November 06, 2005

Opening the church's books

Boston Globe

By Joan Vennochi, Globe Columnist | November 6, 2005

FOR TOO MANY years, the Catholic Church has had its way with Massachusetts politicians.

Finally, some politicians are showing spine. They are standing up for churchgoers instead of the church, via a legislative proposal that calls for unprecedented financial transparency from churches and other religious organizations.

Six states require religious institutions to disclose some financial information in annual or biannual reports. The proposed Bay State bill is more comprehensive and would make the Commonwealth a national model when it comes to financial disclosure requirements. That is one reason the Catholic Church and other religious groups are fighting to kill it. ...

The legislation would also require each charity in the state, religious or secular, to list each parcel of real property it owns as part of this report. This provision is particularly important, said Galvin, who describes ''a massive liquidation of real estate . . . liquidation without accountability" by the Boston archdiocese in the aftermath of the clergy sexual abuse scandal. ''Over $200 million in real estate has been sold since Archbishop O'Malley arrived," said Galvin. ''There has been no explanation offered as to where the money is going. We wouldn't tolerate that from the United Way."

Posted by kshaw at November 6, 2005 03:31 AM