March 14, 2005

New group to assist managing Catholic business

USA Today

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON A contingent of Catholic bishops and financially savvy lay leaders on Monday announced an initiative to put the struggling U.S. church on sound business footing from the parish level up.

The church has been shaken by a costly three-year sexual abuse scandal, which so far has tipped three dioceses into bankruptcy. The church must operate parishes and schools with fewer priests, fewer dollars and more lay people clamoring for participation and accountability.

Now, bishops can call on a newly createdAbuse Tracker Leadership Roundtable on Church Management for guidance in business, finance and human resources, said one of the founders, Geoffrey Boisi, a vice chairman of JPMorgan Chase.

With a total of 1 million employees and an aggregate annual operating budget of almost $100 billion, the church rivals the nation's largest corporations in size and complexity, said Boisi, a major donor to Catholic causes.

Yet most of the USA's 196 dioceses and their 19,600-plus parishes have no way to take advantage of economies of scale in their operations. They do their own buying their own travel booking and their own negotiation for services such as insurance.

Posted by kshaw at March 14, 2005 10:31 PM