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Monday, March 09, 2009

A Home Grown Threat

It seems the foolish Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut State Legislature, when introducing a bill to strip Catholic priests and bishops of their control of parishes, was acting at the behest of disgruntled parishioners at St. John Catholic Church in Darien, whose previous pastor took them to the cleaners.

That pastor, the Rev'd Michael Fay,
was convicted in 2007 of stealing $1.4 million from St. John Roman Catholic Church in Darien to fund a life of luxury with his boyfriend. Fay spent money on limousines, stays at top hotels, jewelry, Italian clothing and a Florida condominium he shared with his boyfriend, auditors hired by the diocese found. About half the money he spent was kept in a secret bank account.
Obviously we must sympathize with those poor (now literally) parishioners but didn't anybody at St. John's have suspicions about this lout when he was living the high life? It seems to me it would have been a tad difficult for him to cover it up. Was there no parish council or accountant looking over the books? Were there any books? If anybody did have suspicions, did he or she contact the bishop? Or was this rogue priest such a charmer, as often is the case, people just couldn't bring themselves to act on their doubts?

Regardless, parishioners asking the legislature to step in when their priests behave badly make a Faustian bargain that not only imperils their own local church but the Church as a whole. You do not want those people dictating how your church is run, that should be axiomatic if you read the Constitution.

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