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January 5, 2007


The Archdiocese of Philadelphia responds to a recent study regarding financial policies in Roman Catholic Dioceses in the United States.

The loss of even one penny of parishioners' or donors' funds is unacceptable, which is why the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has stringent financial procedures and controls in place at ever level and continually works to improve them.

Many of the recommendations made by the study are in fact already in place in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Each of the 270 parishes in the Archdiocese completes an internal audit each year, and completes a detailed financial report signed by all members of the parish finance council. Every five years, each parish receives a week-long external audit by the Archdiocesan auditing office. Audits are reviewed quarterly by an independent Archdiocesan Audit Committee consisting of professionals with the requisite financial expertise and experience. Financial professionals also serve a wider function to ensure stringent financial controls by serving on the Archdiocesan Finance Council. Their names are published each year in the Archdiocese's Catholic Directory, as are the names of parish finance council members published in most parish bulletins. All Archdiocesan parishes and institutions use a uniform budgeting process and accounting software supported by the Archdiocese.

Most of the financial policies prescribed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are already practiced in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and in some cases exceed USCCB recommendations. Such policies are communicated through a quarterly newsletter to parish business managers. These include, for example, setting a maximum of 24 hours to deposit parish contributions to a bank; establishing rotating teams of people to make deposits each week; asking separate teams to count contributions; and assigning a separate person to record them.

By utilizing experienced professionals and procedural safeguards, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia seeks to ensure the highest level of stewardship over Church resources.

Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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