(CNSNews.com) -- Given concerns about the state of the Catholic Church and the financial accountability of some of its institutions, the Catholic business group Legatus has decided, for the second year in a row, to withhold its $820,000 annual tithe to the Holy See and place the funds in escrow, the organization's founder stated in a letter to members.
"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.," said Legatus CEO Tom Monaghan in the letter. "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 [U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops], 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," said Monaghan, a multi-millionaire who founded Domino's Pizza.
He continued, "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. 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). "
"We certainly pledge our continued devotion to Holy Mother Church, and recognize the tithe has been an important commitment of Legatus since our founding.," said Monaghan. "However, in light of recent revelations and questions, we believe it appropriate to respectfully request clarification regarding the specific use of these funds. "
In conclusion, Monaghan wrote, "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."
Legatus's tithe to the Holy See would be $820,000 this year, a group spokesman told LifeSiteNews. The spokesman further said that over the last 31 years, Legatus has donated $18 million to the Holy See.
The Catholic Church has faced more questions about the sexual abuse of minors and seminarians this year. A July 27 grand jury report on six dioceses in Pennsylvania showed that there were "credible allegations against over 300 predator priests" going back to the 1950s. "Over 1,000 child victims were identifiable, from the church's own records."
Most of the cases occurred prior to 2000 and not a few of the accused priests are now deceased. The revelations, nonetheless, sparked other states to launch investigations into clergy sexual abuse. Currently, 13 states are investigating the issue.
In addition to the grand jury report, Archbishop Theodore McCarrick -- formerly a Cardinal and one of the most powerful Catholic bishops of the last 50 years -- was found to have molested at least one teenage boy in the 1970s and several seminarians in more recent years. Reportedly, several bishops knew about McCarrick's homosexual predation but apparently did nothing to stop him.
It is alleged that Pope Francis knew about McCarrick's past (in 2013) but decided to let him carry on in his position until the news and the scandal (in 2018) made it necessary for him to send the archbishop off to a life of penance and prayer.
Archbishop Carlos Maria Vigano, in his Aug. 22 "Testimony," states that he personally told Pope Francis in 2013 that the Congregation for Bishops had a "dossier" on McCarrick, and that the former cardinal had "corrupted generations of seminarians and priests and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.”
Pope Francis "must honestly state when he first learned about the crimes committed by McCarrick, who abused his authority with seminarians and priests," said Archbishop Vigano. "In any case, the Pope learned about it from me on June 23, 2013 and continued to cover for him. He did not take into account the sanctions that Pope Benedict had imposed on him and made him his trusted counselor along with [Cardinal Andres] Maradiaga."
"In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal Church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example for cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them," said the archbishop.
To date, Pope Francis has not addressed Archbishop Vigano's testimony. When asked in August about the testimony, the Pope said, "I will not say a single word on this."