Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I am not an ATM! I am a priest!

One of the few things I dislike about being a priest is constantly being hit up for cash. Day in and day out people calling or stop by looking for hand-outs. Some genuinely need help, but the majority are working a scam.

I didn't used to feel this way. When I was first ordained, I believed every story and was quite the patsy. Then came the man who wanted food for his children. Foolish me I gave him cash and later saw him tanking up at the liquor store. So then I would only give checks made out to a store. I received the checks back altered. I have even had people bring in forged bills. There was the gal who set up a fake landlord so that she could score some cash for a drug deal. (When she was busted she told the police that she had gotten the money from the church.) My 'favorite' is the man who called up to have me pay for a motel room two weeks in the future. Seems he was planning his vacation. I have reached the point where I don't believe anyone. This doesn't mean I won't help. I am just very, very restrictive with the church's money--no cash, no assistance with travel, no lodging.

What galls me more than anything else is the sense of entitlement.

Well here is some news. My parishioners give money to help the poor. They do not give money to pay for vacations or booze.

To paraphrase Dr. McCoy, "Dammit Jim, I'm priest, not an ATM!"
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