May 09, 2005

Catholics stiff P.R. collection: Refuse to fund church’s media operation

Boston Herald

By Marie Szaniszlo
Friday, May 6, 2005 - Updated: 03:30 AM EST

Amid church closings and a fiscal crisis resulting from the clergy sexual abuse scandal, the Archdiocese of Boston is passing the collection plate to fund its publicity machine, leaving stunned Catholics fuming.

``It's outrageous,'' aid Gina Scalcione, one of dozens of people who have held a round-the-clock vigil at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in East Boston since Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley closed the church seven months ago. ``They have to be hit where it hurts the most, and that's in the collection box.''

Since last May, people at Holy Trinity in the South End have asked the archdiocese why it plans to close their church next month, but have received no answers.

``No communication from them,'' said Leo Higgins of the Committee to Preserve Holy Trinity, ``means no money from us.'' ...

Bill Gately, who heads the New England chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said the Conference of Bishops has yet to hold accountable any of its own members who shuffled abusive priests from parish to parish.

``Their message never changes: Pay, pray and obey,'' Gately said. ``Perhaps they'd get a better return on their public-relations investment if they listened, because the message from the faithful is loud and clear: The days when Catholics just handed over their hard-earned money for the church to spend on a whim, without accountability, are over.''

Posted by kshaw at May 9, 2005 07:48 AM