Friday, August 15, 2008

Bishop gives the CMA a head start

Bishop Matthew Clark has unofficially kicked off the 2008-09 Catholic Ministries Appeal with today's Along The Way column at CatholicCourier.com.

Reporting on organizational meetings that took place this week, the Bishop gives an upbeat perspective on the efforts going into this year's campaign.

With the CMA traditionally supplying about half of the diocese's operating budget, its various committees may have to work overtime this year to meet their goal.

Many of us can still hear the doors of 13 former Catholic schools slamming shut for the last time and still have literally dozens of unanswered questions about the process used and, indeed, the competence of those making the decisions.

The Bishop's only hope for getting any money out of these folks would be to finally end his stonewalling and provide some real answers.

I'm not holding my breath.

14 comments:

CPT Tom said...

not one dime...I will not give money directly to the dioceses until Bishop Clarke is gone. The sad fact is they will just take it from the parish if they don't meet their goal.

Sad.

Nerina said...

I'm with Tom. I won't contribute one penny to this "appeal." Let's be honest and call it what it is - a tax.

And yes, the parish is required to make up the difference if there is a shortage and it makes me think twice about my contributions to my local church (but alas, it is a precept to support our church).

It will be interesting to see the returns this year.

Dr. Knowledge said...
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HCmom said...

I agree, nerina, on every count except calling the CMA a tax--I call it extortion. "We'll set your goal, and if you don't make it, we'll take it anyway." It's not even Christian--it's more like a mafia racket.

The crime is that those of us who have given to CMA (in the past, because I WON'T be giving in the future)have no say in what programs this money supports. I would prefer to give money to Catholic Charities and other charities on my own. Ironic that the Bishop never did a Catholic schools appeal; instead, he levied a catholic schools "tax" on each parish, whether or not they have a school. Great way to build up resentment against the schools. Very few pastors in our diocese actually support the diocesan Catholic schools, most likely because of the money that comes out of their own parish coffers to support them.

I will give money to our pastor instead, so that he can use it for one of our parish ministries, or to pay off the extortionist, if need be.

Does anyone know where the money came from that paid for renovations to the Bishop's living quarters?

Dr. Knowledge said...
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Mike said...

HCmom wrote, "Does anyone know where the money came from that paid for renovations to the Bishop's living quarters?"

I've saved all the online stories dealing with the school closings and related issues, as well as all the comments they generated. I just went back through my "archive" and found only a couple of references to the renovation of the bishop's living quarters at Sacred Heart.

Both mentioned costs in excess of a million dollars, and one also mentioned Fr. Hart spending "hundreds of thousands renovating the rectory at Our Lady Queen of Peace when he moved in there," but neither mentioned a funding source for all this lavish living.

Mike said...

HCmom,

A reader named Dan sent me an email saying he was having difficulty posting a comment.

Dan asked me to post the following:

"Bishop Clark is refusing to identify the source of the one million dollars used for the renovation of the bishop's mansion on Flower City Park.

"I believe that he used diocesan money, as in 'Parishioner Money'. The money that our family sacrificed and donated to our parish.

"Remember that Bishop Fulton Sheen refused to live in such a luxurious mansion."

Nerina said...

Mike, if its true that the Bishop used parishioner money to renovate his living quarters, then there are more deep-seated issues here than I was originally aware. If true, this makes me sick.

Like hcmom, I would give if I could direct my donations to, say, retired clergy and religious. But alas, we can't. Unfortunately, my husband and I had given thousands to the "Partners in Faith" campaign before we figured out the spending priorities of the diocese (this was when we knew nothing of the wreckovation of the cathedral since we were new to the area). And when you see how much they give to religious ed programs and to St. Bernard's its enough to put a person off any charitable giving to the diocese.

I do try to remain objective about my feelings toward our leadership, but honestly, they don't make it easy. I can only say that I'm not privvy to ALL the information that the Bishop is and hope that he is acting in the best interest of everyone.

Mother Mary, pray for us and for your spiritual son, Matthew Clark, that he may be drawn closer to our Lord Jesus and lead us to Truth.

Mike said...

Nerina,

It was Dan (not me) who said that he believed that the bishop "used diocesan money, as in 'Parishioner Money'" for the renovation of his living quarters at Sacred Heart.

I personally do not have a problem with the concept of renovations to a rectory being paid for by parishioners, no matter who is living in the building. The rectory is, after all, part of the parish real estate.

I start having questions, however, when the cost of such a project crosses the 6 figure line. And I have real concerns when that cost climbs to 7 figures.

One can build quite a comfortable little palace with $1,000,000. No bishop in any diocese should even be considering such an undertaking and for the bishop of a declining diocese such as DOR to be spending such money on his own apartments is simply scandalous.

Nerina said...

You're right, Mike. I have no problem with providing living quarters for our priests/bishops. Afterall, they do sacrifice a great deal to be servants of Christ. But, like you, I think the amount of money spent on such things should be reasonable. Even our leaders need to practice stewardship.

CPT Tom said...

Does any one have a source article for the story about Bishop Clark's residence renovation? I want to know what the source is on this as I will have to talk to some people who will be impossible to convince unless there is a source given.

Thanks!

Mike said...

HCmom, Nerina & Cpt Tom,

It appears that last year's renovations to Sacred Heart Rectory were paid for with money donated specifically for that purpose.

See http://tinyurl.com/5buwwx, "From The Pastor's Perspective," 3rd last paragraph.

CPT Tom said...

So is the $1 million dollar price tag for the entire rectory renovation with the asbestos abatement, and the refit of the Bishop's quarters, or is it just for the Bishop's quarters that was a gift from his friends?

Mike said...

Cpt Tom,

My reading of the paragraph mentioning the donated funds is that the donation covered at least all of the items in the preceding paragraph.

It's also possible that the donation covered the window replacement work, since Fr. Mulligan included everything but the bell tower work when he wrote, "The second project involves ..." - hard to say.

Also, I've heard several people mention a million dollar figure for the project but I cannot recall ever seeing an actual price tag in print.

The only amount I've seen in writing is in the diocese's 6/30/2007 financial statement, where the diocese says that it had on hand some $390,000 in a "Temporary Restricted Fund" for "Sacred Heart Cathedral Rectory."
(http://tinyurl.com/65qe4n)

That's substantially less than a million bucks, but it's possible that not all the donations had actually been received as of 6/30.