Sunday, June 19, 2011

When they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money.

Some years ago, i worked with a fellow that was a legend in the local. He was physically strong, he enjoyed fighting, and wrestling. A lot of bosses look at us as beasts. The strong, athletic men are presumed to be work producers and are favored. Well, Jack was near retirement. He was strong still, he also was mean, clever, and quite bright. He was often emotionally vicious. He would ride men till they snapped. He made some cry. He liked revenge. Most of all, Jack liked Jack.

Now, Jack would do good for some, and sometimes without their realising or knowledge. He knew the difference between right and wrong, he just chose not to abide by it from time to time. If one tried to prevent him, scold him, shame him in refraining from bad behaviour, he would do what he wanted. He would show remorse, from time to time, and admit mistakes. He knew when to lie, and enjoyed it; but fundamentally he was honest, and he would unnecessarily be brutally frank and crude. Jack maintained he was a christian, some calvinist inspired Baptist. He did talk about ethics, and theology. He disagreed with catholicism, but he did not have venom for it.

He would also play up to his bosses. He would also, sometimes, act against his best interest when he enjoyed the action. He was very entertaining, when one was a spectator, and not a target. Jack was quite verbal. I have heard him speak with daggers. His tongue was like a blade thrust between the long and short rib. The authority figure would wince and fume, and silently vow for revenge, and wait for the moment.

Jack also liked money. In the morning, on company time, when he could, he would look at the stock listings and underline his holdings: past, present and future. Once there was down time at work, and he talked of retirement investments; and all these management tourists came by. They were pissed; work was at a stand still (conditions, reasons and circumstances explained why; they dont care why), and labor was talking finance.

On another occasion, before my acquaintance, I forget the tales intro. Jack and someone had an argument. Jack said, “It’s not about the money”. He thought about it. The next day he came in, and he said, “It is about the money”. When they say its not about the money, its about the money.
It’s not about the money, Steve!” yelled Bishop Lennon, slamming his hand on the table.*
That was said in Lennons last job. In Cleveland, other than the joy of power, it has been all about the money.

Now, there were financial problems in Cleveland diocese five years ago. They were not Boston size, they were smaller. The sex scandals cost money. There was much theft and embezzlement of monies—far more than the press cared to know about.

The church suppressions were decided on the basis of how to accumulate the most cash now. This overlapped, very well, in the ethnic cleansing of parishes. Many of these parishes had financial resources, property and goods, and no debt.

We are approaching the end of the fiscal year, and the exact anniversary of the last closure. Lennon announced to the press, at Holy Name and Saint Vincent, on 15 June a capital campaign for $125,000,000. Now, what the press did not tell you: is this campaign had been delayed in implementation. Lennon wanted this earlier, overlapping the suppressions. He had brought this up to to all his priests summoned for conference. Several priests advised against it, people were upset it would not fly. This was repeated.

The figure has been pared down, greatly. A kickback apparatus was devised. The kickback was increased. The kickback is 30% of the parish goal, and 70% of the amount over the goal. Also, all new parish fundraising [say for building projects] separate to this is prohibited. A bishop can do this canonically, though it is high-handed, at best.
‘Rooted in Faith Capital Campaign’ is a title used in some dioceses already. A $75 million ‘Rooted in Faith — Forward in Hope’ Capital Campaign was announced in Arlington, Virginia in May 2002. Peoria had one beginning in 2004. San Jose, California had a $100 million campaign in 2005 called, ‘Rooted in Faith Embracing our Future’. Some of these campaigns were designed, at least in part, by Guidance In Giving, Inc. There can be variations and combinations. The diocese has an annual charities campaign. There are other funds.

If one were to look at details, one would see that the implementation of the capital campaign, ‘Rooted in Faith - Forward in Hope’ has parish contributions, and ‘leadership gifts’. These latter, are from wealthy donors that have been cultivated. Now, part of this campaign was in effect before June 15th, ‘pilot parishes’ were engaged for the initial campaign; and campaign is the right word for it: a systematic course of aggressive activities for some specific purpose: a sales campaign.

Now that is mostly the how, what is the why? One must see that Lennon wanted to QUICKLY procure much money upon his arrival in town. He still does.
*Steve Josoma, pastor St. Susanna, Dedham Massachusetts.
p. 111 Jason Berry. Render Unto Rome. 2011.

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