In the papers
The Telegraph has a story which is a sign of things to come:
Indian tribes who were converted to Christianity by missionaries from Wales are now returning to evangelise the Welsh because they believe that the country is in a state of religious decline.Bad financial news in the Diocese of Leicester:
The Diocese of Mizoram, in the north-east of India, has already sent one missionary to south Wales. It is planning to send a second in April, to help the Welsh Presbyterian Church with its shortage of ministers.
A Roman Catholic bishop who sold his £1 million house to live a simpler life has apologised to churchgoers after discovering that his diocese has slipped £10.2 million into the red.Ouch! Why do I have the intuition that the next wave of scandals to hit the Church will be financial? Do we work with the unspoken assumption that financial efficency and good practice are somehow 'unpastoral'?
The Rt Rev Patrick O'Donoghue, the Bishop of Lancaster, said that the diocese's central administration had been "eating up" money belonging to parishes and trust funds without permission.
The administration had also spent half the £1 million raised when he sold his 16-room house and a cottage near Lancaster in 2003, in favour of a modest apartment adjacent to St Peter's Cathedral in the city centre.
The bishop had ring-fenced £250,000 for his successor, who might not be suited to his spartan lifestyle, and £250,000 for "evangelisation purposes", but all the money was spent without consultation. Much of the money was spent on ambitious projects such as an inter-faith centre in Preston and on staff salaries.
In a pastoral letter read at Masses last weekend, the bishop explained that money had been drained from parish coffers for almost 15 years. The central administration had also taken money from trusts set up for specific purposes such as sick and retired priests or the training of priests and deacons.