March 03, 2006

Church Losing Its Clout in Boston

Los Angeles Times

By Elizabeth Mehren, Times Staff Writer
March 3, 2006

BOSTON In the latest sign that the Catholic Church is losing its once-powerful hold on this city, seven board members have abruptly resigned from Boston's leading Catholic philanthropy.

The departure of the Catholic Charities board members all influential leaders in the city's business and media communities followed a policy disagreement with the church over adoptions by same-sex couples. In December, the full 42-member board had unanimously voted support for same-sex adoptions.

The confrontation comes on the heels of an unrelated rebuke of the Boston Archdiocese by the state attorney general's office. Alice Moore, head of Atty. Gen. Tom Reilly's Public Protection Bureau, faulted church leaders for failing to implement changes promised in the aftermath of the clerical sexual abuse scandal.

Both developments, said a historian of Roman Catholicism, Thomas H. O'Connor, signal the diminishing influence of an institution that for generations held a tight grip on this heavily Catholic region. O'Connor said the shift began with the unfolding of the sexual abuse crisis here four years ago, producing a steady erosion in the credibility of the church's leadership.

Posted by kshaw at March 3, 2006 07:06 AM