Having a ball with the church offering

If you go to church and put money in the offering plate, do you know where the cash goes? Of course you do. It goes toward the priest’s salary and various church-related expenses, such as maintenance of the sanctuary, maintenance of church vehicles, and maintenance of the priest’s girlfriend. (Some of them can be quite high-maintenance.) And let’s not forget about overseas vacations and gambling trips for the priest. Nothing wrong with that, is there?

TWO Irish priests accused of misappropriating millions from a
Florida church had formed a mortgage company with another priest called
Shag Inc.

Fr John Skehan (80), originally from Johnstown,
Kilkenny, and Fr Francis Guinan (64), originally from Birr, Co Offaly,
are accused in relation to $8.6m missing from church coffers.

The
two men are accused of using offertory dollars to keep girlfriends,
take gambling excursions and foreign holidays, and buy property. [Link]

$8.6 million? Wow, you can keep a lot of girlfriends with that, depending on the size of the building you keep them in. If they question your virility, wonder if you’re too old to perform, just tell them you’re president of Shag Inc.

Palm Beach diocese spokeswoman Alexis Walkenstein said they are
seeking to have all the funds reimbursed. When asked about Shag, she
said it was "pretty unusual for priests to form for-profit
corporations".

"However because diocesan priests do not take a
vow of poverty, there is no rule to prevent diocesan priests from
accumulating wealth as long as it is within legal and moral confines,"
she said. [Link]

We’ve told them it’s okay to save money, but it’s much better to save souls.

Skehan
and Guinan were arrested last September on suspicion of stealing
millions in offerings and gifts made to their parish as far back as 40
years ago. They are likely to be charged with stealing less than $1m
when the case goes to trial next February but could face jail sentences
of up to 30 years if they are found guilty.

However, they are likely to enter a plea bargain, which would see them serving around four years. [Link]

Only four years? Come on, that’s not long enough for them to set up a successful prison ministry. I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to see them get whatever the other inmates are offering.

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If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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