Religion: Blessed to Receive?

High-powered postal pitches for contributions are no new thing to American religion, but the Pallottine Fathers can claim a unique precedent. The 19th century Italian founder of their 2,140-member order, St. Vincent Pallotti, wrote countless letters to solicit contributions from benefactors throughout Europe for his work among the poor. Still, some U.S. Pallottines seem to have exceeded by far their founder's epistolary zeal. Since November 1972, records at the Baltimore Post Office show, the order's fund-raising operation in that city has spent nearly $5 million on postage alone to mail to would-be contributors around the country a variety of elaborate baits,...

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