Thursday, August 15, 2013

Msgr. Arthur Coyle:How is Boston Archdiocese Caring for Clergy?

In the wake of the situation with Msgr. Arthur Coyle having been arrested for paying a prostitute, a number of BCI readers–including priests–are asking again about the episcopal leadership in Boston, and also about how Boston cares for their clergy. This falls under the responsibility of Cabinet Secretary Fr. Kevin M. Sepe, Episcopal Vicar and Secretary for Parish Life and Leadership, and ultimately, to Cardinal Sean O’Malley.

One might want to assume the situation with Msgr. Coyle is a “one-off.” Still, with the position of Director of Pastoral Care of Priests vacant for two years and the diocesan website for the Office of Senior Priests currently listing as its director a priest who died in 2011, there is reason to question the archdiocesan commitment to care of clergy in need–whether that be a spiritual or psychological problem, or being elderly or ill. Here are several of the reader comments that jumped out at BCI:

Lazarus’ Table says:

Anyone who points a finger at Msgr Coyle and shouts “Sinner!” is in dangerous waters himself. Only God can judge, only He knows the degree of Msgr Coyle’s culpability, all the circumstances that led him to act as he did.

There are, however, some things we can know:
1) There is no agent of the archdiocese in whom a troubled priest can confide in confidence (outside Confession). A priest who needs help will not seek it out of fear he will be “reported”, “sent away”, etc.

2) The Cardinal is not only the priest’s ‘spiritual father’, he is also responsible for the good of the entire archdiocese, i.e., the institution. The good of the institution will always trump the good of the individual. Over are the days when the shepherd will leave the 99 to go in search of the lost 1.

3) In the opinion of many in the hierarchy, Msgr Coyle’s greatest fault was not soliciting a prostitute but getting caught. His story is not unique. Priests “in a relationship” –with females or males– are an accepted fact. Just be discreet.


Boston Catholic Insider

August 9, 2013
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