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crime pays

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 13, 2005

Scenario #1: You are the head of a large charitable organization. For 16 years, you have been conducting annual fund drives, telling donors that the funds will go to needy people. Actually you've been using the funds for normal operating expenses, and the needy people are getting needier every year. The truth comes out. What happens to you? You go to jail.

Scenario #2: You are the CEO of a mid-sized corporation. For 16 years, you have failed to contribute as promised to the employees' pension fund, using those funds to boost corporate earnings. Now the pensions are vastly underfunded, and you can't pay what you owe. What happens to you? You go to jail.

Scenario #3: You are the archbishop of a major American see. For 16 years, you collected money for the priests' retirement fund, but diverted the funds to operating expenses. Now the priests' pensions have to be cut. What happens to you? You remain archpriest of a major Roman basilica.

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  • Posted by: - May. 17, 2005 9:13 PM ET USA

    We have the priests' retirement collection yearly here in Los Angeles. The 1st time they had the collection, without knowing any other details, I said fraud fraud fraud. How can you possibly be collecting money yearly for a funded pension plan unless it isnt funded? My screen name here is the question we need to ask!

  • Posted by: Sterling - May. 16, 2005 2:30 PM ET USA

    The point that seems lost on some readers here is that for 16 consecutive Christmases, John and Jane Catholic were beseeched by the Archiocese to contribute specifically to a priests' pension fund. But none of the contributed money went to that fund. The Archdiocese has admitted this to the press. Do the words "fraud" and "lying" mean anything? Or shall we blame the NY Times and people like Diogenes? Wake up! That's how we reacted when the sex abuse scandal first broke.

  • Posted by: benedictusoblatus - May. 14, 2005 2:41 PM ET USA

    New Idea: Priests should not retire at all. Even as old men they have to breathe and walk around. Let them do it in the rectory and at the altar. And when they are unable to carry out any duties at all, let them go to Church owned retirement homes (monasteries) where they can live out their days continuing their priestly ministry of intercession and prayer. Priests are not accountants ... they shouldn't look forward to retiring to Arizona or Florida.

  • Posted by: RC - May. 14, 2005 12:03 PM ET USA

    So far the RCAB web site doesn't challenge the story's accuracy. If it's all true ($4.5M/year for 16 years), it takes the misdeeds of the responsible bishops to a new level: first, they covered up crimes against individuals. With this, they perpetrated their own crime against the institution itself, and against the priests and the donors -- which is more or less every practicing Catholic in the Archdiocese.

  • Posted by: parochus - May. 14, 2005 2:55 AM ET USA

    In my experience, the laity are well-disposed to contribute to the retirement of priests and religious. But to abuse this generosity by soliciting funds under a guise and diverting the money elsewhere is not only illegal under civil law and canon 1300, it is gravely immoral. It makes me want to spit.

  • Posted by: - May. 14, 2005 12:04 AM ET USA

    Scenario #4: You are an unidentified columnist for a "Catholic" e-mag. You write whatever makes your org's hit rate rise, [read: whatever makes the NYT look good and (insert hierarchy member here) look bad], your publisher very happy, and, hey, extra, you get in good with the New York Times! What happens to you? You are gushed over by a few and gain the name "Uncle."

  • Posted by: - May. 13, 2005 3:33 PM ET USA

    This new revelation is a spot-on example of the Bernard Law mindset in the management of his diocese. God help us.

  • Posted by: - May. 13, 2005 2:52 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, it takes all types, and yours is that of a hangman.

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