You could buy 43 tons of food for the hungry, or....

By Diogenes (articles ) | Sep 25, 2004

You live in Orange, California. The cost of living is high, and times are tough. You fall behind on your mortgage payments. You're desperate. Where do you turn?

Ah, but since you're a faithful Catholic-- never miss Sunday Mass, never fail to throw something into the collection-- you know that you can turn to your parish priest for help.

You call, asking to speak with him. He's friendly, sympathetic. He invites you over to his house for a chat.

What's wrong with this picture?

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 15 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Dec. 05, 2004 12:24 AM ET USA

    Yes, that's what occurred to me.... Priestly service is a vocation and ministry not a job. St. John Vianney comes to mind. Just as marriage is a vocation and not a job. Imagine, living offsite from your family to avoid burnout or whatever! Orange Diocese member.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 03, 2004 8:50 PM ET USA

    What do you call a Catholic who puts money in the parish collection plate? A sucker. Put it in an interest bearing savings account instead. Each week, in the collection plate, put a note. On the note is the savings account balance, and a short note explaining that they can have the money when they start doing their job. That means embracing poverty, saying the Mass right, hearing confessions for at least five hours per week, and teaching Catholic doctrine.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 03, 2004 6:59 PM ET USA

    Why is Msgr Baird (at approx 61 years of age) retired and living in a $2 million manse?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 03, 2004 6:55 PM ET USA

    "What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul?" "I have come to serve not to be served." Caught up in all the trappings like everybody else in this country who wants the "good life."

  • Posted by: - Sep. 27, 2004 11:38 PM ET USA

    Be kind to our clerics -- did you see what they have to put up with? Some of those terracotta roofs don't match the trim on the house. And the vegetation! -- oh, the horror. Sheer Eye for the Hedge Guy.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 27, 2004 6:59 PM ET USA

    The "giver" in the case of cash gifts, t entities is responsible to see that the gift is at minimum, justly used. When it comes time to write the Sunday tithe, just think "to whom?" The Missionaries of Charity, Franciscians of the Renewal, EWTN or the Rectors of Orange County, who live better than 98% of America and 99% of the rest of the world. Fool me once, shame on me, fool me twice...They would never get a dime from me until these are sold, not a dime.

  • Posted by: Charles134 - Sep. 27, 2004 1:38 PM ET USA

    Reminds me of one of Fr. Groeschel's lines, "If this is your poverty, I'd hate to see your chastity."

  • Posted by: - Sep. 27, 2004 1:33 PM ET USA

    This is a gift from the parishioners who think it's impious to ask where their money goes when they drop it in the plate. The way it works is, you give the Rector your money, and it's his to do with as he wants. Voila, you get high-rolling priests. And this is common. But dare to ask, in your parish, where the money is really going and you'll get stonewalled by priest and parishioners alike.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Sep. 27, 2004 1:14 PM ET USA

    The article cites a memo from Fr. Heher, defending the practice of buying million-dollar homes "off-site" for the priests, supporting Bishop Tod "with one 'D'" Brown's policies regarding priests' homes (rectories should be on-site or nearly on-site, as this is not a "job," but a vocation.); the same Fr. Heher (now vicar general), spoke to Orange priests in a "retreat" during the height of the scandal, giving a talk focused on whether they like "Ken" or "Barbie" & "being honest with themselves."

  • Posted by: - Sep. 27, 2004 10:39 AM ET USA

    Only the laity can save the church!

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2004 4:49 PM ET USA

    Not exactly "humble dwellings" ! Has the "spirit of poverty" been replaced by the spirit of lust ? How much more will the paying parishioners put up with ?

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Sep. 26, 2004 4:37 PM ET USA

    Most of these are by no means luxury-priced houses for Orange County. What's wrong is the premise that the priest should not live in the rectory to begin with. I assume (without evidence) that if my spouse has a heart attack at 3AM and I call the parish number my call will be forwarded and the pastor will rush with viaticum. But suppose I become suicidal and make one final stop at the rectory hoping to be talked out of it. Sorry. Father works 9-5. See you on the other side.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2004 12:26 PM ET USA

    Considering the number of not just poor but starving people in the world, this is indefensible. One group I know of that works with the poor can feed a child for a month with $25. That bishops and priests can live this sort of decadent, sensual lifestyle (and it is sensual--ocean front, spas) is a sign of spiritual bankruptcy. Very few bishops have honestly dealt with the sex abuse scandal and this sort of lifestyle can only encourage sexual immorality among those already so inclined.

  • Posted by: - Sep. 25, 2004 10:16 PM ET USA

    The priest is God's man, a man chosen out from his peers to offer sacrifice for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls. His intimate relationship with God requires that he should possess a disposition inclined to the attainment of spiritual perfection. I do not see how a priest living away from his church in a million dollar home is able to accomplish any of those goals for which he should strive. He condemns himself by his worldliness, mediocrity and worse. OPEN YOUR EYES!

  • Posted by: - Sep. 25, 2004 8:48 PM ET USA

    Aw shucks Diogenes, don't you read Scripture? I mean, Our Lord did say: "In my Father's house there are many mansions..." I'm sure the good Bishop of Orange (which sort of sounds Chaucerian...) is just being faithful to the New Testament, right?