Monday, October 16, 2006

Vatican Auditing British Dioceses

After millions of dollars were misappropriated from a British diocese, the Vatican is requesting the financial details of all dioceses in England and Wales.

Catholic News Service is reporting:

In March, Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster, England, apologized to churchgoers after he discovered that his central administration had been "eating up" money belonging to parishes and trust funds without permission.

The Lancaster case arose out of confusion between civil law, which treats a diocese and its parishes as a single unit, and the church's Code of Canon Law, which sees a parish as a distinct body within the diocese with its own money and assets.Believing the diocese to be "asset rich," for nearly 15 years lay staff in Lancaster had spent parish funds and used cash earmarked for other purposes.

Among the funds taken was money Bishop O'Donoghue saved from the 2002 sale of his 16-room residence, which he had exchanged for a modest one-bedroom apartment in an attempt to "break free" from the customs, traditions and bureaucracy that held him back from being a more effective pastor. Much of the money had been spent on ambitious projects such as an interfaith center and on staff salaries.

Read the complete article here.

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