A question was asked of Santiago 'Charlie' Feliciano Junior, after he gave his presentation at Shaker Hts. Main Library late Saturday morning, “How could he, or anyone, remain Catholic? ”. He answered that the Church was “theologically correct, but administratively buffoons...they are the pharisees and sanhedrin of our time”. Yes, those were his words, and he is fully correct.
The local press was invited to come, none did. A representative from Congressman Dennis Kucinich's office came. Most of the rest were members of Code Purple, and friends of Charlie Feliciano. There was just over a score of people in the room.
Feliciano had been the chief legal counsel for the Diocese of Cleveland from 1985 to 2000. He became acquainted with its problems. In February 2000, after being shunned by the chancery for being honest and honorable, he suffered a stroke. Since then he has been blacklisted. He is not silent. He spoke for an hour and a half relating local, and national, problems. He mentioned name after name, incident after incident.
Father Gilbert Gauthe, Lafayette Louisiana, was the first pedophile priest brought to trial in the United States. CBS's 60 Minutes told the story to the nation. The molesting pervert Gauthe was finally indicted in 1984. Well, the son-of-a-bitch was not the only miscreant. The Pope wanted to know. John Paul II sent an auxiliary bishop, with an ample legal education, from Cleveland, Alexander James Quinn to investigate. The Mighty Quinn lied by minimizing, and localizing the scandal. Lafayette had more than one pervert priest, and so did other dioceses. Cleveland certainly did.
The demands for settlement in Cleveland were not extravagant. Bishop Anthony Pilla did not like paying, he preferred cover up, on one occasion driving a pervert priest, F. James Mulica, to the aeroport so that he was away from the rape crime scene.
We are told there is a financial crisis in the parishes. No, as Feliciano maintains, “financial crisis is not in the parishes; financial crisis is in maladministration and larceny downtown”. The insurance fund is dissipated. This is the highest cost for parishes other than those with schools. What certain parishes were said to 'owe', were assessments. Assessments are 'revenue' [tax] paid to the bishop. Cleveland has the highest assessments in the country. Some assessments were forgiven, the new bishop, Richard Lennon, demands payment in full. The parishes closed are those with cash in the bank. This was brought out by research done by Gayle Hudak of Code Purple. The figures are not all available, but the portrait is already fully recognisable. The public mendacity of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Ohio is unending.
The parishes must pay highly inflated insurance, they must buy them from Republican party donor and appointee, Umberto Fedeli. There was, and is, a circle of corruption amongst Pilla, and other clerics, with businessmen who deal with the diocese and are connected with Republican politicians in Columbus, and Washington. They are all hogs on the same trough. Alex Machaskee, retired president and publisher of Cleveland's Plain Dealer, helped to squelch stories. Sam Miller, of Forest City Enterprises, has protected Pilla, and the diocesan real estate can go at a bargain to his property interests.
Feliciano likens the whole convoluted mess in the Church to a “dysfunctional family”. The membership has been told repeatedly, “cause no scandal to the church”. Anyone who speaks up “betrays the family”. The organisation becomes paramount, whatever the organisation is in this country — the military, the company, the family, the church, et cetera. Well, the scandal is not in the telling of the tale, it is in the enacting of the tale.