Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Priest Used Church Money to Live Lavish Double Life That Included Male Escorts

The Republican-American website has an interesting article about a priest gone bad. Not exactly news these days, but it does provide me the opportunity to make a pithy, ironic observation at the end.

It seems beloved and respected 64-year-old Rev. Kevin Gray was living an extravagant double life that his parishioners knew nothing about:

Detectives say they discovered Gray, a well-respected Catholic priest and former leader of several city parishes, siphoned roughly $1.3 million from Sacred Heart to pay for a lavish lifestyle usually reserved for the wealthy.

Investigators claim this money went to pay for male escorts, $200,000 in restaurant bills, and hotel stays in the lap of Manhattan luxury.

. . . expenses amassed by Gray and paid for with the church's money

Furthermore, Gray had apparently told his congregation he was battling cancer. Investigators have determined that Gray has never had cancer and they believe he was using this ruse to explain his absences from the parish.

It's interesting to me how the police were tipped off that Gray was dirty:

Police have investigated Gray since May, when the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford came across financial "discrepancies" during an internal investigation. Archdiocese officials presented their findings to police, who say they've confirmed Gray embezzled the funds.

Now, there's where Gray messed up. He messed with the church's money, and NOBODY messes with the church's money.

If he'd just been molesting children, the church would've covered for him . . .

Monday, July 5, 2010

Puppet Pastors

On July 1, President Obama gave a speach on immigration reform at American University, an event to which he invited several key pastors and national church leaders. Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church in Illinois introduced the President.

This prompted Dave Welch over at to write a commentary sounding off on politicians using nationally known pastors as props for their agendas. He calls them props, I call them puppet pastors.

Here are a few choice tidbits from his article:
. . . clergy have been used and abused by politicians as props as long as there have been politics.

. . . well-known in the political world – shared and confirmed by Chuck Colson – is how Richard Nixon would "wine and dine" key pastors, give them the red-carpet treatment and send them home to be good mouthpieces.

When highly influential pastors like Hybels and Joel Osteen (e.g., his giving thanks to God for "raising up" activist lesbian mayor of Houston, Annise Parker) give cover to reprobate politicians, they yield not only their own moral high ground and influence, but that of pastors all over the nation whom they are perceived to represent.

We need patriot pastors holding elected officials accountable to God's standards, not serving as pawns by enemies of our faith and our country

Truth is, this article speaks not only to the issue of reprobate politicians, but also to the current condition of a lukewarm, man-pleasing church.

Included in the article is this reference that I found troubling:
. . . Erwin Lutzer illustrates magnificently in his must-read book, "Hitler's Cross," [how] the theologically shallow and nationalistic nature of the German clergy proved easy pickings for Hitler.

Although there are some who would argue with me, I don't think Obama is a Hitler. But the description of the German clergy as "theologically shallow and nationalistic" is a frighteningly accurate description of the popular American church.