Archdiocesan Buck Stops at Embezzlement – Not Child Sex Abuse

Priests who sexually abuse children may get shuffled around – but don’t mess around with archdiocesan money. Where is all the talk of forgiveness for Anita Guzzardi? Hopefully, the leadership will audit their morals and money a bit better moving forward. I’m not holding my breath for transparency regarding either.

Click here to read: “Worker accused of stealing $1 million from archdiocese over six years,” by Joseph Tanfani, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan. 29, 2012

75 thoughts on “Archdiocesan Buck Stops at Embezzlement – Not Child Sex Abuse

  1. The following information was provided to me by office personnel at the Catholic Standard and Times about two weeks ago. Timely, don’t you think?

    Members of the Finance Council, Archdiocese of Philadelphia – 2012

    Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M.Cap., Chairman
    Most Rev. Timothy C. Senior, ex officio
    Deacon Alvin Clay
    Michael Crofton
    Walter D’Alessio
    Dr. Robert LeClair
    Frank J. Miller
    Shaun O’Malley
    Gerald Parsons
    William R. Sasso, Esq.
    William Sautter

    1. A quick Google of the names provided show some pretty heavy hitters from the World of Philadelphia Finance. Seems the least qualified are the two bishops. Surprise!

        1. Debbie, Jack – In the interest of full disclosure, I want you to know that as site moderator I can see who is commenting as whom. The accusation regarding Bishop Senior came from Msgr. Lynn in regard to throwing him under the bus. And Father W has provided me and others so much hope that there is caring clergy out there. He is a representative of Jesus.

  2. I do hope that the readers of this blog would read Jason Berry’s book, “Render unto Rome” about the financial fiasco which the chiurch finds itself, even on the parish level where loose money is the issue and the ease with which that money can “disappear.” Also good reading is Matthew Fox’s book, “The Pope’s War” which describes the role of Cardinal Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) in “correcting” theologians who raise issues with teachings of the church. He also describes how ” money talks” when it comes to influence in Rome. Especially in the swift and extraordinary beatification process of John Paul II. These sources remind one of “Super Pacs” in our present election process. Both are evil and destructive to the true meaning of what we should be about as democratic people as well a faithful people in this church..

    1. I just read an article that 85% of dioceses have had trouble with embezzling. I am in the middle of reading that book.

    2. Father, I’m a fan of Jason Berry’s book, and your point about ‘loose money’ disappears (weekly collections), Berry on page 9, cites a calculation by Michel Ryan, thusly:

      ” If one accepts Ryan’s theory, it would mean that in roughly the same time span in which sex abuse cases cost the church $1.775 billion, the loss from embezzlement and theft by priests or lay staff was $2.16 billion .”

      AND Berry was discussing Sunday collection “embezzlements” NOT the egregious losses covered in this post.

      1. In my church, when it is time to take up the collection, six “collectors” do so, pew by pew. Once the money is collected, it is placed into one basket which is brought to the alter by one “collector” when the offertory gifts are brought up. The basket is placed by the priest on the floor in front of the alter. It sits there throughout the remainder of the Mass. At the end of the Mass, one of the “collectors” swoops up the basket and disappears with it… takes it somewhere. Where, I have no idea. Who is privy to it, next, I have no idea. I assume the priest is since parish personnel are not on duty after the Saturday and Sunday Masses. I assume the collection is not calculated until the start of the business week on Monday. Say the “collector” or the priest embezzle from the collection between the time it was collected and Monday when it is counted. How would anyone be able to note a discrepancy without knowing the original amount collected? My point is not to foster distrust in parish priests or “collectors,” necessarily, but, rather, to note my distrust in the fiscal process and, more importantly, to note my utter ignorance in terms of it, and my apparent willingness, over the years, to sit through it in total oblivion. Shame of me!

      2. Hadit….on page 11 of Berry’s book, he says “The weekly collection should always be counted in the presence of two people with the total collection matching the amount that is deposited in the bank and shown on the deposit slip.”

        I assume Berry meant that the collection should be counted promptly after being taken up.

        My previous Berry quote was from page 10, not page 9.

        Jason Berry covers church finance horrors from the parish to the Vatican, with a strong interplay with molestation issues, (about which he has written, as well.)

        I think he spent about 4 years on the book; it is thoroughly documented.

      3. Just a thought…but folks could ask their pastor

        1 Are two folks present when the weekly collections are counted?

        2 When are the weekly collections counted?

        OR you could put a note in the collection plate that asks the same questions, and suggests that until there is a public announcement regarding the implementation of this process, you will be with holding donations.

      4. We have been discussing embezzlement of parish collections and the recent very substantial embezzlement by an archdiocesan official. As part of the comments, I cited page 10 of Jason Berry’s, render Unto Rome, where he cites the efforts of  a retired Postal Inspector, who for years has been working on this issue.

        The NCR just published a post describing the problem and Ryan’s incredible efforts to bring the problem to the the attention of the hierarchy….a very unsuccessful effort, sadly.efforts, detailed in his book.

        A quote from the NCR article details Ryan’s suggestions for securing parish collections, which is more detailed than the quote from Berry’s book.

        “His detailed plan to halt the leaks includes the use of pre-numbered tamper-evident bags
        for consolidating parish collections, a minimum of three persons present when collections are counted, the use of multiple count teams that are periodically rotated, the restrictive endorsing of checks and the depositing of cash immediately or their placement in pre-numbered bags and locked in a safe with entry only to a few authorized persons. A lapse in any of these steps, Ryan says, is an invitation for disaster.”

      5. news flash–most people know that lay volunteers count the collection after masses/it is tallied and in most cases put in a safe/on monday parish personnel retrieve it from the safe/recount and record the contributions/then it is deposited in the bank .why would anyone in their right mind follow the suggestion that they would not contribute if they didn’t find out how the collection was counted.? you people have some really pointless wacko ideas

    3. Father — all you’re doing is putting salt on an open wound! very sad way to end your priesthood…

  3. Susan, Catholics accept and continue to fund bishops like Chaput with little effective demand for real accountability. Catholics let their children be abused and their money wasted on dishonest and sick church employees and greedy lawyers. Catholics appear to be reaping the fruits of their misguided and sad passivity

    .Bishops and church employees were accountable to the faithful in the early church. It could happen again, but only when and if enough Catholics demand forcefully that (a) hierarchs change or face perpetual bankruptcy, shame and imprisonment, and (b) politicians, including judges, district attorneys and legislators, finally protect citiizens from clerical criminals or face losing their cushy elective positions.

    In the case of the numerous Guzzardi thefts, prosecutors should be thoroughly investigating bringing criminal charges against Rigali and Chaput for recklessly failing in their fiduciary duty to protect Catholic donations. But if hundreds of Philly Catholic schoolchildren can be sexually abused with “de facto” impunity from prosecution, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Seth Williams’ office to investigate Chaput and Rigali for financial mismanagement.

    1. Jerry I have to take issue with you stating “catholics let their children be abused”. I know first hand of the lifelong devastation of some parents whose children have been abused by clergy . Put the blame squarely where it belongs -on the abusive priests and hierarchy that covered up -not on the victims and their parents.

      1. Jerry probably meant that “Catholics let other Catholic people’s children get abused”.

        This problem could be solved overnight if even 70% of Catholics were so enraged that they actually did something about Catholic child sex abuse. Instead, 99% sit idly by, which is tantamount to letting it happen.

      2. Kathy, I am referring to Catholics generally, but not all Catholics obviously. Victims, their families and the few who both speak out and have stopped funding Chaput and his power lusting brethren are, of course, excepted. But the vast majority of practicing Catholics have permitted and continue to permit this criminal activity to continue by their continued financial support and their failure to try to deter it by all practicable means. An unpleasant truth, but the truth nevertheless.

        Every dollar contributed to the Church becomes available to support this criminal activity. There are numerous alternative worthwhile organizations to make contributions to that do not entail subsidizing crimes against children.Eventually, as bishops’ funds dry up, conduct will change.

        Additionally, bishops and complicit priests should be shunned and shamed whenever feasible until the Church changes. Difficult, yes; but possible, certainly. The victims, their loved ones and defenseless children deserve no less support .

      3. Kathy always “takes issue” with comments that don’t agree with her imaginary little world or sordid untrue opinions about reality… I’m just making an observation

      4. Jack it is funny because I actually choose to not live in an imaginary little world. I choose to expand my world through education,reading, and meeting as many people I can from different backgorunds and all walks of life. The ironic thing about Jerry’s comment is that I felt he was making a blanket statement about Catholics allowing their children to be abused. I did not think this was a fair comment because I know many wonderful Catholic parents who would never put their child in harms way and also know Catholic parents whose children were abused and they had no idea until it was too late. So I was actually defending Catholic parents and now you have a problem with that?

  4. For me, the money quote of the article: “Even though millions flow through the archdiocesan accounts every week…” Dollars given by willfully blind Catholics choosing to enable an organization that allows the rape of children by it’s employees.

    Stop giving money to these criminals.

    Today’s NYT Magazine had an interesting column about the ethical quandary facing a parent with regard to his kid’s education. I dedicate this link to those who rolled their eyes or gave me the little “thumbs down” on my posting last week about taking a stand and, on principle, pulling your kids out of Catholic schools run by the criminally incompetent Archdiocese of Philadelphia.☺

    Here’s the link:

    1. Charles,I agree with you about the money quote “millions of dollars flow through the Archdiocese every week” it was good to see that in print.

    2. Charles ,the very real problem that exists is that if people were to pull their kids from Catholic school -guess who suffers? The lay teachers,secretaries,janitors,cafeteria workers etc…When North Catholic closed ,the property was sold for a few million dollars -the Archdiocese owns the land/building -they get the money. That is why you see so many people rallying behind the teachers right now with the school closings -they will be on the unemployment line while the school buildings will be rented/sold and the profit to the AD. That is the reality as hard as that is to face -the people who did not cause this mess suffer financially and the Archdiocese profits from the real estate.

      1. Kathy, Again we can agree to disagree. Having worked for the Diocese of Pennsylvania as the Assistant to the Bishop for Real Estate I can speak to the difficult market for religious buildings and schools. The idea that the Archdiocese will “profit” from any sale/rental is simply wrong. (The Archdiocese does, however, profit every Sunday via the collection basket. And it profits when folks die and remember the Church it their estates. Presumably, that’s where that weekly million comes from. Stop giving the Church money.)

        The schools are closing because they are no longer financially viable. Enrollment is down, overhead is up and tuition is not covering the nut. Tuition should have been raised years ago but then many would have been priced out of a catholic school education and enrollment would have plummeted forcing the school closings years earlier.

        Actually, the hard reality is that the Church is woefully mismanaged by the clergy at every level. The “ordained” and “anointed” of the “royal priesthood” are, for the most part, incompetent for the tasks they are being asked to do. Praying to Jesus will not balance the books; that’s what accountants are for. Praying to Mary will not stop predatory clerics from raping children; that’s what law enforcement is for. Praying to all the Saints in Heaven will not safeguard the separation of Church and State; that’s what the courts are for.

        No, let the clergy focus on the reason they were ordained: to administer the sacraments. Period. You Priests: Focus on the Mass; on the rubrics of the devotional offering you are making for us “That It May Be Worthy…”! Stop with the mumbling of the Canon; Stop with the sloppy Elevation; Learn how to chant the Gospel. That’s your j-o-b.

        Want to see what the Mass is supposed to look like? Go to St Mark’s on Locust Street or St Clement’s on Apple Street. You’ll be ashamed by your own parish priest. Better yet, go to the Pink Sisters at their convent on 22nd and Green – the priest is behind a scrim – no contact with the people; no chance of raping anyone.

      2. My question is if the parish supports the schools etc what exactly does the archdiocese do with the rest of the money? Food kitchens, Nursing homes and what else?

    3. Charles – are you saying the AD simply handed the North Catholic building over to Christo Rey to open a school? And a parish school that was closed in Delaware County that is now being rented by the Upper Darby School District is not generating rental revenue? I realize some buildings are old and not very marketable but others are sold and rented bringing in $$$$. The AD just advertised to hire a Director of Real Estate. And what about the prime real estate where the original Bishop Shanahan High School was in West Chester Borough -now sold and the site of high end town homes?

      1. Christo Rey is scheduled to open at the former Our Lady of Hope school -just wanted to clarify. Charles,the president of Bonner/Prendie which is going through the appeal process is negotiating with several universities to rent one building and then Bonner/Prendie will all combine into one building if the appeal is successful.Even if this plan does not work and the schools close -someone will be renting that space. Not quite sure where you are coming from with thinking that AD property will not generate revenue.

      2. From the article:
        The company has handled real estate deals for a number of the region’s religious institutions, including the $3.5 million sale in September of Northeast Catholic High School for Boys to Mariana Bracetti Academy Charter School

      3. Kathy, There’s a huge difference between Profit and Revenue. Your original post asserted that the AD would “profit”; I disagreed. If a building is vacant why shouldn’t the AD sell it or rent it? Wouldn’t that be good stewardship? Wouldn’t you be the first to complain if it sat vacant?

        Options for renting a school are few and potential renters of a church are even fewer. Did you know, Kathy, that if a religious building sits vacant, it returns to the tax roles? Did you know that if the AD uses the building for commercial use, or rents it to a non-profit, that the building returns to the tax roles? The land is where the value is. Lovely though they may be, the churches are usually worthless; and if landmarked they can’t be demolished thus diminishing the value of the land. If a parish or school fails, why shouldn’t those buildings be put to best use?

        Christo Rey schools is an excellent model of what Catholic Schools should/could be. It’s Jesuit/Franciscan, partners with the business community for funding, demands accountability from it’s students and admits only the poor. What’s the problem with renting them space at probably $8/sq ft – that’s about $64k a year, or $6k a month. Do you consider that a windfall, Kathy?

        I continue to advocate starving the Church at the parish level. Force the parishes to close, one by one, until the clergy gets the message. Stop contributing to a Church that allows it’s employees to rape children.

      4. Charles- I think we are missing each others points. My point being when the school closes -the staff is out of work and the building is often rented or sold .I say this because you offered the pulling of kids from the schools solution as a way to take a stand -they wouldn’t care -just close another school -see ya. What I have seen is the teachers and staff suffer and the land/building sold. I do not at all disagree with what you state about donations- that is how the Church in Philly and all over the world is obviously funded but also see that pulling a student has more direct effect on the school and not the AD.
        Charles -just a few questions -who,what,where,when?? Tell us your stories from the inside. You may have mentioned it before and I missed it.

  5. Just to add some more thoughts to the comments I posted earlier on the site on this story and which appears below —

    I mentioned some of the questions parishioners should be getting answers to from the AOP. The People of God should also be getting COMPLETE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS FROM THE AOP.

    On the local parish level —

    Is there a financial board? Are the scheduled meetings listed in the church bulletin? Are the meetings open to parishioners? If they are closed people should be asking why? Is there a strict separation between collections for say, Catholic University of America, which was taken up in my DE parish today, and collections for the AOP? Are parishioners able to make checks out directly to PECO say for heat, AC, Light so that ALL THEIR CONTRIBUTION SAYS IN THE PARISH? If not why not? Call PECO yourself and arrange direct deposits to the parish church’s account.

    Abuse, theft, mismanagement, etc., happens in any corporation where it can be gotten away with just as there are kickbacks, special treatments and contract awards that go to those who DID NOT MAKE THE LOWEST BIDS. That is reality. All kinds of corporations can promise ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY but if it not demanded it may no be delivered. Too many wanted things to get back “to normal” even when A & T was promised by the USCCB in 2002. Remember, too, that there were factions in 2002 that opposed that A&T even before it was watered down by the Holy See.

    Have you noticed that the title of John Martin’s article was edited from “Judge tells archdiocese….” to “Judge orders archdiocese to get records for Lynn trial–just in case.”

    Perhaps it would be good to write letters to Judge Sarmina and just drop them off at the Criminal Justice Building or messenger them over there.

    Sister Maureen

    I don’t think I totally agree with Zeck’s comment about finanical fraud being “rare at the top levels of an archdiocese.” The institutional church’s secrecy levels have been and still are to a great extent about the best on the planet. It HAS been happening on parish levels and diocesan level but most of the time it’s not reported and if it did end up in a newspapers criminal charges were often never filed. Skuch was the case in the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, DE in the late 1980s-early 1990 when the CFO attempted to destroy records by setting fire to them. He at least kept calling the offices after hours to make sure no one was in the building. Church officials refused to bring charges against him which exhibits a rather cavalier attitude to the money that they are supposed to be the caretakers. If the People of God don’t demand TOTAL Accountability & Transparency on the local parish level AND ON THE ARCHDIOCSAN LEVEL they’re not going to get it. HAS ANYONE IN PHILLY DEMANDED TO KNOWN EXACTLY HOW MUCH THE AOP IS PAYING FOR THEIR PUBLIC RELATIONS PEOPLE, THEIR CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS, THEIR LOBBYISTS IN HARRISBURG OPPOSING STATUTE OF LIMITATION REFORM?

    People will only get what they demand! Demand Accountability & Transparency.

  6. This embezelment by clergy is not unusual.
    A clergyman here was seconded by the Wagga Wagga diocese to manage a charitable fund worth millions, connected to top bankers and a Trustees company only to divert $2.5 million to a non-existant Vanuato Develoment
    Foundation, built a ‘little paradise” in the Phillipines for the sexual exploitation of young boy’s, inviting many {some prominent} clergy over for “rest and recreation”.
    He eventually was jailed for abuse committed as far back as 1996 after claiming his innocence, but no word on embezzelment charges.
    Mercy and forgiveness for one but not another, yet all with the same Father.

    1. I stand to be corrected, the first charges related back to 1966, not 1996, the others occurred over the next seven years and further charges laid in 2002.

  7. Folks can demand this-and-that from the church, (at the parish level, the diocesan level and from Rome), until the cows come home but unless that demand is backed up by an ultimatum nothing will result.

    Let’s be honest and realistic: the Church is structured top down – and we are at the bottom. And the bottom does not demand from the top. Not without revolution. (That’s all I’m saying about that since I know that this is not the forum for that kind of talk).

    Father, May I please have a copy of the most recent financial statements and audit report for the parish and the Diocese? Please? No? Well then I’m sorry that I will have to withhold my contributions until you can get me that information. I’m sorry, what? Father, What do you mean that my daughter can’t get married here if I stop my payments? Oh. And my youngest can’t attend CCD? Oh. And I can’t get a copy of my baptismal certificate? Father, I’m so sorry I brought it up, please forgive me my presumptuousness.

    1. Right on the mark; well stated Charles!

      This is at the root of many problems within the Church, whether they are child abuse, or money mismanagement (“And the bottom does not demand from the top. Not without revolution.”)

      If we behave as children (and we do), the Church will gladly accommodate us. The RCC has a long history of child abuse. She abuses all Her children, those under 21, as well as those over 21. Only the from of abuse changes.

      Stop showing deference to these SOB!

    2. Charles – your description of this kind of convversation is right on target. I’m sure there are pastors who would not react this way but there are plenty who would – including my current one! I’m disgusted.

    3. Right on the mark; well stated Charles!

      This is at the root of many problems within the Church, whether they are child abuse, or money mismanagement (“And the bottom does not demand from the top. Not without revolution.”)

      If we behave as children (and we do), the Church will gladly accommodate us. The RCC has a long history of child abuse. She abuses all Her children, those under 21, as well as those over 21. I believe that only the form of abuse the Church uses to control the sheep changes.


    4. Charles- I agree. I read an online comment in a local paper that speaks to this. A woman moved into a new parish when she was 8 months pregnant-her family registered at the new parish . When she went to schedule her baby’s baptism the pastor contacted her former parish to check to see if her family had donated while they were members. How have we come this far that sacraments are connected with money? What Gospel does this reflect?

  8. I read a blurb on this topic earlier today. When I searched for more info, I noticed it was originally reported in July 2011. I wonder why it’s making another appearance now in the news?

    I enjoyed the closing comments where they assured that this missing money played no part in the closing of the schools.

    I remember years ago, we had a pastor that every year would speak from the pulpit and thoroughly review the financial status of the parish. He would also include a detailled explanation with the weekly bulletin. The parish was always in the black under that pastor and there was no tuition in the school.

    My last parish used to put a financial statement in the bulletin once a year, but at some point stopped

    I have many friends of Protestant faiths. Most of them tell me that their church is owned by the people, lay people run the operations via church council, they have professional accounting, and the minister handes pastoral duties. I’m sure they all have their own politics they deal with, but at least there is more of a checks and balance system and more accountability and control on site.

  9. Some Catholic crime is comical.

    Parishioners keep paying millions of dollars per week, yet the Archdiocese hides where the money goes. Despite the fact that the bishops and pope live in ridiculous riches, Catholics don’t question it or ask to examine the financial details about where their money goes. Good sheep.

    Now you find that someone can siphon a million dollars from the Archdiocese and nobody in their finance department noticed?? American Express had to tell them?
    Do you think other money is missing?
    Do you think they would tell you the truth about the scandal if it was?

    1. I don’t want to laugh, but I can’t help it.

      Patrick said, “Some Catholic crime is comical.”

      I agree.

      I thought the same thing too Patrick…HOW can it be that a million is embezzled and it takes a 3rd party, American Express, to notice?

      I’m hoping your average pew catholic will not just see a woman embezzling and turned over to authorities, but rather, dig a little deeper and question. How is it that in 6 YEARS, no one in the finance department noticed? Do you suppose they’ve been skimming as well? In the real world, when employees make those types of errors, they get fired. Perhaps they shouldn’t have stopped at the woman embezzling when they handed out pink slips.

      That many millions flowing through the AD that they don’t notice that amount trickling through their fingers? That ought to tell catholics about how well their money is managed.

      So, what have we learned boys and girls? In order to make the laity move, hit them in the schools. In order to make the hierarchy move, hit them in the wallet. (and press)

      What’s that I smell? Oh, coffee. Anyone else smell it?

      1. survivor’s wife,

        Imagine if you will, a financial scandal where a woman is stealing money. Of course, she says so in confession, and is immediately forgiven completely, but the other party can’t say anything under seal of confession. Others hear about it, steal money, confess to others, who are bound by the seal of confession. Then they steal…

        Imagine the whole thing getting discovered internally, and covered up rather than risk loss of embarrassment and trust by parishioners.

        This is how the child rape scandal spread, and in my opinion, there are identical financial scandals everywhere in the Catholic church. They have hundreds of years of accumulated wealth, and they could last another hundred even if no one contributed a dime.

        Of course, I can’t prove it. Of course, you can’t prove the opposite, but you know it makes sense. Now it depends on who you trust…

  10. The 2009 book on the Church approved apparitions in Ireland, Knock: The Virgin’s Apparition in Nineteenth-Century Ireland, by Eugene Hynes is a winner of the James S. Donnelly, Sr. award for Books in History and the Social Sciences presented by the American Conference for Irish Studies. The book lays out the plain facts that the Knock apparitions of Mary were faked by the priests because they were involved in a troubling and emotional land theft scandal, and the story of the apparitions served as a means of distracting the people from the crimes of the priests. Then there is the carefully documented book on Padre Pio, describing how he was ordered never to be around children (because of activities that are, you guessed it, permanently sealed in the Vatican’s secret archive), and how he secretly ordered carbolic acid, which many have claimed for decades (including the former Catholic President of the largest hospital in Rome) that he used to fake his so called stigmata wounds. And there are the academic books of Fr. Stafford Poole, Ph.D., who details the 500 year fake known as Our Lady of Guadalupe, an ordinary painting on canvas, and not on rough tilma, painted in 1556 and not in 1531, and the initials of the artist, M.A., are visible under the layers of crude pigments, not heavenly paint, and which has been repeatedly restored under the, you guessed it, Church ordered seal of secrecy. And there is the fake “Robe of Jesus”, as documented in James Carroll’s excellent 2007 documentary Constantine’s Sword, which was used by Adolph Hitler and his Cardinal Pacelli, later Pope, to propagandize the people in preparation for the coming war. Then there is the scholarly work, France and the Cult of the Sacred Heart: An Epic Tale for Modern Times (Studies on the History of Society and Culture) which describes how the legend of the Sacred Heart was invented and later used as a means of controlling the people at the time the French Revolution. I could go on, but you get the picture, the stories are all fake. Want more? Or do you really want to go on believing that St. Joseph Cupertino really flew up to the rafters of his church, when maybe he was just a little light in the loafers.

    1. Mark, I have often wondered why Knock wasn’t put under scrutiny, especially the wily manner the local priest at the time, had the airport moved to accommodate pilgrims.
      I won’t get into Pio out of respect for my fellow Catholics, but I will question why Mary as our Spiritual Mother, has never condemmed the treatment of her innocent children, having gone through the suffering for her own.

  11. It would be utterly naive of any of us to think that embezzlement has not occurred in the Catholic Church from the lowest levels of parish administration all the way to the halls of the Vatican. The temptation to put one’s hand in the coffers and dismiss the significance of the act is easily attributed to “entitlement” on the part of those who “believe” they are not being compensated appropriately for what they are doing….once you convince yourself that you are “entitled” to more, than you can justify almost anything, regardless of what your role or position is in the Church. I have found this “sense of entitlement” in every level of Church management, most notably amongst the pastors who “supervise and administer their parishes”… it any wonder most have resisted parish councils and finance councils in their parishes?

    1. Leo, your comment reminded me of a victim who counted the collection with the abusive priest. Before the money was counted by those scheduled to do it, the priest took all the cash and handed out 10 and 20 dollar bills to the victims like it was nothing.

      It was one of the ways the priest “groomed” his victims.

      In agreement about the sense of entitlement. It’s at all levels, in all facets of society too. The rcc is not immune.

      When the victim above tells his story, he doesn’t have to wonder whether catholics are more upset that the priest stole their money or whether the priest repeatedly raped him. He says the response is usually one of shock about the priest “stealing from the collection basket like that!”

      1. I once discovered an entire collection from a Sunday mass under a priests bed. The priest in question had died and his replacement was due to arrive so we were assigned the task of removing the deceased priest’s personal belongings and cleaning his room. Imagine our reaction when we discovered the parish collection (parish envelopes were still in the bag) more than one year later. We may think he stored it there for safekeeping only to forget that he had done so. However, upon closer examination, there was no currency larger than a dollar in the bag., hmmm. Another time I recall a pastor being asked how is it he could be so generous, his response was, “it’s easy when it’s not your money!” The financial scandals are the sounds of the other shoes hitting the sanctuary floor.

  12. I will throw a little good news into this conversation -maybe people are beginning to wake up after all. My alma mater which is appealing the decision to close, is raising money in hopes of staying open. The Alum assoc. has gone to great lengths to secure any money into a 501c3 -overseen by attorneys so that if the appeal is denied the money is returned to the donor or the donor has the option of having their donation go directly to student scholarships. It is referenced in all email comminications,written material,newspapers articles etc… the AD cannot touch this money. I believe this is the route the other appealing high schools are going also.

    1. Kathy,
      Years ago I was involved with a Developmement Committee for the grade school in another diocese. Our prime concern was to put the money raised in an acct that the diocese could not touch. Our hands were tied regarding getting a Tax ID number in order to get a 501C. We had an extremely generous donation that once the diocese heard about it, they took it. They said the school was not allowed to accept such a large donation and it was place “in the pot” at the diocese. Bye Bye generous donation.
      I am so skeptical, that I fear there will be some loophole that will eventualy allow the AD to get their hands on the money that the Alumni Assn is collecting.

      The recent update from the “Blue Ribbon Commission” reminds us that the decisions on the appeals are not limited to financial matters, but also to enrollment outlook. There are so many reason the AD could claim as to reject the appeals, despite money being raised.

      Just sign me,
      Been There, Done That

    2. The good thing is they already have the 501c3 and tax ID number established. Also if the appeal is approved and the school remains open the 501c3 will still remain separate -overseen by administrators to dispense money as necessary to the school.

  13. Mark… This is not pertanent to this discussion butit is to what you wrote about. I hope it’s ok to tell it.

    I went to Medjugorje, Yugoslavia in 1987. I didn’t believe in all the foll- de- rol but (being a convert at age 12 )was interested in what was going on. To my amazement up on Mt Krezevac (sp) at night…during a prayer meeting of the visionaries… with our group from Sct. Az(about 30 people). it happened ( in the pouring rain)…. I… and only….. I ….saw things(stars on a large sheet) come down from heaven,one from the east one from the west, up and down, that could not be provided by anyone other than from the heavens,Then a circle of stars that came down from heaven and then the rain stopped and a full moon came out. They were miraclulous sights. It was an experience I will never forget. No one saw this but myself and it was pertanent to me.

    People left to go down the Mt. and they said I stayed as in extasy, with my hands up in the air. I finally saw a person and asked them if they saw what I saw and they said no but saw other things that were unsusal.

    It was a very hard treck up the Mt. But I felt as though I was floating on my way down the Mt.

    The whole trip was very special to me and many more things happened along the way that also were, only for me… My rosary didn’t turn to gold ,nor did I want it to. I was not into going to confession to a priest (as there were lines around the church ) but had a perfect confession to God alone(from child hood to adult hood) standing in front of St. James(too crowded to get inside) when the apparition was going on. The birds were chirping in the trees like crazy but when the apparition started there were golden lights coming out of the room and the birds became silent, at the exact time the apparition started, until it ended. aprox. 15 min later.
    All the people left the church after mass and I hadn’t recieved communion, so I went inside. A priest was coming out of the sanctuary and I asked him for communion. He went and got the host for me

    . We were walking out of the church and I started to tell him what I had seen on the Mt top. and he rebuffed me saying oh, no that can’t be and I said I don’t care what you say Oh. yes it did happen. he laughed. After all this it was getting late…..and as ….

    I was very late getting back to our accomodations with our friends and the the locals, It was quite dark and I was singing Michael Row the Boat Ashore in English that I had heard them singing it in Croatin in the church(when I was standing out in front.)..

    My fellow travelers heard me singing on my way home and wanted to know what made me so happy. I started to tell them and they made fun of me and said that couldn’t happen , so I clamed up and said it wouldn’t interest them as it was personal to me. So….What say all of you???

  14. PS I have only told” this story”. to my family and a few believing friends and I know that it will cause a few controversies from allo f the readers but I’m a “big girl and can handle that.It has stayed with me all these years… I’m now going to be 83 in Aug. My husband didn’t go on the trip, he gave me the trip as a gift. I went alone.. but not really alone. We’re never alone.. TBTG


    In New York, Anita Collins (another woman named Anita) steals $1 million from the Catholic church (over 6 years), and gets caught today. Of course, in quick reading, I thought it was the same case. Nope. Different diocese, $1 million dollars missing.

    How awesome is it that the Catholic church has so much money that they don’t even notice when a MILLION dollars is missing for months or years, in two different places?

    First, rampant child sex abuse. Now we’ll probably get 100,000+ cases of embezzling and theft.

    Think there’s a chance that there were others, but they were hidden so that they parishioners didn’t find out about it?

    The good news women are getting more prominent positions in the Catholic church, and are starting to benefit form the excessive riches of the Catholic church.

    How much more does God have to do to show you this isn’t God’s church?

  16. As a complete outsider to this discussion I would make the following observations – filthy lucre has been the downfall forever of people, institutions and governments. Way before the practice of selling indulgences (remember Martin Luther) money in The Church, just like 30 pieces of silver, has plagued The Church and continues right up to this day. Gold, silver, grand edifices, the entire architecture of the Vatican and the cathedrals all over the world have stressed the ornate and the grand at the expense of the simple and the devout. Jesus was born in a stable. The Quakers seems, to me, to have the right attitude about all of this – “where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I shall be also.”


  17. Dear Susan and others…

    I love how you all claim to be “unbiased” against the Church and only concerned about child sexual abuse! This post proves your agenda all the more!!!

    This article is not even connected to how the Archdiocese handled (poorly obviously!) child sex abuse, and yet… you connect to it! how? why?

    Your claiming that the Archdiocese is more concerned about money than about the salvation of souls. Plus it was a laywomen who stole the money, not any bishop or priest or deacon.

    I was following your blog, but now I’m convinced of your biased hate for the Church. You don’t want to help the Church, you want a different Church!

    Like you-I want to rid the Church of sexual abuse of all kinds- but to claim that the AD has more concern for its assets than for its people is pure slander.

    I have often defended you among my friends, but this article flies in the face of all my efforts on your behalf. Sadly, I have lost all respect for you and this blog.

    1. Deborah, This issue is connected in that this woman is getting handled by the legal system for her crimes – whereas the priests who abused children were not immediately handed over to the law. I’m sorry if that connection was not more clear. The Archdiocesan leadership has not been transparent fiscally in general and our contributions are at stake. How much has gone to the legal consultation regarding clergy sex abuse? We don’t know. Why? Because there is no fiscal transparency. There are many fine people at 222 working very hard for the salvation of souls. That is without question. My father has served on his parish finance committee. There are many who give their time and talent to ensure the safeguarding of our Church money. But there are a few in leadership who should take a page from their book. Deborah, we are the Church. I don’t want different – I want better.

      I appreciate you calling me on what we publish. It’s important that I clearly communicate. If I haven’t, I apologize.

      1. “There are many fine people at 222 working very hard for the salvation of souls. That is without question.”


        What goes on at 222 has little to do with the “salvation of souls”. It’s the business end of things. It’s Finance, and Legal, and IT and Cemetery Maintenance and Education and Strategy and well, here, see for yourself. Here’s the link to everyone who works at 222:

        And here’s a link to the doctrine of Salvation, Justification & Grace:

        Just because all the offices at 222 have crucifixes on the wall does not mean anything Holy is going on. Surely, we have learned that much from the revelations of the Grand Jury Reports and the endless tales of incompetency reported in the daily press.

        Maybe some of the people who answer the telephone when you call are nice. Maybe the fellow who runs the security booth in the parking lot is nice (he once gave me a really good parking spot). Maybe the CFO who absconded with a cool million is nice. Maybe. But, come on: No one at 222 has anything to do with my [or our] Salvation. No One.

        1. Charles, I agree with much of what you share here. But I worked at 222. The building also houses Catholic Social Services, the Office for Immigration and many others who work for less than they deserve because they want to do the Lord’s work. And yes, I think they salvage a few souls – mine among them. I thought the security guards were particularly nice. They allowed me to park my soul there in a nice spot, too. Hah. While I had one boss who has been removed from ministry, I had another who taught me so much about hard work and humility. He contributed to who I am as a human being, and therefore, this site. I won’t paint everyone with the same brush.

    2. Deborah,
      I am interested in the money aspect because they use our money to pay lawyers to defend corrupt bishops and priests. You might not have read in prior blogs about lawyers fees, abuse payouts and how they may affect parishes and schools closings and merging. Also the parishes and archdioceses has not been open and transparent with the money we donate. Alot of the corruption in the church is related to power and greed just like outside the church. I in the past have donated large amounts of money to my parish. I would like to know the archbishop was a good “steward ” of my money and that it went to help parishes and charities not lined some one’s pocket or paid for laywers of some corrupt bihsop or priest……it is all connected and reliant to child sexual abuse and needs to be cleaned up. I am love my church and want checks and balances on the power and greed abuses.

      1. Beth, and you and everyone else have every right to expect that. I recall an Armed Forces chaplain giving his ” female charge” access to his master card to meet him in another state for the weekend, other than where either of them resided.
        Nobody’s business I suppose.
        She had a termination, he became a monsignor.

    3. Deborah, I want to thank you for often defendeding among your friends.

      Please tell me you have not lost all respect for me. Please. Before I sleep.

  18. Deborah,

    Perhaps it was my remarks that caused you to take umbrage. I did identify that I was outside the church. It was not my intent to cause pain to the devout. But, I think it is important to note that there is not just one issue with The Church – the crimes against the victims. As with any institution that shows signs of corruption in one area, there may well be other areas of corruption. Solving one area of the problems still leaves other areas that may need rehabilitation and correction. My impression in reading the many responses and reactions of the devout on these pages for the past year is that people are searching their Church and their hearts to understand what went wrong. Their faith in God is strong – unfortunately their faith in The Church has been eroded through no fault of their own.


    1. Reid, thanks for your remarks….they happen to be really accurate, as far as I am concerned!

      In an earlier post, I loved your remarks about the Quakers. I worked with them at the State level on poverty issues and love their prayer style too!

  19. In today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Chaput addresses the alleged $1 million embezzlement from the archdiocese. He says: “We will vigorously pursue restitution from the wrongdoer.” His expectation is justice.

    It is interesting to note how vigorously he pursues justice when the AD is the victim, and how vigorously he obstructs it when the AD is the wrongdoer.

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