Ontario priest gambled away money collected for refugees

Ontario priest gambled away money collected for refugees March 29, 2016

Father Amer Saka, above, a priest working at the St Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church in London,  Ontario, is under police investigation for gambling away more than $500,000 of refugee sponsorship cash.
The investigation, according to this report, was launched after Saka told his bishop, Emanuel Shaleta, that funds intended to help new Canadians had instead vanished in vice. Said the bishop:

He called me on the phone and . . . said he lost all the money. I said, ‘How?’ He said, ‘gambling’.
We believe that Father Saka has a serious gambling problem and that these funds may have been used for that purpose. Since there is an investigation going on, we cannot confirm what he’s saying.

Shaleta, who sits at the head of Canada’s first and only Chaldean eparchy, or jurisdiction, said he suspended the priest immediately after learning of the missing money.
The bishop drove to London the next day to take Saka for several days of voluntary treatment at Southdown Institute, a non-profit facility north of Toronto for priests battling problems ranging from addiction to depression to sexually abusive behaviour.
London police confirmed they received a complaint in February of alleged financial misappropriation related to the local parish.
A St Joseph church representative said it is treating the situation “very seriously” but that comment would be “inappropriate” given an ongoing internal investigation.
The Chaldean Catholic Church is based in Baghdad and represents Catholics from Iraq and neighbouring countries, but ultimately falls under the watch of the Holy See in the Vatican.
The Toronto-based Chaldean eparchy is one of the Chaldean Catholic Church’s newest, founded with Pope Benedict XVI’s blessing less than five years ago as Iraqi immigrants continued to arrive in Canada. It encompasses several churches in Ontario, including St Joseph.
Monsignor Murray Kroetsch, chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, which runs the sponsorship programme, said Saka was the leader of a constituent group raising funds to sponsor refugees from Iraq.
Kroetsch said the Hamilton diocese filed up to 20 applications sponsored by Saka for refugees from Iraq. About 10 of them have arrived in southern Ontario. With all now facing a potential void of financial backing, the Hamilton diocese has taken over responsibility for their support, Kroetsch said.

We want to assure the refugees that our part of our agreement is looked after and that money will be provided to help them feel secure and help them find their footing in the country.

Holders of sponsorship agreements, signed with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, must support refugees for at least the first year after their arrival.
Kroetsch said;

They’re somewhat vulnerable, and now they may be even more fearful … We need to assure them that we’re not just going to abandon them.

Sponsorships cost about $6,000 a person, or about $20,000 to $25,000 for a family of four, said Shaleta. He sorrowfully added:

It is wrong for a priest to go and gamble. It’s against the rules.

The bishop said he informed parishioners – mostly northern Iraqi immigrants, many from communities now overrun by IS who are trying to bring family members to Canada – soon after the priest told him about the missing funds.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake

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  • CoastalMaineBird

    a non-profit facility north of Toronto for priests battling problems ranging from addiction to depression to sexually abusive behavior.
    Wow – they have a whole facility just for priests !
    I wouldn’t bet on it being really “non-profit” …

  • Vanity Unfair

    As for the picture: “And the winner of ‘The most lifelike decorated Easter egg is…'”

  • Here’s what the Southdown Institute has to say for themselves: “Since 1966, our interdisciplinary team of psychologists, psychiatrists, addictions counsellors, spiritual directors, and related professionals have helped those who minister find healing and wholeness.” In other words, ‘since 1966 a public admission that neither our religion nor any other has all the answers, that we have to include secular psychology, secular psychiatry and secular addictions counseling to achieve effects.’
    Meanwhile, the gambled-away money didn’t help the last few hundred Chaldean Christians in Bagdad not yet killed by Muslims. The gambled-away money also didn’t help the 3,000 Chaldean Christians who have fled from Muslim murderers. No, it didn’t help anybody. It didn’t even help Father Saka.
    What does it say about God that He would rather the money be lost in gambling than to help one – just one – Christian child escape murder at the hands of a Muslim? What does it say about Allah that He delights in the murder of so many Christians? If God or Allah existed, it would be necessary to destroy Him.
    Fortunately, there are only well-fed idiot priests and poor-moral murderous Muslims in this world. They are human problems, with human solutions.
    Among those solutions is atheism. Mocking, cruel, pointed, unrelenting, laughing atheism.

  • barriejohn

    Vanity Unfair: He’s a magician. He’s making little boys appear out of a paper bag!

  • barriejohn

    Trevor Blake: When I was a Christian I was told that “Jesus is enough”, and that there was no need for a Christian to seek help from psychiatric services, etc, as one should simply lean on him and ask for his help, and he would give all the strength that was needed. “My grace is sufficient for thee” was an absolute promise upon which the believer could rely, and it would be positively sinful to ignore that. When I did eventually seek help for severe depression, and started taking tranquillizers (yes – perhaps I would have done better to have stuck with “Jesus”), I learned that practically half the assembly were already on them, unbeknownst to me!

  • barriejohn

    Father Amer Saka = Aha! Freak Master!

  • Club Secretary

    “London police confirmed they received a complaint in February of alleged financial misappropriation related to the local parish.
    A St Joseph church representative said it is treating the situation “very seriously” but that comment would be “inappropriate” given an ongoing internal investigation.”
    Note that the police have just logged it as a complaint, no investigation.
    The church is handling it internally, so it will be a whitewash.
    FFS we are talking about HALF A MILLION DOLLARS!

  • Bob

    This poor chap clearly needs Jesus to set him free from his addiction. I will pray for him.

  • L.Long

    Well little brained xtians friends why are you upset??? YOU gave him money to use and he did! Don’t like the way he did it?? well then wake up smell the roses and vote to have church status changed such that it is no different than any normal secular charity that has to PROVE it is doing what it is doing. Just cuz one yells JESUS!!!! every sunday does not mean he aint a crook!!!
    Two quotes to live by…..
    Never underestimate the power, depth, or breath of human stupidity!!! And as House says….EVERYONE lies!!!

  • sailor1031

    After centuries of theft and embezzlement by priests (RCC Inc even had to prevent its priests marrying so they couldn’t leave property, which might or might not belong to the church, to their legitimate heirs) the company bosses still haven’t figured out that having only one person with control of the funds is a bad idea? Even our local baptists here don’t trust (or like) each other well enough to let any one of them control cash or property alone. And they aren’t the brightest by a long shot.

  • Broga

    They don’t just steal. They steal from the poorest and most in need. Christian belief is a toxin in the mind slipped in under the cloak of the fictional and ridiculous Jesus.
    Anyway, even the Christians know the believers are reducing. I met my local Christian yesterday for the first time for a few months. She was telling me that her “bible discussion group” (to which I have a standing invitation never taken up) were worried at their last meeting at the “increasing influence of atheists.”
    The Christians were”shocked” when one of the group said he had been reading “The God Delusion” which one of his children gave him and “he said there were things in there that did make you think a bit.” This seems to have caused something of a crisis as they usually select a sentence from the bible and discuss that.
    They intend to get the vicar, an occasional attender, there for the next meeting.

  • Vanity Unfair

    To Bob:
    First rate: irony of Chaucerian quality.

  • barriejohn

    Broga: No good ever did come of “thinking”.
    Vanity Unfair: I thought for one moment there that Bob had at last got himself a sense of humour!
    Are others still receiving notifications from this site?

  • Daz

    Oh, Bobberty truly does have a sense of humour. Why, he once told me he’d have the last laugh when I’m burning in the fires of hell.

  • Bob

    @Daz I’m genuinely pleased to see that you are still around, how are you?
    I do miss the articles you used to do on my blog, any chance you could restart these?

  • Daz

    Bobberty, I’m good. And thank you.
    If you ever manage to say summat you haven’t repeated eleventy-dozen times before, I might, if it’s interesting or amusing enough, base a post around it. I’ll not hold my breath.