Elderly Nuns Evicted As Church Raises $660 Mil Fine against Predator Priests

The Catholic Church in Southern California must pay $660 million to victims of ephebophile priests, so, naturally, one of the first things to go on the chopping block is a nuns’ home in Santa Barbara.

“We all have to pay the price for the sins of the few … I didn’t get a raise this year.”
– Spokesman for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, reacting to nuns’ loss of their home and jobs.

The nuns have four months to move out, according to a letter from the archdiocese. The notice, which was dated June 28 but not received until the end of August, asked the women to vacate the property no later than Dec. 31 — and noted that an earlier departure “would be acceptable as well.” Signed by Msgr. Royale M. Vadakin, the archdiocese’s vicar general, the letter offers the nuns no recourse but thanks them for their understanding and cooperation during a difficult time.

The convent is a small house Santa Barbara’s Eastside, a rapidly shrinking lower-income section of one of the toniest and most desirable cities in the United States. (Oprah has a home nearby; Michael Jackson and the Reagans have owned ranches in the area.) The modest convent is the home of three nuns:

Sister Angela, who formerly worked at Catholic Charities [in Santa Barbara] and is now retired, suffers from failing eyesight and other health problems and uses a walker. But she continues to do volunteer immigration and translation work with parishioners. Sister Consuelo works in Catholic education at Our Lady of Sorrows Church. Sister Margarita is the housekeeper and takes care of Sister Angela. They maintain the building using Sister Angela’s Social Security SSI disability allotment and Sister Consuelo’s income. They have no idea where they will go before the December 31 deadline arrives — possibly to the Los Angeles-area Bethany convent.

The nun’s house has been assessed at $98,000, but home prices in the neighborhood start around $700,000 (a steal in Santa Barbara). Not surprisingly, a bishop’s residence in a neighborhood nearby where prices start at $1.5 million is not being sold:

“Auxiliary Bishop [Thomas] Curry of Santa Barbara is residing by himself in a former convent in San Roque, an upper-crust area,” [said Rosemary Escalera Gutierrez, who is the real life sister of Sister Angela]. “The convent there is triple the size of the Bethany Convent and is triple the value. Why not sell the more lucrative real estate that houses one individual?”

And Bishop Curry has been accused of complicity in the sex scandal:

Bishop Curry was in the news last week when it was revealed that he may have been aware that a priest accused of sexual abuse planned to flee to his native Mexico in 1988. The priest is still a fugitive.

Reacting to a reporter’s inquiry about the nuns’ eviction, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Archdiocese was less than compassionate:

“We all have to pay the price for the sins of the few,” [Tod] Tamberg said. “I didn’t get a raise this year.”

A group of Santa Barbarans met last week to formulate a plan to help the nuns. It would be nice to think that God is on their side.

9 Comments

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  • September 17, 2007 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Ad Deum Qui Laetificat,Juventutem Meam-To God, the joy of my youth. That was the response to the first prayer at the Altar from my time as an Altar SERVER(not “boy”) in the time of the Latin mass. The Sisters of Charity formed me for the first 8 years(whoops,forgot kindergarten) 9 years of my education. I am so sorry to hear of this predicament which underscores the fact that religion is tainted by the fact that it is orchestrated by human hand. Here ,in New York City we have Bishop Egan who looks the part and,hence, gets to play the part. When one truly understands the life of service the sisters dedicate themselves to then one knows secular “hotheads” such as myself must take umbrage at such an injustice since the Good Sisters will fight(like Roy Rogers) on behalf of others,never themselves. The “men” of the Church(not all,but a lot )would do well to reflect on how much harsher will be the judgement on those who seek to represent the Creator on earth. My prayers are with you ,Sisters,as they are all I have to give but then you are the ones who understand,that is more than enough. Jim Cark

  • Kent M
    September 18, 2007 - 11:51 am | Permalink

    The morality of the church, in plain view. Hope many people see this article.

  • September 18, 2007 - 12:32 pm | Permalink

    The Catholic Church has shown its true colors again. But is anyone surprised? Never forget that this church is also responsible(not alone of course) for the Holocaust.

  • Harvey
    September 18, 2007 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    The Catholic Church’s centuries old secret finally comes out. When will the masses take the church back from these pedophilic waste of humanity?

  • sailorman
    September 18, 2007 - 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I was raised and educated as a Catholic. I was never molested and that’s the only good thing I have to say about the Church. Well…, that and the fact that their educational system is better than their propaganda arm. Over 35 years or so, the education they provided me resulted in my becoming an ireedmable atheist. Congrat’s!
    With the single exception of their stance on the death penalty, nearly everything they stand for sickens and disgusts me. From their genocidal opposition to birth control, to their lies about the effectiveness of condoms, to their coddling of pedophiles, the leadership of the church has convinced me that above the parish priest level, they are nothing so much as an amoral, mercenary, criminal organization.
    I pity those poor brainwashed nuns and priests who are personally good and charitable people, but this eviction action doesn’t suprise me one bit. They don’t deserve to exist as an organization and if I was king of the world, they wouldn’t.

  • September 19, 2007 - 10:55 am | Permalink

    Some ordinary lay Catholics, failing to understand the wisdom of the Church’s priorities, are acting from the heart.
    “What a terrible thing for our church to do to these poor ladies,” said Clara Reese, a retired businesswoman from Thousand Oaks, Calif., who is raising money for the nuns in Santa Barbara, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

    Nuns have always been taken for granted by the Catholic Church. They dedicate their lives, work for free or give their checks to the convent, ask for very little. These nuns were moved around like furniture. They should have been invited to participate in the decisions about the abuse crisis and its financial consequences. They might have agreed to sacrifice their convent. They’ve been sacrificing all their lives for the Church.
    As often happens, ordinary people show more decency than the higher ups. Catholics in Santa Barbara are voting with their time and their dollars for the nuns. I hope they win.

  • paul borak
    November 8, 2007 - 10:45 am | Permalink

    Most hiden fact,that nuns get any money or social security.The church dont reconize any other marriage but theirs,so all others childrun are bastards,

  • Mandy Cat
    October 18, 2008 - 11:46 am | Permalink

    The Knights of Columbus have recently spent more than a million dollars lobbying for Proposition 8. If they’ve got that much money to meddle in the political affairs of California, perhaps they can dig up some spare change to help find a home for these three nuns.

    Nah, what was I thinking? Nuns are, after all, only women: God’s cannon fodder.

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