Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Archdiocese Wants $100 Million

A reader also pointed out that Bruce Murphy in his Murphy's Law column for Milwaukee Magazine asked
So how will Catholics respond to a request to give the church an unprecedented $100 million?

At best, by asking what's it for?
Hohl [Kathleen Hohl, spokeswoman for the archdiocese] described the proposed drive as a “capital campaign” to raise money for Catholic elementary and high schools, as well as for parish educational/outreach efforts. Hohl said it has been decades since the archdiocese did such a drive, and never at this dollar amount. What’s become clear is the archdiocese needs some kind of outreach to keep parishioners from abandoning the church.

Wouldn't outreach be asking what parishioners need, not asking them for money?
Some parishes, as Nohl’s story noted, have engaged in family education programs that demand more time of parishioners and keep them engaged as practicing Catholics.

I might have tried to sell it as providing a service rather than demanding time.
But the capital campaign is likely to raise questions. For starters, there will be concern that the money raised will help pay off legal settlements, which have so far cost the archdiocese some $22.3 million (plus another $8 million covered by the archdiocese’s insurer). Hohl said no – that the sale of church real estate will pay off the suits.

And guaranteed that there will never be any more? I would have liked it better if she had said the funds would not go through the Archdiocesan treasury before reaching the schools.
One insider also questioned whether RSI, the Texas-based fundraising company that will conduct the upcoming campaign, is being paid too much. The source said the company is expected to get $10 million, a figure that could raise some eyebrows.

Your eyebrows might be raised that, at these prices, the bishops haven't developed this capability in-house. In our Archdiocese, though, parishes are required to hire a liturgical design consultant for building projects. If our Archdiocese has no one on staff nor any architects who know what a church should look like, we can hardly be surprised if they go outside the state for fundraising expertise.
Hohl said the exact amount hasn’t been determined yet. Small wonder the archdiocese is proceeding carefully before it makes a public announcement of the drive.

Archbishop Dolan talked about such a campaign in general terms in the public meetings on strategic planning a few years back. In the context of the approach to planning he talks about, it might be palatable. In his installation homily,
Dolan apologized for not being able to present a more specific plan of action for his tenure here, but took comfort in the example set by St. Francis of Assisi. He told the story of how Francis went to Pope Innocent III to get permission to form his religious order, and when the pope asked what plans Francis had for his friars, he simply pointed to the Gospels and said, 'This is my plan.'

The Archbishop explained how, as he saw it, the plan he envisioned was based on the Gospels. It was a nice contrast to the usual jumble of process and jargon that the archdiocesan and parish bureaucracies call plans.


Blogger Karen Marie said...

For the good of Catholic education, save all your aluminum cans and take them to Principe de Paz School at 25th and Scott, where they're raising about $1,600,000 to equip the school with technology. Excellent direct help, doesn't require buying or selling overpriced kitsch or junkfood, and any paranoia about archdiocesan assistance is avoided.

[Of course, this is destinctly a mixed-status neighborhood, but that shouldn't matter to Catholics, Catholic children are Catholic children.]

11:37 AM  

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