January 12, 2006

Parish report denounces ouster of Newton priest

Boston Globe

By Matt Viser, Globe Staff | January 12, 2006

A report released late last month has blasted the Archdiocese of Boston for removing the Rev. Walter H. Cuenin, the popular pastor of a Newton parish, from his post in September over allegations of financial improprieties.

The report, written by the parish's Finance Council after it reviewed private archdiocesan records, said that Cuenin's removal ''lacked due process."

''And that leaves its motives open to question," the report said.

Cuenin announced his resignation at Our Lady Help of Christians in Newton to stunned parishioners after an archdiocese audit reported that he had violated several policies by taking a $500 monthly stipend and by allowing the parish to lease a Honda Accord for him.

His supporters, however, have said that he is being punished for his outspoken criticism of the archdiocese over its policies on gay rights and women, and for its handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal. Cuenin is living at Saint Julia Parish in Weston, and fills temporary vacancies for the archdiocese. Because he broke financial rules, Cuenin will not be able to have his own parish again.

Posted by kshaw at January 12, 2006 07:41 AM