McCarrick in Mobile, Alabama

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by Anita Carey  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 9, 2019   

Current archbishop has control of hundreds of millions in government grants

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MOBILE, Ala. (ChurchMilitant.com) - In June 2018, just as the news was breaking about Theodore McCarrick being a serial homopredator, eyewitness reports revealed that McCarrick's first stop was Mobile, Alabama. 

The details of his visit are not known, but McCarrick had a long association with Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Lipscomb, who was the head of the Mobile archdiocese for nearly 30 years and is now in a retirement home run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.

In 2008, Lipscomb was succeeded by Mobile's current archbishop, Thomas Rodi. 

Local Catholics are angry over how Abp. Rodi closed St. Joseph Church and seized its assets earlier this year. Financial records obtained by Church Militant showed that St. Joseph Church in Mobile had assets of over $2 million and was self-sustaining.

In February 2019, the diocese orchestrated the sell-off of St. Joseph Church and shifted a $2.5 million endowment attached to the parish to his cathedral parish.

Parishioners say St. Joseph's was well in the black at the time and was self-sustaining. Long-time Mobile resident Pat Shreve told Church Militant, "The Roman Catholic church in downtown Mobile is part of its history."

Shreve pointed out that the former mayor of Mobile, Joseph Langan, was a parishioner at St. Joseph and it is well-known that Langan left an endowment for St. Joseph Church.

He was active in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, working with John LeFlore, the local representative of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to desegregate the city and keep the civil unrest that was erupting in other cities in Alabama from coming to Mobile. 

Catholics familiar with Abp. Rodi's methods say this is nothing new. Prior to coming to Mobile, Abp. Rodi was the bishop of Biloxi, Mississippi. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, he collected a large sum of money from local Catholics, ostensibly to fix up a badly damaged church.

Archbishop Rodi merged the parish of St. Paul with another, and when it came time to spend the money on the repairs of St. Paul, he changed plans and closed the church.

Contributors say they have no idea what happened to their donations and were never given a direct answer. They filed a lawsuit claiming they were misled by Abp. Rodi and the pastor that the money they collected would be used to repair the church, but the judge dismissed the case claiming he lacked jurisdiction. 

Rodi also disgusted young Catholics by not only refusing to disassociate himself with the commencement address of pro-gay Fr. James Martin at Springhill College here in Mobile last May, he actually sat on the dais with him and applauded his comments.

Big Money

Archbishop Rodi is also the chairman of a little-known but drowning in money non-profit called Cross Catholic Outreach (CCO) headquartered in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Launched in 2001, CCO has a sister organization called Cross International —  a largely Protestant or non-denominational effort.

In an uncommon arrangement for non-profits, both organizations have much the same leadership, and a review of each organization shows they are almost indistinguishable from each other.

In short, there is a lot of money passing through a lot of hands, and nearly every set of those hands has ties to McCarrick in one way or another.

The combined efforts reflect dealings in almost $400 million annually.

According to CCO and Cross International's tax filings, the organizations dole out hundreds of millions of dollars a year to supposedly fight poverty in the Caribbean and Central America.

According to the tax forms, money seems to flows freely back and forth between Catholic CCO and Protestant Cross International with enormous sums going to Haiti — a country McCarrick visited numerous times over the decades.

According to internal audits from the USCCB, large portions of that money pass through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) from the U.S. government.

In short, there is a lot of money passing through a lot of hands, and nearly every set of those hands has ties to McCarrick in one way or another.

McCarrick was a constant traveler on behalf of U.S. government agencies, often to the very places lots of this money goes to.

In 2015, the Vatican raised CCO to the level of an official organization.

What is also noteworthy is that the patron of CCO is Cdl. Edwin O'Brien — another senior cleric named specifically by Abp. Carlo Viganò in his bombshell testimony last summer exposing the homosexual hive in the Church at large. 

Cardinal O'Brien was accused of knowing about McCarrick and keeping quiet, owing to his association with the hive.

Archbishop Rodi assumed leadership of a diocese formerly run by a very close McCarrick friend, and as chairman of the board of CCO, now sits in the catbird seat of a non-profit overseeing the distribution of collectively billions of dollars — most of that being U.S. taxpayer money flowing through the USCCB.

Up until this year, Rodi was also the chairman of the USCCB Committee on National Collections. This group oversees more than a dozen collections taken up in parishes across America each year. These collections are for organizations like Catholic Relief Services — a group continually tainted with scandals of partnering with non-governmental organizations in contraception and abortion — and Catholic Campaign for Human Development CCHD — the Saul Alinsky-originated outfit put into motion by deceased Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

Cardinal Bernardin was another member of the homosexual hive and partnered with McCarrick in establishing the gay seminarian South American pipeline that Church Militant uncovered in 2018.

Archbishop Rodi's seizing of the assets and closing of St. Joseph's parish may have violated canon law. Archbishop Rodi is a canon lawyer and taught canon law at Notre Dame Seminary for almost a decade.

The sale went through quickly. The same three people on the deed of St. Joseph's Church in downtown Mobile simply signed the assets over to themselves as the trustees on the deed at the nearby Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The financial assets of St. Joseph were absorbed into the cathedral.

Former St. Joseph parishioner Patricia Felis was the first to file a canonical recourse against Abp. Rodi's plan to close the church. Felis was aware of the financial position of St. Joseph and wanted to know what would happen to the endowments for St. Joseph after the merger with the cathedral.  

Felis said she and one other parishioner had a meeting on April 10, 2017 with Abp. Rodi, Msgr. Michael Farmer, the pastor of the cathedral and the vicar general of the diocese of Mobile, who told them the $2 million endowment would go to the cathedral parish. She said she has asked for financial reports every year since then, and in 2019, they were finally given some limited financial information. 

When asked if the cathedral finances showed an injection of over $2 million, she replied, "No, only a shortfall," adding, "We don't know what happened to it."  

Canon Law Concerns

There are a couple of canon law concerns; the first pertains to how offerings are to be used. According to canon law 1267, section 3, "Offerings given by the faithful for a specified purpose may be used only for that purpose."

It would seem that he did in order to shove the sale through before anyone could raise a valid objection to it.

The second concern is with canon 1734 regarding the closure of a church. Brody Hale is an expert on the canon law pertaining to church closures and has helped to save over a dozen churches from permanent closure.

Hale said, "It is a requirement that any decree issued to relegate a church to profane but not sordid use, meaning, to close it permanently, be published in order that parishioners or others that would have standing under the canon 1734 to challenge that decree have the opportunity to challenge it."

He said after the decree is issued, there is a 10-day window that exists from the time that it is published until such time for a challenge expires. 

"By failing to publish that decree, Abp. Rodi cut off, in my opinion, completely extra-canonically the right of anyone in Mobile to challenge the sale, and it would seem that he did in order to shove the sale through before anyone could raise a valid objection to it," Hale said.

On Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, St. Joseph's was sold for about $650,000 to 24/7 Development Partners of Alabama — a corporation that was just formed in October 2018.

The former church building is destined to become an office building, and the former sanctuary will be used as a meeting room.

On Palm Sunday and during Holy Week, statues and other Catholic images were carted out by the Atlanta-based company King Richard's Liturgical Design and Contracting. They will be reused, for free, by St. Ignatius Church, a rich parish in the desirable part of town undergoing a $20 million makeover.

So in a win-win for both Rodi and St. Ignatius, a backroom deal resulted in the picking over the bones of St. Joseph — Abp. Rodi getting the $2.5 million endowment and the $650,000 contract price and St. Ignatius getting all the belongings.

Faithful Catholics in Mobile have filed a canon law case against Rodi for what they see as his ecclesiastical illegal and immoral actions. They are calling for an apostolic visitation to investigate his leadership.

Paul David, who filed the second recourse, said: 

We're asking Rome for their involvement. Archbishop Rodi needs to be fully investigated and he has had designs on St. Joesph's parish and its endowment for years, and we have him asked many, many times for accountability and transparency on these issues and he refused to give us any answers whatsoever.

Additionally, the Denounce Archbishop Rodi Facebook page has been established by anonymous Catholics who are also fed up with the lack of transparency of the diocese.

Hidden History

In yet another troubling situation where much is still unclear, details about a Mobile priests' alleged sexual abuse were revealed in depositions from a recent lawsuit brought by several Catholic school parents against Rodi and the archdiocese of Mobile.

The suit involved 14 counts of bullying against a number of students — including negligence, wantonness and deliberate indifference by the archdiocese.

The suit, which Abp. Rodi and the archdiocese eventually settled for an undisclosed amount, was often a topic of local reports as Rodi and the archdiocese attempted at every turn to block depositions and subpoenas from being served.

In fact, what became public knowledge during the depositions sworn to under oath was that archdiocesan attorney Lisa Hansen, a non-Catholic, has ordered all Catholic schools in the archdiocese to destroy their disciplinary files each year. Archbishop Rodi surely knows and approves this policy.

The pastor of the parish and school, St. Pius X, was Fr. John Savoie, who was also deposed by plaintiffs' attorneys.

The entire case, including the depositions of Fr. Savoie and Abp. Rodi, was put under seal.

But sources familiar with the case tell Church Militant that inside the sealed depositions are details extremely damaging to Abp. Rodi and the archdiocese that go far beyond just the particulars of the case at hand.

Archbishop Rodi is a money-man and is very involved in the knowledge, oversight and distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars every year, both domestically and internationally.

Mobile was one of McCarrick's last stops as the news of his evil was becoming widely known. No direct connection has so far been established between McCarrick and the vast sums Rodi oversees. In the murky world of zero transparency and no accountability that so many of the hierarchy operate in, it is unlikely the laity will ever know.

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