Monday, January 31, 2011

$500,000 Church Theft: Response to Reaction

After an internal audit, it was discovered that over the past 38 years, $500,000 has been stolen from the Archdiocese of St. John's. The Archbishop gave the case over to the RNC immediately and said they will now deal with it.

The article was posted on, and as usual, there was plenty of Catholic bashing going on in the comments below the article. I am now responding to some of the accusations.

1) "Churches should be taxed"
Churches should not be taxed imo because they are not corporations seeking to earn profit. Many non-profit and humanitarian organizations are not taxed, because they provide social services. The government feels it makes sense that if someone is contributing money to a church to do social service, then it wouldn't make sense for the government to take a chunk of that money and use it for OTHER social services.

2) Sexual abuse cases
Of course, one of the mainstays of comments about the Catholic Church concerns sex abuse cases. People are not interested to know that cases are more prevalent in schools or in the home, or that it's just as bad in other religions. Sex abuse by clergy is always used to invalidate any point made by the Church. So people now say that it doesn't matter that money was stolen because of what the Church did.

3) How could the Church not know?
Many people commented that it was the fault of the Church that money was stolen because it would take pretty terrible management to not realize it. Well, this is a poor argument, because we've seen cases of money stolen from a variety of institutions, including banks, hospitals, and virtually any other institution. It's certainly not unheard of.

4) Why should the police help?
One rather strange argument that has been advanced is why should the RNC have to provide investigations for this situation. Why doesn't the Church foot the bill for the investigation. Well, this premise is absurd since theft is a criminal action in Canada and thus is publicly prosecuted. To say this would mean you could advance the same argument when a private citizen has money stolen or any organization. Law enforcement is the area of the government, not private organizations or persons.

Obviously most of the arguments advanced against the Church in this matter are simply manifestations of a larger hatred toward the Church. It has nothing to do with logic or a broader belief system. People who hate the Church simply see this as another opportunity to bash it.


  1. Well stated.
    The responses given here are rational and reasonable. Too often people let thier distaste or even stereotypical prejudice of something (in this case Catholicism) get in the way of their rationale. Assuming the public has any that is :P
    This is precisely why we don't let the public decide court cases either! :|

  2. Thanks for your comments AW. I remember there was a quote by Aristotle or something about how law has to be administered without the passions. In other words, we cannot let personal biases cloud our judgment when deciding on a legal action. People are basically saying in this case that because they perceive the church as having some priests that sexually abuse, then any injustice against the church is legitimate.

    Thanks again for your comments. They are great!

  3. i do agree that your arguments are very well defended. Any institution can be victim of fraud and theft. Think about Enron in the US.

    It is hard to think rationally when our arousal is high. In controversial situations out rationality is low and I think that's when people write those comments. Sadly, they will never admit that it was wrong to make such statements because then they would have to admit they are not perfect

  4. Thanks for the comments Noni. Look forward to more of them from you and others.