Letter about Diocesan Financial Problems

By Archbishop William E. Lori
Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston
July 17, 2019

[full text]

On Monday, I met with members of the Diocesan Finance Council to continue our ongoing conversation about the financial health of the Diocese and ways to best address issues raised during the investigation into the allegations against Bishop Bransfield. I am most grateful to them for their generous service to the Diocese and for sharing their expertise and wisdom for the good of this local Church. Following that meeting I want to update you, the faithful of the Diocese, on the progress that is being made and to address important questions that have been raised over these past weeks and months.

A number of important decisions were taken by the Council, including the engagement of a new independent auditing firm, CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP), which has been tasked with conducting the most recent fiscal year ends full audit. This audit is to be published on the diocesan website once it is completed and received. In addition, the Council continues to review best practices underway in other dioceses to determine what policies and procedures might be adopted in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston that will advance our commitment to implementing robust and effective financial controls. Further details will be communicated as the Council continues its important work in a spirit of openness and with the goal of restoring your confidence and trust.

From my visits and communications with people from throughout the Diocese I clearly understand that the Church has a long way to go to regain your confidence and trust. Reports about the former bishop’s excessive spending and extravagant lifestyle and the credible allegations that he harassed young priests and seminarians have been a source of great pain and caused many to rightly ask: How could such behavior go unchecked for so long a time? Is there a process in place to check a bishop’s behavior when he takes advantage of his co-workers or when he misuses diocesan funds that should be dedicated to the Church’s mission?








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