Friday, June 30, 2006

Nun Embezzles $300K

From ABC News (who, I’m sure, would never pass up a chance to diss the Church):
[…] Sister Barbara Markey, 71, turned herself in to Omaha Police on Wednesday, after a warrant was issued for her arrest on June 22. She was released on her own recognizance later that day.

The Omaha nun was charged with theft by deception, a felony punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

Markey was fired in January from her position of director of the archdiocese's family life office after financial irregularities were discovered.

According to the warrant, an audit revealed that Markey spent $307,545 for her own use or without documentation. The audit showed:

Of the money, $81,149 went to cash and cash advances; $67,656 was spent on casinos; $33,488 was spent on gifts for family and friends; and $24,775 was spent for airfare, miles and transportation, according to the audit.

The audit also showed that Markey opened a Great Western bank account in June 1999 and drew $76,628 from that account to make payments on her personal Visa.

Markey co-wrote one of the Catholic Church's most widely used marriage preparation programs, FOCCUS, which stands for Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study. The marriage preparation program is used by most U.S. dioceses. According to the FOCCUS Web site, 400,000 to 500,000 couples in 14 countries use the tool each year.

Based on her age, and at the risk of making completely unjustified generalizations (moi?), Sr. Markey would appear to be one more example of the “Spirit of Vatican II” generation. I do not actually think that the “Spirit of Vatican II” makes one an embezzler or any other kind of criminal. I do, however, think that there was a certain attitude of looseness that pervaded the American Church for a long time post-council. Indeed, it is only now disappearing as that generation starts to die off. (That pair of generations, actually – the ones who were too young for WWII, and my postwar boomer generation.)

In the interim, a lot of people wound up in religious orders who had no business being there, and who were never held properly accountable. Satan, no doubt, goes after the religious with more zeal than he goes after dorks like me. Priests and nuns who aren’t fully trained, tested, and catechized in the orthodox faith must be really juicy targets. The homosexual / pedophilia scandal is a case in point. I have no doubts that such sad things have always gone on within the Church, and will continue – the tares grow along with the wheat. The magnitude of the scandal, however, was definitely the result of the wind that swept through the Western Church in the sixties.