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|01-01-2009, 09:29 AM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 01, 2008
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Episcopalian Priest Removed From His Duties For Spending $1000s Of Dollars At Clubs
Church defrocks club-hopping priest, Rev. Gregory Malia
By SEAN EVANS and DOUGLAS FEIDEN
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS
December 30th 2008, 1:47 PM
The big-spending, champagne-swilling, club-hopping priest from the coal fields of Pennsylvania is out of a job.
Rev. Gregory Malia - who put aside the Gospels to become a disciple of Chelsea nightlife - was booted Monday from his post as vicar of a down-home parish in Carbondale, Pa.
The unceremonious firing came 24 hours after the Daily News reported on Sunday how the man of the cloth had become a free-spending, late-night habitue of the white-hot clubs of the West 20s.
Driving from distant Wilkes Barre, Pa. - where bedtimes are early and life is slow - Malia would arrive in clubland and shell out thousands of dollars in tips, send bottles of Dom Perignon to fellow clubgoers and squire cocktail waitresses around town on shopping sprees.
When word got back to the hardscrabble precincts of northeastern Pennsylvania, the Right Rev. Paul Marshall, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem, relieved Malia of his priestly duties at St. James Trinity Episcopal Church.
"The facts as reported would be a remarkable departure from normal standards of modest living to which the Gospels call us," Marshall told the Scranton Times.
That poses a problem, he added, "because I have called upon the entire Diocese of Bethlehem to adopt a lifestyle significantly lower than that of our peers."
Based on Marshall's examination of "internal figures," he said there was no suggestion that funds from the church till had been misappropriated.
He told the local paper he was convening a 10-member standing committee that would promptly probe the 43-year-old Malia's activities. The panel will meet Friday.
The review will seek to determine if Malia violated the "canonical provisions" of his church calling - as well as his ordination vows to be a "wholesome example," Marshall said.
Mystery surrounds the extent of the priest's fortunes, but its source is apparently New Life Home Care, based in Pittston, Pa., which provides pharmaceutical supplies to hemophiliacs.
Malia is a hemophiliac, but the extent of his disabilities is not clear.
He couldn't be reached for comment Monday.
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