Catholic nun stole cash from churches, and a priest is arrested for swindling a Rome hospital

AN ALBION, New York nun faces a jail sentence after she pleaded guilty on Monday in Orleans County Court to grand larceny.

Sister Mary Anne Rapp reportedly stole almost $130,000 from two churches to feed her gambling addiction. The 68-year-old admitted she stole the money from St Mary’s Church in Holley and St Mark’s Church in Kendall from March 2006 to April 2011.

She faces up to six months in jail when she’s sentenced July 1. She’ll also be required to pay restitution that would be worked out at a later date.

Rapp was arrested in November after discrepancies were found during an audit. Investigators said she stole the money to feed a gambling addiction and spent the money at western New York casinos.

Meanwhile, it was reported here that Italian police have arrested a priest accused pilfering €4m (£2.76m) from a Catholic hospital he ran.  He is also said to to have run up €600m in debts that forced it into bankruptcy.

The Rev Franco Decaminada

The Rev Franco Decaminada

The Rev Franco Decaminada, who until 2011 was the Chief Executive of the IDI dermatological hospital in Rome, is now under house arrest. The police.also detained two other people while seizing a Tuscan villa that police say Decaminada built with the stolen dosh.

The plight of 1,500 IDI workers who haven’t received salaries for months prompted Ex-Benedict  – in one of his last acts as Pope – to nominate a delegate to take over the religious order that owned the hospital to try to nurse it back to financial health.

But in the end the Vatican refused to provide any financial assistance and last week a Rome court declared the hospital bankrupt.

IDI workers have occupied the hospital’s management area and are buying food to help needy co-workers while continuing to work without pay in hopes of saving their jobs.

Bartolomeo Di Gregorio, 56, a biomedical lab technician, said:

After years of suffering and eight months without salary, we at least have the satisfaction of seeing that justice is starting to work.

He welcomed the arrival of Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi as the papal delegate to head the religious order – the Congregation for the Children of the Immaculate Conception – which runs the hospital, but said in the end it didn’t help “because we went into bankruptcy anyway”.

The problems at the IDI are the latest in a series of financial scandals at Catholic-run health facilities in Italy that, while not directly involving the Vatican, have links to its No 2, the Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

According to leaked Vatican correspondence, Bertone looked into investing money from the Vatican bank into a failing Milan hospital, the San Raffaele, in 2011 after it accumulated millions in debt because of mismanagement. In the end, the hospital went to outside investors.

But Bertone’s apparent interest in building up a Vatican healthcare network in Italy has been cited as evidence of his own administrative failings in running the Holy See by focusing too much on small Italian problems and not on global Church issues.

Last Thursday, Decaminada’s order sought to distance itself from his crimes, saying it was a victim in the case and it was co-operating with investigators. It stressed that “no member of the congregation ever saw or visited the home in Tuscany built by Father Decaminada” and its construction was never authorised.

And while on the subject of Catholic dishonesty, it is reported here that priests in Ireland and the Vatican have been identified as major downloaders of pirated movies and porn.

Hat Tip: BarrieJohn (nun report) and Glenn (piracy report)