Leon J. Podles :: DIALOGUE

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The Root of All Evil

October 14th, 2013 · 36 Comments

If the Catholic Church were serious about preventing sexual abuse (which it is not), one simple method is available: audited accounting of all church financial records.

Almost invariably, sexual misconduct has been paid for by misuse or outright theft of church funds,

The case of Gary Mercure is only one of thousands:

The records reveal that Mercure systematically stole money from church coffers and used it to lavish young men and boys with cash, gifts and living expenses as he brazenly maintained a sexually active, homosexual lifestyle for decades.

The donations of the faithful funded Mercure’s lifestyle:

In 2008, when Bishop Howard J. Hubbard sought to confront Mercure about overwhelming evidence that he had sexually abused minors, the priest responded that he was on vacation and could not be reached by telephone.

But Hubbard, in an internal document, had his staff trace the phone number. They learned Mercure was secretly vacationing at a gay resort “where the choice to wear something or nothing is yours … (with) erotic video lounge showing adult male videos.”

Sexual activity is private and is sometimes hard to detect, but money can be traced with ease.

However, church officials are even less interested in ending theft than they are in ending sexual abuse.

One elderly pastor told me that he had never been in a parish in which someone was not on the take.

Diocese accounts are set up so that money can be siphoned off with ease. Perhaps this goes back to the feudal concept under the old canon law, in which the income of a parish was the property of the pastor. From that he paid his assistants, the upkeep of the church, the dollar a day he allowed to the nuns, etc.

The financial system in many dioceses is susceptible to theft or misappropriation, and dioceses show little interest in preventing it until the problem becomes public.

In Baltimore each parish has its own bookkeeper and accounts. There seems to be little overall supervision or regular auditing.

Father Nick Cieri on the left

and his housemate Father Larry Johnson in the center

with two young friends

Domenic Cieri was director of liturgy (1984-1992) in the archdiocese of Baltimore  and then pastor (1992-2007) of St. Bernadette’s parish in Severn, Maryland, on the far southern fringe of the Baltimore metropolitan area.

There he set to accomplish two things: making St. Bernadette’s a gay-friendly parish and making himself financially comfortable. He succeeded in both.

In making St. Bernadette’s a national center of gay ministry, he set up several groups with the assistance of Ann McDonald.

As pastoral associate at St. Bernadette Parish on Stevenson Road, Ms. McDonald helped found Reclaim in 1997 as a group for homosexual adults to ease the pain of alienation they felt toward the church and its teachings. Today, she helps preside over a group that has grown significantly, touching on issues such as the Catholic church’s relationship with gay adults, as well as its relationship with the parents of gay children, gay families and even gay teenagers. The most recent branch of the group, called Recharge, is an alumni group for the more than 200 people who have completed Reclaim over the years and either have joined Catholicism though Baptism or reinvesting in the faith through Catechism and confirmation. Some gay members join Reclaim if only to feel comfortable enough in their spirituality to attend Mass again, Ms. McDonald said. The church’s pastor said the newest incarnation of Reclaim will help graduates stay energized about and connected to Christianity, if only by knowing they’re part of a larger religious family.|”Reclaim is about trying to touch people in a meaningful way,” said St. Bernadette Pastor Domenic L. Cieri. “The church teaches its members to love and be loved in return and we want to help gay and lesbian members feel wanted by the church and by God.”|With a progressive, 1,200-family congregation at St. Bernadette Parish, Ms. McDonald said, there are plenty of ways for gays and lesbians, no matter their religion, to find acceptance and learn that being gay is not a sin. With dozens of pamphlets about gay and lesbian issues in the church office and vestibule, straight congregation members have numerous opportunities to educate themselves and realize that being gay is not an evil choice, Ms. McDonald said,

This was all done with the blessing of the Archdiocese of Baltimore:

With the Catholic church struggling with a myriad of issues, Reclaim is a step ahead of many of the 161 churches in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.|”Reclaim is a good gateway to educate people on the church’s teachings,” said Deacon Paul A. Weber, director of the Office of Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Catholics for the Archdiocese. “Many communities, quite frankly, are unfamiliar with issues of same-sex orientation.”|According to the Rev. Weber and Ms. McDonald, no one at St. Bernadette or the Archdiocese of Baltimore hierarchy has ever voiced any objections to Reclaim, even though some Catholic circles frown upon the practice of homosexuality.”

It is not clear whether  St. Bernadette’s and the Archdiocese are or are not among those Catholic circles which frown upon the practice of homosexuality. However the parish’s web site claims that it is “providing pastoral care in keeping with the church’s teaching on chastity.” It is not clear which teaching this is referring to – Dominic Cieri’s or the Vatican’s.

(In July 2008 Ann McDonald was appointed Pastoral Life Director at St. Bernadette’s.)

Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of the Archdiocese of Baltimore participated in this work at St. Bernadette’s:

With a message of humility, faith in times of suffering and God’s unconditional love, a bishop with the Archdiocese of Baltimore celebrated Mass yesterday at a service devoted to gay and lesbian Catholics.

“‘As bishop, being here this afternoon in this community, I do so with genuine affection and gentleness to you,’ Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski, the eastern vicar, told those gathered at St. Bernadette Roman Catholic Church in Severn, [Md.,] a parish that has had a thriving gay and lesbian ministry since 1997.

“Reflecting on Scripture readings about the Apostle Paul’s admiration for the Thessalonians as ‘faithful people who embraced the cross at a time of suffering,’ the bishop added, ‘In our own time, you know the struggle, some of you, of being gay and lesbian.’

“The service – the second in five years sponsored by Baltimore’s Archdiocesan Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Catholics and offered by St. Bernadette’s – attracted same-sex couples, single gay men and women, and parents of gay children, as well as churchgoers hoping to send a message to Catholic leaders with their presence at such a Mass.

“Attendees traveled from Pennsylvania, Virginia, the District of Columbia and across Maryland for the religious service – and, more important, they said, an inclusive welcome that is not available to them at many Catholic parishes.

Cieri’s work in making St. Bernadette’s a gay-friendly parish was acknowledged by the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Gay and Lesbian Ministries and by New Ways Ministry. He explained: “My integrative awareness status is indicated to me by the work in establishing safe and welcoming places for GBLT in my parish.”

He explains what he means:

“I identity as a white, middle-class, suburban gay male…You might say I am a soft male (my words). I am not macho and never have been.

“At the time of puberty I was very aware of being attracted to males. This was somewhat distressing, Even though I wanted to be a priest, I still had a desire to have a family.  I began to wonder what it would be like to be a girl.  Then I could get married and have a family with the boy of my dreams.

Cieri claims that his pro-gay work got him into trouble: “Naturally it got me into trouble with Church authority.” This does not seem to be the case; auxiliary bishops (Bishop Newman and Bishop Rozanski) spoke at St. Bernadette’s and praised the work there. Something else led to trouble for Domenic Leo Cieri.

While demonstrating a revisionist attitude toward traditional morality on sexuality, Cieri also set about his second goal of achieving financial comfort.

In 1999, 2000 and  2005 St. Bernadette’s, a very-well-to do suburban parish, ran an operating deficit. This is not surprising in light of what was later revealed.

In October 2006 Archbishop Keeler of Baltimore was in a serious automobile accident. He needed brain surgery in June 2007, and was therefore out of commission and had to be replaced by Archbishop Lori in July 2007.

Immediately after the accident, in October 2006, and after it had received an anonymous tip, the Archdiocese conducted an audit of St. Bernadette’s with special attention to compensation and was not happy with the results.

Domenic Cieri was pastor of St. Bernadette’s in Severn. He was supposed to be in residence there and receiving compensation according to an archdiocesan scale.

In fact (see here and here and here):

· Cieri was not in residence at St. Bernadette’s. He was living in Glen Arm, 34 miles away, in a house he had purchased with the Rev. Lawrence Johnson (former agent for the AIDS Interfaith Network of Central Maryland and now chaplain at Stella Maris) in 2001 for $255,000. The house is currently estimated at $455,000.

· Cieri earned nearly $48,000 a year for the fiscal year ending in June 2006, about 70 percent more than the $28,122 that the archdiocese says he was to earn as a pastor ordained for 25 years. His pay and other compensation was hidden in the budgeted single line item of $475,000 for “Salary and related.”

· Cieri was reimbursed nearly $36,000 for rectory expenses, although he did not live in the rectory attached to the church.

· Cieri received $14,000 as a housing allowance,

· Cieri received $6,300 in Mass stipends. Priests have the choice of receiving Mass stipends for individual Masses or a lump sum of $2,000 per year - for all masses an amount set by the archdiocese.

· Cieri, since he was not in residence, paid other priests to do his work. The church also paid a lot of money in stipends to visiting priests who celebrated some of the church’s four Masses each weekend,

· The lay parish officials had approved all payments, so there was no possibility of the parish recovering any of the money. The leaders thought that because others on staff earned salaries in the $40,000 range, it was appropriate to pay the pastor a comparable wage. They said they felt manipulated by the Rev. Cieri in approving his salary and compensation.

· According to the Bishop Rozanski, the archdiocese has no plans to formally reprimand or punish the Rev. Cieri, and his fate will depend on his own decisions after he ends his leave.

It is not clear whether this extra compensation was the annual or the total figure; it seems to be annual. If that is the case, during his pastorate Cieri received about $1 million more than archdiocesan guidelines provided.

Cieri resigned on May 29, 2007, because of, he explained, “differences regarding fiscal policies.” That’s one way of putting it. Cieri’ s attitude to the  priesthood seems to be based on that of Pope Leo X, who is reported to have said on his election “God has given us the papacy; let us enjoy it.”

Cieri claims he is experienced in “financial management.” Under the name of Nick Cieri, he became a financial advisor with SmithBarney and then with First Financial Group. In this capacity he was

Licensed to sell insurance products and to offer securities in the Mid-Atlantic States, Nick Cieri serves as a Financial Advisor for MassMutual Financial Group, a marketing segment of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual or MML). Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, Nick Cieri operates as a registered representative delivering investment advisory, securities, and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC, a member of the Securities Investor Protection.

An expert financial counselor - ask St. Bernadette’s!

He would help his clients  engage in careful financial planning to achieve their financial goals – as he had done.

A seasoned financial advisor, Nick Cieri serves clients through MassMutual Financial Group, a firm located in Hunt Valley, Maryland. Understanding that financial planning often involves a great deal of anxiety, Mr. Cieri offers all of his clients the personalized attention and insight that they deserve. Individuals come to MassMutual Financial Group for a variety of reasons. Some want assistance with preparations for college, retirement, or other life milestones, while others simply need reliable life, long-term care, or disability income insurance. Nick Cieri listens closely to the needs of each client, discusses the relevant options, provides them the information necessary to make an informed decision, and connects them to the best products and services available. Mr. Cieri places his clients’ well-being above all else and is committed to integrity (my emphasis).

Through his practice, Nick Cieri gives clients advice about navigating today’s complex markets to achieve financial freedom. He employs a team of experienced professionals who support his mission with expertise in retirement services, annuities, charitable giving, executive compensation, and estate planning. When clients first come to Mr. Cieri, he performs a comprehensive audit of their financial situations to accurately represent where they stand. After discussing expectations and strategy with clients, he matches them to the products that will best help them achieve their goals, which often involves a diverse array of services.

It should be a great comfort to clients to know that Cieri is “committed to integrity,” as his record so clearly demonstrates.

Cieri is now a substitute school counselor in the Baltimore County public schools.

I had met Cieri when he was the director of liturgy for the archdiocese. Cieri would frequently come to say mass at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Mount Washington, where the pastor was Nicholas Amato, who had worked with Cieri in the central offices because Amato had been archdiocesan director of education. Cieri explained to me that Jesus had not initiated the Catholic priesthood, but it was started centuries later. I pointed out that this was what the fundamentalists also claimed.  I mentioned to Cieri that the Baltimore Sun had reported that half the members of the burgeoning evangelical and charismatic churches around Baltimore were former Catholics. He said they had left because Catholicism was too perfect for them, and we should not try to persuade them to come back. I now suspect that he feared that might bring back with them their ideas about sexual morality, which they had learned from the highly unreliable source of the Bible.


Tags: Church finances · Masculinity · Narcissism · clergy sex abuse scandal · homosexuality

36 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jerry Slevin // Oct 15, 2013 at 10:05 am

    Thanks, Leon, for the exhaustive research so effectively and fairly presented.
    Pope Francis, though, still hasn’t gotten the message yet. Please see my remarks. “Pope Francis Earns Low Grades on Reform So Far”, at:

  • 2 Kurt gladsky // Oct 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Well Leon I am glad to see that you are still a Catholic. The Archdiocese of Baltimore through Allison Dalessandro offered to settle with me last week. Well I told her I remembered in Annapolis sitting in the State Senate in the seat directly in front of her as we were trying to get a bill passed to protect children. Of course the Archdiocese sent Dick Dowling to oppose ANY bill we brought before them. Even Senate bill 037: “The timely reporting of sexual abuse and violence against children.” Sounds like a no brainer, huh Lee? With House Judiciary Chairman Joseph P. Vallario Jr.solidly in their pocket, {He lives on Rosaryville Rd, in Upper Marlboro Maybe his crib was bought and paid for by “Holy Mother Church.”} Idont think Maryland children stand a chance. The priests and brothers love the lust of young flesh. They are addicts after all. They can not stop. { I didn’t settle. What they offered was a joke.} Kurt Gladsky: Founder,Marylanders United For justice To End Sexual Abuse. Towson Maryland gladsky@aol.com

  • 3 Paris Arrow // Oct 15, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    The Root of All Evil is the exclusive power of priests to be able to clone Christ and 1.2 billion Catholics blindly believe them, and therefore they are “above the law” and can get away with every sickening crime out there as I explicate in my blog http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/

  • 4 Paris Arrow // Oct 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    The Root of All Evil is the exclusive power of priests to be able to clone Christ and 1.2 billion Catholics blindly believe them, and therefore priests are “above the law” and can get away with every sickening crime out there as I explicate in my blog “Pope Crimes and Vatican Evils http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/

  • 5 IllinoisCatholic // Oct 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Is the hierarchy of the Church about 90 percent gay or what? The level of obsession with homosexuality is astounding.

  • 6 Joseph D'Hippolito // Oct 15, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    “I mentioned to Cieri that the Baltimore Sun had reported that half the members of the burgeoning evangelical and charismatic churches around Baltimore were former Catholics. He said they had left because Catholicism was too perfect for them, and we should not try to persuade them to come back.”

    Catholicism was too perfect for them? What the Hell does that mean? It seems that the good ex-father is another example of institutional arrogance and blind groupthink.

    The good ex-father’s comment reminds me of Jesus’ words to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:4: “They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”

    That’s because Catholicism has become far too reliant on esoteric, academic, hyper-intellectual theology that has no practical use for the daily situations that real people face. While Catholicism does teach the Gospel, trying to find it is like digging through eons of archeological strata just to find a piece of pottery.

    “I now suspect that he feared that might bring back with them their ideas about sexual morality, which they had learned from the highly unreliable source of the Bible.”

    Brilliant! Simply brilliant!

  • 7 IllinoisCatholic // Oct 15, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    If the Church had spent as much time, effort and money fighting abortion and legalization of pornography and sodomy as it has fighting victims of sexual abuse by priests, the previously-mentioned vices probably still would be illegal. I’d love to know how much money has come out of Church coffers to fund gay rights initiatives.


  • 8 Tony de New York // Oct 16, 2013 at 8:36 am

    “The Root of All Evil is the exclusive power of priests ”


    10For the love of money IS a root of ALL sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
    1 Timothy 6:10

    GOD will punish u 4 your HATE against his church.

  • 9 Father Michael K // Oct 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Good article Leon, though reading it made me feel sick. How can these guys look at themselves in the mirror?

  • 10 Mary Ann // Oct 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Thanks for standing up, Tony. Some comments should not be allowed.

    Thanks to Mr. Podles for posting the link to the Minnesota story. More than anything I have read in a long time, that proves the Church is still institutionally engaged in criminal obstruction of justice. Now if the bishops can just hang on and obstruct a bit longer, the homosexuals will get “minor attraction” decriminalized and then the bishops won’t need to ever do anything to fix anything. They are helping hat process with their support of the new Common Core curriculum.

  • 11 Mary // Oct 16, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    A well researched book on the topic of misappropriated Diocesan funds.
    I read the book but really did not need to because sadly we lived it in two of the Diocese we were once a part of.
    Clermont was a Diocesan accountant in Atlanta
    who discovered financial discrepencies by a priest and a nun. When she reported it to the Bishop, she was the one who was fired. this is just one way the institutional church has created it’s own worst enemies.
    The Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova’s School of Business reported in January 2007 that 85% of U.S. dioceses responding said that they had uncovered embezzlement schemes over the past five years. More than 10% reported that the amounts stolen exceeded half a million dollars. The study reported that the Catholic Church has some of the most rigorous financial guidelines of any denomination, but found that the guidelines were often ignored in parishes. Some of the cash that goes into the collection plate does not always get deposited into the church’s bank account because of high-living clerical life-styles or embezzlement or both. “

  • 12 Jim Howard // Oct 17, 2013 at 5:30 am

    After spending 11 years in active ministry, I left to get married. Yes, I failed in my promise of celibacy, but I always believed that every priest has an obligation to uphold what is true.

    The church has always tried to deal with personal imperfections by drawing lines between the internal forum and public image of its priests. I always maintained that this kind of thinking would one day cause the church great pain.

    Leon, you have done a great service to the church in your writing and most of your insight is spot on.

    Pope Francis knows the truth of the situation and has articulated in his reflection on the distinction between sinners and the corrupt. The corrupt truly believe they are doing nothing wrong because they look at life through a different lens than normal people. They exist in every walk of life and at every level of the church. Until we are willing to remove them from positions where they can do harm, we will continue to suffer.

  • 13 Sibyl S. // Oct 17, 2013 at 8:33 am

    This article is one of the best of Dr. Podles’ impeccably researched and written articles.

    The Catholic Church has not abided by its own canons, positions and documents and Scripture in regard to (unrepentant) homosexually-inclined priests and they have reaped the whirlwind.

    The official Church affirming position (CCC#841) on Islam is another grievous error that has misled many and will cause much more grief. Islam is a blasphemous, heretical perversion of both Judaism and Christianity that produces the opposite fruit in its followers that is the opposite of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit.

  • 14 Sibyl S. // Oct 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I refer to the supposed official Church position on homosexuality in the priesthood.
    Found here: http://www.rcf.org/docs/1961DocFound.html -

    Canon Law Digest, Volume V By T. Lincoln Bouscaren, SJ., A.M., LL.B., S.T.D. and James I O’Connor, SJ., A.M., S.T.L., J.C.D. Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, 1963

    Imprimatur, William E Cousins, Archbishop of Milwaukee, 1963 Library of Congress Cataogy Card Number: 34-17225 Library call letters: BQV 212.868 v. 5

  • 15 Sibyl S. // Oct 17, 2013 at 8:39 am

    And here (see Item 2.):

  • 16 IllinoisCatholic // Oct 17, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Oh my, Cousins was bishop here in Peoria, IL, where, I was told, he was known as a country club bishop. I found a framed portrait of him in the parish rectory a while back. I believe Cousins was one of Mundelein’s boys.

  • 17 Just another voice // Oct 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Michael Voris hosted Fr Peter Stravinskas on his radio program this week. He praised the fruits of the Parochial school system. Stravinskas is no friend to thousands of Catholics who chose to homeschool.
    “In an apparent override of Natural law, common sense, and the Magisterium of the Church, Our Sunday Visitor has published an interview with the formerly respectable and orthodox Priest, Fr. Peter Stravinskas. After reading this article however, I will never again apply the glorious label of orthodoxy to this cleric.”

    People are also wondering if Michael Voris is man enough to host the same cleric on a show concerning the topic of Diocesan and parish financial improprieties .
    “A noted Catholic thinker who was brought in to run St. Anthony Catholic Church in south Omaha allegedly spent more than $400,000 in 1 and 1/2 years - at a small parish that normally spent about $50,000 a year.
    Police are investigating the Rev. Peter Stravinskas’ handling of St. Anthony’s parish funds after parishioners filed a report of a possible embezzlement. Detectives have told a judge it appears parish money was spent on Stravinskas’ personal expenses, including travel, mortgage payments and credit cards.”
    Too many writers and speakers have had their names prefaced as a “noted catholic thinker.”

    Thank you Mr Podles for another excellent article and a genuine intellect and courage to speak the truth!

  • 18 Just another voice // Oct 17, 2013 at 8:44 pm


  • 19 Joseph D'Hippolito // Oct 19, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Tony de New York, you must remember that the love of money and the love of power reflect the same kind of sin. In fact, money has no value in and of itself, outside of the arbitrary value each coin and bill receives. Money is merely a means of exchange to get things. People who love money excessively love the power it can bring them. In essence, loving money reflects loving power.

    Sibyl S., you are exactly right about the Catholic Church’s teaching on Islam. Not only has that false teaching confused a lot of people but it also has stifled the potential for Catholic moral outrage at Islamist butchery:


  • 20 Joseph D'Hippolito // Oct 19, 2013 at 1:31 am

    Tony de New York, you must remember that the love of money and the love of power reflect the same kind of sin. In fact, money has no value in and of itself, outside of the arbitrary value each coin and bill receives. Money is merely a means of exchange to get things. People who love money excessively love the power it can bring them. In essence, loving money reflects loving power.

    Sibyl S., you are exactly right about the Catholic Church’s teaching on Islam. Not only has that false teaching confused a lot of people but it also has stifled the potential for Catholic moral outrage at Islamist butchery:


  • 21 Mary // Oct 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Are the Numbers of Child Molesters Increasing?


  • 22 Mary // Oct 20, 2013 at 10:39 am

    It would be mind blowing if we knew the exact amount the institutional Church has paid out over the past four decades.
    In 1994 I learned about the the three and half million paid out in the Diocese I lived in thanks to a Rico Suit which was published in the News. When I tried to share this with other Catholics they did not believe me and called me “evil.” The Bishop went onto lie and collaborate with his Planned Parenthood friends like M Calderone. In the meantime, his foolishly pious groupies and the Vatican praised him for being so “Pro Life.”
    No wonder Pope Francis wants Catholics to play down contraception and abortion when evangelizing for the Church. He knows his own have colluded and conspired for the opposite.
    No Church institution can truly be pro life and sweep sexual abuse by their own “Shepherds”under the rug.

    “….Up to 250 thousand , if you could get a Confidentiality Clause.”


  • 23 Mary Ann // Oct 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    Mary, which diocese?
    Leon, that picture says everything.

  • 24 Mary // Oct 21, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Wow Sybil I did not know John Vennari had the original document barring homosexuals from Ordination in 1961, although I had read references to it before.

    Now here is where I become confused along with other Catholics who are seeking clarity of Truth in Church teaching.
    Michael Voris recently hosted Fr Stravinskas on his show. He introduced him as an ‘orthodox’ priest and expert.
    Stravinskas has a problem with anyone who thinks homosexuals cannot be Ordained whether to avoid the near occasion of sin or a valid vow of chastity.Yet Voris constantly critiques the “effeminaized priesthood.”
    Case in point article by Fr Regis Scanlon
    Apparently some readers took exception to Stravinskas’ critique on this article.

    Fr Stravinskas is of the opinion that homosexual men as well as heterosexual men should not be barred from the priesthood as long as they take a vow of chastity. Perhaps he has not read the numerous testimonies by priests and seminarians who experienced those rectors and vocation directors who specifically screened for candidates whose views were compatable with the hx lifestyle while straight men were barred? Or those like Fr Haley who found quite the opposite of “chaste” hx clerics to be true once they became a priest.
    Surely as a self admitted expert on Catholic education and Catechesis Fr Stravinskas knows that Proper Intention is required for any Sacrament to be valid including Ordination?

    To confuse the issue even more , Mr Voris condemns Professional Catholics who garner high salaries.
    Yet he praises this priest for his orthodoxy despite the loss of church income and accusations made by these parishoners whom he pastored.
    Catholics cannot make distinctions anymore by saying this one is orthodox or that one is conservative, or this one is liberal.
    I am convinced most Catholics have their gaydar on off as long as their ears are tickled and they like what they are hearing.

    Voris was recently a guest Speaker for John Vennari also.
    So in essence who is and who is not a Professional Catholic and which one is really orthodox?
    It seems to me that it is the institutional Church itself that changes it’s views with each Papacy or as the court of politically correct public opinion blows.
    Perhaps if the Heirarchy fights it out amongst themselves , the priests take care of teaching the Faith according to God’s Word and His Commandments and all the professional catholic careerists knock off the speaking tours, we ‘uneducated” non expert peasants just might be able to start thinking for ourselves? IMHO ,
    God Blesses those who pray and teach themselves and their own children according to the Scriptures and His Natural Law!

  • 25 Joseph D'Hippolito // Oct 23, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Mary, this is why I’ve lost all respect for Catholicism. It stands for what it says it stands for one day, then changes its mind the next day and says that it stands for something else.

    As far as “thinking for ourselves” goes, the Church doesn’t want that! It would lose power if it did because people would see much of its theology as utter nonsense!

  • 26 Mary // Oct 23, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Mary Ann,
    Please read back in 1994 …..

  • 27 IllinoisCatholic // Oct 24, 2013 at 8:21 am

    Who is Voris, I wonder? Some of what he says is true. It certainly is true that Catholic Answers will not allow any criticism of clergy or hierarchy. Karl Keating’s pulling in $250,000 a year to make excuses for the hierarchy is something I’d expect from Catholic Answers. Why pay one of those apologists a few grand to come and give a talk when Steve Brady would come for whatever you’re willing to donate?

  • 28 Mary // Oct 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    St Vincent of Lerins gave a good guideline for the Faith when times are confusing and there are too many “experts”.

    Aware of the perversion amongst the clerics and those who go along to get along while knowing the flock is being devoured and by whom , the novelties employed to attract more dukats from pew people along with the organized whisper down the lane tactics used to discredit the average Catholic who dares to speak out… we realized a long time ago as a family , that we were really on our own. What has surprised me, via internet and phone , is that there are so many in other states and Diocese’ experiencing the same!
    Judging from the numbers accessing just one site of the Comminatory translation , there are apparently many who want to know what it really means to be catholic.
    “This book has been accessed more than 590793 times since July 13, 2005.”

  • 29 Joisey Joe, // Oct 25, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Illinois Catholic,

    Is Mr Brady still actively involved in exposing these demons in cleric robes?
    If so, He should start making videos like Chuchmilitanttv.

    I for one, would much rather hear from a dedicated Catholic husband and father who fought the good fight and suffered for it along with Frs Kunz , Martin and others ,
    than some 50 yr old guy who studied in the seminary , got some degree in Theology and is still looking for a career path in broadcasting now backed by an Opus Dei Moody’s Financial employee named Marc Brammer.

    Their story appears way too much like the church within the Church trying to control the Vatican the same as Maciel and his Legion did and still does.


    “RealCatholicTV.com was and is a domain name that, as of today, is still owned by Greenstar, an Indiana company owned by Marc Brammer. Michael Voris is President of St. Michael’s Media and owner of Concept Communications, both domiciled in the state of Michigan. Greenstar contracted with St. Michael’s Media and Concept Communications to produce videos for access on the Greenstar owned domain name RealCatholicTV.com. Greenstar also added RealCatholicTV.com as a DBA for Greenstar. It was, indeed, a partnership between a customer and a vendor, and partnerships can be abandoned. Michael Voris was never even a partial owner of the domain name RealCatholicTV.com or Greenstar/Brammer. He was, however, the “face” of videos produced and accessed via RealCatholicTV.com.”

    “Voris’ efforts are financed by Marc Brammer, a business developer for Moody’s who lives in South Bend, Ind., and is a member of Opus Dei, a somewhat controversial group known for its traditional views.”

    Opus Dei in known around the world for much more than their “tradtional views”.

  • 30 Mary // Oct 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    A book on Vatican wealth.

    “By Father Vincent J. Rumain,D.D. on July 12, 2011
    Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase
    Obviously, as a Roman Catholic priest, anything pertaining to the Vatican interests me;however, Nino LoBello”s inside knowledge of the workings of this city/state filled with so much intrigue was very informative. What stood out for me was how “human” the popes are despite their role as the “Holy Father”.

    “The Vatican Empire, (Amazon) Nino Lo Bello, 1968, presented an incredible aspect of what was formerly a religion. We quote from an introductory review:

    “The extent of papal wealth has been traditionally cloaked in secrecy. Even within the Vatican … no one … has an overall view of its infinitely ramified financial operations. Church officials have consistently derided all speculations on the magnitude of its resources but have resolutely declined to release real figures. It has remained for Nino Lo Bello—former Rome correspondent for Business Week and now a writer for the Herald Tribune’s Paris Economic Review—to fit the … puzzle together. The picture that emerges is one of awesome fiscal power.

    “Mr. Lo Bello … details Vatican investment in real estate—one-third of Rome is owned by the Holy See—electronics, plastics, airlines, and chemical and engineering firms. He also gives evidence that the Vatican is heavily involved in Italian banking and that it has huge deposits in foreign banks. Some … are in America, many are in Switzerland. Vatican financiers prefer numbered Swiss accounts because these allow them to maintain anonymity while gaining control of foreign corporations.
    “The author establishes that the Vatican is one of the world’s largest shareholders, with a portfolio that can conservatively be estimated in billions.”

    Mr. Lo Bello finishes his monumental work:
    “This writer foresees the day, perhaps a thousand years from now, when the Vatican will cease functioning as a religious institution and take up, on a full-time basis, the duties of a large-scale business corporation. The transition will not be as difficult to effectuate as one might suspect. For just as Catholicism will decline and eventually withdraw from the ranks of the major religions, so, too, will Church money find its way into nearly every area of the free world’s economy. Then, at last, the tycoon on the Tiber will shed the mantle of piety; then, at last, the Vatican will expose the full extent of its financial interests.”

  • 31 Tom // Oct 27, 2013 at 9:40 am

    This is all real curious, thanks for all the info. By happenstance, I am in Minneapolis/St. Paul. I believe I had actually seen the late Father Ryan Erickson at the Cathedral of St. Paul. Since the Cathedral is so close to the St. Thomas seminary, I’d believe a number of the new Priests, Priests who just happened to be nearby would work there. To me, per appearance, Fr. Ryan Erickson looked like a jovial bearded and a bit pudgy kind of Priest, that description almost fitting a stereotype. I remember the shocking murder occurring and I looked sadly at seeing posters left around St. Paul requesting information from anyone knowing of this heinous act. I actually applied to become a Seminarian though, they did not seem interested and I did not seriously pursue it. I believe much in what the Church teaches however, I can’t get by that I think at least in some seminaries and churches, these seedy things go on and sadly, probably for a very long time. I think the Seminaries could probably do a lot more to root out the bad apples.

  • 32 IllinoisCatholic // Oct 29, 2013 at 9:29 am

    Unlike Brady, I don’t think Voris actually has exposed any wrongdoing in the Church that hasn’t been put out there by someone else. He appears less insane than Catholic militant nutcase Anne Barnhardt, who is shown in online videos putting bacon in between pages of the Koran. At any rate, like Barnhardt, Voris appears to be pushing some sort of an Armageddon/clash of civilizations theme. Prepare for war because God is angry…and perhaps the financial backers of people like Barnhardt and Voris want holy war for profits.

  • 33 Vickie // Oct 30, 2013 at 6:02 am

    I signed up for Voris channel. His story of the hostility from the hierarchy was interesting. He had an interview with a guy from Diocesan newspaper who was fired for asking the wrong questions. But as some one said earlier, he is not asking the real questions about what drives all this….

  • 34 Vickie // Oct 30, 2013 at 6:09 am

    On another note, I found Malichi Martin’s ” Decline and Fall of the Roman Church” actually helpful if one sided. It’s theme is the compromises that the church has made since Constantine. Things apologists don’t touch on. He touches at the end on Vatican bank and its financial holdings. The book is an antidote to the LaLa land of apologetics on the web.

  • 35 Joseph D'Hippolito // Oct 30, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Vickie, Catholic “apologetics” is not an exercise in truth but in public relations and spin. Just look at how many ostensibly orthodox apologists try to explain Pope Francis’ various comments. JPII and Benedict never had that trouble.

  • 36 Vickie // Nov 4, 2013 at 5:07 am

    Joseph, I would guess that some of it is just people cherry picking their sources etc. Maybe everyone does this to support deeply cherished beliefs. What I got from Martin is that the Church has alway had periods of chaos and/or unbelief. Protestant churches are no different. But protestants ( I toured many different denominations) do not obsess what their synod leaders etc are doing.

    About Pope Francis’s off the cuff remarks: We are just seeing the results of instantaneous global communication. I don’ t take much to heart. If he did take on the financial oligarchies that would be great thing.

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