.- Members of Bostonâs City Council are seeking to pass a measure which would bring the accountability of the Archdiocese of Boston, particularly in light of the priestly abuse scandal, before public vote in November--an act which New Yorkâs Catholic League is calling a blatant violation of the separation of church and state. The campaign is being led by three council members in particular and if the motion is passed, voters on November 8th of next year will be asked if they âagree, to date, the Archdiocese of Boston has failed to work effectively with Bostonâs neighborhoods to mitigate the impacts of Catholic parish and school closings on neighborhood servicesâ¦â
It would also ask if citizens agree âthat in the future the Archdiocese of Boston should be strongly urged to meet its institutional obligations to all of Bostonâs citizens, to neighbors, and to the cityâs agencies by cooperating before-the-fact, diligently and in good faith, for the difficult transitions?â
William Donahue, president of the Catholic League said yesterday that, âThis is sheer, unadulterated demagogueryâ, and that, âWe will contact the other members of the city council to shoot down this preposterous measure.â
Councilmember Jerry McDermott, the main sponsor of the measure was quoted in the Boston Globe as saying that, ''We want to make sure that the message goes out loud and clear that the public wants to see better communications among city and state officials, and the Archdiocese of Bostonâ¦We understand the separation of church and state, but we think it needs to be made crystal clear how the voting public feels."
Donahue however, chided: âIt is disingenuous and downright dishonest of Councilor McDermott to say, âWe understand the separation of church and state, but we think it needs to be made crystal clear how the voting public feels.â Then take a poll, Councilor McDermott.â
âNo, the real purpose of this measureâ, he continued, âis to intimidate the Archdiocese of Boston by having an arm of the state whip the public into a frenzy about matters they have no constitutional business sticking their noses into.â
Donahue also claimed that the proposal âsmacks of biasâ asking that if the purpose truly is accountability, then âwhy focus exclusively on the Catholic Church? Why not go for broke and get the Protestants, Jews and Muslims to answer to the public as well?â
Before it can be considered for the ballot, the nonbinding measure would need to pass the inspection of a public hearing and a council vote.