Sunday, August 26, 2007

Root of All Evil

There have always been problems for the people of God. The Bible is full of stories about victims and abuse of victims, about death and destruction, about exploitation and envy and jealousy and deceit and on and on…The problems facing our Catholic Church now is not just the horrors of sexual abuse and a world that wants no part of God, a new problem getting media attention is financial abuse. Sad stores of monies stolen from Church treasuries around the world. Greed is all too common in our “me, first” society.

Sex and financial abuse have always been part of our fallen nature, but with the media spot light, this knowledge of evil is making headlines and coming to the attention of millions.

Currently the Diocese of Cleveland is facing hard question in a civil trial concerning funds misspent to the tune of millions of dollars. The Archdiocese of San Francisco has gone though this purgatory of financial mismanagement some years ago and learned the hard way. But the warning was heeded.

I admire the way in which the Archdiocese of San Francisco oversees its financial assets. When I first became pastor at SS Peter and Paul, the parish books were scrutinized by a team of accountants. Annually, of course, an account, which covers governance as well and finance, is given to the Archbishop’s office. But now every three years the financial accounts are subject to an extensive in house audit and all the details of administration are carefully checked to see that all is in order with the laws of the land and of the church. For me, as pastor, this was a great blessing (albeit costly); for it guarantees that my parish and all of our parishes of the City are shepherded also along monetary and civil matters.

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