In the last couple weeks there have been two Catholic parishes in the Milwaukee Archdiocese dealing with issues of financial indiscretions - St. John Vianney in Brookfield and St. Anthony in Menomonee Falls.
In light of this, Archbishop Dolan looks to be on the forefront in trying to ensure that donations from parishioners are used properly. He has stated that starting soon all the parishes of the Archdiocese will be audited on a regular basis. He already mails out regular Archdiocesan financial statements to the Catholics of the Archdiocese and parishes are now required to make parish budgets and year-end financial statement available to all parishioners.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the bookkeeper from St. Anthony's was stealing money by doing such things as overstating how much the parish was spending on utility bills, but I do not see how that would be possible if the parish had proper measures in place to ensure that no one had too much control over the pocket book. While requiring parishes to disclose their financial statements has been a good step, requiring parishes on a regular basis to have their books audited will close loopholes such those that were abused at St. Anthony's.
This is another example of how having the clerics of the Catholic Church held accountable to the laity will increase trust in the Catholic Church and make a better Catholic Church. Clerics were never meant to be accountants and making it the responsibility of the pastor to ensure that proper accounting procedures are followed will eventually result in situations similar to St. Anthony's Parish.
A Faithful Catholic