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Accountability

Orthodox Jews struggle with sexual abuse

NEW YORK -- In the wake of the sex abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church, members of other faiths began reconsidering how they handle allegations against clergy, teachers and youth leaders.

For Orthodox Jews, whose communal life is shaped by religious courts and a desire to avoid bad publicity, abuse often went unreported -- a situation that has slowly started to change -- much to Rabbi Yosef Blau's relief.

Hearing on Connecticut parish bill postponed

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A scheduled public hearing on legislation that would restructure the way Catholic parishes are organized in Connecticut was abruptly postponed March 10, and the bill was pulled until the constitutionality of the proposal as well as earlier state laws that name specific religious denominations can be reviewed.

The most recent legislation provoked strong opposition from church officials and parishioners, who charge that the measure is unconstitutional and, according to Bridgeport Bishop William Lori, "a thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic church on the important issues of the day, such as same-sex marriage."

The hearing on the bill, which would amend the state’s "Religious Corporation Act," was originally scheduled for March 11 by the legislature’s Judiciary Committee. The measure is needed, say the bill’s proponents, to prevent the high-profile embezzlements and mismanagement that have plagued Connecticut parishes in recent years.

Bishops reject, some legislators defend parish bill

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WASHINGTON
Two Catholic Connecticut state legislators are overseeing a bill that would give the laypeople of Catholic churches financial control of their parishes, legislation the state's Catholic bishops have strongly urged their parishioners to fight.

The bill was introduced March 5 in the Connecticut Legislature's Judiciary Committee -- co-chaired by Sen. Andrew J. McDonald of Stamford and Rep. Michael Lawlor of East Haven, who are both Democrats.

The legislation was proposed by a group of Catholics concerned about the management of parish funds, following the embezzlement conviction of a Connecticut priest, said Lawrence B. Cook, a spokesman for Connecticut Senate Democrats.

Calling the legislation a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Archbishop Henry J. Mansell of Hartford, Conn., condemned the proposed law in a statement read in parishes in the archdiocese March 7 and 8, and called on parishioners to voice their opposition to it at a March 11 Judiciary Committee public hearing.

Bill to alter parish structures draws bishops' ire

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Legislation that would restructure the way parishes are organized in Connecticut has spurred opposition from church officials there, who charge that the measure is unconstitutional and, according to Bridgeport Bishop William Lori "a thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic church on the important issues of the day, such as same-sex marriage."

The bill, which would amend the state’s "Religious Corporation Act," will be heard March 11 by the legislature’s Judiciary Committee. The measure is needed, say the bill’s proponents, to prevent the high-profile embezzlements and mismanagement that have plagued Connecticut parishes in recent years.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Connecticut Bishops react vigorously to proposal, legislators explain, defend move

Catholic colleges are holding steady in recession -- so far

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When universities like Harvard and Johns Hopkins make headlines for staggering financial problems based on the spiraling economy, it is safe to assume most colleges are suffering a similar fate. To some degree that's the case, but most Catholic colleges and universities have kept a steady ship in the tempest. So far.

"[The downturn] is affecting us the way it's affecting everyone else, in the endowment," said Jack Neuhauser, president of St. Michael's College, near Burlington, Vt. "We're probably down about a half-million dollars in what we can draw from the endowment. And there's the more subtle issue of how liquid those assets are. That's usually used for general operating expenses, but so far that hasn't translated into drastic changes."

In Des Moines, accounting sets a standard

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Mission Management

Editor's Note: Good intentions are not good enough. For the church to carry out its mission, it needs management systems, trained personnel, and the oversight and accountability that people in the pews increasingly demand. It must, in short, be a well-run operation. That's what our newest feature, Mission Management, is all about. Here we will explore both success stories -- best practices in church management that can be emulated by others in similar circumstances -- and areas where those on the frontlines can learn from the mistakes of others.

A parish is many things: a community of believers, the locale where the life of the church is played out daily, a source of attachment to the universal church.

Baltimore archbp concerned about Legionaries

BALTIMORE -- Concerned that the Legionaries of Christ order stifles the free will of its members and lacks transparency, Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien of Baltimore told its director general in Rome that he cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone join the Legionaries or Regnum Christi, its affiliated lay movement.

Madoff and Maciel: Two of a Kind

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To watch interviews of victims of Bernard Madoff’s gargantuan Ponzi scheme, and then immediately switch to interviews of Legion of Christ priests, is to quickly lose track of which scoundrel is being discussed. The priests had just learned their founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado (1920-2008), had a longtime lover and fathered a daughter now in her 20s.

The hucksters Madoff and Maciel resemble each other in so many ways that they appear to be identical twins.

Madoff preyed upon those who shared his Jewish heritage, among others. Maciel preyed upon pious people in Mexico before he spread his scam to dozens of other countries and headquartered his scheme in Rome.

According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Web site (http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/affinity.htm), the definition of an “affinity fraud” is this:

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September 26-October 9, 2014

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