Embezzlement in the Catholic Church & Secrecy

Embezzlement in the Catholic Church & Secrecy

The Voice of the Faithful is a Catholic lay organization who advocates for transparency and accountability in Catholic Church affairs. It has been generally condemned by Catholic Bishops for speaking out about criticisms of Church affairs and is seen as a controversial voice regarding the need for Church reform. The organization recently mailed out a newsletter reporting a number Vatican2 of embezzlement’s of Church money nationally. The mailing was timely since a Nebraska Catholic nun has been in the news after being charged with embezzling some $300,000 from the Archdiocese of Omaha. She is accused of spending some of it in casinos. The organization advocates financial disclosure and internal financial controls after a survey of 174 dioceses reported an 85% rate of embezzlement. In 11% of the dioceses surveyed $500,000 had been embezzled. The organization newsletter also reports similar thefts by Catholic priests: two Palm Beach priests arrested for stealing $8.6 Million from their parish; A Massachusetts priest accused of stealing $1.2 Million; a Connecticut pastor removed after $500,000 in church funds were found missing, a Virginia priest arrested for stealing $600,000; and a priest in New Jersey charged with stealing nearly $1 Million from his parish. In Seattle, the Seattle P.I. reports that a Redemptorist parish priest has been removed over misappropriation of funds.

The newsletter reports that almost $6 Billion is contributed by Catholics in the United States each year, but that the majority of parishes and dioceses lack the level of financial controls that are commonplace in most businesses. It argues the lack of financial accountability and behind doors handling of church money also contributed to the clergy sex scandal. It says this permitted paying off victims without having to disclose the payments or why the payments were being made. The organization newsletter says "The needs for financial transparency and accountability have always been a demand of the Voice of the Faithful." I totally agree with their demand, but I think the reason for the problem lies with a centuries old Church mentality of secrecy, totalitarian administration and the patronizing view that the laity should be treated like children. The widespread attitude of church leaders about secrecy in all Church affairs reminds me of the old toast:

"So here’s to dear old Boston, Home of the bean and the cod; Where the Lowells speak only to the Cabots, And the Cabots speak only to God."

I doubt I will live to see the day of a mature attitude on the part of the Pope, Bishops and Church leaders towards the laity regarding Church affairs or Church teachings because it continues to act as if this was still the eighteenth century, but it is an institution very much in need of change of attitude if is to be relevant in this century.

0 thoughts on “Embezzlement in the Catholic Church & Secrecy

  1. Well That is objective lol

    THe Church will not change core doctrines or beliefs on Homosexuality, Bith Control,euthanasia and gay marriage.

    You know why? It has no power to do so. It cannot change the teaching of Christ no matter if people think they are outdated. Note Clerical Celbacy is a DISCIPLINE and can changed at any time.

    When I converted in the late 80’s I was in College. I was active in Campus Ministry and Catholic Student organizations. Boy were the unorthodox in charge in the store on that level. I think back with amusement on how many said our goals should be like the Episcopal CHurch. Wow GLAD WE DIDNT GO DOWN THAT PATH.

    The NEw genrations are not concerned with all tha mess. We are concerned about Orthodoxy. We see our future not with Liberal Protestant Sects but are more concerned about steps to reunite us with our Eastern Orthodox Brothers. All the proposals you suggest by the way would make that a dead letter and in fact you would see a mass exodus of Catholics to Orthodoxy. Thank God we know that will never happen.


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