Last year, the reporting from the New Jersey Star-Ledger about Newark Archbishop John J. Myers and his handling of decades-old abuse cases was so bad that the paper was forced to issue a correction and admit to its numerous errors.
Now, after the paper's attempt to oust the Catholic bishop failed, the paper is desperately trying to roil up anger over renovation work at a residence in which Myers will eventually live during his upcoming retirement in 2016.
Just the facts, ma'am
The Star-Ledger would have you believe that food pantries and disadvantaged Catholic school children are being starved of money in order to build a purported "mansion" for the archbishop. In truth, a recent press release from the Archdiocese of Newark completely rebuts these claims. The facts:
- No parishioner funds or contributions to the Archdiocesan Annual Appeal have been used on the project;
- The renovations are being paid for by donations earmarked from individuals for that purpose and by the sale of an unneeded property that will also fund other ministries; and
- The Archdiocese will pay real estate taxes on the property.
Some take issue with the expenses of the project at a time when the Archdiocese has decided to close some of its schools. However, while $145 million has been poured into Archdiocesan schools over the past decade, enrollment has also dropped nearly 45% in Catholic schools in Newark in the past 15 years. Thus low enrollment has made the closure of four schools not only necessary but simply inevitable.
The Star-Ledger's not-so-hidden agenda exposed – again
In a recent article, the Star-Ledger claims that "22,000" signatures have supposedly been collected in a petition demanding that the Archdiocese sell the disputed property.
But TheMediaReport.com has learned that an early review of the petition reveals that fewer than 500 of the signatures are of people who actually live within the Archdiocese. In addition, some names appear multiple times, and a heavy percentage of the signatories are not even Catholic.
In other words, the so-called "petition" reveals all the elements of the witch hunt against the Catholic Church which the Star-Ledger has been waging for the last several years. We were not surprised to see perpetual gadfly/ex-priest Robert Hoatson surface in the petition drive. Hoatson has been spearheading a floundering (and comical) campaign to oust Archbishop Myers.
People of good will – with knowledge of the facts – can debate the extent of the expenditures that have been made. However, it should be noted that the Catholic Church does not repay the dedication and hard work of its retired clerics by consigning them to live out the remainder of their lives in a cardboard box under a freeway.
The public shouldn't be fooled. This is another agenda-driven attack against the Catholic Church in New Jersey. The purported "outrage" about Archbishop Myers' retirement residence barely extends beyond the editorial rooms of the Star-Ledger and the basements of the usual Church cranks.