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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Bishop knows nothing

With apologies to Sergeant Schultz. From The Palm Beach Post-

After two priests were accused of mishandling more than $8.6 million from a Delray Beach parish, Bishop Gerald Barbarito promised the faithful that henceforth they could expect transparency and accountability from the diocese. He noted that since he arrived in 2003, he had taken steps to strengthen diocese regulations for protecting the cash that comes from the collection plate.

St. Joseph Catholic Church parishioner Dave Schoonover and others who have sought fiscal accountability from the Diocese of Palm Beach vigorously dispute that it is pursuing transparency.

When Schoonover and a group of other parishioners took their concerns about how the Rev. Chris Allen was handling the money at his Stuart parish to Barbarito's top deputy in 2004, Schoonover's boxes of evidence were dismissed as "rumor." The Rev. Charles Notabartolo, Barbarito's vicar general, told him that Allen had the right to use parish money any way he saw fit. And the diocese told prosecutors it saw no reason to pursue a criminal case against Allen.

The reaction was quite different in 2005, when diocese officials cooperated with a state attorney's office investigation into the case of two priests, the Rev. John Skehan and the Rev. Francis Guinan, for alleged misuse of more than $8.6 million of parishioners' money. They also shared their own audit with investigators, which helped make the criminal case against the priests.

Notabartolo, who became vicar general in February 2003, five months before Barbarito was named bishop, represents the bishop in administering the affairs of the diocese. Some in the diocese who know Notabartolo call him "the bulldog" or "Grizz," as in grizzly bear, for his tenacity.

"If someone needs to take a bullet for the bishop, it's him," said Schoonover, a member of St. Joseph since 1978.

A diocese spokeswoman denied that Notabartolo functions as a firewall between the bishop and people with grievances, but Schoonover said Notabartolo repeatedly refused his requests to speak directly to Barbarito.

"The bishop is very informed and aware of the goings-on in the diocese he shepherds," spokeswoman Alexis Walkenstein said.

Lona O'Connor wrote a very lengthy and very good article for the Post. I suggest you read all of it.

Disclosure- I sometimes trade emails with Ms. O'Connor. She has apparently forgiven me for the Knucklehead award I gave her last March. LOL, a reformed knucklehead but not the first one TFM has come across.

In spite of what Ms. Walkenstein says, the Bishop is far removed from the daily happenings in the diocese. Partly because it would be impossible to follow it all, partly because others like Father Chuck shield the bishop from bad news, and sorry to say I think the Bishops often don't care what happens. I know from personal experience with one past Bishop here that he didn't care about the reprehensible actions of one pastor. The actions and inactions of the diocese may have helped cause a life to be lost.

Remember- When when it comes down to Money or a human life, the Catholic Church will almost always choose the former. Even for as little as $100 a week for only two or three months.

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