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Investing in … ?

August 12, 2015



Along with much of the cover-up of the clergy/staff child sex abuse … we were interested to read on a forum where Roman Catholics were saying, “The bishops are responsible for saving souls.”




Not an essay … merely a sharing, along with questions.


Are the bishops saving souls?


But some of the largest American Catholic organizations have millions of dollars invested in energy companies, from hydraulic fracturing firms to oil sands producers, according to their own disclosures, through many portfolios intended to fund church operations and pay clergy salaries.

This discrepancy between the church’s leadership and its financial activities in the United States has prompted at least one significant review of investments. The Archdiocese of Chicago, America’s third largest by Catholic population, told Reuters it will reexamine its more than $100 million worth of fossil fuel investments.

“We are beginning to evaluate the implications of the encyclical across multiple areas, including investments and also including areas such as energy usage and building materials,” Betsy Bohlen, chief operating officer for the Archdiocese, said in an email.

The pope’s encyclical, a letter sent to all Catholic bishops, has sharpened a debate well underway in Catholic organizations and other churches about divestment. But many major American dioceses have resisted the push.

“You now have this clash between Pope Francis’ vision of the world, and the world that the bishops who run the investments live in,” said Father Michael Crosby, a Capuchin friar in Milwaukee who advocates socially responsible investing in the church.

“The bishops are a very conservative group, and I’m not hopeful this will be resolved anytime soon.”

Dioceses covering Boston, Rockville Centre on Long Island, Baltimore, Toledo, and much of Minnesota have all reported millions of dollars in holdings in oil and gas stocks in recent years, according to documents reviewed by Reuters.

The holdings tend to make up between 5 and 10 percent of the dioceses’ overall equities investments, similar to the 7.1 percent weighting of energy companies on the S&P 500 index, according to the documents.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ guidelines on ethical investing warn Catholics and Catholic institutions against investing in companies related to abortion, contraception, pornography, tobacco, and war, but do not suggest avoiding energy stocks.

While several organizations of progressive Catholic nuns and priests have been actively urging energy companies to make their operations more socially responsible, that activist approach has not taken hold at the level of the dioceses.

A spokesman for the USCCB declined to comment when asked if the organization was considering adjusting its investment guidelines after the encyclical, deemed the most controversial papal pronouncement in half a century.

“The Pope’s intent was to say to people: there is an urgency on this issue,” said Frank Coleman, who manages Catholic Responsible Investing for the Christian Brothers Investment Services, which has resisted calls to divest the fossil fuel share of its $6 billion under management.

“Divestment is a good way to raise the urgency. But it is not the be-all to end-all of solutions.”


When Francis makes his first visit to the United States in September, he is expected to press lawmakers to act on climate change in a joint session of Congress, a move almost certain to come under attack from conservative politicians who oppose his intervention in the debate.

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, a Catholic, said right before the encyclical’s publication that he doesn’t “get economic policy from my bishops or my cardinal or my pope.”

The American church remains a deeply conservative organization led mainly by bishops appointed by Francis’ predecessors. The Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich, is one of Francis’ few major appointees so far in the United States. 

Regardless of where dioceses stand on the debate, their fossil fuel holdings have likely triggered losses in recent years due to sliding oil prices, adding to financial strain faced by the U.S. Catholic Church from sex abuse case settlements and declining attendance that have cost the church billions of dollars, leading to a rash of Catholic school closures and unfunded clergy pension obligations.

The S&P 500 Energy Index fell nearly 9 percent in 2014, and U.S. oil prices this month slumped to their lowest levels since mid-March to around $44 a barrel. [O/R]

The Archdiocese of Boston held roughly $4.6 million worth of energy stocks in 2014, representing about 6 percent of its stock market investments, according to its most recent financial report. The archdiocese also offered employees a “Catholic Values” retirement savings fund through Catholic mutual fund firm Ave Maria that included shares of companies like Anadarko APC.N>, Halliburton, and Range Resources.

A spokesman for the diocese declined comment.

The Archdiocese of Chicago had “under 8 percent” of its $1.65 billion portfolio in fossil fuels, a spokeswoman said.

The Diocese of Rockville Centre in Long Island, meanwhile, listed $6.3 million in energy company shares among its investments in 2013, the year covered in its most recent report, representing about 8 percent of its equities investments. An official declined comment.

Dioceses in Baltimore, Toledo and much of the state of Minnesota reported significant holdings of oil and gas stocks mainly through mutual fund portfolios. The Diocese of Toledo said it was considering how to react to the encyclical, while the others did not comment. Many other dioceses, including those of New York and Los Angeles – America’s largest – did not provide detailed information on their holdings and also declined comment. cont …





Clergy sex abuse victims blast new Spokane bishop

Statement by David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director, 314 566 9790

(In a new interview with a Washington newspaper published today, Spokane’s new Catholic bishop discusses the church’s child sex abuse and cover up crisis.)

Bishop Blasé Cupich endangers kids, hurts victims and misleads Catholics by mischaracterizing and minimizing the Catholic church’s horrific, on-going clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis.

In this interview, Cupich makes three stunning and patently ridiculous claims.

1) “Sexual abuse of children is not happening in the church today. “

2) “The scandal is that, 30 years ago, the world of psychology, criminal law and the church didn’t handle the situation well. Society didn’t handle the situation well.”

3) “Various institutions that work with kids that don’t have in place codes of conduct and training that we have in place.”

Let’s look at all three of these claims.

First, on the very day Cupich’s interview appeared, Illinois newspapers were reporting on the new guilty plea by a Chicago area predator priest, Fr. Alejandro Flores. He was ordained in 2009. He molested a boy in 2010. Ancient history? Hardly!

Even worse, the local bishop’s top staff knew this predator had problems even before he was ordained. According to one newspaper: “Prosecutors say Catholic officials had some warning signs about Flores” because he “was caught with gay porn on his computer” and “some of the images appeared to be those of young boys.”

So what did the Illinois bishop do? He warned no parishioners about this incident and went ahead and ordained Flores anyway.,Flores-plea-kane_AU090810.article

The day before Cupich’s interview appeared in print, Fr. Joseph Fiala was arrested in Kansas for child sex crimes he allegedly committed in 2007 and 2008.

We could go on and on and on.

Every day, a blog called “The Abuse Tracker” posts dozens of news accounts from credible media outlets across the world about current clergy sex abuse and cover up cases. Most, sadly, involve Catholic clerics. (It’s available at

Catholic officials can try mightily to distance themselves from pedophile priests when those priests are caught and admit guilt. But as long as Catholic officials continue to recruit troubled men to the priesthood and ordain them despite clear warning signs, this horrific, on-going crisis will continue.

Second, Cupich claims, “The scandal is that, 30 years ago, the world of psychology, criminal law and the church didn’t handle the situation well. Society didn’t handle the situation well.”

It’s hard to know where to start with this one. Sure, much of society has improved over the past three decades when it comes to child sexual abuse. But the Catholic church stands apart as the one institution that has attracted, harbored, protected and transferred more child predators – literally thousands of child molesting priests, nuns, bishops, seminarians, brothers and other staff – than any other.

And while there certainly are too many abusive coaches and teachers, it’s nearly impossible to find one who has molested dozens or hundreds of kids because he or she was deliberately moved from place to place by irresponsible supervisors. Why? Because that happens most in the Catholic church, and always has.

(Isn’t it sad to see an alleged spiritual leader implying “Heck, we’re no worse than other groups that caused children to suffer”?)

Cupich disingenuously blames ‘psychology’ for part of the church’s crisis. He conveniently neglects to mention that if he and his colleagues had called the police about clergy child sex crimes (both known and suspected), hundreds of predator priests would be in prisons, not in therapy. He also obscures the fact that pedophile priests were deliberately sent for counseling to Catholic institutions where the top priority wasn’t protecting kids and ‘healing’ predators but keeping secrets. (With their vast resources, Catholic bishops could have sent their ‘troubled’ priests to the ‘best and brightest’ in the therapeutic community. Instead, however, they chose to protect themselves, their colleagues and their secrets by utilizing instead therapists who would help bishops conceal the crimes and give bishops the ‘recommendations’ to return pedophiles to ministry that bishops so desperately sought.)

Third, Cupich claims that “various institutions that work with kids that don’t have in place codes of conduct and training that we have in place.” We challenge Cupich to stop the McCarthy smear tactics and specifically tell us what other institutions lack the supposed abuse programs that the Catholic church has allegedly adopted (albeit begrudgingly and belatedly). It’s just wrong to cast aspersions on an entire group – agencies and organizations that deal with kids.

And we challenge the ludicrous notion that ‘codes of conduct’ are in any way effective when it comes to child sex crimes. Does Cupich honestly believe that, years ago, even one confused priest told himself, “Gee, I’m not sure sodomizing a child is right or wrong. My bishop doesn’t make me sign a ‘code of conduct’ forbidding child sodomy, so I guess I’ll go ahead and assault a little girl or boy today.”

These “codes of conduct” are like much of the bishops’ response to this heinous scandal – it’s a smart PR move that makes people feel good and believe reform is happening. But it has no impact whatsoever in the real world.

It’s also worth considering what Cupich doesn’t say. He never once acknowledges that the church’s rigid, all-male, secretive culture plays any role in this crisis. He never once admits that bishops ignore and conceal child sex crimes because they can (since in this monarchical structure, they answer to virtually no one).

It’s misleading to talk about the crisis without mentioning its primary cause – the recklessness, callousness and deceit of bishops who repeatedly, knowingly and secretly transferred child molesting clerics to unsuspecting parishioners, and who shun victims, deceive reporters, stonewall police, intimidate witnesses, destroy evidence, fabricate alibis, and discredit whistleblowers.

Finally, Cupich stresses the church’s “need to rebuild trust.” We respectfully disagree. The church needs to stop finger-pointing, excuse-making, and blame-shifting. The church needs to protect the vulnerable and heal the wounded. When that happens, trust will be restored.

We agree with his statement that the church hierarchy is “more than the sins of our past.” Indeed, the church hierarchy is also, sadly, the sins of its present.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is


added: the oil investment article sounds very much like the right arm playing tag with the left … for the soul purpose of making the roman pontiff look like———–a digger?

* grant was a digger in jurassic park … but pope fran?




Peace and Love




  1. opheliart permalink

    just an american thing?

    we read about this several years ago …

  2. opheliart permalink

    this is interesting and exciting but i am not all that surprised
    i recall many years ago at the monterey bay aqua. they told us that the octopus was a sensitive and friendly creature … like it had feelings … and from that point on i saw them very differently

    i recall they had a small one that was very shy but did enjoy attention (petting-stroking)

  3. opheliart permalink

    stopped at desperate housewives and boxing … they can have her

    • opheliart permalink

      along with all those priests already ordained watching desperate housewives and boxing 😉

      • opheliart permalink

        feeds and fuels that same mindset of abuse 😦

        who enjoys watching people punch each other in the face? physically and serially

  4. opheliart permalink

    Betty Clermont August 13, 2015 at 10:58 am
    The original article has a “factbox”: “(Arch) dioceses Boston – $190.9 million in investments. Chicago – $1.65 billion portfolio. Baltimore – $110 million portfolio. The Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, which invests for Catholic dioceses in Minnesota, reported investments totaling $260.2 million. Many other dioceses, including those of New York and Los Angeles – America’s largest – did not provide detailed information on their holdings. Christian Brothers Investment Services, which invests for Catholic dioceses, religious institutes, educational institutions and health care organizations – $6 billion under management.”
    So much for this pope’s “poor Church.” He has never instructed his Vatican, bishops, superiors of religious orders to divest any of their assets to help the poor.

  5. opheliart permalink

    Mr. O’Malley earned some boos and heckles from protesters at the Netroots convention when he replied to their chants by saying, “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.”

    The former Maryland governor later apologized, insisting he meant no disrespect. But, as Slate’s Jamelle Bouie explained, ” ‘Black lives matter’ is a statement of specific concern; police violence is most acute against black Americans, and so activists stress the importance of their lives. To reply with ‘all lives matter’ is to suggest there’s no specific problem of police abuse targeted at black Americans…. It sounds like a dismissal, and that’s how it was received.”

    Following the Netroots fiasco, Sanders tried to quiet the crowd by emphasizing the need to address wealth and income inequality, noting that minorities – particularly blacks and Hispanics – face high rates of poverty and unemployment. It was an approach that critics said showed Sanders’ lack of understanding about the black lives movement.

    “Portrayals of racial injustice as merely an offshoot of economic injustice or the implication that solutions to economic inequality will take care of racism represent a fundamental misunderstanding of how race operates in our country,” Anna Galland, the executive director of Civic Action, told the Monitor.

    Since then, however, both Democratic candidates have taken concrete steps to directly address racial issues: A week ago, O’Malley issued a call for a constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal voting rights as part of a platform intended to address structural racism, while Sanders on Monday released a concrete racial justice platform – one that goes beyond economic reform – and pointed out that he had already hired a racial justice activist as his press secretary.

    That is the response that members of the Black Lives Matter movement want to see, Black Lives co-founder Alicia Garza said in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes. And until every presidential candidate – Democratic and Republican – has presented a clear position on racial issues, the disruptive protests and all the rest will continue, Ms. Garza added.

    “Every single candidate in this election cycle is going to be pushed, and the tactics are not all going to look the same,” she said. “But we are going to make sure that every single candidate addresses what their plan is to make sure that we can breathe, to make sure that our lives do actually matter.”

    Indeed, race is likely to continue to be a crucial issue for all the candidates as the presidential primaries, and then the elections, draw closer. … cont

    • opheliart permalink

      BLM needs to ask itself a few questions … as there are NON racist individuals wondering …

      1. why are blacks “targeted” by police?

      2. when the MLK, saint of the civil rights movement specifically FOR black america … was engaging in dialogue to improve the status of this … what did he NOT do?

      • opheliart permalink

        and 3. where are your parents?

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