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Monday, August 20, 2012

36

Suze Orman? This Is Cardinal Dolan.

The Economist has published an impressively thorough investigation into the books of the Catholic Church in the United States, and it doesn't stop at the $3.3 billion in sex abuse settlements, the staggeringly large annual lobbying fees to keep statutes of limitations laws in their favor, or the declining contributions of parishioners:

In the church, retirement is still largely in the gift of the bishop. Retirement plans for priests are typically set up as diocesan trusts rather than proper pension funds with structured benefits. They do not fall under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, the law that establishes standards for plan trustees and remedies for beneficiaries, including access to federal courts. Priests thus have no recourse to law if they are hard done by. Nor, as a matter of course, can they take their pensions with them if they leave for another diocese.

Richard Vega, who recently stepped down as president of the National Federation of Priests’ Councils, estimates that 75-80% of clergy pension schemes in America are underfunded. He says that only a small minority of priests will have set aside enough of their net average salary of $25,000 a year to cover themselves. Others will be less fortunate.

It's an absolute must-read, and the difficulties of charting a financial freefall in an secular business environment are surprisingly fascinating.



36 Comments / Post A Comment

evil melis

Aaaaand that's exactly why the Church will never allow priests to marry. Can you imagine the $$$ they'd have to shell out to support a wife and family during each priest's tenure and retirement?

Bittersweet

@evil melis Yep. I heard that straight from the horse's (er, priest's) mouth not too long ago.

(I'd wonder why evil melis is posting this comment, except it seems apropos, somehow.)

PistolPackinMama

@Bittersweet That was why the Church stopped letting priests marry in the first place, actually.

deepomega

Please tell me this means we're about to experience a rash of cardinals robbing banks.

jule_b_sorry

@deepomega Nuns with guns!

PistolPackinMama

@jule_b_sorry Sister Mary Ferocious- the Ma Barker of Holy Mother Church.

fondue with cheddar

@jule_b_sorry Bishop stickups!

fondue with cheddar

@jen325 Priest with a piece!

fondue with cheddar

@jen325 SINISTER MINISTERS okay I'm done

PistolPackinMama

@jen325 The Holy Roller, of course, is the getaway car's name.

Sisters with Pistlers?

Pastors with Blasters?

fondue with cheddar

@PistolPackinMama FROCKS AND GLOCKS okay I lied.

jule_b_sorry

@jen325 AGGRESSIONAL CONFESSIONALS

jule_b_sorry

@jen325 Led by an Unlawful Pentecostal!

PistolPackinMama

@jule_b_sorry Prayin' and Bullet Sprayin'.

Missals and Missiles

When we find out that the Vatican is a haven of gun running NO ONE WILL BE SURPRISED.

fondue with cheddar

@jule_b_sorry Hm...we may be on to something here. The staff some clergy carry is called a CROOK.

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama Absolution? Or Absol-shootin'?

PistolPackinMama

@jen325 The Dominican monks are/were called The Hounds of God because they were Inquisitors, kept around should the Pope need someone to go out and investigate heresy.

In Other Words...

They are the Reservoir Dogs

social theory

@all i love you for this thread...haven't laughed this hard all day

fondue with cheddar

@PistolPackinMama THUMBSUPTOINFINITY

PistolPackinMama

@jen325

Oh I don't know why I came here tonight
I got the feeling that this service ain't right
I'm so scared in case I fall of a kneeler
And I'm wondering how I'll get through the prayers
Pope to the left of me, cardinals to the right, here I am stuck

And that one guy thought losing his ear was bad. He should have seen what happened to Sebastian.

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama in the middle with you, I mean...

PoBoyNation

@jen325 Dollars for Collars

Heist by Brides-of-Christ

PoBoyNation

@jen325 Grail Bonds

PistolPackinMama

@PoBoyNation

Brother Ammunitious Tommy Gun is On the Lamm of God after that holdup. The SOC officers recognized his distinctive Holey Trinity blast pattern on the safe.

Sister Ambush Dei seems to have been an accomplice in his successful diamond theft.

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama

Of course, the Papal Laundering Services can make some serious legitimate in-vestments out of shady resources.

PoBoyNation

@PistolPackinMama Diocesan muckety-mucks expressed dismay that the perps waited until the Deposit to make their move.

"And many others had lined up to Redeem their Purgatorial Lotto tickets," stamped on special-issue Communion wafers, said Father Massimo Opprobium.

PistolPackinMama

@PoBoyNation

The FBI have recently begun to ask questions about the Catholic Church's surplice. It appears that some of the funds have come from priests scapularing tickets to Boston Red Sox games.

PS: Y'all, I've nearly lost my composure every time I've seen these pop up in my inbox. I love committing heresy by humor.

PistolPackinMama

@PistolPackinMama Also, they've been caught in cases of clearly altaring their records. Fraud! FRAUUUUD!

According to Special Agent Patrick Augustine O'Brian, "the people of Boston are incensed that the Church could do these things."

PoBoyNation

@PistolPackinMama Me too! They are cracking me up, and causing that queasy combination of guilt and glee.

PistolPackinMama

@PoBoyNation I am sure we'll be forgiven our indulgences.

PS: Anyone want to start a rugby team with me called The Sinister Ministers?

fondue with cheddar

@PistolPackinMama I'm in! But I'm so disappointed that I don't know enough about rugby to make a religion-rugby joke. Maybe some other papal can pick up the slack.

Rock and Roll Ken Doll

You know the one thing that makes me sad as the Catholic Church fades away, though? There's no other institution of anything close to that stature that, when considering what connection two strangers might share, looks first to something other than citizenship in a nation-state.

PistolPackinMama

@josiahg Ummah

I think it's sad that an institution as rich and powerful as the church is turning its back on the commitment it made with Vatican II to actually be relevant and responsive to contemporary people. Also liberation theology.

leonstj

@josiahg - I'm an atheist now, but as mentioned repeatedly, grew up in a cool diocese. When our priest came to town, the first thing he did was have the altar rails ripped out of the church, even though we couldn't afford to fix the carpet which would be damaged in the process, so important was the symbolism of Vatican II.

That devotion to symbolism has always been one of the beautiful parts of the catholic church to me.

Miss Maszkerádi

@EVERYONE

I just spent a fairly agonizing week with some impossibly, mind-bogglingly, ridiculously Catholic relatives. Thank you, thank you all for this thread. I needed it.

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