Archive for category Catholic Church Finances

Judge rejects bid to tap parishes, schools in archdiocese bankruptcy / Star Tribune

Catholic parishes, schools and other church properties cannot be included among the assets in the bankruptcy of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, a federal judge ruled Thursday (Jul. 28).

“U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Kressel denied the request by a committee representing clergy abuse victims to consolidate the assets of various entities linked to the archdiocese, which would have increased funds available to settle victims’ claims.

“The decision was met with relief by Catholic parishes and a pledge to appeal the ruling by the victims’ committee.

“Archbishop Bernard Hebda said he was pleased with the decision.”

By Jean Hopfensperger, Star Tribune — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Bookkeeper denies theft as U.S. church struggles with money controls / Associated Press on Cruxnow.com

A bookkeeper has pleaded not guilty to charges that she stole nearly $200,000 from a Catholic church and school in Albert Lea, marking the latest incident suggesting to some observers a problem with lax financial controls in American Catholicism …

“The latest charge of shoddy financial controls comes against the backdrop of a 2006 study by Villanova University, which found that 85 percent of dioceses in the United States had experienced some form of embezzlement within the previous five years, mostly at the parish level …

“A retired U.S. Postal Service inspector and lifelong Catholic named Michael W. Ryan has examined money management in the Church in the United States. His estimate is that Catholic parishes in the the country may lose as much as $90 million annually due to inadequate controls over the collection plate.”

By Associated Press on Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pulling the plug on audit means gut-check for Vatican reform / Cruxnow.com

When Pope Francis’ landmark project of financial reform was announced two years ago, one lynch-pin was the idea that the world would no longer just to have to take the Vatican’s word for it in terms of how much money it has and where it’s going.

“Instead there would be a credible audit carried out according to generally accepted business standards in the 21st century. That step, officials said, would represent a revolution in the direction of transparency and accountability.

As it turns out, it’s now a revolution delayed.

Crux has learned that on April 12, Italian Archbishop Giovanni Angelo Becciu sent a letter to all Vatican entities informing them that an audit being performed by the global firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) has been ‘suspended immediately,’ and that any letters of authorization those entities have already issued to permit the transmission of financial data to PwC are to be revoked.”

By John L. Allen, Jr., Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this article.

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Vatican probes funding of cardinal’s lavish apartment / Religion News Service

The Vatican has launched an official investigation into the funding of the restoration of the apartment of the former secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

“The investigation involves two executives from Rome’s Bambini Gesu Children’s Hospital — former chairman Giuseppe Profiti and former treasurer Massimo Spina – who are being investigated for allegedly misappropriating hospital funds to pay for the restoration.

“Greg Burke, deputy director of the Vatican press office, confirmed the probe Thursday. He said Bertone was not under investigation.”

By Josephine McKenna, Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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From the collection basket to the bank: Lax practices mean lost money / National Catholic Reporter

Sin and the Trinity.

“These are two elementary points of Catholic theology in the work of Michael W. Ryan, a retired U.S. Postal security specialist, who has spent more than two decades alerting church authorities to fixing accounting lapses in parish collections.

“First, sin.

“Ryan has focused since 1988 on what he calls the point ‘between the collection basket and the bank deposit.’ The resident of Milton, Mass., worked for the postal service in security, and knew from first-hand experience that, even with top-of-the-line procedures in place, there will be at least some postal employees tempted to embezzle.

“‘It only takes a second to scoop up a bunch of twenties,’ warns Ryan.

“There are parallels between the neighborhood post office and the local Catholic church. Both deal in cash payments. Both involve people with access to cash. But, says Ryan, ‘there is much more control over a postal clerk.’

“Ryan notes that there are people who will steal from the collection basket.”

By Peter Feuerherd, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story. Michael Ryan is a Voice of the Faithful® trustee. Click here to read about VOTF’s extensive work on financial accountability and transparency in Catholic parishes and dioceses.

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Financial misconduct in parishes is all too common / Cruxnow.com

Behind the sensational headlines about a New York priest (Rev. Peter Miqueli) accused of pilfering church coffers to pay for an extravagant lifestyle – “Priest paid his male ‘sex master’ from collection plate: lawsuit,” as the New York Post put it — is the surprisingly common accusation of a trusted employee or volunteer stealing cash from a parish …

“Miqueli’s case is tailor made for tabloid coverage, but it’s hardly unique. This year alone, a number of high-profile embezzlement cases involving Catholic institutions have been made public. While the reporting to civil authorities has increased, resulting in more publicity about such cases, one thing hasn’t changed: Pastors are too trusting and unwilling to implement strict financial controls.”

By Michael O’Loughlin, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

Voice of the Faithful’s Financial Accountability & Transparency Working Group’s long-time efforts in this area at the diocese and parish levels can be reviewed at votf.org under Programs/Financial Accountability.

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Europe calls on Vatican to take more action on financial crime / The Wall Street Journal

A European watchdog has put the Vatican on notice to prosecute those suspected of financial crimes now that the city-state has brought its laws on money laundering and terrorist financing in line with international standards.

“‘The Vatican ‘needs to deliver some real results on the prosecutorial side,’ said a report published Tuesday (Dec. 15) by the Council of Europe’s Moneyval committee. Nobody has yet been prosecuted under a 2013 Vatican anti-money-laundering law.

“The committee praised the ‘intensive review process’ at the scandal-plagued Vatican bank. The bank has closed around 4,800 accounts, in some cases because a client’s profile didn’t conform with the bank’s stated mission to serve ‘works of religion.'”

By Massimo Faggioli, The Wall Street Journal — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Vatican to try five, including reporters, over leaks scandal / Reuters on Religion News Service

The Vatican on Saturday (Nov. 21) ordered five people, including two Italian journalists, to stand trial for leaking and publishing secret documents, in the latest development in a leaks scandal which is rocking the papacy.

“The trial stems from the publication of two recent books which depict a Vatican plagued by mismanagement, greed and corruption and where Pope Francis faces stiff resistance from the old guard to his reform agenda.

“The Holy See was embarrassed and angered by the books, which it said used information that should never have been allowed to leave the walls of the city state.”

By Reuters on Religion News Service — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Re-Jesusing the Catholic Church / Garry Wills in The Boston Globe

Voice of the Faithful has long championed financial transparency and accountability in the Catholic Church, a never-ending, always necessary task. Take the commentary below. Garry Wills wonders once again, like many others before him and in light of Pope Francis’ agenda, how the Church can claim God and mammon. And how can it justify keeping its questionable financial dealings secret. For example, “In what is called Peter’s Pence, Catholics from around the world send money to be spent on the poor,” he says, “But four-fifths of that money is spent on maintenance of the bloated Vatican itself.”

Re-Jesusing the Catholic Church
by Garry Wills in The Boston Globe

How can a church whose officialdom is worldly and corrupt present Jesus to the world? Pope Francis thinks it cannot. He once told people at the morning mass in his small chapel, ‘To be believable, the Church has to be poor.’ He has spoken of personal revulsion at seeing a priest drive an expensive car. When he spoke of money as ‘the devil’s dung’ (he was quoting a church father, Saint Basil), some took this as an attack on Western capitalism. But it was a more general message, part of his apology in Bolivia for the church’s role in colonialism. And when Francis looks around the Vatican, he finds the same devil-stench. In one of his earlier interviews as pope, he said, ‘The Curia is Vatican-centric. It sees and looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, for the most part, temporal interests.’ He said to assembled Cardinals that some approach the Vatican as if it were a royal court, with all the marks of such courts — ‘intrigue, gossip, cliques, favoritism, and partiality.’”

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Vatican arrests two in connection with leaked documents / The New York Times

The Vatican announced Monday that two members of a commission set up by Pope Francis to study financial operations at the Holy See had been arrested on suspicion of leaking confidential documents to journalists.

“The arrests added to the intrigue and infighting that appear to be intensifying around Francis, whose push to liberalize certain aspects of the Roman Catholic Church and to shake up the Vatican’s administrative body, or Curia, has met with stiff resistance from traditionalists and vested interests inside the Vatican and beyond.”

By Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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