KANSAS CITY (MO)
National Catholic Register
November 26, 2018
By Peter Feuerherd
Is the glass half empty, or half full? When it comes to financial transparency among U.S. dioceses, there’s reason to think both.
Last year, Voice of the Faithful, a group devoted to bishops’ accountability begun in response to the Boston Archdiocese sex abuse scandals of 2002, put out its first study on diocesan financial transparency.
Titled “Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency,” the study charted 177 dioceses across the United States, and discovered that most were not open about their financial statements.
This year’s 2.0 version, reports Margaret Roylance, chair of the committee that compiled an updated study, offers reason for optimism: 77 dioceses were found to have improved their transparency scores, meaning it became easier to find out information about how diocesan money was being collected and used.
The Dioceses of Orlando, Florida, and Burlington, Vermont, earned perfect transparency scores, rating a top number of 60 on the Voice of the Faithful scale. The Archdioceses of Atlanta and Baltimore were right behind, with a 59 rating, along with the Diocese of Sacramento, California.
Others did not rate so well. The Dioceses of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and Grand Isle, Nebraska, scored the lowest, with marks of 12 and 13, respectively. The study found that 39 percent of dioceses do not post audited financial statements on their websites. A quarter do not post a financial statement of any kind.
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