Kathy Schiffer is a Catholic blogger. In addition to her blog Seasons of Grace, her articles have appeared in the National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Zenit, the Michigan Catholic, Legatus Magazine, and other Catholic publications. She’s worked for Catholic and other Christian ministries since 1988, as radio producer, director of special events and media relations coordinator. Kathy and her husband, Deacon Jerry Schiffer, have three adult children.
Nearly $1 million in funds which had been earmarked for the Holy See will now be withheld, following the Vatican's action to delay the U.S. Bishops' vote on a plan to end the sexual abuse crisis in the Church.
Legatus, the international organization of Catholic business leaders, has since its inception tithed to the Holy See from member dues. In 2019, with more than 5,000 CEOs and their spouses active in more than 80 chapters across the United States and Canada, that tithe is expected to reach nearly a million dollars. However, Legatus' founder and chairman Tom Monaghan announced in September that the funds would be held in escrow, until questions of financial accountability could be clarified. “We certainly pledge our continued devotion to Holy Mother Church,” said Monaghan in a Sept. 6 letter to Legatus members,
“...and recognize the tithe has been an important commitment of Legatus since our founding. However, in light of recent revelations and questions, we believe it appropriate to respectfully request clarification regarding the specific use of these funds.”
On Friday, Nov. 16, following the Vatican's unexpected intervention into the USCCB's General Assembly in Baltimore and its demand that the bishops delay voting on a plan which could bring closure to the sexual abuse crisis, Legatus' Board of Governors took the next step and formally revoked the organization's 2019 tithe to the Holy See. Members who have already submitted their dues for the 2019 year will receive a refund of that portion (10 percent) which had been earmarked for the Holy See; and members who have not yet remitted their dues will receive a new, revised invoice.
In a letter to the membership, Tom Monaghan explained:
Since our founding the annual tithe has been an important part of Legatus membership. Thus, it is the intent of the Board to reinstate this practice once we have sufficient communication regarding the specific accountability related to the use of these funds. The Board will revisit this topic by the fall of 2019 in order to chart a plan related to the 2020 dues.
As George Weigel so articulately said in his Wall Street Journal article entitled “A Crisis, but not of Faith” (Aug. 30, 2018), the Church is most certainly in crisis, but it is not a crisis of Faith. As an organization, Legatus continues to pledge its devotion to and solidarity with Holy Mother Church; this is a time when we need to live the mission of Legatus more than ever.
The Legatus mission is “to study, live and spread the Faith in our business, personal and professional lives.” That mission will guide Legatus members going forward, as they continue to pray for the Church and to encourage her leaders to act, ensuring the safety of all children and adults who rely on our priests for spiritual care.