Assignment Record– Rev. Richard J. Butler

Summary of Case: Richard J. Butler was ordained for the Archdiocese of Boston in 1962. He went on to an assist at parishes in Foxboro, Cambridge, Sharon and Rockland, and was Pastor or Administrator for parishes in Cambridge, Lexington, Brookline, Norwood, Stow and Melrose. He also served as a hospital and high school chaplain. Butler was a liturgical scholar who, for three years in the 1970s, was Director of the Center for Pastoral Liturgy at Catholic University in Washington DC. In the Boston archdiocese he held leadership positions on the Liturgical Commission, Office for Worship and the Office of the Permanent Diaconate. He served on a number of community boards as well. Butler retired in 2006 and died September 30, 2012. His name was included on Attorney Garabedian's list March 28, 2016 of accused clerics named in civil claims resulting in settlements or arbitration awards. He allegedly abused a child while assigned to Blessed Sacrament in Cambridge MA 1967-68.


Born: May 8, 1936
Ordained: February 2, 1962
June 30, 2006
September 30, 2012


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Boston archbishop was Richard James Cushing (1944-1970).

1966 St. Mary's Foxboro MA 2/4  
1962 1966 Foxboro State Hospital Foxboro MA   This was a station of St. Mary's.
1967 1970 National Liturgical Conference     board member  
1966 1970 Blessed Sacrament


Butler was accused in a lawsuit settled in June 2015 of sexually abusing a child while assigned to Blessed Sacrament 1967-68.

MA 3/3, 2/3 Blessed Sacrament had a school with 196-150 boys and 196-148 girls.


Cushing was succeeded by Humberto Sousa Medeiros (1970-1983).

1975 Our Lady of Sorrows Sharon MA 2/2, 2/3  





Boston Liturgical Commission Boston MA

Executive Secretary




Bernard Francis Law replaced Medeiros (1984-2002).

1996 The Pilot Boston MA Columnist The Pilot is Boston's archdiocesan newspaper.
1975 1978 Catholic University: Center for Pastoral Liturgy Washington DC Director  
1978 1982 Archbishop Williams High School Braintree MA Chaplain Archbishop Williams High had 410-385 boys and 471-482 girls.
    Sts. Peter and Paul South Boston MA In residence. This assignment is per Butler's obituary.
1982 1985 Holy Family Rockland MA 2/4 Holy Family had a school with 339-324 students.
1985 1989 Immaculate Conception Cambridge MA 1/3 Immaculate Conception had a school until 1986 with 140 students.
1985 1990 Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions     board member  
1989 1989 Office for Worship Boston MA Interim Director  
1989 1994 Sacred Heart Lexington MA 1/1, 1/2  
1994 1996 St. Lawrence Brookline MA

1/3, 1/4

1994 1996 Office of the Permanent Dioconate Boston MA Director  
1996 1999 St. Timothy's Norwood MA 1/3, 1/4  


Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M. Cap. succeeded Law (2003-).

2006 St. Isidore Stow MA 1/1  
    Incarnation Melrose MA Administrator Per his obituary, Butler served briefly here in his retirement.
2006 2011

Senior Priests/Retired,
St. Mary of the Assumption

Brookline MA Administrator St. Mary's had a school with 228 students and a religious education program with 208 students.
2011 2012 Regina Cleri Boston MA   Butler moved to this residence for retired priest in April 2011.
He died
September 30, 2012.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons 1963-2013)

Obituary: Father Richard J. Butler dies at age 76, by Donis Tracy, Pilot Correspondent, Posted: 10/5/2012
Assignment Histories for 16 Clerics Named in Recent Settlements by Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, March 28, 2016
Recent Priest Abuse Settlements, Boston Globe, March 28, 2016
Boston Archdiocese Settles with 7 Alleged Victims of Clergy Abuse, By Brian MacQuarrie, Boston Globe, March 28, 2016


Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Butler's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on April 11, 2016.