Better Management of Church Finances

Francis, Bishop of Rome, has appointed an eight-member commission to study the function of the Vatican Bank, and to suggest steps to be taken to improve not only its functioning but also its integrity. For some years the Vatican Bank has been functioning like ‘a den of thieves’ (Mk 11.17). When John Paul I became the Bishop of Rome there was fear that he would go into the functioning of the Vatican Bank. That was one reason why he was murdered. The eight-member commission appointed by Francis has seven lay persons and only one cleric. The president of this commission is a lay person. Can we learn something from Francis?
Addressing the bishop and priests of a diocese during their annual retreat, the preacher said: “Some bishops seem to be counting money the whole day!” May I add: “And some dream of money the whole night!” During the Year of Priests ‒ one more lost opportunity in many dioceses ‒ the Clergy Commission of the CCBI organized regional seminars for priests. I was one of the resource persons. For the workshops on ministry one question read: “What is the primary concern in your pastoral ministry?” I was touched by the honesty of one group: “Money is the primary concern in our pastoral ministry.” One way of increasing our collection is to multiply devotions and shrines. Are we making God’s Church a den of thieves?
At one time lay people managed the funds of the church, thus leaving the clergy to serve the spiritual needs of the people. Gradually, or perhaps very soon, the clergy realized that the power of money was greater than the authority of their ordination. Very often our bishops quote the pope when it suits them. Now it is time take a lead from Francis, the Bishop of Rome.
We hear a lot of talk about empowering the laity. Money is power, and so one effective way to empower our laity to trust them and to entrust the church finances to them. From my experience I can say with certainty% “Many of our lay people are more honest and more concerned for the church of Jesus than many of our priests and bishops. If our priests and bishops entrust the church finances to the laity the church finances, our priests and bishops may lose quite a bit of their power, but They will find a little more for other things they ought to do, including studying theology, (doing more pastoral visits-TK) which they very much need to do.

Subhash Anand
St. Paul's School
Bhupalpura
Udaipur
313001
Mob.: 8875128228
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Many US parishes are run by religious women. Udupi bishop is a pioneer in appointing a sister as the diocesan procurator as well as lay empowerment. Married deacons and communion ministers have reached only Bombay diocese. - TK