Special to the Catholic Business Journal—NAPA, CA, July 25, 2019 – “The Catholic Church is in crisis. Much has been done, but there is still much to do,” said Tim Busch, founder and chairman of the Institute, in his opening remarks at this year’s annual Napa Institute. “This is a time of cleansing. And this is time for the Church laity to step up and speak out.”
He went on to say that the hierarchical Church encouraged clericalism, minimizing the active participation of the laity in its governance.
“We no longer can succumb to the pastor or prelate,” said Busch. “We are the antidote to clericalism and must assume our role in governance…and ensure it is aligned with the Truth of Christ’s teachings as embodied in the Catholic Church.”
Where was the finance committee?
“Where was the finance committee?” was the answer Archbishop Charles Chaput gave Busch when asked about the recent West Virginia diocese financial crisis.
Finance committees have been the rule of the day for all parishes and diocese in the American Catholic Church for some time. It raises the question of lay involvement. These are to be staffed by lay people with financial expertise and are to provide finance and accounting oversight. Where was the laity in the West Virginia diocese financial crisis?
Busch noted great progress on the abuse crisis with abuse claims falling 98%. He added, “Many say, today, that the Catholic Church is the safest place for a minor in America. Abuse has been and continues to be addressed. We now need to turn our attention to financial corruption.”
The Vatican, he said, has opened up direct lines of communication for moral and financial abuses. This allows bishops to notify Rome directly when another bishop is not living his faith authentically. It has been difficult in the past to hold errant clergy accountable.
“We (the laity) have not insisted on our place at the table. We must participate, rather than avoiding our obligation. We are also accountable.”
The 9th Annual Napa Institute is being held at the Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa Valley with a record 700 scholars and Catholic leaders attending. The Institute was formed to help Catholic leaders face the challenges posed in the “next America” — to continue the work of the Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, heeding Christ’s call for ongoing evangelization. By leading participants to a deeper understanding of the truth behind the faith, the Napa Institute emboldens Catholics to live and defend their faith with a peaceful confidence that is borne out of solid formation, fellowship and spiritual enrichment.