Media Renew Commitment to Transparency in Church's Finances

Spokespersons of European Bishops' Conferences Meet in Germany

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COLOGNE, Germany, JUNE 17, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Spokespersons from various bishops' conferences throughout Europe met last week to examine ways of communicating about the Church's finances. 

After taking into account the various financial systems of the Church in Europe, and hearing about the experiences of the French and Polish bishops' conferences in communicating financial reports, the spokespersons listened to Roger Molitor, a member of Luxembourg's State Council and former partner of KPMG-Luxembourg.

In statement released at the end of the weeklong meeting, the spokespersons stressed that the "commitment to transparent communication about the Church's finances is a duty which touches all ecclesial institutions: from parishes, to Catholic associations and movements, and to schools."

"The Church has nothing to hide, even with regard to management of its finances! What at times might seem opaque or vaguely transparent, can in fact be traced back to the difficulties of communicating the finances of a multitude of institutional structures and entities which constitute the Church. De facto there is not one Church economic balance: there are thousands and thousands of financial results of parishes, dioceses, schools, hospitals, hospices which in their totality constitute the Church's financial picture," the statement read.  

The statement also noted that for some time all these entities have already been committed, with more or less successful results, to the attempt to communicate about their finances in a transparent way. The spokespersons for the various European bishops' conferences expressed the conclusion that this communication must not be understood as a response to a growing request for information from journalists, institutions or simply from public opinion. In reality it is inherent in the dimension of the communal management of the Church..

At the conclusion of the conference, it was announced that the 2013 meeting of Media Officers and Spokespersons will take place in Bucharest from June 12-15 at the invitation of Archbishop Ioan Robu of Bucharest.