Rev. David J. Mullen is pastor of Saint Brendan’s Parish in Bellingham, MA, but perhaps not for long.
Father Mullen told entire parish on the weekend of September 4-5 that he will very likely be removed as pastor and be named parochial vicar because of his refusal to use the Talking About Touching program.
Father Mullen told me me the interests of the Archdiocese of Boston
are not primarily regarding insurance, but rather an agreement with the state Attorney General that the Archdiocese would do certain things and the state would not prosecute certain bishops for negligence in the abuse of children by priests of the Archdiocese. It seems as though said agreement included the conducting of “safe environment” programs in the parishes, the particulars of which are not clear.
His eight-year struggle with the archdiocese over this program can be found here.
The problems with Talking About Touching as a “safe environment” program — the one mandated by the USCCB — have been summarized by Mary Jo Anderson and Bishop Robert Vasa who rejected it in his Diocese of Baker, OR.
Catholic activists in Boston are not happy with the treatment of Father Mullen who has been a strong pro-life leader.
Rather than removing Father Mullen as pastor — he seems to be beloved by his parishoners — the Archdiocese surely could allow him another “safe environment” program — such as the one used by Bishop Vasa — that would satisfy the insurance requirement.
Anyone reading through the eight years of documents recording Father Mullen’s concerns about Talking About Touching will be struck by his humble and principled opposition to a program he views as detrimental to the education of children.
When I asked Father Mullen how he was holding up, he replied:
The support from people has been great! I have the (apparently) unanimous support of my parish. Many people are praying. I have a meeting with His Eminence this coming Saturday morning. I have been told that one-on-one meetings go well with the Cardinal. I have already ordered the program from Bishop Vasa and the Diocese of Baker, OR.