Follow the Money Trail

Sexual unchastity breeds in a context of luxury and power

My dad used to say whenever motives got confusing, “Follow the money trail.” The contemporary Church hierarchy now has one thing on its mind and one only: money. If prejudice is the essence of evil, then this hierarchy is evil in its prejudice for cushy retirements, luxury lifestyles, glorious cathedrals, and prestigious influence, all of which depend on steady, voluminous cash flow. The hierarchy has diluted holy doctrine to please and appease the multitudes — whose wax-filled ears prefer half truths and shallow sermons — which thus increases cash flow.

In the context of luxury and power, sexual unchastity marks the conduct of priests, and it’s infectious. Scandal requires hush money to keep up the fading Church image. After 50 years of awarding 2.5 billion dollars to pederast victims, that strategy has failed to stop the global conflagration. Churches are being sold and remodeled as condos.

What’s next? More talk and no action, as evidenced by the latest bishops’ conference, until the Church one day realizes its elaborate ruse is over. Bankruptcy, moral and financial, will reduce the Church to home-based studies and secret chapel rituals, as in King Henry VIII’s day. “Priest holes,” for hiding clergy from civil authorities, and the taxing of church property can happen again. The brutal persecution of the Church by the Mexican regime in the 1920s is one example.

I envision an ugly reaction to the Church’s outrageous scandals. I suspect not even our great grandchildren will live to see the Church’s eventual rebirth from the fires of Hell. Out of the ashes will rise the Phoenix many years hence: a Church much reduced in active membership but enhanced with vibrant sanctity. Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 500 years for genuine Catholicism to resurrect after its current crucifixion.


Richard M. DellOrfano spent ten years on a cross-country pilgrimage following Christ’s instruction to minister without possessions. He is completing his autobiography: Path Perilous, My Search for God and the Miraculous.

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