Yes, we know some of you have lost your jobs. Yes, we know people are hurting. Yes, we know there's a recession afoot, maybe a depression.
But. . . .
But, we've turned the Catholic Church into a corporation? But, we don't give clothes to the naked or food to the hungry, but instead create chanceries, which have offices, which hire staff, who run programs . . . which help the needy?
But, half of what you put in the plate -- plus a crapload of parents' money in the form of tuition -- go to fund a Catholic-school system no better (at least in Omaha) than public schools and absolutely as likely to turn out hedonistic little pagans?
But, you're paying dearly to build more, and more luxurious, facilities in which comfortable suburban Catholics hear a lukewarm version of the gospel to the lounge-lizard beat of liturgical composers at whom, I'm sure, Simon Cowell would love to have a go?
OH . . . AND THEN there is this.
WHICH MAKES YOU wonder about this, from
Lee Karrer, finance director for the Archdiocese of Omaha, says only time will tell what kind of an impact the economy will have on the archdiocese.
"It's probably a little too early," he said. "The archbishop, however, has directed that we bring our expenses of operating the Central Administrative Offices into line with anticipated slowdown of incoming revenue."
Karrer said the finance office is in the process of finishing the budget planning on reducing the budget for 2008-2009, as well as the fiscal year of 2009-2010. The reality is that anything and everything is being discussed in terms of reducing the budget, including salary increases, benefit levels and staffing.
"Now we are just at the beginning of the process for Fiscal Year 2009-2010. We haven't even met with the finance council yet. So it's a little early to be able to say exactly what the end results will be," he said. "I can say we've reduced this year's fiscal budget by six figures and will do at least that if not more in 2009-2010."
The finance office's budget affects the chancery offices at 100 N. 62nd St. in Omaha and the archdiocesan offices located at the Sheehan Center campus near 60th and Northwest Radial Highway, Karrer said.
Father Joseph Taphorn, chancellor of the archdiocese, said the priests of the archdiocese have had their salaries frozen for this year, and all archdiocesan office directors were asked to trim about 10 percent from their budgets.
"How can we do that without sacrificing the essential program ministries?" he said. "Well, maybe we can forsake some of the luxuries, some of the travel or conferences that are nice things to do, but if we really don't need to do it, then let's not do it this year and put some of those things on hold.
"Everyone has to trim a little bit and tighten the belt, but I think for the most part we're going to preserve essential services and those essential programs, but everyone has to be a little lean."
"EVERYONE HAS to trim a little bit and tighten the belt," or, if you're in the pews, fork over what's left in your wallet. Yes, indeed.
Well, except for Archbishop Elden Curtiss, who's going to be doing just fine in his retirement years -- sitting pretty, all by himself, in his $389,000 house. Paid for by the good Catholics of the archdiocese.
Meanwhile, somebody sitting somewhere in the chancery, in some office of some archdiocesan bureaucracy, is wondering where all the Catholic young people went. And why those who still bother with God at all are more than likely to end up in some church just like little Waterfront Community Church in Schaumburg, Ill.