April 21, 2006

O'Malley opens the books

Boston Globe

April 21, 2006

THE RELEASE this week of detailed financial information on the assets of the Archdiocese of Boston should send a powerful message to loyal parishioners and disaffected Catholics alike that Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley has broken with the closed culture that degraded the church under his predecessor, Cardinal Bernard Law. The documents reveal much about collections, property, and the settlement resources related to the clergy sexual abuse crisis. But the greater revelation comes with the knowledge that an archdiocese once steeped in concealment now seems to be trying to lead the way in transparency.

Many blazed this new trail of openness, and not all wore priestly garb. The victims of sexual abuse who found the courage to come forward deserve much praise for forcing the church to look at itself. Lay Catholics, for the most part, accepted the archdiocese's decision to close or consolidate dozens of parishes and parochial schools, but not before demanding the kind of financial accountability that any prudent donor needs to ensure that funds are not being wasted or diverted. The Legislature may have resoundingly rejected a bill sponsored by state Senator Marian Walsh that would have required religious entities to report financial information as a condition of their tax-exempt status. But she got the attention of O'Malley, who realized that it was no longer in the archdiocese's interest to keep such information under wraps.

Posted by kshaw at April 21, 2006 08:34 AM