Get Up, and Get Moving....

An opportunity for people of serious and orthodox Catholic faith of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to share the means to improve their own Churches.

Location: near Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Death and Taxes.

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?


Anonymous Anonymous said... bitter.

Actually, while I agree with your assessment of a basically "do-nothing" administrative team, i.e. central offices, etc., don't paint with such a broad stroke.

There are plenty of hard-working, productive, healthy (emotionally and theologically) lay people who are doing their best to help serve the parishes, parishioners, priests, deacons, etc., and do so every single day. Granted, there are some of beaucracy who walk around all day, go to meetings, lunches, etc. all while feigning indignation with how "there will be more job cuts."

Turns out those who will be cut are some of the hardest working, decent people who actually believe in Christ's mission (not necessarily the hierarchy's).

Your points are generally on target, but lighten up a bit on the sweeping generalizations

Friday, November 17, 2006 5:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Archbishop Dolan is employing a techniques known as the Delphi Method, which is used a lot in the public schools. You create an anonymous third party 'team' to be the bad cop, it is a simple trick to fool people, and once again, I am disappointed in the leadership of this Archdiocese. The Cousins Center is full of empty suits, washed out individuals looking to hide from is a shame, and my heart goes out to those empty Catholic Schools that are charging Brookfield Academy tuition for public school mediocre education.

More on the Delphi Method here.

Wauwatosa Catholic who longs for the Latin Mass--Mark

Friday, November 17, 2006 7:58:00 AM  
Blogger Dad29 said...

Mike, your reductionism is a bit dangerous--the Church is emphatically not like Miller Brewing. It ain't a marketing entity.

But--someone COULD raise the question:

How come is it that in 1960, 9 people were employed in the Chancery, and 40+ years later there are well over 100?

Friday, November 17, 2006 11:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How come is it that in 1960, 9 people were employed in the Chancery, and 40+ years later there are well over 100?

The employer of last resort? Nepotism?

My guess is simple Liberation Theology run amok, marxists looking to keep friends employed

Friday, November 17, 2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...


Obviously, I don't agree that it is reductionist, but it is an effort to simplify the mindset of the diocesan insiders.

When you depend on a tax, and can raise it one your own, there is no need to insprire people to give.

For all the bravado, it seems that there is no where near anough growth in the Stewardship Appeal (the voluntary giving) so rather than ask why, they just raise the tax.

Asking why may seem to be a product mindset, but there is something to learn there.


Friday, November 17, 2006 3:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, would you please back up your broad statements about this priest's alliance and Milwaukee having the highest sex abusers? To do otheriwse makes you a big part of the problem of irresponsiblity in the Archdiocese.

Monday, November 20, 2006 9:06:00 AM  
Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

Which statements about the Priest Alliance are you referring to?

As to the rate of abusers in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, I don't recall ever writing that the Archdiocese has the "highest" rate. But, it can be said that Milwaukee's rate is above the average of all dioceses in the country.

So, give me more details as to your complaints.

BTW, where do you see the irresponsibility in the archdiocese?


Monday, November 20, 2006 9:40:00 AM  
Blogger Mike, the Faithful Catholic said...

Follow up to the last anon post. I checked, the only time I have written the word "highest" in this blog was last December and I was refering to the salary of our local priests.

So, check your facts first....

Monday, November 20, 2006 11:23:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home