 28,000 parishioners and priests who have contributed more than $7 million, which represents 50% of our overall 2007 Catholic Appeal goal of $14 million. We thank the pastors and parishioners that worked hard to prepare the churches to show the Catholic Appeal video and to distribute the informational packets in each parish. I ask every Catholic in the Archdiocese to join me in contributing to the Catholic Appeal this year and encourage everyone to pledge by June 30 so that our parish targets can be reached. For more information on the Catholic Appeal and to watch the Appeal video, please go to www.BostonCatholicAppeal.org.

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That’s all for this week. It has been a while since I answered questions from blog readers. If you have questions you would like to ask me, please do so by posting a comment below. I’ll gladly read them and answer a few in upcoming weeks.

Yours in Christ.

Cardinal Sean.

17 thoughts on “Upcoming marriage vote, Catholic appeal success and religious brothers’ jubilees”

  1. It’s unfortunate that the legislature did not allow the people to vote on the issue of gay marriage. However, during the past several years, I’ve noticed the Church utilizing secular and material venues more often to combat her enemies. It’s a a shame more churches in the archdiocese don’t have Eucharistic Adoration more often. If we are looking for ways to combat immorality in our society, we need to look no further than widespread Eucharistic Adoration. Unlike petitions and ballot initiatives, Eucharistic Adoration doesn’t require as much work–only an open heart and faith to surrender all our concerns to Christ.

  2. Dear Padre Sean,
    May God bless the Capuchin family of St, Augustines Province. Last Saturday we rejoiced at Sacred Heart Parish with the 25th anniversary of Father Steven Carter, who is now 18 years with the Hispanic Community in Washington, he has done a great job together with all the Friars. It was a memorable mass. But we also heard the news about Padre Donato being sent to Papua New Guinea. We know that they are very fortunate to have such a dedicated and devote priest with them, but we WILL MISS HIM

  3. Dear Brother Sean,

    Words can not begin to describe my deep disappointment over the transfer of Archdiocesan property to Boston College.

    I am pleased that the sale alleviated the serious financial problems of the clergy pension fund and lingering legal claims — but couldn’t there have been a better alternative?

    I once worked for Cardinals Cushing and Medeiros and sense they would be terribly upset at what BC has become,
    at its failure to provide a Catholic intelligentsia, at its theology faculty with so many PhDs from non-Catholic colleges, and now as a real danger to the diocesan seminary, and to the future of the archdiocese.

    I was once among your staunchest supporters, but this is all so tragic. I suppose part of it comes with the type of appointments you have been making.
    How do you manage to become so palsy with those hostile to the Church when it was in trouble while ignoring those who have been so lloyal.? It’s a wonder the Archdiocese has any true friends left.

    This is all so sad.

    Frank Mazzaglia

  4. Your Eminence,
    herewith I send you and all the people in the archdiocese greetings from Hamburg in Germany, which you might find a little bit funny. Since I read Robinson’s book “The Cardinal” more than 20 years ago (and I have read it again by now at least 20 times ), I felt highly interested in the Archdiocese of Boston. I studied biographies about many historical persons in this book, for example about Cardinal O’Connell, and since the Archdiocese has an own website, I take part (in spite of being a German protestant who knows exactly nobody in your district) with your daily work, with your daily problems, may they be small or gigantic, I also take part in the daily life of the parishes I know from the book etc. etc.
    And never I felt like wanting to disturb you with a letter, email or anything like this. But now it was a spontaneous decision to write to you, please excuse this disturbance.
    Again, I want to greet you and wish you and all the people under your guidance a wonderful time in and around Boston.
    Christian Dereser (having two completely different professions, being customs captain on the one hand and at he University of Hamburg on the other hand, writing my thesis in egyptology)

  5. My great uncle was a Capuchin missionary in Papua New Guinea…one of the first I believe. Thank you for the beautiful reminder of the missionary Spirit who still calls to extraordinary places. Fr. Berard pray for us!

  6. In regard to the marriage amendment vote this coming thursday, I offer the following prayer which i have composed for this special and most important vote. I would suggest that you post in your blog so that other catholics in the diocese may avail themselves of this prayer. It is offered to St. Thomas Moore, patron of politician and statesmen who, as you know, was beheaded by Henry the VIII for his principle in standing for the sanctity of marriage:
    Oh St. Thomas Moore, Patron Saint of Politiicians and Statesmen, we humbly solicit your intercession of behalf of concerned Catholics of Massachusetts, who may soon face the imminent destruction of the sanctity of marriage by the powers of evil, who working thru the political estate, are attempting to bring a profound and morally evil change to our society. Oh courageous Saint, who stood steadfast in your loyalty to God and the Church and sacrificed your life for principle, intercede for us to Almighty God, that the souls of those who represent us in state government be moved by your Grace to vote affirmatively for the marriage amendment to appear on the ballot. We ask you to intercede for us through the immacaulate heart of Mary, to her most merciful son, Jesus, in union with the Holy Spirit And God the Father. Amen

  7. I don’t think Julia intended to imply that the 1962 Missal or use of Latin somehow caused priests to be abusive, but she’s concerned about not-so-pleasant memories that some people likely associate with the older rite and the possibility that bringing it back on too large a scale could rehash some old wounds. Basically, a guilt by association kind of thing… not fair, but human nature is what it is. I’m sorry to hear that some people continue to struggle with attending Mass. Having entered the Church after much of the dust cleared, and being a young adult who thinks five years is a “long time,” it’s not something that I think about very much. Obviously, others are reminded of it on a weekly basis… it’s good to be reminded of that and know that as the Body of Christ we are still healing. Hopefully we will find that healing through God’s Word, the Eucharist, Reconciliation, and the godly example of consecrated religious… and be assured, Christ is with us always 🙂

  8. Regarding Scott Pomfret’s statement accusing Cardinal O’Malley of shame for not considering the Margaret Marshall Court decision to be one of “integrity”, what would Pomfret say about Pope John Paul II’s statement in Memory and Identity,p.11, regarding homosexual unions as an alternative type of family,with the right to adopt children:”It is legitimate and even necessary to ask whether this is not the work of another ideology of evil, more subtle and hidden,perhaps,intent upon exploiting human rights themselves against man and against the family.” Would Pomfret accuse Pope John Paul II of committing a shameful act when he states that there are those who are exploiting human rights because they are determined to change the meaning of marriage to include their desire to legitimize homosexual relationships? Did Pope John Paul II have the right to claim this effort to exploit human rights is “another ideology of evil”?
    Let us hope that this “ideolgy of evil” will not abort the effort to restore the true meaning of marriage as the union between a man and a woman only on June 14 at the Constitutional Convention. That would really be a shame!!

  9. This forum is provided so that readers may comment on Cardinal Sean’s blog, not argue with other readers. I have tried to exercise restraint, but I must contradict myself and respond to an unsolicited response made by Julia Russell to my question regarding the motu proprio/1962 missal. I do not want to start a flame war here, and I will make no further comment on the matter.

    The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is a treasure, and a profound gift wherever and whenever it is licitly celebrated. If a person finds it a struggle or burden to attend, it is that person, and not the mass, who has a problem. Even from a victim’s point of view, it makes no sense to allow the few bad apples of decades ago to be the liturgists of today.

    It is disgraceful to imply that Mass drove priests to abuse; it is equally shortsighted to suggest that the mass promulgated in 1562, itself not substantially different from that of Hippolytus of Rome in the early third century, could be permanently made anathema by the actions of a small minority of clergyman; and of course a considerable number of the abuses you speak of occurred long after the missal of 1970 made the Novus Ordo standard.

    The Second Vatican Council will have its place in history, as do all of the church councils, but it is of no greater or lesser importance than any. It is not possible to turn back the clock, only to move forward, and positive change does not necessitate innovation.

  10. Deacon Carl Crump:

    I wish you success in your desire to meet the Holy Father in Boston. With regard to biographies, John Allen’s is good. However, I would recommend reading Ratzinger’s very interesting and beautiful autobiography. In English it is called “Milestones” and was published by Ignatius Press.

    In Christ,

  11. Dear Padre Sean: We love Father Donato very much and our love and prayers are going to accompanying him in Papua New Guinea in the same Christ our Lord who united us here or when we are separated. Pittsburgh or Papua New Guinea are indeed places far away from us; but we are living in the Lord and loving His will in us and He is who is keeping us close in His love. We thank God for Father Donatos 22 years of faithful priesthood and we know our good Lord is to make us all ready to accept His will in us and be ready for all.

    Father Sean, we love you and we love your Capuchin brothers. Father Donato will be our Lords loving missionary in Papua New Guinea just as Father Emilio was when he was there. God has sent Father Emilio to Cuba and God is sending Father Donato to Papua New Guinea, how much we need to pray for one another to accept Gods will in us and be ready for all!

  12. Hi Cardinal Sean..there is a comment about what you think of the revival of the Latin Mass…..I think going back in time needs serious consideration because most of the child abuse in the Boston Church happened during the years when the Latin Mass was the norm….I do not want to be reminded of that time having struggled to regain a little of myself back after all the terrible reminders endured since 2002 when the stories of so many became known….
    I struggle to go to Mass every Sunday now as it is so please give this serious thought about the effects on survivors and their families. Julia Russell

  13. Greetings, Your Excellence from Wild and Wonderful West Virginia. i read in the paper today where Pope Benedict may visit the US in 2008, and that you had hoped that he would visit your diocese. I had hope over the past several years to visit Rome with my Parish (St. Leo’s in Inwood), but due to the health of my wife I have not been able to. i was ordained in the Pemanent Diaconate in 2004, and have been serving in Hispanic Ministry since then; only recently i have eliminated my Hispanic ministry so i can concentrate on the ministry to my wife and my Liturgical assignment at St. Leo’s. Excuse me for my asking, but is there any way i could assist in any details of the Pope’s visit to Boston, serve in any capacity during his visit? Understand that you have many worthy Deaconcs in your Diocese but i would so appreciate the opportuniy to be in audience, of any capacity, if you could find room forme. I have Pope Benedict XVI “A Biography of Joseph Ratzinger,” by John Allen and would hope to get it autographed.

    Respectfully, I remain with you in Christ.

    Deacon Carl Crump
    259 Cheswick Drive
    Martinsburg, WV 25403

  14. Cardinal Sean:

    Your reference to the judiciary’s “blithely undermining” marriage lacks charity. No matter what side of the issue one is on, I think it would show more charity if you acknowledged that the judges in this case took their role seriously and seriously considered the consequences of their decision. There was nothing “blithe” about it. They simply reached a decision you do not support. Shame on you for questioning their integrity this way. I know you are a better person than that.

  15. Hello Cardinal Sean,

    Thank you for this intriguing look into the public life of a Bishop and Cardinal. I’ve been a loyal reader for several months now.

    My question for you entails the pending motu proprio document from Rome which will allegedly remove some restrictions associated with the use of the 1962 missal, and possibly encourage greater use of Latin in all liturgy. Some , including H.E. Mons. Ignacio Gogorza of Paraguay, have already come out in support of the alleged contents of the document, while other commentators have expressed fear and reservation.

    At time of (proverbial) printing, the document is rumored to be held up in translation, so unless it has been issued by the time you respond, my question is hypothetical:

    What action would you take to encourage the implementation of the Holy Father’s wishes as regards the old missal in your own diocese and on a more global scale, what short and long-term effects would you expect to result from the “deregulation” of the 1962 missal/Tridentine mass?

    N.B.: I have no axe to grind either way; I do appreciate reverence and beauty in liturgy, but I would not describe myself as a radical traditionalist.

    Ian H. Power

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June 2007