Thursday, June 5, 2008

Justice demands sound stewardship of money

Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in the "Herald of Hope" column in "our" Milwaukee Catholic Herald, May 15, 2008, announces regular outside financial audits of all parishes.
That's the good news: guidelines, expectations, requirements, reporting, and oversight are all in place which, if obeyed, guarantee open, straightforward, sound, honest stewardship of our finances.

The bad news is that - just like the Ten Commandments or the eight beatitudes - people can and do break these rules, and that's when problems occur. There's always a way some sinful, desperate, or selfish person can devise to try to pilfer other people's money, even when it's given to the church.

Still, it's only money. How about outside audits of liturgy and Christian formation.

P.S. Tom Heinen reported, All Catholic churches will have to get audits, in the May 16, 2008 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Milwaukee archdiocese has detailed financial guidelines and requirements for parishes. They include a call for an internal financial review of each parish every four years to make sure that each is following the required accounting procedures and guidelines. But that has not been done since 2000 because of additional duties given to the archdiocese's Financial Services Office, Hoeller [Katie Hoeller, director of the Parish and School Financial Services Office] said.

I'm not seeing what will prevent that from happening in the future. Audit audits, perhaps. Reminds me of a former pastor at St. Al's who "explained" that the parish website hadn't been updated because he had given that duty to someone who was too busy to do it. Sure, that can happen, but where else is it a policy?


  1. Aquinas11:01 PM

    "Still, it's only money. How about outside audits of liturgy and Christian formation."

    That would assume auditors who knew something about either, which would make them a rare breed indeed, particularly in this archdiocese. Doubt it? Corner your musician/liturgist and ask which of the Sequences is obligatory. After the first fifteen seconds of stunned silence, throw it into reverse and make it simpler by asking the question once removed: what is a Sequence?

    These are not "trick" questions, nor do they require knowledge of the arcane. They do, however, require a practical, working knowledge of liturgy the way Catholics do it. Which would make coming by the answers so difficult around these parts.

  2. At my parish, the problem might not be that kind of ignorance. I noted the translations, unlike parish practice, use "sin" (singular) in the Gloria, and "sins" (plural) in the Lamb of God. The parish uses the singular in both. The response I got denied the distinction between singular and plural.

    (In the area of parishioner pledges, the distinction between a singular dollar and plural dollars has been maintained.)

  3. And, of course, the Latin original is PLURAL in both cases.