Mammon From Heaven: Minister Finds Couple’s Bracelet And Offers To Return It For A Hefty Price

300px-Giotto_-_Scrovegni_-_-27-_-_Expulsion_of_the_Money-changers_from_the_TempleMatthew (6:24) says that “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” but we have recently seen ministers who seem focused on the latter than the former in their personal matters like St. Louis Pastor Alois Bell who scratched out a 18 percent tip for a large party and wrote in a “0” next to “I give God 10% why do you get 18.” The waitress was later fired from Applebee’s after Bell complained about her going public with the slight. Rev. Bell was widely ridiculed as a craven hypocrite. However, she could apparently open a new ministry of the “Good Work of Mammon” Church with Australian Rev. Terry McAuliffe, of St Paul’s Anglican Church. A couple, Clyde and Lesley Bevan, own the Friends Restaurant and dropped a $6500 gold and diamond bracelet in the carpark. It was missing for months. They were delighted when a new “friend” called to report that he picked up the bracelet until he told them that he wanted half the value if they wanted it back. Rev. McAuliffe insists that it is just a case of mammon from heaven: “I have been given a gift fallen from the sky.”

The bracelet with 16 diamonds was a birthday gift for Lesley.

The clergyman spotted a security code on the bracelet and learned of the owners’ identity. However, he decided to have the bracelet appraised.

McAuliffe is relying on the Criminal and Found Property Disposal Act 2006 which states that finders can keep unclaimed lost property after two months. Thus, his position is that he can keep it all legally but I felt it would be best to get it back to them. They can get it back for 50 per cent.” So he told them to put in for an insurance payment and give him half of the money.

After registering the find with the police, McAuliffe contacted the couple in an email and wrote: “As you have thus lost ownership of the bracelet, you have a valid claim against your insurer for its insured value. On the basis that equality is equity, I would be prepared to sell it to you for 50 per cent of its insured value.”

That is a novel claim. I am not familiar with the insurance laws of Australia but some folks would view it as fraud to claim the full value of a lost item and then get the item back in addition to 50 percent of its value. Likewise, the good reverend would be dividing up the proceeds in the exchange.

Rev. McAuliffe however insists that this appears God’s work . . . and he is just cashing in: “I have been given a gift fallen from the sky. What do I do with my gift? That’s up to me to decide. I’m just offering to share the windfall.”

That seems a lot like profiting on the misfortune of others. Perhaps a review of Luke’s The Parable of the Unrighteous Steward is worth reviewing:

He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12And if you have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

Of course, no one offered Luke a diamond bracelet.

Source: Yahoo

28 thoughts on “Mammon From Heaven: Minister Finds Couple’s Bracelet And Offers To Return It For A Hefty Price

  1. I am reminded of the lyrics from a Hank Williams, Jr. tune called American Dream:

    Now there are some preachers on T.V. with a suit and a tie and a vest
    They want you to send your money to the Lord but they give you
    Their address ’cause all of your donations are completely tax free
    God bless you all but most of all send your money

  2. Sounds like the Rev is conspiring to commit fraud. The couple registered the loss, the rev turned in the find, the couple claims it. Why is the bracelet just not turned over to them? Any reward would be up to the couple. Rev’s a greedy a$$

  3. There is now an update to the story. The Reverend says he used to be a lawyer, so he cannot use ignorance of insurance fraud laws as an excuse. After this story became public, he backed down on his claim and said he would return the bracelet. His boss, Archbishop Roger Herft, says McAuliffe is facing disciplinary action which could include him being removed from his position. That is a fancy way of saying McAuliffe may be canned. His own parish membership is reportedly deeply embarrassed and shocked at his actions.

    Archbishop Herft told reporters, “I find the whole story to be quite reprehensible. There is an issue in the law, but once the owner was established, the moral code must apply……There will be some explaining to be done, and I am hopeful Rev. McAuliffe regrets it deeply.”

  4. Also, were I an Australian prosecutor, I’d be considering extortion charges.

    Thanks for the update, OS.

  5. It amazes me that a minister of God, allegedly teaching the word of Jesus Christ, thinks extortion and fraud are ok. WWJD?

  6. My home town (well, not quite – I live in Fremantle).

    This was ventilated extensively on talk radio today here.

    There are a couple of extra elements to this story. The good Rev did indeed hand the item to Police who evidently did nothing (there being a security code on the item). Having done nothing, they called up the good Rev to say it hasn’t been claimed and it’s therefore yours.

    So there are questions for Police, who in their defense rightly say it isn’t necessarily their job to reunite people with lost property.

    Some sluthing from the Rev enabled him to discover the owner. He contacted them and told them as the new owner he was willing to sell them the item while they could make a full claim against insurance.

    Local radio spoke with people familiar with insurance contracts and law in Australia. It turns out that apart from possibly exposing himself to action for extorsion, he possibly may face action for attempting to obtain a benefit via fraud.

    A fundamental principle of insurance contracts is that the insured (previous) owner is COMPENSATED for loss, not necessarily the full value. Our friend asking $3000 from the original owner is the loss value the insured party would submit to their insurer. Being encouraged to otherwise participate in a FULL CLAIM of value and the insured supposedly able to retain the item is pretty likely to land the Rev in some significant trouble.

  7. Beware of the pious because they’re just as likely to pick your pocket while holding themselves up as paragons of purity.

  8. Zvyozdochka,

    Thanks for the local color, especially the police involvement.

    Do you have an opinion on what should be done with M?cAuliffe

  9. There’s more than one way to fleece a flock….. At this angle he’s just being a little mote honest….

  10. Dick McAuliffe? Great ballplayer who hit w/ the most open stance of any hitter I can remember. If that’s not the guy it falls out of my assigned topics of “sports and movies,” so I need to tread lightly. I love Dick..err Dick McAulffe, but I don’t think he is a HOFer. Oh wait…Rev. McAuliffe, stupid me. I’m trying to be neutral, so I’ll let other weigh in on this, and just take in the wisdom.

  11. Here, in the U.S., I believe the couples counsel could argue that the “good” Rev. McAuliffe knew how to trace the parties down. Combined with the fact that the party’s had a code to be traced, is dispositive that the “2 month” unclaimed Rule does NOT apply – except for cunning to bypass the time period in question.

    Scienter applies!

  12. As one raised in/of Christ and learning of yiddish roots late in life – I’ve learned to adopt the George Carlin philosphy.

    If G-d wants my money – he has the ability to take it
    (and zip – flash would go all the TV preachers palatial estates to heaven)

  13. I’m pretty sure the Insurance Company would have something to say about the minister’s ‘deal’.

  14. Let’s get one thing straight. There is no God involved in any part of this story. There are Catholic, Anglican and other churches where you would be lucky to find a real Christian minister. Not for me to judge this person, since only God can see what’s in the heart but his actions are not Christian and all we have to go by is what we see a person do.

    Let’s be careful to separate this idiot’s behaviour from real Christian spirituality…

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