February 09, 2006

Survey shows Catholics who give most want more church accountability

Catholic News Service

By Nancy Frazier O'Brien
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Catholics who give more than $5,000 a year to the church are more critical than other Catholics about the church's financial accountability practices, according to a new survey commissioned by FADICA.

"Only 12 percent of larger parish donors rated the church above average in keeping them informed on the use of their donations, while over a third of typical parishioners rated church reporting practices above average," according to a survey analysis prepared by Charles E. Zech, director of the Center for the Study of Church Management at Villanova University's College of Commerce and Finance.

The survey, conducted in November and December 2005 by Zogby International, was the fourth annual "Catholic donor attitude survey" commissioned by Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities, a Washington-based consortium of charitable foundations and individual donors interested in religious philanthropy.

Responses were received from 1,000 Catholics nationwide, but only the answers of the 787 people who identified themselves as regular churchgoers -- attending Mass at least three times a week -- were analyzed. The margin of error for the survey was plus or minus 4 percent.

High-giving donors made up 10 percent of the sample of regular churchgoers, Zech said.

"The findings from the 2005 survey confirm our conclusions from the 2004 survey: The financial implications of the clergy sexual abuse scandal have continued to linger," Zech said in his analysis.

Posted by kshaw at February 9, 2006 04:55 PM