Last month, the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to increase its demands on parishes to fund it by 3%. The proposal did not pass the 2/3 majority of bishops attending the semi-annual general assembly last November. In January, a ballot was sent to all bishops (including those retired, in nursing homes, etc.) after the meeting and the measure was voted on via mailed ballots. With these extra votes, the measure passed by the exact minimum needed to pass, i.e., 130 bishops. Some have commented on the coincidence of the measure passing by the bare minimum needed to pass the ballot.
What this means is that parishes in our diocese will be expected to increase their giving to the USCCB by 3%. But for what? Many have questioned the actions and transparency of the USCCB with regard to where the USCCB spends its money. It has been accused of promoting gun control, illegal immigration, and even supporting groups that support anti-Catholic agendas. Just last month, a class action lawsuit was entered against the USCCB for misappropriation of money to the tune of millions of dollars. The lawsuit alleges that donation dollars were used to invest in luxury condominiums and Hollywood movie ventures and not in helping those in need.
In the Diocese of Gaylord, money for the USCCB comes from the annual Catholic Services Appeal. Last year, reports to Gaylord Diocesan Watch from multiple parishioners indicated that donations were down. In addition to the USCCB itself, other concerns were raised with regard to how Diocesan funds are allocated; this included CSA dollars going to a corrupted organization (Catholic Relief Services). Requests for specifics with regard to CSA categories and their budgets were not given when requested. We will be watching this year’s CSA campaign closely to inform interested individuals as to how this Diocese spends donor dollars, and we pray that the Diocese will be transparent in its reporting of the use of CSA funds.