Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Little Of This And A Little Of That

This time the clerical offender is accused of embezzlement and theft. Like with other clerical offenders the Archdiocese of Connecticut seriously failed in it's supervisory capacity-- and did so for seven years.

It seems the military is asking for email responses to the thought of gay and straight soldiers showering together. I'm like haven't we all been doing that for forever? My thoughts were never concerned with possible lesbians in the shower with me, they were concerned with the thought that anyone was in the shower with me. I was a good Catholic girl and if we had been allowed to, I would have showered totally dressed. Of course that has nothing to do with orientation and everything to do with a warped sense of modesty. Once I got over that I didn't care who was in the shower with me. I was usually hot, sweaty, and totally unconcerned with things sexual. I can't think guys are much different. Personally I'd be far more concerned that the soldier next to me knew how to use his/her rifle and had my back.

I see where Michael Sean Winters has finally given himself permission to see that LifesiteNews is a propaganda front rather than a news service. Good for him. If MSW keeps going on this track he might just begin to put a few things together. Things like too many of the self described centrist Catholic writers are really espousing watered down versions of the political right and not defending core Jesus teachings.

The Vatican is to come out with new norms for dealing with clerical abusers. They are not new exactly, but the fact they are being issued at all is probably a bigger statement than it would first appear. In a New York Times article this point was made:

"The changes are not expected to include adoption of the “zero tolerance” policy used by bishops in the United States and elsewhere, which remove a priest from ministry at the first credible accusation of abuse, as some victims’ groups and critics had hoped.

But in the quiet battle raging deep inside Vatican City, they are likely to appear as a defeat for the many traditionalist members of the hierarchy who believe that anything short of a full canonical trial betrays the church’s trust in a priest and deprives him of due process."

This is a bigger issue than it would first appear because the hierarchy has universally operated on the notion Canon Law superseded civil law in cases of clergy malfeasance. They were allowed to get away with this for a very long time by the very governmental judicial systems which should have put a stop to it. It now appears Canon Law will only supersede governmental law in the one place where they are more or less one and the same, and where Ceasar is also God--the Vatican City States. To the traditionalists this represents a curtailing of their influence on an epic scale and the raid in Belgium just underscores this loss of influence and unwarranted protection. I would imagine there is more than one Cardinal/Archbishop having heart palpitations over the treatment of Cardinal Daneels. It seems the Cardinal could move from being a witness to being a suspect.

Finally we have another story about the other transparency issue in the Church, that of financial malfeasance. Somehow a Connecticut priest was able to embezzle some 1.4 million dollars from a parish over the space of seven years. Somehow said priest was able to operate without the over site of a legally mandated parish financial council, or filing mandated annual reports to the Archdiocese. It was a nice lucrative gig while it lasted. What interested me about this case is the sense of entitlement the accused priest conveys, an entitlement that apparently included zero supervision. Haven't we seen that same thing fueling some other crisis in the clergy?


  1. Colleen,
    We probably haven't seen anything yet. I worked in a parish for 17 years. Finance and Parish Councils are ADVISORY only. The pastor has the final say so. Period. End of discussion. If you don't like it...there's the door. I've had pastors telling me to pay their PERSONAL phone bills, food bills (over and beyond the allotted food stipend), car payments...anything they choose to have the parish pay..gets paid. Lay employees even with fancy titles like Business Manager, Pastoral Associate, Lay Ecclesial Minister....even the Associate Pastors have NO POWER WHATSOEVER in a parish. And the diocese or archdiocese? THEY DO NOT CARE. Trust me, I know.

  2. Colleen -

    While the precise legal corporate structure will vary from state to state, here is the essential:

    1. the pastor is REALLY the 'vicar' of the bishop for that parish. He acts in his stead & by his authority

    2. The bishop is normally the President of the parish corporation,with the Pastor as the Secretary/Treasurer for the corporation. If there are Lay Trustees, they are toadies nominated by the Pastor & approved by the Bishop. The Vicar General for the Diocese is usually the Vice-president.

    i.e. he runs the day to day fiscal/corporate affairs of the diocese. If the bishop drops dead, he continues to act as the Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer (for all practical purposes).

    3. The parish buildings may be owned by the parish corporation, titled in the name of the bishop (or a long dead one), or some other entity. It doesn't matter: the Bishop owns & has complete control over it in practical terms.

    4. As to the Pastor, the only thing the Bishop cares about is that:

    a. the bills get paid
    b. the bishop gets his monthly 'cut' of the parish gross receipts
    c. he does nothing to challenge the authority of the bishop.

    Beyond that - the bishop does not care WHAT the pastor does with parish funds. As one priest told me:

    "You can steal from the poor box, but don't take the gold candlesticks!"

    In other words, what ppl don't notice or cannot see is not a 'problem'. As most Catholic are so brainwashed that cannot believe that 'Father steals'...they will not. So he can (and does) get away with anything he wants to.

    Many of them will set up a covert bank account in the name of the church. You write a check to the church - and it is now in Father's secret account. But you do not realize this:) It happens ALL the time.

    Equally useful are the bank accounts of dormant parish societies...or the New School Fund (from 1952). You get the idea!

    Most priest have credit cards with very large ( or unlimited) credit lines, courtesy of the bishop/diocese.

    Parish income is typically underreported. Even in inner city parishes, REAL per capita giving is $10 a week (at least). In more prosperous areas, including suburbia, per capita of $20 & up is not unusual.

    So if 700 ppl go to mass on Sunday, WHY do you believe Fr.if he tells you "we only get $2500 on Sunday"?

    ...or 'we are running a $2000/month deficit', with the above numbers?

    They think we are stupid.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  3. The whole construct of Finance & Parish Councils is, as Anon indicates, purely for show.

    Folks like Anon, who serve on such & catch on to the reality, end up disillusioned.If they dare to speak up too much, they will get 'punished'. By social ostracism courtesy of the pastor's loyal toadies & useful idiots.

    Most chosen to serve on such groups are merely useful idiots (no offense of Anon intended!), selected for their innocence. There will usually be a few 'in the know' who are very cozy with the pastor, thus knowingly enabling his comfy lifestyle.

    If the bishop decides to close or merge a parish....only then do many Catholics awaken to the fact that they have been played for fools. And for their $$.

    Anon Y. Mouse

  4. On the one hand, a little of this...

    On the other hand it is only money.

    But it is very disheartening to read these stories.


  5. My thinking is if they run it like a personal business or fiefdom they should lose 501c3 status and pay taxes like any other personal business.

    I've always thought the tax code needed a bit of work as it applied to churches and ministers. Wait... maybe I'll just get some inter net ordination certificate and take advantage of the deal.

  6. Colleen -

    Tax exempt status for churches is immoral. In NYC they recently redid their laws so that ANY 503.c3 Not for profit entity pays NO sewer/water fees. Formerly, while exempt from property/school taxes, they had to at least pay the water & sewer usage.

    Interestingly, this nearly coincided with the construction of the Opus Dei US HQ office tower, & their aquisitions of other pricey properties.....

    My opinion is that parish churches, chancery offices & schools SHOULD pay the sewer/water fees. AND property/school tax. Even if at a reduced percentage. Or perhaps a voluntary (but significant)contribution to the municipality.

    Scout camps & other properties - usually vast tracts of largely unused land - held by NFP corporations, are a HUGE drag on local govts. In some cases they have been forced to pay taxes on unused portions of their properties. IN some cases - where the heads of these NFPs are lucid & moral, they VOLUNTARILY contribute to the local govt. Yet retaining tax free property status.

    One of the BIGGEST sins of the Church is that its investments are NOT subject to taxation. That is insane! Especially in light of the balance of the free ride...

    Anon Y. Mouse

  7. The other example of this kind of power having all of us write their ticket are owners of professional sports franchises who get their stadiums paid for and paid for and in some cases paid for a third time by tax payers.

  8. "owners of professional sports franchises..." many cases these are persons linked to Legatus, Opus Dei, LC/RC, Heritage Foundation, and other uber Right/Conservative elements.

    You will often find them as prominent contributors to the Legion of Christ. And to local Dioceses.

    Then there is the interesting tale of the Knights of Columbus - and their ownership of the land under Yankee Stadium & its parking lots. For over 20 years, during the 'golden days' of baseball (50s-70s). During which time, they allowed the facility to horribly deteriorate, despite money flowing in.

    They "sadly' sold it to the City of NY in 1973 for $24 million.....

    They own many other properties, which they 'lease back' to prominant tenants, often in 99 year lease scenarios.

    Nice, eh?

    Anon Y. Mouse

  9. Well I guess I can see where this makes a great deal of sense, especially in this country where sports are the other great opiate of the masses. And I write this listening to the Tigers over inter net radio who are own by the conservative Catholic Illitch's who bought the team from the Uber Conservative Catholic Tom Monaghan. Which all proves the Tigers are God's team, not the evil Yankees--probably why the KofC bailed on them.

  10. Plus I'm wearing my Rocky Colavito jersey with it's number 7.