Sunday, July 21, 2002

Restitution, the current news (kind of part 2)

Here's the article from the current July 18th Catholic Herald, page 4:

Contributions to offset settlement pass $307,000
Total includes anonymous stock gift of $183,532

by Laurel Nelson-Rowe
Catholic Herald Staff

ST. FRANCIS ---- The contributions to defray costs of the Milwaukee Archdiocese's $450,000 out-of-court settlement with Paul Marcoux continued to grow last week, totaling $307,370, including an anonymous gift of stock valued at $183,532, as of July 15th.

The fund-raising effort over the last several weeks was spearheaded by close associates of former Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland in a grass-roots effort called Friends for Weakland, and has included other contributions, according to Wayne Schneider, archdiocesan finance director and controller. The Milwaukee Archdiocese has not been involved in the fund-raising initiative, but has received and tracked the incoming monies, he said.

Ethel Gintoft, retired Catholic Herald associate publisher and executive editor, was among those leading the Friends effort. She said the funds raised helped "show the public and show Archbishop Weakland that he has many supporters," and the efforts "enabled a lot of healing" for Catholics throughout the archdiocese and beyond.

Schneider clarified that the $149,928.82 in stipends, honorariums, and gifts received by the archdiocese because of Weakland's work over 25 years ---- an amount that grew to total $196,723 based on earned interest ---- had been given to St. Francis Seminary periodically at Weakland's direction while he was archbishop.

These contributions, made seven times over 25 years, "offset the cost to the archdiocese to balance the seminary budget, and prevented the seminary from curtailing its services or discontinuing programs for seminarians, deacons, lay ministers, and others," said Jerry Topczewski, archdiocesan spokesman.

He noted that at the time the Marcoux allegations surfaced and news of the archdiocesan settlement was disclosed in May, Weakland insisted he would try to repay the settlement amount to the diocese. The Milwaukee Archdiocese "never felt the amount had to be satisfied," he said.

Topczewski said decisions on use of the monies raised to date, and if contributions continue, donations meeting or exceeding the $450,000 settlement amount will be referred to incoming Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan. "It would seem to make sense that since the $450,000 came from the archdiocesan real estate and properties account, that would be the account to be reimbursed" but that will be done at his discretion, Topczewski said.

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