A traditionally British form of fundraising appears to have been given a fresh twist. The Mail on Sunday reports:
One of Britain’s most high-profile Catholic priests has admitted arranging papal knighthoods for wealthy businessmen for money. Father Michael Seed, who regularly celebrated Mass for Tony Blair and his family in Downing Street, now faces questions from his religious order… Papal knighthoods are awarded to lay men and women for conspicuous service to the church and society. They are among the highest honours the Pope can bestow. Tonight a source close to Fr Seed’s order, the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, said his superiors were ‘appalled’. Although he failed to solicit funds from Mr Bezalel [an arms dealer mentioned earlier in the story], at least four wealthy Britons were impressed by his overtures. Fr Seed admitted they made donations to an Archbishop friend’s charity in Serbia to become papal knights.
It was unclear last night if the four, who are each understood to have contributed between £25,000 and £50,000, had done anything else to merit their honour… Fr Seed, who has taken a vow of poverty, denied profiting from any of the deals…
…Fr Seed is honorary chaplain to the International Committee on Human Dignity, based at the European Parliament in Brussels. But it was as unofficial Catholic envoy to Parliament that he acquired many well-connected friends. He was praised by Cherie Blair for turning ‘the great into the good’ and helped to convert Tony Blair…
Well, if you think about it, I suppose we could at least be thankful the Church has embraced the free market, rather than clinging to that old “camel through the eye of a needle” standard for heavenly bliss. Oh, what’s that? Indulgences? Reformation? Yes, I suppose we have to say that the Church has rediscovered the free market in salvation.
Well at least he wasn’t selling tickets to heaven.
Back to sleep.
I would submit that the actuarial tables have more of a say about Harold Camping’s future than “bible prophecy.” I apply this to other octogenarians in the U.S. who have spent their lives hustling the “end time,” namely Hal Lindsey, Jack Chick and Tim LaHaye.
All sorts of fund-raising entities offer a number of monetarily worthless honors for big donors. While this one contravenes the whole idea of laying up your treasure in Heaven, it doesn’t really rise to the level scandal in my opinion. It’s not even in the same league as a lot of far more evil practices, such as soliciting donations for “faith healing.”
Usually when there is a quid pro quo thing like that it’s for an annulment. Especially if one is a Kennedy. The whole papal knight thing seems rather wholesome.