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Jesuits and the False God of Money

August 4, 2009

I’ve spent a lot of time with Jesuits,  with school mostly.  But because of the way the calendar fell, I’ve even spent time with several different Jesuits on clergy sexual abuse crap.

One of the many interesting things is how Jesuits regard money.

My first experience with money & Jesuits & clergy sexual abuse was in the 90’s.   My bishop was the very first person to offer help, and it was embarrassing because I hadn’t asked for it.   But when I got over the embarrassment, I realized it’s something Jesuits should cover, any expense.   So I contacted the only Jesuits I knew — in New England — and the very day he got my letter, the provincial called me and said yes, this is the least we can do….   No one ever asked about the cost, just asked me to say what I need.  All decided on the same day.

In 2003, I had a remarkably similar experience with the Missouri Jesuit provincial Frank Reale — but it took a bit more time.   I call Frank “provincial #1”.   I had written mostly because I wanted to report the Jesuit who had sexually assaulted me.    The day before, I had been in Boston and actually came face to face with a Jesuit perp in a parking lot.  While awaiting his prison sentence, the Jesuit was assigned to be a driver for elderly Jesuits.   I had parked my car when I arrived for an appointment with my spiritual guide.   “What are you doing here?”, this Jesuit in the parking lot asked me, twice.  “Visiting a friend”, I said, twice.  Turned out he was a Jesuit perp headed to prison, my Jesuit spiritual guide told me.   I met another Jesuit perp.

When I got home, I contacted my Jesuit friend to ask where to report the Jesuit who had sexually assaulted me.  It’s like my brain woke up.   Here is one Jesuit going to prison, and the Jesuit who assaulted me was still at a university teaching.  He gave me Frank Reale’s name.

After I contacted Frank Reale, he wanted me to give him a figure — for costs associated with healing.  I had not asked for money, just that they cover what might come up in the future.   So I thought about it carefully and we worked it out.  The abuser was removed from ministry and teaching and had to resign his job at a university.

And a few years pass, and then I dealt with Tim McMahon, who is one of the Jesuits who worship the False God of Money.    It wasn’t hard to figure out.   I had had some practice with Jesuits who don’t.

I know McMahon lied so recklessly because legally there are money damages when you breach a contract, which is what my  agreement with Frank Reale is.   Because I was so angry about the breaches of the agreement, I reminded him of the financial cost of what he did.   Before he lied, I knew intuitively that McMahon was different, that he was focused on the money, not on their mistakes, not on accountability, and not on me. Just the moneyThe False God of Money — and protecting it.

And now there is provincial #3, a trained economist.  I haven’t heard from him yet.

We’ll see how it plays out.

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