(CNSNews.com) -- A prominent Catholic business organization, Legatus, has announced that it is withholding its annual tithe to the Vatican -- estimated at $820,000 -- because of the recent revelations about sexual abuse (and cover-up) by some Catholic bishops and because of concerns about how the funds donated to the Holy See are being allocated.
Legatus, which boasts a membership of more than 5,000 Catholic business leaders, was founded by Tom Monaghan, the founder of Domino's Pizza.
In a Sept. 6 letter to Legatus members, Legatus Chairman and CEO Tom Monaghan says, "Events over the past few weeks have prompted many members to contact the national office and members of the Board of Governors regarding the current crisis in the Church."
"This is a time when each member of Legatus is truly needed," he states. "Our mission to study, live and spread the Catholic faith in our business, professional and personal lives is more crucial now than ever."
"We are certainly blessed with the leadership of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, who has called for a 'prompt and thorough examination,' into how the recently uncovered moral and ecclesiastical failings have persisted and what steps are to be taken to remedy this indescribably difficult situation," writes Monaghan.
"We have also had discussions regarding our (Legatus’) annual tithe to the Holy See, specifically pertaining to how it is being used, and what financial accountability exists within the Vatican for such charitable contributions," he says. "The Board has begun a dialogue along these lines, and in the meantime has decided to place the Holy See annual tithe in escrow, pending further determination (by the Board). "
Monaghan continues, "We certainly pledge our continued devotion to Holy Mother Church, and recognize the tithe has been an important commitment of Legatus since our founding. However, in light of recent revelations and questions, we believe it appropriate to respectfully request clarification regarding the specific use of these funds."
"Please join the Board as we continue to pray for healing and clarity during this troubled time: for our Church, for all victims of abuse and injustice, and for our clergy," he says.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Sept. 6 that the tithe being put in escrow is about $820,000.
On Aug. 27, when asked about the sexual abuse and cover-up allegations, Pope Francis told journalists, "I won't say a word about it." So far, at least 21 Catholic bishops and cardinals have called for a full investigation into the scandal, as have tens of thousands of Catholic laity in petitions to the Vatican.
In addition, U.S. attorneys in at least six states are launching investigations into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, in the diocese of New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska and New Mexico.