Canon Law – Legal Bishops’ Use of The Faithful’s Money

Some years ago I was at a parish that had a “capital campaign” to raise money to build a new multi-million dollar education building. The faithful were shown the survey of the land to be purchased onand drawings of the new building. Once the money was raised, I was told that there was a directive from powers beyond the parish level that the parish must use the money to build a new church, not an education building. I raised the issue that the money had been collected for an education building. I said that my family and others had been defrauded. Promptly a representative of the parish finance council contacted me and said that, if I wanted, our donated money would be refunded. I found out that, under canon law, money collected for one purpose cannot then be used for another purpose. (As an aside, the new church building was built, and, some years later, God flooded it, completely). I was then asked by the pastor personally to leave the parish. Since it was not his, I stayed.

Canon law – the Church’s own law – says this:

“Canon 1267, §3: Offerings given by the faithful for a specified purpose may be used only for that purpose.”

“Canon 1300: The intentions of the faithful who give or leave goods to pious causes . . . are to be most carefully observed, even in the manner of the administration and the expending of the goods . . . . “

I am unaware of any “Capital Campaign To Raise Money To Pay Off Sexual Assault Victims Of Priests & Bishops” in any parish or diocese in America; of a “Pay For Priest & Prelate Predators Campaign,” or of a fundraiser “For The Pastoral Malpractice Of Bishops Who Enabled, Fostered , And Shuttled Abusers & Criminals.” In short, I am aware of no Catholic in the USA who donated money for the bishops to use to pay off claims against the Church and against them. It would be very surprising if, court-sealed, secret settlement documents do not include the provisions that all claims against the bishops personally are also settled, and ended, by the agreements.

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Editor’s note: Carefully check your parish’s annual financial accounting summary and pay special attention to any and all insurance costs listed therein, especially for health care, disability, workmen’s compensation and similar items. It’s very likely that you will find these costs to be anywhere from thirty to fifty percent higher than they should be, since many parishes are forced to pay a silent “tax” in order to refill the coffers of the dioceses’ “secret insurance fund” used to help pay off past settlements or to prepare for future settlements.   

Seen on the web: Cocktail napkin math on the estimated cost of the abuse scandal.

Cocktail napkin math follows. Your results may vary.

Largest US diocese (LA)

$660 million paid to settle 100s of cases.

227 million paid by insurance.

60 million from religious orders by agreement.

123 million expected from litigation against religious orders not part of the deal.

The diocese was left to pay $250 million out of its own coffers. That covers cases going back many years.

4.7 million Catholics in L.A.
31% average weekly attendance.

c 1.5 million Saturday/Sunday attendees per week.

Avg donation $5 per week.
Average haul overall $7.5 million/weekly
$390 million per year.

64% of the total collection plate haul for one year would cover 40-50 years of abuse settlements.

But the church has bank accounts, investments and significant real estate holdings that they have been liquidating. The church and parishes also pick up a lot of money from non-collection plate donations: wills and bequests, a variety of fund raising operations, large direct donations and even private grants. So the amount coming out the collection plate would be far less than 64%, even if one year of collections was used to pay the entire settlement spanning decades.

They’re in a cash crunch, but they don’t need to confiscate the collections. Most of the money from the collection basket still goes to parish operating costs.


Catholic Bishop lauded for sense of compassion and justice in handling his diocese’s abuse scandal

COVINGTON, Ky. – For years we’ve heard the emotional stories of men and women sexually abused, in their teens, within the Diocese of Covington. However, family members of those victims have kept quiet about their own pain and suffering – until now.

Victims’ cries weren’t clearly heard until the 2002 installation of Roger Foys as bishop.

He met many of them and helped settle the country’s only class action sex abuse lawsuit.

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