Monday, January 16, 2012

Catholic Diocesan Money and SNAP: Goliath, Meet David

As the recent National Catholic Reporter editorial defending SNAP in the Missouri subpoena situation about which I blogged on the weekend notes, SNAP is a modestly funded organization that is run on a shoestring budget and mostly by volunteers.   Its total operating budget for a year is around $350,000.  

And place this financial observation beside this report by Judy Thomas in the Kansas City Star last week: the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph (where SNAP is under heavy fire from church-hired lawyers) spent over $1 million in four months of 2011 in connection with cases of sexual abuse by priests.  There are 24 pending lawsuits for abuse now facing the diocese and its employees.  From 1 July 2002 through 31 Oct. 2011, the diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has paid out $14.8 million on matters connected related to allegations of clerical sexual abuse.

And we're asked by the likes of Bill Donohue, who functions as a virtual mouthpiece for the U.S. Catholic bishops, to imagine that the Catholic church is the victim of an ugly conspiracy of SNAP and abuse survivors who want to attack the church and tear it down?  And that SNAP and abuse survivors function on a playing field level to that on which the church itself plays?

When I look at the figures--in a single diocese--I'm not buying that analysis.  Not for a moment.

The graphic is Osmar Schindler's lithograph (c. 1888) of David confronting Goliath.

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