Posts tagged: Funds

More Legal Thefts

By , November 14, 2013 5:58 am

Two weeks ago, I cautioned my readers to be very careful when giving to so-called “charities” that are making use of an attractive name usually connected with health issues. Thanks be to God, the American people are extraordinarily generous and there are many organizations providing care to tens of thousands of people and doing it in a very honest and generous manner. Regretfully, however, there are groups and organizations that grab on to one of these appealing names, set up a fund raising mechanism and do very well for themselves financially. These operations are legal! There really is a program! The problem is that the vast majority of the funds that are raised do not go to service the need that is advertised. Usually only 5% actually goes into the work that is connected with the name that is being used.

I referred to the fact that, despicable though it is, these almost legal organizations report to you as to how they are helping to solve the problem at hand, but all they are really doing is using the name to generate money for themselves. I specifically referred to Heart Support of America and the National Cancer Research Center. Aren’t heart and cancer major issues? Aren’t those nice names?
The sad fact about this is that these legal but unethical operations are operating within the confines of the law. They actually do work on the issue but they are using the sensitivity of their fellow Americans to fill their pockets with money. Only about 5% goes to the work whose name they are using. The other is eaten up by fund raising costs and, of course, profits. The people conducting the drive are the ones who decide how much they are to pay themselves!

Today I have another example. I was contacted by phone and urged to give to the Hospice Fund of America. I have tremendous respect for the hospice movement and have been on the board of Hospice Austin for many years. Hospice is a movement that developed about fifty years ago in England and thankfully has moved into this country very effectively. The hospice is a special need for our times because so many families are scattered across the entire country and when death is approaching, it is harder for younger members of the family to provide proper care to those who are approaching death. I asked the promoters to send me a financial report as to how their funds are allocated. Thankfully, they have to do this in order to remain legal or the government would be able to move against them unless they fulfill the letter of the law. Hospice Fund of America sent me their report. They were very proud of the fact that 5% of the money that they raise went to hospice care. They didn’t tell me how they decided who got that little 5%.

Most charitable programs are honest but fund raising is awfully difficult and these technically legal efforts to raise money, touching the hearts of generous Americans, are actually making honest fund raising more difficult because people want to help but are justifiably suspicious. We should all reach out to do all the help that we can. As President Reagan said, “Trust but verify.”

EDITOR’s NOTE- There is a fully legitimate, wonderful organization called the Hospice FOUNDATION of America, who’s name can be so easily confused with the organization noted above (the Hospice FUND of America) that we initially had posted the Foundation’s logo on this page- and for that, we profoundly apologize.

  • Share/Bookmark

Two Bishops With The Same Job, The Bishop of Hamburg in 1206 A.D. and the Bishop of Austin in 1995 A.D.

By , February 8, 2013 4:49 am

Last week, I was perusing through some old files (that is what old people tend to do) and I came across some old correspondence and was both delighted and thrilled. It was correspondence between Pope Innocent III and Thorer, Archbishop-elect of Drontheim.
During much of the 1990’s while I was still an active bishop, I chaired the committee of the National Bishops Conference that was responsible for developing within the United States adequate financial support for the Holy See (the Vatican). The main component of that effort was an annual collection poetically named “Peter’s Pence” and the name carried the collection back to the Middle Ages. Evidently, a pence was real money in those days.
Quite frankly, it was not the easiest task in the world. There was a lot of anger in the Church in the United States directed at the Vatican. Archbishop Hunthausen had been unceremoniously removed from office. Father Charles Curran had been denied the right to teach as a Catholic theologian. Other actions deemed offensive by more liberal ranks of the clergy were having negative effects. Nevertheless, I took the job and gave it my best effort. The collection rose from $4 million a year to
$16 million a year during my time as chair.
While serving in that office, I had a delightful experience. I was going through some old files on the Peter’s Pence Collection and found a fascinating article from the Catholic Historical Review, Volume 3, April 1917 and January 1918. First there was a letter, written in 835 A.D., by Pope Gregory IV to St. Anschar, the first Bishop of Hamburg in Germany. Anschar was given directions on how to organize the Church to the north in Scandinavia. Then follows about a dozen letters written over many decades that depicts the extraordinary development of the Church in that cold and difficult region. On February 13, 1206, the powerful pope, Innocent III, wrote Thorer, Archbishop-elect of Drontheim, Norway and gave him detailed instructions on the establishment of new dioceses in the north. Archbishop Thorer was given the authority to establish these dioceses and appoint their bishops but Pope Innocent insisted that only he, the pope, or his successor in office, could appoint the next bishop of Hamburg.
Among the surprising news was a letter in 1276 from John XXI again going to the Archbishop of Drontheim raising questions about the Diocese of Gardar, which is in Greenland. The diocese was not paying the taxes which were necessary to operate the Universal Church. The pope asked the archbishop to please take care of that matter with the archbishop replying two years later that it was not an easy assignment. The pope replied that the archbishop should send someone else and make sure that they are honest! The pope suggested that the archbishop, “…visit in person such of the aforesaid dioceses as may be possible without great inconvenience.” The archbishop replied, “The difficulties of navigation are so great that five years is scarcely sufficient for the whole journey.” Going from Norway to Greenland in the 13th century would certainly have been a modest inconvenience!
I was amused by the fact that here we are looking at a bishop having responsibility for the collecting of necessary funds for the maintenance of the Vatican in the 12th century and there I was in Texas with the same responsibilities 700 years later. Some things never change.

  • Share/Bookmark

Panorama Theme by Themocracy