There is something important Marty wants to bring to your attention this week.
Ever wondered how your tithing money is spent in your diocese? Ever wondered how your hard earned cash is being put to use by your bishop? Ever wondered how well laypeople, who work for the Church, are remunerated?
Watch this little video (link below) about the expenditure of money within the Boston Archdiocese, and hear how one particular individual in Catholic Education is being paid $361,000 per year. Yes, that’s not a mistake.
Apparently, while that figure is at the high end of the remuneration scale, it is not uncommon within the USA for Catholic dioceses. The top 16 laypeople working for the Archdiocese of Boston are raking in 4 million between them. That’s an average salary of $250,000! Do you think that is right?
The average income in the USA is $50,000, and at present, with the financial crisis still hitting many working people hard, it seems somewhat strange to think that people who work for the Church are (for all intents and purposes) fleecing her like that, and are being given money which generous others part with in hard times.
It would seem that some people are taking the Church for a ride. And so often these people do not hold the Catholic faith fully. There is something very wrong with this and it needs to be addressed.
I wonder how much people are paid in NZ who for work for the Church. Are there any reports which show us these figures? I wonder if the Church is being transparent in regard to this? I know that such things are generally confidential, but all the same, one wonders whether there is similar opulent spending going on. How much is spent on salaries? And is this info available?
I think this is important. One shouldn’t publish social justice documents, speaking of a just and living wage for the worker, and then overpay diocesan people to such a level that the Church becomes a source of injustice and a cushy place to do little work and rake in a bloated salary. This would be a terrible misspending of what people give, in good faith, to the Church for spiritual work.
Let’s be honest too. Working in a chancery is not like working in the corporate world, where certain performance and achievement is expected, and there are clear KPI’s to reach. In the world, one has to perform. I wonder what sort of ‘pressure’ exists within a chancery to perform at work? It’s certainly not the same as the business world, and it shouldn’t be. But neither should the salaries be the same as the capitalistic business world, as long as a just wage is paid.
Sometimes I also wonder how money is spend in other areas. I often don’t like what I see in terms of how money is spent in some dioceses. Theological centers which are barely Catholic, and which propagate destructive ideologies, have received enormous amounts of money to fund them. Other programmes, which actually undermine the Church and her mission, have had large amounts given to them. It’s dispiriting.
On another point, Pope Benedict recently clarified in his Motu Proprio on charitable works that any money which is given to the Church for a particular purpose by the faithful cannot be rerouted to another purpose. He said that the intentions of the faithful must be respected. It would be an immoral disregard for the intentions of the faithful if their hard earned money were put into something which they did not intend. This happens more than people realize. For example, if an elderly person bequeathed $50,000 to the Church, and clearly stipulated that it is to be used for work with ‘women in difficulty’, but that money, upon the advice of diocesan financial managers is redirected and spent on building a new office in the chancery, that constitutes a clear ethical violation (even if it is legal), and mostly likely, some sin. The Pope knows that there has been a lot of abuse going on in this regard, where bishops, because of financial pressure, or just bad advice from bean-counters, have misused funds given in good faith. In NZ, it appears as though the bishops have petitioned the Government to have the law changed so that they could reroute bequeathed funds like this.
Regarding salaries, I doubt anybody in NZ would be on $361,000 per annum, but I do wonder whether some people are paid over $100,000. Personally, I think that this would be far too much for somebody working for the Church, even a financial manager of a diocese. The average salary in NZ is about $40,000, and for a person to paid more than $100,000 in the Church would have to be stringently accounted for and clearly justified. If a person chooses to serve the Church by offering their skills and experiences in certain areas, then I think it should be offered with a generous heart, knowing and desiring that they be paid a modest amount, not market rates, which are far above the average. A person who works for the Church should not expect a high salary. Certainly, a just wage should be paid, but the Church shouldn’t be a place of high earning. One wonders if there are any oversight bodies in dioceses in this regard, which can check on such things and keep people accountable.
I do know also, that there are, without doubt, people who work in chanceries in NZ who do not agree with the Church on many issues around sexuality and other key doctrines of the Church (e.g., an all male priesthood). These people are in charge of offices which oversee important aspects of the Church’s mission.
Some people think that the next scandal in the Church is going to be financial. I hope our dioceses pay their workers a just but acceptable wage and that these people work for what they earn. One diocesan chancery in NZ has 70-80 people working in it. I hope money is spent wisely, and that good stewardship is being practiced by the bishops in NZ.
I have been told some horrific stories about how finance people are completely controlling diocesan centers’ spending, basing most decisions on business models and secular world practices. After the irresponsible spending of some bishops, then one can understand the introduction of such people into diocesan structures, but one wonders whether it has gone too far. One hopes that these financial decisions are also informed by spiritual principles and a spiritual vision, which is in line with the mission of the Church. If worldly business models are used to completely govern Church finances, I wonder whether it then becomes possible for people to earn inflated salaries, according to worldly standards and worldly pay scales, at the expense of more important spiritual needs and works of the Church?
Is overpaying people another area in leadership where there is a lack of Shepherding within the Church, a lack of service in love, a lack of governance?
Is it a lack of accountability to Christ, and to the good people who put their money into the plate each week?
Marty isn’t saying that people are definitely overpaid in NZ. But Marty wonders.