Bishop Ed Braxton of Belleville IL, once pastor of St. Catherine-St. Lucy parish in Oak Park, dipped into a forbidden cookie jar for $8,000 to pay for new vestments from the House of Hansen in Chicago, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. He took the money from sacrosanct Propagation of the Faith funds raised for Vatican “outreach,” once called mission work.
“We attempted to discuss it,” said one member of the diocese’s Presbyteral Council. “But no progress was made. The bishop did not want to talk about it.”
As long ago as a diocesan finance council meeting Nov. 17, Braxton was asked how he had paid for the vestments, according to sources who were there. Braxton told the council the cost of about $8,000 was paid from a fund for international mission work, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because council members take an oath of secrecy.
Braxton, two deacons and two priests who were being ordained in a ceremony in May wore the new garments.
The papal nuncio in Washington has been informed of the breach by the diocese’s 16–member finance council. Catholics the world over are familiar with the annual Vatican appeal.
On the second-to-last Sunday of October — called World Missions Sunday — parishes around the world take up a collection to be distributed to about 1,150 dioceses and territories that are considered underserved by the church. All of Africa and most of Asia are included.
Worldwide, donations reach as high as $120 million per year, according to Monsignor John Kozar, national director for the U.S. office of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, in New York. About 40 percent comes from U.S. dioceses.
This year it’s 40% minus Belleville’s $8,000.
One thought on “Robbing Peter to clothe Ed”
Stone-walling works quite well for bishops, doesn’t it? Unless the Vatican intends to raise the issue, it’s dead. Compared to the stories of pastoral embezzlements approching or exceeding $ 1 million, it’s peanuts. Sad, nonetheless.