Backlash Against Jersey’s “Bishop of Bling”

Collection plates dry up as Archbishop John Myers comes under fire.

TPM: “Churchgoing Catholics in New Jersey are closing their wallets to the church following reports that the Archbishop of Newark is having a large addition built on the already-large home where he will spend his retirement, The Newark Star Ledger reported on Sunday.”

The Newark Archdiocese’s plan to build a $500,000 addition to the retirement home for Archbishop John Myers received press attention last month, prompting a public backlash. One Star-Ledger reader wrote a letter to the editor dubbing Myers the “Bishop of Bling.”

In its story on Sunday, the Star-Ledger spoke with parishioners, some of whom said they were cutting off contributions to the church entirely, and others who said they would still support local parishes but won’t give to the archdiocese’s annual fundraising appeal. A spokesperson for the archbishop told the newspaper that the annual appeal has in recent years brought in between $10 million and $11 million.

But priests worry that withheld donations may hurt the poor served by the archdiocese. “As priests, that’s the hardest thing for us,” said the Rev. John Bambrick. “It doesn’t hurt the archbishop. There’s no way to hold him accountable. But the poor are held accountable for his bad decisions.”


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  • Elaina Snap

    For immediate release: Monday, March 3, 2014

    Statement by Mark Crawford, New Jersey director of SNAP (732-632-7687, mecrawf@comcast.net)

    A Newark Catholic pastor is telling his flock that “the media is our devil.” We believe Fr. Peter Palmisano should be disciplined for this hurtful remark.

    http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2014/03/archbishops_pricey_retirement_home_spurs_backlash_as_parishioners_withhold_donations.html

    Fr. Palmisano, who heads Our Lady of Mount Virgin Church in Garfield, didn’t make this awful statement “off the cuff.” He wrote this in his Feb. 28 parish bulletin.

    It’s harmful when Catholic officials publicly attack those who expose clergy sex crimes and cover ups – whether they are victims, police, attorneys or journalists – because they deter others from exposing clergy sex crimes and cover ups. (Maybe this was Fr. Palmisano’s intent. We don’t know. But regardless of his motives, the impact is the same – it discourages victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, and advocates from protecting kids by exposing criminals.)

    Fr. Palmisano is free to think journalists are devils. He should not be free, however, to use a parish bulletin to spread his venom. Archbishop John Myers should publicly punish him for his irresponsible and mean-spirited behavior. Otherwise, Myers’ is sanctioning irresponsible and mean-spirited behavior and basically encouraging other church officials to follow Fr. Palmisano’s lead.

    (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 25 years and have more than 15,000 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 SNAPnetwork.org)

    Contact – David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Mark Crawford (732-632-7687, mecrawf@comcast.net)

  • Anne Tracy

    Re Newark Bishop. They are telling parishioners that the money comes from other diocesan properties. Where did that money come from except parishioners? The bishop from Camden, NJ is upgrading his residence too at tremendous cost.

  • Stein

    Well then, Archbishop Chaput should be commended for sacrificing his opportunity to live in the splendid Cardinal’s residence, for selling that property, and for choosing to live in an apartment in the Seminary.

    True self sacrifice so that money can support the poor and dispossessed of the Philadelphia area.

  • PetrusRomanus1

    Not a surprise at all. Myers’ lifestyle didn’t play in Peoria, his previous diocese, where the issue arose piblically. Had Peorians known then what Jersey knows now, and acted accordingly, the Catholic church might not have to be dealing with this careerist cleric.

  • Michael Skiendzielewski

    H – U – B – R – I – S

    Hubris (/ˈhjuːbrɪs/, also hybris, from ancient Greek ὕβρις), means
    extreme pride or self-confidence. Hubris often indicates a loss
    of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence,
    accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in
    a position of power

    H is for Hypocrisy

    U is for Unctuous

    B is for Belligerent

    R is for Reprehensible

    I is for Intractable

    S is for Salacious

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Captain (Retired)
    Philadelphia Police Dept.