Wednesday 11 December 2019

Transparency on finances by Catholic church is the least we should expect

HOW much does the Catholic church own these days after centuries of careful hoarding and a fair amount of charity?

Despite all the clamour from the laity for a more open church, it is even more difficult to make head or tail of the Catholic church's Byzantine accounts than it is to understand the heirarchy's bizarre ethical code.

Judge Peter Kelly once described Liam Carroll's finances as a "a maze, a spider's web" but the description applies equally to the church.

There is no doubt the church is a sophisticated and multi-faceted operation, but it is unlikely the organisation's finances really need to be quite as opaque as they are.

The Church of Ireland, an admittedly smaller organisation that straddles both sides of the border, manages to produce a fairly transparent set of accounts for the general synod, which acts as that denomination's parliament.

Perhaps it is time those who donate their money every week and the taxpayer who gives large amounts of money to the church to pay for charitable organisations got some sort of overview of the Catholic church's operations here.

Transparency is not a strong point for Rome or Armagh, but sometimes it is better to anticipate a problem than react to it.

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