Saturday, June 23, 2007

Moving towards greater accountability?

Are we generous with our wealth as we are with prayer?

The statement of accounts of PMPC III presented in the Herald, June 17,is an encouraging move. We hope it is the beginning of an era of greater financial accountability of our Catholic Church in Malaysia, whereby all the dioceses and parishes make public their audited accounts every year.

This will go a long way in improving the accountability and transparency of all financial dealings in every diocese and parish thereby increasing the laity’s trust in the financial managers of the Church. In the long run this would help to further increase the contribution of the laity.

About RM 730,000 has been spent on the PMPC III.This to my mind is a very large sum of money. It is almost a year since the PMPC III and it is time to review and take stock of the benefits it has brought to our community. Are we better off now than before convention? Has it helped to make us better Christians?

No doubt some of the participants would have benefited but by enlarge the majority of ordinary Catholics were not even aware of the deliberations and decisions made at the PMPC III.Most of them were not even told of the plans formulated to encounter the numerous challenges we face in the country today. I do not see how in such an environment of secrecy, an ordinary member of the church could have benefited from the convention.

There are many among us out in the “wilderness” who are in great need of material aid - food, shelter, clothing, books, education and medical treatment. There are many more deprived of their rights to affordable quality education, healthcare, housing and even basic human rights.

As Christians we are often very generous with our prayers for them but unwilling to grant their material needs which is what they urgently require. As the Church, we have the resources to help but not the magnanimity to do so. We are willing to spend large sums on activities for ourselves but reluctant to spare some for others in need.

We are hesitant to help them because we are suspicious that they may be cheating us. We put up unreasonable bureaucratic conditions for approving such aid, just to make it difficult or almost impossible for these poor to get it.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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