Cuenin Revisited

Fr. Walter Cuenin, who was, in his words, banned in Boston, has replanted himself nicely at Brandeis University. His current ministry was highlighted in a feature on The Boston Globe Web site by Alex Beam.

Cuenin wasn’t exactly banned. The popular pastor and noted homilist was removed from his parish in 2005 by archdiocesan officials who alleged that a stipend and a car leased by the parish for use by him and other priests amounted to financial improprieties even though, according to members of the parish finance council, the expenditures had been listed in a diocesan-approved budget for a dozen years.

It is widely presumed that what really got Cuenin in trouble was his outspoken advocacy of gay marriage and women priests and his leadership in criticizing Cardinal Bernard Law and his mishandling of the clergy sex abuse crisis. Cuenin led a group of 58 priests who signed a December 2002 letter calling for Law to resign.

Cuenin, according to Beam, says he’s “very happy at Brandeis,” where he ministers to college students and arranges seminars and forums. He is also president of the Massachusetts Bible Society.

Cuenin has moved on from those tumultuous days immediately after the Archdiocese exploded in 2001 with new revelations about the sex abuse scandal. Beam wrote that Cuenin even had kind things to say about Law and current Archbishop Sean O’Malley and their work on interfaith issues.

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