FATHER MATT WALLACE - DEVELOPMENTS?
The front page of today's IRISH NEWS newspaper claims that the police are searching for a man in connection with the disappearance of a five figure sum of money from Turf Lodge parish Belfast but that the late Father Matt Wallace is not believed to be linked with the disappearance of the money.
The newspaper also says that the man being sought is not a priest.
This event follows news earlier this year when the retired parish of Loughlinisland in Co. Down appeared in court over the disappearance of £145,000 of church money in which a lady was involved. Father Conleth Beirne (78) is now living with the monks in Portglenone. A number of prominent ladies in the Diocese of Down & Connor are collecting money to send to Bishop Noel Treanor to make up for the loss of the £ 145,000.
A number of years ago the parish priest of Glenravel parish in Down and Connor, Father Michael Coppinger was found hanging in the garage of his presbytery. The rumours among the clergy at the time surrounded Father Coppinger's sexuality and missing parish money.
Up until recent times a parish priest had the sole knowledge and complete control of the parish finances and in many instances priests used the parish money as if it was their own money. Nowadays many bishops are introducing tighter controls of church funds where everything has to be accounted for and where priest get a set wage and expenses.
This does take away the temptations a priest might have to be lax in financial controls.
In any event money, while we all need it to pay our bills, is not as important as human life.
I am sure we will hear the outcome of the police investigations into the missing Turf Lodge money.