Peter Feuerherd in his "Field Hospital" series for the National Catholic Reporter today focused on our study of diocesan financial transparency. Our report, "Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency," examined the information 177 dioceses provide the faithful about their financial activities.
"Parishioners in Sacramento can find out where their donations go with the click of a button on the diocesan website. Those in the Diocese of Camden, which covers southern New Jersey, will have a more difficult time," Feuerherd noted.
If you haven't already checked out our report, we encourage you to do so now, and see where your diocese ranks in comparison to others. If you are in one of the lower-scoring dioceses, ask why. You may be the extra push your bishop needs to report transparently on where your dollars go. It's already had some effect in Camden NJ, as reported by NCR: "Michael Walsh, Diocese of Camden spokesman, said that the diocese will implement changes in response to the Voice of the Faithful study."
VOTF will repeat the transparency study next year to track changes in the rankings, and, thanks to the assistance of a donor, we will begin examining financial accountability (the companion piece to transparency) as well as governance measurements for the dioceses.
Voice of the Faithful is indebted to the Financial Working Group who researched and then prepared the report: Margaret Roylance (chair), Sandra Guynn, Michael Ryan, David Castaldi, Joe Finn, Mary Pat Fox, Anne Southwood, and Donna Doucette.