Big business goes to church

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Businessweek has a terrific piece on the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management. Founded by Geoffrey Boisi, a former JP Morgan Chase exec, the roundtable brings together Catholics from the world of big business to put together best practices for parishes. Good idea, too, since Catholic dioceses in the U.S. spend somewhere around $105 billion--yes, that's a "b"--and some diocesan and parish finances are still basically managed by the whim of the bishop or pastor.

The story notes that not all bishops are crazy about the process, but about 50 U.S. bishops are, and Cardinal William Levada of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome is as well.

I've got a reform for you: Every parish should have a finance council made of laypeople with a lay chair whose job it is to guarantee total transparency. After all, the church's funds come from its members, and their purpose is maintaining the apostolic work of the parish. We all have a stake in that.