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Bernard Madoff may be testing the faith of followers of the patron saint of moralists and confessors, who sank money into the investment funds of the alleged mastermind of the largest Ponzi scheme in history.
Roman Catholic priests and institutions linked to the Redemptorist society in the U.S. and Italy appear on a 162-page client list of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan on Feb. 4. The religious order follows the teachings of Saint Alphonsus Liguori who preached about ethical behavior.
“The world is very hard, particularly in the manner of money,” said Stan Wrobel, a priest and treasurer at the Redemptorist headquarters in Rome. “We can only pray for the people who have been damaged and for the family of Madoff because they may need spiritual help, too.”
“It would appear that much of the savings of the diocese and the endowment funds of St. Mary and St. Patrick schools have apparently been lost,” Bishop Herbert Bevard, who leads the Saint Thomas diocese, told parishioners in a Dec. 19 letter.
At our Lady of Perpetual Help, a Brooklyn, New York, church that dominates a block of two-family houses, Father Joseph Tizio, 59, says the Redemptorists, like all Catholic faiths, believe forgiveness is possible, even for Madoff.