Saturday, July 15, 2006
What's wrong with this picture?
Pictured: The Rev. Michael Jude Fay, right, and Cliff Fantini.
I listen to KQ in the morning, to the dismay of fellow employees and religious. I listen for the 'sound-bites' and tune out the gross stuff - sometimes I turn it off when it gets too bad. Like Milton in "Office Space" I protest that I can listen to the radio at a moderate level so as not to intrude upon other's space. (Actually, a couple of other employees listen on their own - oh my gosh! Did I out them?)
Anyway, this entire self-revelation is for the purpose of using one sound bite I absolutely love. It's from the "Brainerd Cash Call" bit when a DJ is calling rural residents around Brainerd to guess how much cash has accumulated as the prize. One older women he calls replies, "Gay!" The DJ responds , "Pardon me, what did you say?" She says, "Are you gay?" Out of the blue, totally out of context - it's hilarious! It was the first thing I thought of when I read the following story,
"Priest's extravagant lifestyle leads to downfall.
Connecticut diocese demands resignation.
July 9, 2006
New York Times News Service
DARIEN, Conn. — The Rev. Michael Jude Fay had his hair highlighted each spring at a local salon at prices of $85 or more, his hairdresser said. His vacation getaway was an ocean-view condominium in Florida that he owned with a close friend from Philadelphia. And he repeatedly spent thousands of dollars on luggage, jewelry, and designer clothes, even though his salary was a modest $28,000 a year.
To many of his parishioners at St. John Roman Catholic Church in Darien, Fay's lavish ways came as a shock nearly two months ago when the Diocese of Bridgeport demanded his resignation because of questions about his suitability for the priesthood, his lifestyle, and his financial stewardship of the church.
To those parishioners, he was the dutiful son of a New Jersey police officer and an advocate for the poor in wealthy Fairfield County. At times aloof, he was also sensitive in dealing with grief-stricken parishioners and showed flair in producing Broadway-style plays with local talent.
“People loved him,” said Richard Manegio, a Darien businessman whose ex-wife relied on Fay when she was battling cancer.
But a handful of parishioners, current and former employees and local merchants had nursed suspicions for years about the longtime pastor. In interviews, they — and investigators, lawyers and church officials who came into the case more recently — said Fay's taste for the gilded life seemed to have spun out of control in recent years.
“He was the most high-class priest I've ever seen,” said Frank Colandro, the owner of a deli across the street from the church, mentioning Fay's expensive-looking shoes and watches. And the more Fay spent, his critics say, the more autocratic and secretive he became about the church's finances." [snip] Read on, it's not that hard to figure out, the Cash Call lady ends the conversation with, "You're gay!"
The above story is not really that unusual. I know some high living priests. I do not suspect them in the least of using Church finances for personal expenses. The guys I know have their own money and are not extravagant when they spend money for the Church, they have excellent taste and provide beautiful appointments and/or renovations for their parishes. They are good stewards of other people's money. Of course I have heard of irresponsible priests as well, they are usually removed after the hot tub is installed at the rectory. I also know guys who have a 'preferential option' for the rich. Yet there is nothing untoward in that either. The fellow in the above article is either being 'kept' or using parish funds irresponsibly. He sounds like a charmer.
"Eat Fresh!" As Jon Lovitz would say.