In the summer of last year, Father Matt Glover, a Rhode Island Catholic priest, decided that 15 years as a clergyman was enough. As a supporter of LGBT rights and a proponent of environmentalism, maybe the conservative culture of the church had worn him down.
Or maybe he felt shame about stealing from his employer.
Rhode Island State Police said [yesterday that] Glover allegedly stole approximately $40,000 in “goods and services” from the parish. Authorities said they recovered several items during a search of the former priest’s Coventry home on Tuesday.
“The investigation revealed that Mr. Steven Matthew Glover allegedly purchased several thousand dollars worth of personal items to include furniture, a television, a video game console and laptop computers with his personal credit card then reimbursed himself using St. Rose and Clement Parish funds,” state police noted in a press release. …
“Detectives from the Financial Crimes Unit also uncovered a scheme in which Mr. Glover purchased furniture from a local store, reimbursed himself for the purchase with church funds, then cancelled the furniture delivery which reversed the charge on his personal credit card.”
I sense the clever work of the devil.
State police told NBC 10 that authorities began investigating after they received a complaint from the Providence Diocese Office of Compliance in November 2019 in regard to the potential misuse of a credit card.
Charged with larceny and fraud, the ex-priest was arraigned on $5,000 personal recognizance before being released. He’ll have to appear in court on September 16.
Glover wasn’t universally liked even before the thievery came to light. When he walked away from his priestly vocation, he declined to show up to Mass, instead inserting a resignation letter into the church bulletin — a remarkably impersonal method of breaking the news, which rankled some colleagues and parishioners. One anonymous source (apparently a clergyman himself) told the Church Militant website:
“I have witnessed more than a few of my fellow priests … just walk off the job, so to speak. As if the priesthood were some sort of a job like being a postal carrier or a garbage man. And paradoxically many of these men when walking away from the priesthood instead of forthrightly talking about what is immediately transpiring to their parishioners, and even their own families, dash out a quick parting note. As if a notice in the bulletin suffices in some sense. What cowards!
Nowhere in these notes is anything of real significance mentioned, nor is a word of remorse said for the thousands of dollars spent by the faithful on their education and training. [I condemn] the lack of humility and contrition for taking the faithful, their classmates and their parishioners for an extended ride going nowhere.”
That comment appeared under the headline Liberal-leaning Pastor Walks Away From Priestly Ministry, along with an odd photo of Glover prancing in blue jeans and a checkered shirt while dog-collared padres look on.
“Always extremely disappointing, for a bishop and many others, when a priest leaves the active ministry, but my prayers and blessings go with Fr. Matt as he begins walking his new chosen path. May God be with him.”
In retrospect, those last five words perhaps imply that suspicions of Glover’s malfeasance were already swirling at the time, but I’m just speculating here. Whatever the case, Tobin’s prayers and blessings evidently didn’t do much for the alleged perp’s earthly fate.
(Image via WJAR)