“Diocese imposes strict money rules” and other similar articles

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Ottawa protocol ends honour system in favour of tough checks and balances

The Ottawa Citizen

25 January 2012

By Andrew Duffy And Meghan Hurley

The Archdiocese of Ottawa has put in place strict new rules for the handling of church money, including the use of “tamper-evident bags” to store Sunday collections.

The rules, which came into force on Jan. 1, are contained in a detailed 13-page document distributed to churches.

That document, Protocol for Parish Financial Administration, introduces a raft of checks and balances to ensure donations are properly collected, spent and accounted for by church officials.

The measures come following a scandal at Blessed Sacrament Church, which erupted last April after the Citizen published a story that described former pastor Joseph LeClair’s casino gambling problem and the ease with which he could access church funds.

LeClair remains the subject of a police investigation into financial irregularities at the Glebe church. Ottawa Police Chief Vern White said Tuesday he was unsure of the status of the investigation.

Forced to step down as pastor in May, LeClair spent four months at the Southdown Institute, north of Toronto, where he received addiction counselling.

He remains on sabbatical awaiting the results of the police probe, which was triggered in September when the diocese referred the case to authorities following a lengthy audit of Blessed Sacrament’s books. The diocese asked police to investigate “questionable” transactions made by LeClair.

The new diocesan protocol hands church finance committees a more active role in parish administration.

According to the protocol, finance committees must include at least three parishioners (in addition to the pastor); must meet at least four times a year; must keep written minutes; and must present a year-end financial report and projected budget.

Budgets must be balanced, the protocol says, and church officials must review monthly financial statements to ensure they are on target.

What’s more, the protocol establishes tight control over the handling of collection plate money and church bank accounts. Among other things, it demands that:

– All cheques issued by the parish be signed both by the pastor and another church official;

– Tamper-evident bags – deposit bags with special seals that reveal if anyone has opened them – be used for collections and other cash receipts;

– Sunday collections be counted no later than the next business day, always by at least two people, and deposited as soon as possible;

– Cash from the “poor box” and votive candle boxes be collected at least once a week and placed in tamper-evident bags.

Other measures establish rules for bill payments, electronic banking, credit-card use, financial reporting, budgeting, tax filing, audits and computer security.

The sheer number of instructions speak to the deficiencies of the previous oversight system, which relied heavily on trust.

In a letter accompanying the protocol, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast said he’s confident the new rules will promote “a spirit of confidence, accountability and transparency as well as ecclesiastical disci-pline and good governance.”

Any deviation from the rules, he added, will require written authorization from the diocese.

The Archdiocese of Ottawa, through its churches, collected more than $27.2 million in total revenue in 2010. As registered charities, Catholic churches can issue tax receipts, which provide donors income tax credits on their federal and provincial returns.

A Deloitte and Touche audit of Blessed Sacrament found that the prosperous church had incurred deficits in four of the last five years in which LeClair was pastor.

During that time, LeClair could write cheques, even to himself, without a counter-signature. He did not have to submit a corresponding receipt to have a cheque approved.

The church’s handling of collection money was also lax. Money was kept in canvas bags in the rectory and often not counted until Monday or Tuesday. It was usually not deposited until mid-week.

Blessed Sacrament’s finance committee met informally, did not record minutes and did not publish financial reports in the church bulletin.

LeClair has repeatedly denied taking church money or using it to gamble.

In a letter to Blessed Sacrament parishioners published in late November, LeClair said he plans to remain on sabbatical until “this very painful situation is resolved.”

“I hope to study and replenish spiritually,” he said.

At Southdown Institute, LeClair said, he gained new insight into “mindfulness.” “Mindful of self, those around me, and for the environment that we enjoy,” he wrote. “Respect is so important.”

_____________________________

New Rules for Collection Money in Catholic Churches

CFRA radio (Ottawa)

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Josh Pringle

Ottawa’s Catholic Churches are now required to use “tamper-evident bags” for collection money.

That’s among the rules under the Protocol for Parish Financial Administration issued by the Archdiocese of Ottawa that came into effect on January 1st.

The 13-page list of rules for the handling of money outlines rules for donations, collections and spending by church officials.

The Archdiocese says Sunday collections must be counted and deposited no later than the next business day. Tamper-evident bags must be used for collections and other cash receipts.

Parish Finance Council’s will be required to have no less than three registered parishioners, either elected or appointed, along with the pastor.

Cheques issued by the parish must be signed by both the pastor and a second church official.

Members of the Parish Finance Council will be required to present a written summary to parishioners at the end of the parish financial year on the financial statements.

The document signed by Archbishop Terrence Prendergast says in order to “promote a spirit of confidence, accountability and transparency as well as ecclesiastical discipline and good governance,” pastors are instructed to implement the new rules.

___________________________________

 Ottawa Catholic churches get more financial oversight after scandal

The Ottawa Citizen

24 January 2012

By Andrew Duffy and Meghan hurley

The Archdiocese of Ottawa has put in place strict new rules for the handling of church money, including the use of “tamper-evident bags” to store Sunday collections.

The rules, which came into force on Jan. 1, are contained in a detailed 13-page document distributed to churches.

That document, Protocol for Parish Financial Administration, introduces a raft of checks and balances to ensure donations are properly collected, spent and accounted for by church officials.

The measures come in response to a scandal at Blessed Sacrament Church, which erupted last April after the Citizen published a story that described former pastor Joseph LeClair’s casino gambling problem and the ease with which he could access church funds.

LeClair remains the subject of a police investigation into financial irregularities at the Glebe church. Ottawa Police Chief Vern White said Tuesday he was unsure of the status of the investigation.

Forced to step down as pastor in May, LeClair spent four months at the Southdown Institute, north of Toronto, where he received addiction counselling.

He remains on sabbatical awaiting the results of the police probe, which was triggered in September when the diocese referred the case to authorities following a lengthy audit of Blessed Sacrament’s books. The diocese asked police to investigate “questionable” transactions made by LeClair.

The new diocesan protocol hands church finance committees a more active role in parish administration.

According to the protocol, finance committees must include at least three parishioners (in addition to the pastor); must meet at least four times a year; must keep written minutes; and must present a year-end financial report and projected budget.

Budgets must be balanced, the protocol says, and church officials must review monthly financial statements to ensure they are on target.

What’s more, the protocol establishes tight control over the handling of collection plate money and church bank accounts. Among other things, it demands that:

• All cheques issued by the parish be signed both by the pastor and another church official;

• Tamper-evident bags — deposit bags with special seals that reveal if anyone has opened them — be used for collections and other cash receipts;

• Sunday collections be counted no later than the next business day, always by at least two people, and deposited as soon as possible;

• Cash from the ‘poor box’ and votive candle boxes be collected at least once a week and placed in tamper-evident bags.

Other measures establish rules for bill payments, electronic banking, credit-card use, financial reporting, budgeting, tax filing, audits and computer security.

The sheer number of instructions speak to the deficiencies of the previous oversight system, which relied heavily on trust.

In a letter accompanying the protocol, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast said he’s confident the new rules will promote “a spirit of confidence, accountability and transparency as well as ecclesiastical discipline and good governance.”

Any deviation from the rules, Prendergast added, will require written authorization from the diocese.

The Archdiocese of Ottawa, through its churches, collected more than $27.2 million in total revenue in 2010. As registered charities, Catholic churches can issue tax receipts which provide donors income tax credits on their federal and provincial returns.

A Deloitte and Touche audit of Blessed Sacrament found that the prosperous church had incurred deficits in four of the last five years in which LeClair was pastor.

During that time, LeClair could write cheques, even to himself, without a counter-signature. He did not have to submit a corresponding receipt to have a cheque approved.

The church’s handling of collection money was also lax. Money was kept in canvas bags in the rectory and often not counted until Monday or Tuesday. It was usually not deposited until mid-week.

Blessed Sacrament’s finance committee met informally, did not record minutes and did not publish financial reports in the church bulletin.

LeClair has repeatedly denied taking church money or using it to gamble.

In a letter to Blessed Sacrament parishioners published in late November, LeClair said he plans to remain on sabbatical until “this very painful situation is resolved.”

“I hope to study and replenish spiritually,” he said.

At Southdown Institute, LeClair said, he gained new insight into “mindfulness.” “Mindful of self, those around me, and for the environment that we enjoy,” he wrote. “Respect is so important.”

 

 

4 Responses to “Diocese imposes strict money rules” and other similar articles

  1. tanya says:

    The Southdown Institute? Does it continue to receive clerical and religious sex offenders from countries outside Canada? What is the position of Canadian Immigration regarding the treatment of sex offenders from outside the jurisdiction on Canadian sovereign territory? If the Canadian governmnet is happy with such arrangements as they stand with the Southdown and other institutions like it does it permit clerical sex offenders to practice ministry? e.g. supply work at local and national level?

    I ask these questions because I believe paedophilia to be an untreatable pathology. The manipulative skills of clerical paedophiles are superb and is evidenced by their long career in this criminality. I do not think treatment whether in their home country and especially abroad serves any real purpose except to warehouse or even recycle such people until the time arrives for an episcopal or religious superior to make some assessment as to what to do next. The usual trajectory was and may still be to reassign them.

    Simply exporting paedophiles across national borders ostensibly for “rehabilitation” is not just nonsensical but very dangerous and encourages and promotes the idea of ” recovery”.

    I refer to recent events in Scotland and the transfer of one priest from a Scottish Roman diocese to the Southdown…..

    • Sylvia says:

      You would have to check with Southdown tanya to find out if it still receives sex offenders from out of country. I am sure it does, but I don’t know for certain.

      Re is Canadian government happy that sex offenders are treated here in Canada. Again, you would have to ask someone with the government. Canadian clerical sex offenders have frequently been sent to the UK, New Mexico and a number of facilities in the States so I suppose we could ask other countries if they’re happy that Canadian sex offenders are sent to them for treatment? The trouble of course is that generally when these molesters are sent off for “treatment” anywhere few people know why or where they are being sent. If it is disclosed that they are going to a “treatment centre” then often the ruse is that are being sent for treatment of alcoholism.

      The word I had from Aurora (Southdown in essentially in Aurora) a few years ago was that the Southdown priests did not fill in at Our Lady of Grace in Aurora, however, Father Barry Glendinning, a convicted molester, was assigned to assist at Our Lady of Grace after his second stint in Southdown.

      Yes, I posted that artcile and saw that that priest (Father Moore) from Scotland was shipped off to Southdown. Interesting of course that Southdown was the centre of choice. Why I wonder? I’m sure it’s costly to begin with, and then the added expense for sure of transporting him across the ocean . I suppose when it comes to caring of predatory clergy money is no object?

  2. PJ says:

    Pedophiles are curable…when their heart stops for good.

  3. tanya says:

    Thank you Sylvia and PJ for your replies.

    I strongly suspect that paedophile clerics are arriving not only in Canada but in other jurisdictions under false pretences. The true reasons for their sudden departure from their homeland has not been revealed to any immigration authority. Receiving Roman organisations such as “rehabilitation centres”, diocese’ and religious houses may or may not be totally aware of the real truths behind a clerics arrival from another nation. We have too many examples of abusing clerics arriving with “persil certificates”( whiter than white references from a religious superior) and being the source of further misery in the receiving diocese or religious institution.

    Can such Roman organisations that sends paedophile clerics to other countries without informing immigration of the receiving country, past and present, be prosecuted for this deception? The secuirty and safety of the children of the host nation is at real risk when clerical paedophiles arrive and resume “ministry”?

    On a different key; Paedophile priests arrive at “treatment centres” with two objectives;
    1- To stay one step ahead of a criminal investigation and police activity.

    2- To remain in the priesthood; the source of all opportunity to sexually abuse children.

    We can forget all about “healing” ‘contrition” and”recovery”. There is only one solution. Laicise paedophile clerics as quickly as is practicable. Fast track around the Canonical complexities of Roman Law and so prevent such disturbed, dysfunctional and perverse indiviuduals from having the means to access children.

    I was reading with some amusement about the cleric LeClair. He has a good line in “psychobabble” and “recoveryspeak”- as for that addiction and what happened with the parochial funds- total denial.

    QED…I believe

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