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Cardinal moves to raise Beacon Hill profile

October 9, 2013

BOSTON (AP) — Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley is moving to raise his profile on Beacon Hill by inviting more than 100 state lawmakers to breakfast.

The Boston Globe reports (http://b.globe.com/1fZKcI1) that the invitation said legislators would be given an overview of the church’s political, educational and social programs. The invitation to the continental breakfast at the Union Club on Park Street in Boston was sent to lawmakers who represent the 144 cities and towns in the archdiocese.

“We want them to get to know us better so they understand the broader value of the church in the community,” said Terry Donilon, spokesman for the archdiocese. “If the Catholic Church went away tomorrow, there would be millions upon millions of dollars put on the backs of cities and towns in Massachusetts.”

The church’s influence on Beacon Hill has steadily declined as its role in society has diminished, as well as from the fallout from the clergy sex abuse scandal. And O’Malley has generally been more attentive to church problems than local politics.

Donilon said the cardinal has met with Gov. Deval Patrick and state leaders and regularly meets with Boston Mayor Tom Menino. But he said the church has not prioritized engaging “on a more proactive basis with the Legislature and with public officials in general.”

“We’ve heard from them that they don’t know us, and honestly, they’re correct — they probably don’t know us,” Donilon said.

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