Saturday, August 20, 2016

THE REAL PROBLEM: GETTING OUR SPIRITUAL LEADERS TO DO THE RIGHT THING!

Posted by Tim Rohr

It appears that Archbishop Hon could use the advice of someone who can read Canon Law. Listed as members of the Archdiocesan Finance Council on the Archdiocese of Agana website are:


Note: While the objectivity of finance council decisions by neocatechumenates (Ada and Quichocho) can certainly be questioned in matters related to RMS (Quichocho is also RMS Board Treasurer), and David C. Quitugua is demonstrably ethically compromised (certificate of title), we'll leave those issues aside for now and continue with the following. 

There are a couple of problems here. The first is that Deacon Dominic Kim is also the Archdiocesan Finance Officer:




This is a conflict of interest because the Finance Officer is required to act independently of the Finance Council. Canon Law assumes this separation in the following canons:

Can. 494 §1. In every diocese, after having heard the college of consultors and the Finance council, the bishop is to appoint a Finance officer who is truly expert in Financial affairs and absolutely distinguished for honesty.

§2. The Finance officer is to be appointed for a Five year term but can be appointed for other Five year terms at the end of this period. The finance officer is not to be removed while in this function except for a grave cause to be assessed by the bishop after he has heard the college of consultors and the Finance council.

§3. It is for the Finance officer to administer the goods of the diocese under the authority of the bishop in accord with the budget determined by the Finance council and, from the income of the diocese, to meet expenses which the bishop or others designated by him have legitimately authorized.

§4. At the end of the year, the Finance officer must render an account of receipts and expenditures to the Finance council.

Just using §4 as an example, Deacon Kim (Finance Officer) is required to "render an account of receipts and expenditures" to himself (member of the Finance council)!

There is also the question of Mr. Weisenberger's membership on the Finance Council. Canon Law provides safeguards against potential conflicts of interest: 

Can. 492 §3. Persons who are related to the bishop up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity are excluded from the Finance council. 

While Mr. Weisenberger is not related by blood to the bishop, his wife is Archbishop Apuron's longtime personal secretary, and many dioceses have expanded the interpretation of "affinity" to include employees, their spouses and close relatives. 

Even if the exclusion of diocesan employees and their close relations from a consultative body so critical and sensitive as the diocesan finance council is not carved outright into canon law, in an age where the Church is being bitterly scrutinized (especially our own diocese) it would seem that such an exclusion would be openly embraced and touted. In other words: It's just the right thing to do. 

But then getting our spiritual leaders to to do the right thing IS the problem, isn't it. 

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