Thursday, April 29, 2010

Diocesan Trustees...

In the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, every parish is its own corporation. The five person board of directors for every parish consists of two bishops, the parish priest, and the two lay trustees. Although canonically, the priest is in charge of the parish, the two trustees have the ability to notice if anything is out of sync financially - one of the trustees' signatures is required on all the checks. In reality, you often have trustees who do not take this responsibility seriously, always trust the priest, or are incompetent. There are also some great trustees out there. Though it would be nice if parishes, who nominate and vote for the trustees, realized on a deeper level the serious and positive effects that this position can be for the parish community financially.

I think that this is a model that could be adapted to the diocesan level. A board of lay trustees, nominated and chosen by the laity in a diocese, would have full access to financial records. These lay trustees would then be at liberty to disclose any pertinent information to the general Catholic population. This method would have prevented scenarios such as Archbishop Weakland paying off a blackmailer and many U.S. bishops from paying hush money to cover up sexual abuse. And if these heinous actions had happened despite having lay elected trustees, then at least we have more blame to spread around and we could vote in better trustees. As of now, the laity are not allowed to vote in a new bishop. Just a thought...

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ratzinger... the better pope

In the opinion section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there was a piece by New York Times writer Ross Douthat. Basically, he saw John Paul II as the charismatic pope who was "a weak administrator, poor delegator, and sometimes a dreadful judge of character." His protecting of Fr. Marcial Maciel is a case in point. In general, JP's charisma and good looks covered a litany of faults in the public square.

Benedict's handling of the the Vatican and dealings with pedophiles has been far superior. But he's also buried himself in a state of "retrenchment, resentment, and self-pity." And more importantly, he's still not doing enough. He has been tough on pedophiles since he became pope, he has not properly sanctioned any bishop.

To me, Douthat's article is right on. It may be cute for the Vatican to be willfully wrong on doctrinal issues, but claim no fault in the Church's handling of sexual abuse is crazy (see again Fr. Marcial). I wait in great interest to see if Benedict can be the pope I hope him to be.

A Faithful Catholic