Sunday, April 15, 2007


Today's "Parade" magazine insert in my local newspaper ( featured their annual report entitled, "What People Earn" (in the USA), in terms of their salaries, professions, ages, and locations.

The person that stood out on the front page was:

Gary Fearn
age 42
Pueblo, Colorado

Now I realize most clergy take a vow of poverty or at least to live modestly but $750.00 per month is clearly a low salary -- granted most clergy are provided with housing but this is still a small salary especially given the "eternal consequences" of their daily work :-)

Mr. Fearn's salary caught my eye because while traveling last week I read an Associated Press article entitled, "Church-linked abuse claims decline in 2006, report says." This article noted that the Catholic Church of the USA have paid "abuse-related costs exceeding US$1.5 billion stemming from over 13,000 (sexual) molestation claims since 1950." (paraphrasing the A.P.)

Amazing -- $1.5 BILLION WITH A "B" !! The victims from this abuse far exceeded the 13,000 claimants mentioned by the A.P. when you think in terms of what else this money could have been used for to better our world:

  • Providing resources for food shelf programs
  • Providing scholarships to seminary students to provide more clergy for churches
  • Improve the salaries of clergy
  • Private school scholarships for the millions of students trapped in failing public schools
  • Funding for youth sports and/or reading programs to keep children away from gang activity
  • How many Habitat for Humanity homes could be built with this amount of money?

Let your imagine run wild as you think about spending $1.5 billion on projects that would better people's lives had church leaders taken decisive, immediate, and very public corrective action in 1950.

The Catholic Church can and should do a better job protecting its flock from predators.


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