A Valley priest has been removed from administrative duties pending the completion of a parish finance review by law enforcement, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno.
An examination of financial records at St. Rita Church in Tulare revealed “discrepancies... dating back to a previous administration.” The scrutiny occurred as the diocese worked to implement a new system for parish fiscal management, reporting and monitoring — an ongoing project that began in 2008. The diocese had the findings verified before presenting them to the Tulare police department.
Last week the police handed the case to the District Attorney’s Financial Crimes Unit to review for prosecution. St. Rita parishioners were notified about the situation during this weekend’s Masses.
“We must be good stewards, accountable for the gifts and resources that are faithfully offered to the Church to accomplish the mission of Christ in our midst,” said the diocesan bishop, the Most Rev. Armando Ochoa, who expressed his deep concern and “prayerful support” for the parish and current pastor...