Friday, September 29, 2006

Another Sad Priests-Gone-Bad Story

Is there never an end to stories like this?

From The Palm Beach Post:
Two former priests at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach have been accused of misappropriating $8.6 million from the church during the past 40 years.

[…] Former pastors John Skehan and Francis Guinan were both charged with grand theft over $100,000.

"These guys lived the life they told everyone else not to live - and they lived it on everyone else's dime," police spokesman officer Jeff Messer said. "And one of the seven deadly sins is greed."

Skehan, 79, was arrested Wednesday night at Palm Beach International Airport on a flight from Ireland, where he reportedly owned property.

He was remorseful as he confessed to taking the money, Detective Thomas Whatley said.

Guinan, who became head pastor in 2003, is alleged to have taken $400,000 for his personal use, including paying for his gambling habit and trips to the Bahamas and Las Vegas.

[…] Skehan reportedly deposited nearly $1.6 million in four bank accounts in cash, donation checks written by congregants, donated stock sales from the building fund and bequeathed money, according to his arrest report.

He used $134,075 to pay for his alleged lover's expenses, gave $11,688 to family members and used another $268,630 for personal expenses, including car payments, dental work, property taxes, credit card payments and condo association fees, according to the report.

[…] Guinan is alleged to have spent at least $90,000 of it on airline, hotels and restaurants in Las Vegas and the Bahamas, according to Mike Driscoll, special agent supervisor for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which assisted in the investigation.

The investigation also found that he spent money on dental and medical expenses, decorating his home and paying the Cardinal Newman High School tuition for his alleged lover's son, according to the report.

[…] Guinan and Skehan are on administrative leave and cannot act as priests until the conclusion of the criminal investigation, Barbarito (the local Bishop) said.

He said that Guinan resigned and retired during the investigation. Barbarito said he had already started the process to remove Guinan when he retired.

[…] Barbarito asked the faithful to pray for the churches, the diocese and the two priests accused of crimes.

Another sad tale of guys who probably never should have been admitted to the priesthood in the first place - click the original story and look at their faces. The moral collapse of the American Church in the last half of the last century is a gift that just keeps on giving and giving, scandalizing the faithful and bringing disgrace to the good priests out there. How many people have had their faith damaged by guys like these? How many people have not come to Christ because of scandals in the Church? Is my generation going to have to die off completely before affairs like this return to the realm of the rare and unusual? St. Francis, come back! You’re needed!