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Each weekday over the course of a week, a member of the NCR staff offers a commentary on one or more topics in the news.  It's our way of introducing you to some of the people carrying out the NCR mission of faith and justice based journalism.

November 7, 2002
Vol. 1, No. 147




global perspective Grounds for dismissal

by Arthur Jones, NCR editor at large

The Catholic Church, bastion of good words for the workers, has a record as shabby as the most exploitive corporate bosses. Not to mention an episcopal and priestly record for off-the-books help yourself to OPM (other people's money) to rival Enron.

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Peculation is the institution's Eighth Deadly Sin. West Coast-East Coast, North-South, it doesn't matter.

And for God's sake don't be a Catholic layperson working for the institutional church and have an opinion, or blow the whistle.

The California Catholic Conference (NCR Oct. 10) and Holy Spirit Parish in McAllen, Texas (NCR Aug. 29) win this year's "Gee it's Great to be a Catholic Employee Award."

The Texas staffers were fired for belonging to a union. David Pollard was fired because the California bishops now watch the pennies because they weren't watching the priests who were sexually messing about with little boys and girls. Pollard, senior staffer and associate conference director for 18 years, was axed without due process, despite excellent employee reviews.

And refused a reference unless he agreed not to take legal action against a Catholic employer that refused to follow its own guidelines for dismissal. The troika of bishops in charge did the Pontius Pilate -- "Who, us get involved?"

Pollard, at a staff meeting, had had the temerity to suggest that bishops handling the sex abuse suits might to listen more to their hearts as pastors than to their lawyers.

Then there was the parish worker not that long ago in a mid-Atlantic diocese who blew the whistle on the priest responsible for the disappearance of a couple of hundred grand in parish money. The priest was transferred to a parish outside the diocese (it's not just sex abusers who are moved around).

And the employee? She was fired. Fiat justitia. (Let justice be done?)

Fat chance.

But do send me your stories.

Arthur's Daily Ditty

Checks Please!

The bishop's hiding a bad boy priest,
And that'll cost him a packet,
The pastor's bought a Mercedes-Benz,
The old one was making a racket.
The pulpit appeal, has a ring that's real,
"My Dear Friends -- your checks,"
But make an objection, suggest a correction
And my dears you're up to your necks.

Arthur Jones' e-mail address is

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