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Long time CCOP parishioner shocked by recent fund raising tactics

Original post made by Robert, Mohr Park, on Oct 2, 2011

CCOP has become so obsessed with fund raising for a new building addition to their Pope John Paul II Center that they have crossed the line of good taste, decency, and respect for their parishioners. It’s becoming almost like a cult where money is the main goal. Here are some of their tactics. Tell me if I am alone at being offended by these methods:

1) Call parishioners and pressure us to attend small meetings to discuss the fund raising efforts. When I told them I was aware of the campaign and didn’t need a meeting to learn more about it they turned up the pressure, but I was firm. Felt like one of those timeshare sales pitches you get on vacation.
2) I attended a meeting for another purpose and they took advantage of having a large group of people present and spent the first 15 minutes pushing the fund raising campaign. The person doing the sales pitch left after the speech, so they were not there for the meeting purpose.
3) They introduced a “prayer” in to the Mass and essentially force everyone to recite this as a group:
Thank you, God, for the gift of our vibrant community
United as a parish family, we wish to continue
Fanning the flame you ignited in our hearts,
to serve our community as we move toward completion
of our Pope John Paul II Center.

Help us to realize that giving is not a debt we owe.
It is something we are privileged to do
because everything we have is a gift from You
and is meant to be shared.

May our pledge to our campaign originate out of hearts
that are thankful for all your blessings to us.
4) And tonight was the most egregious tactic. We get a heavy-handed sermon about how it’s our duty to provide “stewardship” and provide the fruits of our labor to God. Then they pass out Pledge envelopes to everyone and ask people to come forward with their Pledge envelope filled out to the alter area where these pledges will be blessed. This attempt at peer pressure, public embarrassment, and group dynamics is the most disgusting I have seen in a Catholic church in a lifetime of attending Mass.

I am not opposed to the cause of expanding the JPII Center, but I do think the tactics used to raise donations has become quite distasteful, heavy handed, and unbecoming for a Christian organization.

Comments (19)

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I think that you meant to say a Roman Catholic organization.

you're welcome...

that ole padraig hasn't changed at all!!!

Like this comment
Posted by then leave
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2011 at 10:39 pm

You are so incensed that you post on this forum -- but you still belong to that money grubbing church, right? What's wrong with this picture?
The Roman catholic church is the wealthiest landowner in the world because they pay no tax on their income. Their priests perform atrocities on young kids and they just get moved to another place.
But hey, you must agree with what they do if you continue to belong and pay your dues.

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 3, 2011 at 12:01 am

I never give money to the church, ever.
You are welcome to adopt the same strategy.


Like this comment
Posted by Use your feet
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2011 at 8:14 am

If you are opposed, as are we, to the "money grub"; walk away. Our family did so last spring, and have never been happier!

Like this comment
Posted by Patriot
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2011 at 9:52 am

As a 40 yr. member and Parishioner of CCOP I am also opposed to the fund raising tactics and strategy used by the Clergy. For those of you, who say leave the Church or have left; I say this. Man made laws are just that - Man Made. I have always followed God's Law and the Teachings of Jesus Christ. Man made laws can change and do change constantly, but God's Law never changes. Ignore the man made stuff if you do not agree or like it. I am proudly a Catholic and always will be. As for the bad priests. They should serve time in prison like any other criminal. Although there are many and one is too many - there are not as many as the media would like you to believe. There are many false claims and lawsuits. Myself, Friends and Relatives have all attened different Catholic Schools (different cities) and none of us have ever wittnessed sexual abuse. Not one of us is without sin, so quit condemning the Church for man's sin. Quit making up excuses as to why you personally dislike or left the Church. God Bless Everyone - even the unbelievers.

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Posted by Roman Catholic
a resident of Bonde Ranch
on Oct 3, 2011 at 9:54 am

We are Roman Catholics and we praise God and are thankful for what we have been given at all times. But one thing we do not do is give money for a cause that does not seem to really benefit the majority of the congregation. I worship the Lord as I please and at no cost since the Lord has said his home is ours and it is shared with all no matter what. So if they ask, it does not mean they will receive, atleast from my family and atleast in kind, we give ourselves and our souls. How I see it more people get upset about this now a days because life is financially tougher for more people and for the church to give you feel guilty about not helping does not help.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 3, 2011 at 10:46 am

SNAP is an organization that provides another point of view re: Catholic Clergy rape of children and vulnerable adults. In some instances, children have been brutally physically assaulted, murdered or disappeared.

Sexual abuse by trusted clergy generally occurs in private so it's no surprise that Patriot and his friends have not "witnessed" it first hand. Thousands upon thousands of victims worldwide are reporting sexual crimes and doing their best to alert families of the harm that they have experienced. The majority of the victims have remained silent and not sued anybody for the harms that they and their families have suffered.

It's important to respect Catholics who remain active members of their churches. However, those that leave the church, refuse to offer money, or have been sexually abused, deserve equal respect for for their decisions.

Like this comment
Posted by radical
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2011 at 10:52 am

omG they had a meeting or service in a Catholic Church, and the people who are in charge of running the church took time out to remind people that the place wasn't built for free? Oh, the shame!

people who view these 'tactics' as bad tend to be those who feel guilt over not supporting the church. If you knew our teachings well, you would remember the parable of the widow who gave two small coins, for example, Web Link

one ought to realize that the pressure is being put on people who have more to give--Pleasanton is a wealthy community.
If you feel comfortable with your level of giving to the church, then you ought to have no issue with the fundraising tactics.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 3, 2011 at 2:07 pm

My reading is different than yours "radical".

I know a few Catholics and they are fairly well off financially. Occassionally they contribute money to religious organizations but not regularly. They happily donate $$$$$ to charities which protect the environment and animals. I doubt anyone could ever pressure them to donate even loose change against their will.

People work hard and there is competition for the dollars that are available. I think it's best to respect the decisions of American workers. Shaming people can often backfire. Try to be respectful of your fellow human beings.

Like this comment
Posted by radical
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2011 at 3:40 pm

my view of parishoners responsibility to support the church is certainly different from those of your Catholic acquaintances
The views of those people you describe are, in my estimation, relatively rare within the church as a whole, but probably more common in California, and if in liberal communities like Pleasanton the donations are lower relative to the level of wealth of the community, some parishes might step up the fundraising effort and risk offending people like Robert
those folks are feeling ashamed because the community around them is supporting the church and they are not. There is no admission charge at the door on Sunday so the fact is donating to the Church is completely voluntary, and so if an individual feels good about his or her level of giving, then that person will feel OK hearing more requests and prayers said for donations
i am sure there is a segment of the population at every mass who give donations elsewhere, and do not support the church--many of them probably also approve of abortion, i call them hypocrites--they shouldn't even bother attending mass

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 3, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Oh my just can't help splitting off people who choose to manage their finances differently that you do as fetus killers!

The good news about America is that citizens can choose to disagree with others! The best Americans often agree to disagree! HOORAY! That's why America is go GREAT!

Like this comment
Posted by 3rd Generation St. Augustonion
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 4, 2011 at 9:20 am

I have been a member of St. Augustine's (now known as CCOP) my entire life. All my sacraments were received there and I consider it "home". It has been there for me in the darkest time's of my life and in the happiest time's of my life and now I"m sharing the experience with my children.

The "vineyard" homily did not offend me in the lease. Homilies, such as these have been going on since Fr. Pat, Fr. Greg, Fr. Kilazara and Fr. Dan. I'm happy to give what I can to the church in my weekly offerings which has dwindled quite significantly over the past years. I am also choosing not to give to the "vineyard", I have no money to give.

I don't feel guilty and I will continue to attend weekly mass and send my children to religious ed. My faith in this church stems from my relationship with God, the Holy Trinity and my spouse and children, not the priests, they are simply the messenger who devote their lives to delivering "the word" not creating "the word".

Robert, have you taken your concerns directly to the Rectory? That might be a better place to vent as opposed to a public forum. I hope you find peace and are able to look past this fundraising effort.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 4, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Robert, the way that you have expressed your concerns suggests that you feel safer and more comfortable expressing your concerns publicly.

If the "Rectory" wants to meet with you privately, do you suppose that padraig would relate to you in a respectful manner?

I appreciate your decision to share your concerns with a larger community. I'm not a member of your Catholic community and I have no investment in whether you meet privately or online with the powers that be.

Reviewing the posts of some CCOP members, it's my impression that your position has not been respectfully received. If anything, it seems that some folks are angry and unnecessarily insulting.

Hang in there and continue taking good care of yourself. You deserve to be treated with the utmost respect.

Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm

Dear Robert...In my opinion, the real issue does not seem to be about money. Rather, it seems to be about control.

Su amigo,


Like this comment
Posted by Concern Member of CCOP
a resident of Pleasanton Village
on Oct 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm


This is just one of the many reasons why our family no longer attends Mass at either of the Churches in Pleasanton. Mass stopped being about Jesus Christ Our Lord and the Holy Eucharist, rather, it became about one man's agenda. So very tired of having it shoved down our throats. Thank God for the other local Tri-Valley Catholic Churches that have been willing to open their arms and welcome us into their communities.

Praying for change for those who are lead astray and are being easily manipulated.

Still Concerned

Like this comment
Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 6, 2011 at 12:44 am


You have posted a logical fallacy.

Not supporting one policy or action does not imply support for another policy or action.


Like this comment
Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Oct 6, 2011 at 8:57 pm

friends, romans, and country, send me you change...



Like this comment
Posted by Pete
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2011 at 9:25 pm

You share the same spoon, Cholo... Made in Heaven

Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Mohr Park
on Oct 6, 2011 at 11:35 pm

I appreciate all the remarks. I don't cave into the pressure and give blindly. I give to other local charities that I feel are worthy instead. I try to separate the message from the messenger as well, but at times I become frustrated. I don't see any problem with discussing issues in public forums. Obviously, if I felt my concerns would actually be listened to and make a difference I would speak up privately. But when you realize it's futile why bother.

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