Archbishop Apuron knows that there is NO good reason NOT to publish the diocesan financials. He knows that the Vatican has urged transparency at every level of the church. He knows that Pope Francis himself has personally called for it. He knows that the U.S. bishops have had a transparency policy in place for over a decade. He knows that almost every other diocese has already complied with the policy. And he knows that he CANNOT comply lest we all see where the money is coming and going.
However, he also knows that the jig is up, that we are not going away, that the major media is finding this story ever more juicy, that his usual tactic of silence on this issue is NOT going to work, and that his pathetic "let's meet" response to the anonymous public call for transparency was worse than if he had said nothing at all.
So here's what they (the Archbishop and his frantic team) are going to do. They will publish a mock report showing some of the financials, probably mostly showing parish and perhaps school data, but certainly not the audited report that has been both called for and that every other diocese publishes.
They will do this because they believe that we will then shut up and go away. We won't. And when pressed for the full audited report they will claim that they can't afford it and that if we want one we can pay for it ourselves.
Of course, never mind that the Archbishop drives around in a fully loaded Equus, a $70,000 "Super Luxury" car, complete with the car manual on an iPad. Never mind that he receives a steady stream of envelopes full of "cashee" from "mystery donors". Never mind that he is probably the most traveled bishop in the world outside of the Vatican diplomatic corp. Never mind that the cost of the upkeep of the seaside swimming pool at the seminary could probably pay for an audit. But "Nah". An audit? We can't afford it. Pay for it yourself.
Oh sure, the car was a gift, they'll say. So! Get your "mystery donor" who paid for your car to give you some "cashee" to pay for the audit. Simple! Or sell some indulgences, er, I mean annulments. (People know.)
But seriously, for an archdiocese to say they can't afford an audit...well, what does that say about the competency of those who run the archdiocese? The Archdiocese of Agana is at least a high deca-million dollar enterprise. And they are telling us that they don't do audits? That they have no internal financial controls? No independent review? No professional system of financial checks and balances? No stewardship or accountability either internally or externally?
The cost of an audit should be part of the budget. Why isn't it? Or is there even a budget?
I'll be back.
P.S. And don't hold your breath to see the financials on the seminary. The Archbishop will claim it is a separate entity...after claiming that it isn't. But that's what we'll come back to. See you soon.