Ironic that on All Soul's Day, November 2, 2006, His Excellency, Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan, included this little tidbit about taxes in a message to his priests. (Thanks to my favorite anonymous contact among the Milwaukee presbyterate...)3. For the last 18 months, members of my administrative team have been studying the possibility of raising the archdiocesan parish assessment. There is compelling data as to why we should raise the assessment, including the facts that there has not been a change to our formula for close to 30 years, that our assessment is among the lowest in the nation, and because, let’s face it, the cost of doing business continues to rise steadily each year. Part of the process was to have included consultations with important stakeholders this fall.However, the work of the team analyzing the assessment was stalled as we prepared for the California lawsuits. Once those cases were resolved, we realized that thoughtful, adequate preparation could not be completed in time for the consultations. So, we’ve decided to postpone our consultations on the parish assessment until next fall. That does not mean that we won’t continue work on the issue. Your input, along with that of your key collaborators, such as your business manager, trustees, finance chair, among others, will be helpful to us as we continue to study the issue. I would appreciate it if you would share this information with these folks, but for now, know that the earliest we would do anything with the parish assessment would be for the 2008-2009 fiscal year.
So, the Archbishop is going to raise the "assessment" on his parishes. Make no mistake, this is a TAX. It is a tax that pays for bad liturgy, questionable guidance on religious education, and supports all of the self-proclaimed auxiliary bishops at the soon to be defunct Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center.
Let's unpack this little bomb for a moment...."...members of my administrative team have been studying the possibility of raising the archdiocesan parish assessment."
Why not tell us who your "administrative team" is? I am guessing that few, if any, have ever worked in a parish, or worked in a real-world setting. (At least not recently.) By real-world, I mean a job where income is directly based on product. Offer something of value to a clientele, and income follows. But, for an "administrative team" it is far easier to be "administrative" when you are not really answerable to anyone."...there has not been a change to our formula for close to 30 years."
By "formula" I am assuming that this refers to some sort of manner of determining a percentage, vrs a flat fee rate. Your Excelleny, if your recently smitten finance staff has not exlained this, but it means that your income grows, or does not grow, at the exact same rate as everyone else. Sadly, the implication of your message is that you (or your "administrative team") feels that the central bureaucracy deserves a greater portion than do your parishes. My, aren't we happy with ourselves!"...our assessment is among the lowest in the nation..."
And the percentage of sex abusers is higher than national average; the size of our priest union is larger than average; the amount of heresy in our parishes is above average. Like good democratic politicians, this assertion presumes that a low rate of taxation is inherently bad."...the cost of doing business continues to rise steadily each year."
As do the costs for parishes, and the families who make up those parishes. Even given that, Your Excellency's "administrative team" presumes to have a greater claim on those limited funds than does the parish or the family. "Formula" presumes percentage...therefore your income increases at the same rate as everyone else. A greater increase requires greater justification than presented here."...the work of the team analyzing the assessment was stalled as we prepared for the California lawsuits..."
Again, I question who precisely is this "team"? But, as regards to California lawsuits...those pedophile priests are such a bitch. Does your "administrative team" include anyone who facilitated past cover-ups? Or helped hide your predecessors Nantucket trysts? Oh yeah, they deserve pay raises!"...the earliest we would do anything with the parish assessment would be for the 2008-2009 fiscal year."
So, the presumption is that increased taxation is going to happen. Then why consult?
All in all, I am of the mind that if the Archbishop wants to raise the tax, he should just do it. Stop playing games with fake consultation if the decision is already made.
But, I have great big questions about how anyone at the Archbishop Cousins Catholic Center could justify demanding more money (taken from the resources of our schools and parishes) that would go to a rather useless bureaucracy.
What do all of you say? Does the Cousins Center Coven deserve more money? LOL!
P.S. Two VERY interesting tidbits from the diocesan offices....
Are possible auxiliary bishops actually being vetted by the Papal Nuncio?
Are those civil, but not sacramental, wedding bells we hear near the archdiocesan offices?