Peter’s Pence: US bishops are being sued for ‘lying and stealing’

Peter’s Pence: US bishops are being sued for ‘lying and stealing’ January 23, 2020

IN the wake of a Wall Street Journal exposé last December that claimed that Peter’s Pence, the Pope’s principal charity, gave only ten percent of the millions raised from the Catholic faithful to the needy, comes news that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is being sued for taking donations under false pretenses.

Image via YouTube

According to Church Militant, Texas-based legal firm the Stanley Law Group filed a class-action lawsuit against the USCCB yesterday (Wednesday), alleging the USCCB has been “lying and stealing” by “fraudulently” promoting the Pope’s charity.

The USCCB website says:

The Peter’s Pence Collection derives its name from an ancient custom. In ninth-century England. King Alfred the Great collected money, a ‘pence,’ from landowners as financial support for the Pope. Today, the Peter’s Pence Collection supports the Pope’s philanthropy by giving the Holy Father the means to provide emergency assistance to those in need because of natural disaster, war, oppression, and disease.

But the law group claims that the bulk of money raised by Peter’s Pence is being grossly misspent, and is encouraging US residents who donated to the charity between 2013 and 2019 to join the class action to share their stories at “Join the Lawsuit.

Marc Stanley, the firm’s lead attorney, told CM:

This is about transparency and accountability. People work hard for their money and give from their heart; this is a real gift. That money being diverted is just wrong.

The USCCB promotes Peter’s Pence in many ways, such as offering diocesan and parish resources, social media kits and web ads.

The suit alleges the American bishops “actively” misled Catholics into believing their millions of dollars in donations to the collection would be used to help those in need when in fact much of the money was funneled into private investments, such as funding movies, “luxury condominium developments” and “hefty, multi-million dollar commissions” to fund managers.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in Rhode Island on behalf of David O’Connell, a parishioner at Sacred Heart Church in East Providence, who is seeking a jury trial.

Stanley added:

USCCB must come clean and give back the money it took from well-intentioned people who thought they were giving urgently-needed funds to help the destitute around the world. It’s regrettable and tragic that such a trusted and well-respected organization has been taking advantage of the generosity of Catholic donors.

In a March 2019 settlement, Stanley Law Group obtained $37 million as a refund for donors in a class-action lawsuit against Gospel for Asia.

LifeSiteNews adds that the lawsuit alleges that the USCCB is “liable for common law fraud, unjust enrichment, and breach of fiduciary duty” for “misleadingly soliciting millions of dollars in charitable donations that were diverted into private investments.”

The complaint is also seeking “costs, restitution, damages and disgorgement in an amount to be determined at trial,” an order for the USCCB to pay pre- and post-judgement interest interest on any amounts awarded, as well as costs and attorney’s fees.

According to the 23-page complaint, Peter’s Pence is a “special collection taken from Catholics every June”.

LSN quoted Italian newspaper L’Espresso which last year reported that “secret internal Vatican investigative reports” showed most of Peter’s Pence funds had been “diverted into ‘reckless speculative operations,’ with 77 per cent of the collections” – “roughly $560 million” – channeled to the Swiss investment company Credit Suisse.

The newspaper also reported that a high-ranking Vatican official asked Italian financier Raffaele Mincione to invest $200 million of the collection, and that Mincione used the money to buy real estate in London “for a luxury apartment development” through a fund he managed.

When the investment didn’t yield the expected returns, the Vatican pulled out of the fund and bought the property, and Minicone made $170 million on the deal.

Pope Francis responded in November, stating that the fact that the Vatican invests the money shouldn’t bother anyone.

The sum of Peter’s Pence arrives and what do I do? Put it in a drawer? No, that’s bad administration. I try to make an investment.

Taron Egerton plays Elton John in Rocketman. Image via YouTube.

That was followed by a further bombshell: $1 million of Peter’s Pence donations had been invested in the Elton John biopic Rocketman, and more than $3.6 million in the movie Men in Black: International.

The lawsuit alleges that the USCCB “has always known the difference between a donation for emergency assistance and a donation to defray Vatican expenses” but “hid this distinction in its promotion, oversight, and administration of the Peter’s Pence collection in the United States.”

As a result, the USCCB:

Has effectively profited at the expense of David O’Connell and members of the public.

The Wall Street Journal’s exposé said:

Every year, Catholics around the world donate tens of millions of dollars to the Pope … What the church doesn’t advertise is that most of that collection, worth more than €50 million ($55 million) annually, goes toward plugging the hole in the Vatican’s own administrative budget.

It claimed that the Holy See is struggling with a growing budget deficit, with the Pope warning cardinals of the “grave impact” on the body’s economic future.

The Vatican’s continuing financial problems reflect a lack of progress on improving its management and finances, which Pope Francis was elected in 2013 with a mandate to overhaul, following allegations of corruption, waste and incompetence there.

The assets of Peter’s Pence now total about €600 million, down from about €700 million early in the current pontificate, largely on account of unsuccessful investments, said the people familiar with the funds’ use.

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  • Broga

    Unlike most of us, the Vatican seems to be shameless and devoid of any feelings of guilt. It is very good at doing the baby kissing thing which works well and deflects attention. How could the Pope, or Mother Theresa, possibly rob the poor. These pictures go straight to the emotions and the thinking part has no chance. The religious con artistes know exactly what they are doing and it is supported by science.

    The amygdala is far more powerful and acts many times faster than the prefrontal cortex. That is the result of millions of years of evolution.

  • Old Harry

    If only Heaven were required to file an annual report, properly audited by all the Accountants and Lawyers in Hell working for one of the large LSOS Earthly accounting firms.

    It might not lead to direct litigation against Heaven, but at least one could sue the firms those Accountants and Lawyers worked for, piercing the veils and skewering the CEOs as necessary, or droning them in their Turks and Caicos/NZ bolt holes.

  • Raging Bee

    They’d have to have their meetings on “neutral ground,” of course. So that would be one “h3ll” of a shindig for some hotel/conference center in Switzerland.

  • Vanity Unfair

    …Peter’s Pence, the Pope’s principal charity, gave only ten percent of the millions raised from the Catholic faithful to the needy…
    Well, that’s what tithing means, isn’t it?
    I’ve been cut off from direct comments again.

  • Raging Bee

    That could be why so many religious nuts mistake the amygdala for the voice of their respective gods…

  • Old Harry

    Do not speak unkindly of the amygdala, it gives us YouTube cat videos.

  • Tawreos

    Prosperity gospel parishioners may want to take note of this story since god isn’t doing anything to make sure he gets return on his own money why would he make sure that they get a return on theirs?

  • Matt G

    If anybody else did this, most Catholics would be disgusted. But since it’s the Church…

  • Michael Neville

    When the investment didn’t yield the expected returns, the Vatican pulled out of the fund and bought the property, and Minicone made $170 million on the deal.

    Here, very rich man, we will give you a fortune because you made a bad investment for us.

  • Broga

    I’m sorry about that. I look forward to reading your comments. I get delayed sometimes until I have been checked by somebody. I would have thought that I was “safe” by now.

  • Broga

    I won’t. It is an essential intuitive aspect of the brain. The cat videos sound good.

  • Broga

    That is plausible. Didn’t St Paul have his vision after some kind of fit? They certainly don’t get these fantasies by reason.

  • Steven Watson

    Not familiar with The Parable of the Talents, are we?

  • Steven Watson

    The fit is a fiction from Acts, unsupported by anything Paul wrote in his genuine epistles. Lots of people see and hear things that aren’t (and don’t see or hear things that are) there to this day. It’s something I occasionally experience. I have the advantage on Paul, however, of its explanation by modern science and medicine. Absent science, gods are a reasonable explanation. He wasn’t coming to conclusions about his visions which were in any way out of the ordinary for his time and place.

  • Well, if that’s not fraud, I’ll eat my tail fur.

  • HematitePersuasion

    Trusted religious figures misuse charitable funds! News at 11!

  • Raging Bee

    That’s the efficiency of the magical marketplace!

  • Broga

    Why select the fit?. Acts are a fiction, written long after the supposed events, rewritten time after time to fit in with earlier prophencies . and the names of the supposed authors appended to give the supposed authors credibility. They don’t agree with each other and many supposed events contradict what another said. They were not written in King James English and are supposed to be written by illiterate fishermen.

  • Jim X

    I’m giving to Mike’s Pence instead.

  • Jim Jones

    The Vatican should just give the money to Warren Buffett to invest in Berkshire Hathaway. If Trump had done that he wouldn’t be $1.8 billion in debt and he wouldn’t have had to steal from charity.

  • Jim Jones

    Worked for the top guys at Enron.

  • Jim Jones

    They were written in Greek, by Greeks, for Greeks, in Greece. And they borrow from all the other Greek myths.

    The entire religion comes down to 1 & 2 Corinthians, Romans and Philemon. Anything in the gospels that isn’t in those is invention. And most of those is as well.

  • Jim Jones

    ?? There are no bad words here. I checked.

  • Andrea Fitzgerald

    Why am I not surprised…

  • Broga

    I have been told, in all seriousness, when I was in the USA, that the bible was originally written in King James’ English. During the same visit I was also told that Jesus was white. The “evidence” was that he was white in all the paintings. Not wishing to be lynched, I didn’t pursue the subject. This was about 20 years ago and I kept a diary.

    I have not returned and I do not know if there has been a more enlightened awareness since then. I would have to leave any comment on that to the welcome contributors here from the USA. From my location on the remote West Coast of the UK, and seeing President Trump and his supporters, I cannot be optimistic.

  • Robert McLean

    Perhaps half the problem, aside from alleged criminal activity, is that Frank’s accountant is in jail! And depending on appeals, will be fur about six years.