Skip to comments.Michigan Priest Charged With Stealing $700,000 From Church
Posted on 04/24/2014 6:37:00 PM PDT by Gamecock
A Catholic priest in Michigan has been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from a church in Troy, including money donated by the family of a dead parishioner.
Reverend Edward Belczak and another church administrator were indicted for theft of $700,000 from the St. Thomas More Church in Troy and the Archdiocese of Detroit between 2004 and 2012, The Detroit News reported. The pair allegedly concealed the theft by forging documents to the Archdiocese that showed the parish's expenses to be a lesser amount than it really was.
Belczak, 69, and his accomplice, 67-year-old Janice Verschuren, face several charges including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, according to the indictment released Wednesday. Both face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty, the newspaper reported.
The money included donations given on Mother's and Father's Day, as well as a $350,000 donation to the church from the relatives of a parishioner who passed away.
Supporters of Belczak, described as a popular priest who has touched many lives, are not convinced of his guilt. He has been a pastor for over 30 years.
"He's presumed innocent and the conclusion is he is innocent," Jerome Sabbota, the priest's attorney, told The Detroit News. "We haven't seen any evidence. All we hear are allegations."
The priest reportedly used some of the stolen funds to pay for a $500,000 condominium in Wellington, Florida several years ago. Prosecutors placed the condo under a forfeiture suit two days before the indictment, the newspaper reported.
The Archdiocese did not offer specific details about the pending case against Belczak and Verschuren, but the two have not worked at the parish in over a year.
"The archdiocese will continue to cooperate with authorities as this matter moves through the courts," Archdiocese spokesman Joe Kohn told the newspaper in a statement. "As such, there is nothing more the archdiocese can or will say at this stage in the proceedings."
In the meantime, Belczak continues to serve other churches in the area, according to The Detroit News.
**Belczak, 69, and his accomplice, 67-year-old Janice Verschuren**
Wouldn't that be Father Edward Belczak? I'm asking here, are priests commonly referred to as "Reverend"?
Elsewhere the article refers to him as pastor. Is that also a common reference to a priest?
Yea and I bet neither of them are virgins or celibate! Sniff.
Must have been absent when #8 was discussed.
Millions of churches and their pastors do the “right thing” everyday but noooo it doesn’t count one iota if one man of the cloth is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and goes and does something like this. That’s how the Devil works; he finds a weakness and seizes on it and reveals it to the world to cast suspicion on the rest so that he can draw as many people away from God as he can. The MSM is his tool of delivery at the moment.
Doing the right thing is never newsworthy.
Just one? Well it seems to me lately just tooling around the Booksmillion store that selling church and selling our LORD has become big business. My daughter has been to the Vatican and says the wealth dripping in that place would make you vomit. It should be turned into the world’s largest orphanage and widow’s home as CHRIST directed. That Pope tiara could probably feed a country and his pension is $3,300, money to play with because Vatican will pay everything he needs till he dies. Money has no place in CHURCH. JESUS already said that.
No. Not just one. Just trying to make a point...: )
Hmmmm. Spend all the wealth, a great deal of it historical and priceless... sell it to collectors all at once and the price of each piece would plummet. Then give it all to the poor. Then they would spend it and all just be poor again and they wouldn’t have the Vatican but just an empty shell with people peeing and pooping in the stairwells and defacing the frescos. Sounds like a great plan. And do you have specific sites where Jesus said to liquidate the wealth in the Vatican? How about giving away all the gold in Ft. Knox while we’re at it and sell all the wonderful historical documents and artifacts in DC. This could be fun. For about six months.
Paging Joel Osteen . . .
The Catholic church gets the scrutiny because there is an organizational structure the media can tie it to.
We Protestants don’t have that kind of structure and the churches operate mostly independently but there are plenty of pastors who commit crimes. The lack of structure has its advantages and disadvantages.
WOW. YES YOU ARE RIGHT. I W A S A L L W R O N G.
The churches with all their money are doing such a good job bringing people to CHRIST.
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Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?"
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Are you a Christian? How ‘bout we start with you, sell all you own and give it to the poor.
Thank you Heart-Rest. May GOD bless your sweet soul.
I hate to pop your bubble, but you're not helping things.
We sure are. 876,708 which includes baptisms and adult converts for 2012 the last year we have data. Just this week the Roman Catholic Church brought in 13,288 during Easter in the major Archdiocese around the nation. This figure doesn’t include those who converted who attend the smaller parishes. We’re getting good returns on our investments.
I am a Christian. Go ahead and attack me but not the wealth of churches. That tells me all I need to know.
Well I am glad to hear that. It is good news. If that wealth is helping do all that then by all means go get em.
for the record, check out these mega churchs and check out the Mormon Tabernacle.....
you seem to forget that much of the Vatican is of huge historical value....
or I guess you would advocate tearing down the Leaning tower of Pisa to plant corn for the poor?
Reverend is the correct term. Except we always addressed them as Father.
Jesus had no where to lay His head.
What's with the extravagant wealth of the Vatican to begin with?
Where did Jesus ever justify that?
Then what business is it of Catholics what non-Catholic churches and mega churches and pastors do?
And yet there's no shortage of opinion from Catholics themselves about those outside Catholicism.
Why don't Catholics practice what they preach? Or is it *Rules for thee but not for me*?
THAT's what I'm wondering about.
Thanks for the ping; post. Hang the scumbags after all of their assets are seized. SHEESH!
He should have become a bishop first. Preferably archbishop of Milwaukee. Then he could have stolen $450,000 to give to his boyfriend.
All Catholic priests, except Monsignors, are called “Father” in the second or third person. “Is Fr. Smith home?” “Hi, Fr. Smith.”
In the third person, they are also called, “Reverend,” as in “The Reverend John Smith, pastor of Saint Mary’s Church.”
Catholics do not speak of a priest as “the reverend,” as in “is the reverend in his office?”
Catholics speak of “the pastor,” as in “the pastor ripped out our beautiful high altar,” but they do not say, “Pastor Smith gave a beautiful sermon.”
Poor suckers...Apparently to pay for the prayers to get someone out of purgatory...What a racket...
Has anyone ever found Luther's dogma of "the Bible ALONE" in the Bible?
It's all over the bible...That why people who read the bible, know it...
You got that right!
Last night at my parish there was a special parish finacial issues meeting and the guy that heads the parish finacial commitee, talked about how the archdiocese keeps a close eye on finacial budgets of all the parishes in the archdiocese. I wonder if the diocese this parish was in had any structure at all.
Speaking about “rackets”, the BIBLE ALONE thing believed by Luther is a BIG RACKET in itself.
Please provide the source for that statement.
This should make your day:
There has been an increase in converts:
Yet ALL churches have their weekly church collections.
Protestants take Luther’s non-biblical doctrine of “the Bible ALONE” very seriously. Yet most don’t realize that his teaching isn’t found in the Bible.
This is somewhat understandable for people raised in the faith.
But what about Protestants who know that Luther’s dogma isn’t in the Bible?
If there exist so many verses that support Luther’s non-biblical doctrine of “the Bible alone,” surely you can cite one.
I’m asking because I’ve read the Bible from beginning to end twice, and I’ve never found a single verse.
Please show me where Luther said that.
So Luther didn’t promulgate the dogma of Sola Scriptura? I don’t understand your point.
His followers seemed to believe it:
Consider, for instance, the words of Jacob Andreaewords that were written as part of an attempt to unify second generation Lutherans in the late 1570s: We believe, teach, and confess that the only rule and guiding principle according to which all teachings and teachers are to be evaluated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testaments alone Other writings of ancient or contemporary teachers, whatever their names may be, shall not be regarded as equal to Holy Scripture, but all of them together shall be subjected to it 
It's especially helpful when one forgets the name of the priest. "Father" covers it all.
Let me refresh your memory.
You posted Has anyone ever found Luther's dogma of "the Bible ALONE" in the Bible?
I simply asked for a source for your statement.
So I suppose my point is this: Do you have a source for Luther, not Jacob Andreae, saying this?
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The pitfalls of shrouded finances [Charlie Feliciano, former lawyer for the Cleveland diocese]
SHOCK: $100K Gone, $1M Owed, Nudist Priest
Priest with secret marriage pleads guilty to half-million-dollar embezzlement
Priest facing 12 more counts
Bishops look at fleecings of flocks
Spotsy 'family' had neighbors fooled
Priest accused of theft ($600,000 from two small churches in Virginia)
Priest says ill-gotten money went to school
AP: Priest May Have Misspent $1.4 Million (So He Could Live Lavish Lifestyle With His "Partner")
Spending at parish soars with new priest
Diocese hid $400,000 embezzlement from public
"If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.... He should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft....if a man delivers to his neighbor money or articles to keep, and it is stolen out of the mans house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double. If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges to see whether he has put his hand into his neighbors goods..."
-- Exodus 22:1-7 (excerpted)
So is this another naked priest? Not the jogging naked one?
Code of Canon Law REQUIRES each parish to have a parish financial council:
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