The Finance Council of St. Isabel Parish recently released a Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2017-2018. Among the interesting items in this report was a statement about the amount of money shifted from the parish to the Diocese of Venice as part of Bishop Frank Dewane’s Catholic Faith Appeal. Although the report claims that the amount of the parish assessment is related to the weekly parish collections, it is noteworthy that this assessment has not changed despite the claim of decreased collection revenues.
Although this fact is interesting in itself, it does raise a question about the amount of money Bishop Dewane’s CFA actually removes from parish control. Additionally, it is useful to examine Bishop Dewane’s “tax” in comparison to annual appeals in other dioceses or archdioceses. To get some insight into this matter, data was assembled as accurately as possible from the very large Archdiocese of New York, the intermediately sized Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Diocese of Venice, and the Diocese of Raleigh which has many characteristics similar to those of the Diocese of Venice. The data collected appears in the accompanying table and includes the number of priests, Catholics, parishes/missions, elementary schools, and high schools. Additionally, the goal for the annual diocesen appeal is given. A simple calculation was performed to determine the amount of the annual appeal per Catholic in the diocese.
In rough terms, the assessment per Catholic by Bishop Frank Dewane is 7 times that of the Archdiocese of New York, 3 times that of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, and 60% more than that of the Diocese of Raleigh. What activities of Bishop Frank Dewane require such an exhorbitant assessment? We can only guess.
Bishop Frank Dewane needs to explain himself, his tax, and his excesses. Until he does so, it is hard to imagine why anyone would contribute to his assessment.