Local News

Family, Friends Stand Up for Accused Church Usher in Cary

Posted January 18, 2007

— A church usher accused of stealing money from the collection basket at a Catholic church in Cary had his appearance in Wake County District Court postponed Thursday at his lawyer’s request, but his family was there anyway because they object to his being prosecuted.

James MacCaline, 75, faces a misdemeanor larceny charge and has a new court date of Feb. 15. He is known as Jimmy Mac to fellow parishioners at St. Michael the Archangel church, where he has gone for 31 years.

His family and friends are very disappointed that the church called police instead of them when the thefts came to light. MacCaline, they say, has cancer and may not have realized what he was doing.

“I don't want my husband being marked as a common criminal because he's not,” Lois MacCaline said. “I feel it's the illness.”

She said her husband has liver cancer and sometimes hallucinates.

Eleven months ago, the church pastor said he began hearing reports of MacCaline’s stealing money from the collection basket. Last month, he called Cary police.

Police set up 10 hidden cameras in the church. At the New Year's Eve Mass, they said, a $20 bill they had put in the collection plate wound up in MacCaline’s pocket.

MacCaline’s son, Tom Smith, said, “I don't think my father realizes.”

Anthony Romano, a friend and fellow church member, said he doesn’t understand the church's decision.

“You know, I was thinking, 'Gee, we can't have bingo in our church, but we can arrest people.'”

“I'm very upset that they didn't come to me, come to the famiily and let us know this. this could have been stopped,” Lois MacCalaine said.

The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh says it must protect the donations that parishioners give in good faith and that it has reached out to the family.

The family strongly disagrees.

Romano said the goal should not be prosecution.

“You hate the sin, but you love the sinner. We love him and we forgive him. That's what you do. You're a Christian.”


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  • geowilrlst Jan 22, 2007

    This gentleman just needs love and caring and I am not being a wise ass when I say this !

  • sobercuban Jan 20, 2007

    NOOOOOO NOT FORGIVENESS!!!! If we really want to punish him we can put him in a retirement home and let those overmedicating doctors take care of him.

  • cjandminnierule Jan 19, 2007

    Forgiveness???? Come on..... He needs to be punished for his actions. Maybe not by jail but something needs to be done!

  • Magic8BallSays Jan 19, 2007

    Why do you people keep bashing the police department? They received a call from the church and investigated the crime like they are suppose to. To the person that commented the police showed up a week after their house was broken into, why did you wait a week to call it in. To the person who stated he just stole $20.00, that was just the marked bill they put in the plate when they caught him, not the total amount he has stolen over who knows how long. Should the church have handled it themselves? That was for them to decide, but once they called the police they did their job.

  • francisbrt Jan 19, 2007


  • grenlyn1 Jan 19, 2007

    The Christian thing to do under this circumstance would to have informed the family and talk to the gentleman first. Get some kind of communication as to why this is occuring. When I put money into the dish, I do not look for the Church to account where their money goes. I give it away. I think the idea that this family is not only embarrassed by this incident but they truly have a viable explanation for why this occured. Please folks, let's forgive and forget. Let this man have his peace and the family have it's good name preserved. I will pray for them and those who are so vendictive towards them.

  • hail2opeth Jan 19, 2007

    OH NO!! He couldn't possibly be a "common criminal!" Such people aren't members of "our" family! Such people never attend "our" church! It was "the illness!" Or maybe he has some issues with alcohol that nobody knows about, in which case, it was "the alcohol." It couldn't possibly be that this frail, old man knowingly broke one of the Ten Commandments simply because he wanted the money and didn't think he would ever get caught. Besides, who's to say Jesus didn't want him to take the money!? Or even tell him too!! =P

  • sobercuban Jan 19, 2007

    Get out of here... ok lets lock him up and throw away the key. That surely shows the spirit of forgiveness. Cary police locked away another evil criminal mastermind..... ugh.
    By the way ... when did Jesus start needing money?

  • volvoman Jan 19, 2007

    Another person not wanting to take respnsibility for their actions.Whether it was 20.00 or 1000.00 stealing is stealing.

  • no screen name Jan 19, 2007

    he was stealing JESUS money.... I guess Jesus would have told him to take the other $20 huh? :)