Anger over clergy sexual abuse has risen dramatically with new revelations in recent months as Voice of the Faithful completed its second annual study of U.S. Catholic dioceses’ online financial transparency. The new study shows the average score for those dioceses rising only marginally. Voice of the Faithful has long considered secrecy surrounding Catholic Church finances to be linked to secrecy surrounding clerical sexual abuse.
Much of the recent anger over clergy abuse is invested in the secrecy surrounding the abuse. “Carrying out a widespread coverup of criminal acts without access to large amounts of untraceable money is impossible,” said Margaret Roylance, Ph.D., a VOTF trustee and Finance Working Group chair.
The average overall score achieved by all 177 dioceses comprising the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Voice of the Faithful’s “Measuring and Ranking Diocesan Online Financial Transparency: 2018” was 39.7 out of 60, or 66 percent, which represents a 5 percent increase over the 2017 average score. Thirty-nine percent of dioceses still have not posted audited financial statements on their websites, and 25 percent do not post a financial report of any kind.