Monday, January 30, 2012

Catholic church gets strict on money matters

Ottawa's Catholic Archdiocese has changed its financial rules in the wake of a gambling scandal involving a former priest.

The archdiocese said a recent incident involving a Glebe neighbourhood church did not spark the changes. 

But it did say changes were needed at its Catholic churches and now there are 12 new requirements detailed in a 15-page document.

The new changes to parish financial policy include having two signatures, including the pastor's, on all cheques; that bags for collections be tamper-proof; two unrelated people be involved in the handling and counting of cash and that council and committee members will not be paid for their service.

An audit of the Blessed Sacrament Parish, a church at 194 Fourth Avenue, discovered the church collected $3 million over five years of its former pastor's tenure, but had a net deficit of $40,000.

Rev. Joe LeClair, who is originally from Prince Edward Island, left the church in May after his problems with gambling and depression went public. 

He entered rehab soon after and attended for a short time.

Ottawa police also investigated financial irregularities at the church because the archdiocese said it was beyond its investigative resources.
120101 Parish Finance Protocol Package