October 20, 2005

Priest was eyed for ouster prior to audit

Boston Globe

By Matt Viser, Globe Staff | October 20, 2005

The Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, the priest who replaced the Rev. Walter H. Cuenin at Our Lady Help of Christians parish in Newton, revealed at a meeting with parishioners last week that officials of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston asked him in June if he would be interested in replacing the outspoken Cuenin. That was two months before the completion of the financial audit that archdiocesan officials said led them to ask for Cuenin's resignation.

The news outraged parishioners, who say it shows that the audit was never the real reason Cuenin was ousted.

''It just feels like once again we have a diocese that absolutely refuses to be transparent," said Larry Kessler, a member of the parish council. ''People are feeling really hurt, angry, enraged, and some of them are leaving."

According to the minutes of the Oct. 11 parish council meeting, Coyne was asked by a parishioner when he knew that Cuenin would be removed. Coyne responded ''that he was told in June of the possibility of a leadership change at Our Lady's and asked if he would be interested in the pastorate," according to the minutes. ''He said he would think about it, but it was not finalized until shortly before the appointment was made."

The minutes of the meeting were posted on the parish's website. Two members of the parish council, who were present at the meeting and spoke to the Globe yesterday, confirmed Coyne's remarks.

Posted by kshaw at October 20, 2005 07:09 AM