The recent article by Brian Fraga about an article in the Economist regarding Church finances looks, at least at first glance, like Fraga never read the piece in the Economist. The Economist seems very well aware of the decentralized nature of finances in the Catholic Church. What they are trying to say is, in effect, that decentralization without any oversight by external agencies is, by and large, a very bad system.
The Economist even included a fairly accurate breakdown of Church financial organization in their article. It seems to me that many of us fail to recognize that which is not checked will be done badly by definition.
We currently allow each bishop to set up his own system of accounting, and no outside agency ever comes in and looks to see what is happening. This sort of a system is a guarantee of financial scandal.
The system of having no system or oversight at every level simply has to go, sooner or later.
What a pleasure to read the articles “Saints and Scholars” (In Focus, Aug. 12) and “Marking 800th anniversary of ‘luminous’ saint’s consecration” (Faith, Aug. 12) — not particularly because they are about women, but because their stories were told at a different level than what was read years ago.
My appreciation stems from the fact that, as a child, when encouraged to read the lives of the saints, I found only the most skeletal format — easily read in a few minutes and with no footnotes or other references. With no further guidance, the subject continued neglected and then forgotten.
Perhaps, at the time, more elegant studies were not available. Whatever the case, thank you for providing an opportunity to know better the lives of the saints.
— Angelamae Abbene, New York
Big campaign issue?
Re:“Thoughts on the Catholic vote” (Spectator, Sept. 16).
In his column, Greg Erlandson stated, “What I do not know is whether the religious liberty issue is going to tilt the divided Catholic vote.”
I can already say that the religious liberty issue won’t matter to so many Catholics, because they already don’t agree with the Catholic Church’s teachings on birth control, abortion, homosexuality/“same-sex” unions, free birth control pills for all women, etc.; and they say, “What other people do is their business”!
— Agnes G. White, a email
Catholic charities work
The Catholic debate over Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal illustrates the risk of the Church delving into economics (“VP candidate’s budget plan sparks debate,” Sept. 2).
There are two reasons to really like Ryan’s philosophy:
Government programs generally rely on a middle-class electorate to vote higher taxes on the wealthy so that automatic benefits can be delivered to the poor via government employees that cannot breathe the name “Jesus Christ.” Charity, on the other hand, sees the middle class solicit voluntary donations from the wealthy to provide assistance to poor persons who have determined they need it enough to ask, delivered by volunteers who can freely witness to Christ. No one becomes a better Christian in the first model, even though more and better Christians is exactly what Jesus set up the Church for.
We seldom talk about abortion as an economic topic, but consider that our current “pro-choice” policy sees one-sixth to one-fifth of our future domestic-born workers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs eliminated every year. We cannot do that without sabotaging our future prosperity, and if we were losing that many young people for any other reason, we would consider it a national crisis.
However, there is one very big reason to not like the Ryan approach: The simple truth of the matter is that society does not voluntarily give enough to meet need, so the advance of government into assistance programs has become necessary for the survival of many.
I am not an economist and do not know the answer, but I do know this: I would urge anyone to volunteer with, and donate to, agencies like Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent De Paul and innumerable others.
It gives one unsurpassed insight into the nature of poverty, and one can rest assured he/she can find an agency that will disburse his/her tax-deductible donation in line with the donor’s principles.
Let’s take our stewardship to the next level.
— Bryan Kirchoff, . Louis, Mo.
Re: “Photographing the pope” (In Focus, Sept. 30).
Paul Haring must have felt lucky and privileged to be able to take those pictures. They are almost like being there in person for the reader.
— Joseph Edward Lee, a online comment
Re: “Celebrating Father Noll’s legacy and rededicating ourselves to the mission” (Special section, Sept. 30).
I wish you another 100 years of growth and blessings in the service of the Church.
— Father Dan Kroger, OFM Franciscan Media