Catholic Church Parishioners Seek Financial Transparency from Dioceses
Posted on: March 19, 2021 Catholic Church Sexual Abuse
A survey done by Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) concludes that only five U.S. dioceses are financially transparent. According to its website, VOTF is “a lay organization of faithful Catholics. . .whose mission is to provide a prayerful voice, attentive to the Spirit, through which the faithful can actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church.”
The notion that the Catholic Church has not always been upfront about its finances is not new. There are numerous reports of dioceses hiding assets or not properly valuing them in bankruptcy proceedings so as to make the amount of funds available to child sexual abuse claims lower than in actuality. VOTF is urging lay people to demand more financial accountability from their dioceses.
Based on its survey, VOTF reported “the five least financially transparent dioceses as Camden, New Jersey; Crookston Minnesota; Lubbock, Texas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.” The group states that financial transparency is important because, without it, dioceses are able to minimize accountability to sexual abuse survivors. VOTF also stresses that church members who have not been affected by sexual abuse should be concerned about transparency since monetary gifts made to dioceses may not always be used for their specified purpose.
The report also claims that financial transparency may have helped contain child sexual abuse by clergy, stating “If the extent of the financial settlements made by bishops to hide clerical sex abuse had become known through transparent financial reporting when the abuse reports started breaking long before 2002, lay Catholics would have been aware that the abuse was not a rare exception, but widespread.”
The entire article can be viewed here.
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