zero-basis budgeting

By Diogenes (articles ) | Oct 02, 2006

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCC) is tightening its collective belt. For 2007, the budget for the US bishops' conference will be only $139,000,000.00-- which is roughly three times the annual budget for the entire Roman Curia, but barely enough to buy proper paper clips for an organization that shows the administrative wizardry of the USCCB.

I'm sure you're wondering: How can the conference possibly survive on such a pittance? Ah, but once again you underestimate our brave leaders, who are now studying a proposal from the Committee on Priorities and Plans.

Strategic planning measures include joining similar committees and offices to achieve more efficiency and preparing for future developments, such as an increase in cultural diversity.

See? The business-school approach is locked in:

The plan seeks to achieve economies of scale.

But some things never change:

The Communications Department will expand...

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  • Posted by: - Oct. 08, 2006 10:57 PM ET USA

    A $139 Million Dollar Budget? Annually??? Like, EVERY year, man? Whooooo baby. Lets do some math. How many seminarians could you sponsor with that kind of money? How many Catholic schools could be reopened? How many new, orthodox parishes could be built? How many aspiring choral singers could be transported to Solesmes (first class, of course)? And, last but not least, how many cufflinks for Bishop Wilton Gregory would this finance?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 04, 2006 8:36 AM ET USA

    Linus, I don't think that it's a good idea to give money to the Salvation Army instead of the Church, seeing as the Salvation Army is actually a religion, not just a charitable organization.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 03, 2006 11:25 PM ET USA

    "Bill," we should also be praying for the bishops to disband the USCCB. Bishops do not need the USCCB to administer a diocese. Bishops can re-form as a group that simply meets once/year for 5 days in a monastery or monastic-setting (single tempur-pedic beds upon request by the more physically challenged vs. the 5-star hotels, room-service, limos, etc...) in order to grow in holiness, to pray, go to confession, offer Mass, & deepen their fraternal, apostolic Communion with the Holy Father.

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 03, 2006 10:06 PM ET USA

    "Bill," each diocese donates directly to charitable works/groups, & rarely channels donations through the USCCB. The $139 million pays for: USCCB employees & its buildings; hundreds of subcommittee meetings where bps. form more subcommittees & produce such reports as "Always our Children"; & semiannual meetings in 5-star hotels, limos to/from hotels/restaurants, etc. Look, the USCCB itself is not part of Church hierarchy. It is a business-modeled group of bishops that does not serve the Church.

  • Posted by: Bill116 - Oct. 03, 2006 3:42 PM ET USA

    Seems to me that some of the comments below reflect the same sort of response that the Pope's recent message got - read a headline, shoot from the hip and later, maybe, investigate. I haven't read the budget but I do believe that a sizeable portion of it includes a large outlay for charitable works. These charitable payments have to be included in the budget but don't reflect spending on administrative expenses. Perhaps someone who might have access to the detailed budget could comment

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2006 3:17 PM ET USA

    I think it's time we all deluged the Vatican with e mails. Let's propose the complete eradication of this useless conference!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 03, 2006 10:39 AM ET USA

    So how do you really feel about the Bishops, Janet Baker??? Altar Boy is, as usual, right on target. If and when our clergy admit to the Protestantization of our beloved Church we may make some progress in "putting the pieces back together again". The arrogance of the USCCB is legend. It is their unmitigated gall and nerve to pound the common man to continue to contribute to their delinquency that never ceases to amaze me. They have no SHAME!! No one is "picking on them enough"!!

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 8:55 PM ET USA

    Why do people commenting at CWN always find it such fun to take pot shots at our heirarchy? This is less about the original post, as on many of the comments. Geez folks, lighten up. We are supposed to be Christian.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 7:51 PM ET USA

    USCCB = Useless Society of Corrupt Cowardly Bishops

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 3:40 PM ET USA

    You forgot some things, Linus. For your money you also got: the virtual destruction of religious orders; the secularization of Catholic schools; the feminization the priesthood; the alienation and enmity of traditional Catholics; the substantial loss of the Church’s patrimony of sacred music, religious art and liturgical texts; the modernization (read “ruin”) of ancient church buildings; and, of course, the great sex and embezzlement crisis. What you got was a Protestant reformation redo.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 2:39 PM ET USA

    I wonder, what do we get for our $139,000,000. Let's see, we get confused and sometimes heretical liturgies, we get sexual predators with appropriate communcations department coverups, we get a failing Catholic higher education system; oh and yes, we do get churches of the most modern and ecumenical design devoid of character much like the USCC. The answer is simple...stop donating to the USCC and give the money to the Salvation Army since they will probably make better use of it.

  • Posted by: Ignacio177 - Oct. 02, 2006 2:17 PM ET USA

    Why don't the sensable bishops just opt out, refuse to pay the USCC tax and stay home when they have the USCC meetings? They could then spend the dues money on useful things like keeping parish schools open or helping home school networks.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 1:26 PM ET USA

    Is there a single thing that the USCCB does that needs to be done at such an expense? Bishops need to run their individual diocese. They do not need to have a separate monolithic structure perpetuating itself just as a government does. That money could and could be spent on issues which are important:keeping open parishes and schools.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 12:47 PM ET USA

    "...and preparing for future developments, such as an increase in cultural diversity." Any bets on the kind of "diversity" they're talking about here? Can we to expect to see the shining faces of Tridentine Mass lovers?

  • Posted by: Fr. William - Oct. 02, 2006 11:38 AM ET USA

    There you go, again, Diogenes, picking on the poor bishops. Cdl Bernardin & his band of traitors invented the USCCB, basing on a corporation business model. It does not serve the Church. Bishops: Be courageous. Close the doors of the USCCB. Send all employees back to their dioceses with one-year's salary to find a job. Each bishop then administers his diocese in direct Communion with Rome. Once a year, the bishops retreat to a monastery to pray & to deepen their Communion with the Holy Father.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 11:21 AM ET USA

    "Strategic planning measures include joining similar committees and offices to achieve more efficiency and preparing for future developments" ... bla ... bla ... bla.... These are terms reflective of a governing philosophy that is utterly alien to the Gospel. The salvation of souls isn't about committees or efficiency or "strategic planning." The USCCB is a parasitical organization that contributes NOTHING to the spiritual welfare of the Church. Bishops just need to do their jobs, period.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 11:03 AM ET USA

    "...increase in cultural diversity."???? Should we not have a COMMON Catholic culture! Just say no to Wiccans. "Communications Department will expand..." Translation: Maybe if we pour more money into it we can get higher ratings that "that nun in Alabama." I wonder what the Sanhedrin's budget was?

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 10:44 AM ET USA

    God bless you Zechariah, and thanks for the reminder of my own Sisters of St. Joseph who worked for a pittance so that the parish could offer free parochial school to its kids. We got an outstanding education, love and fond memories of these gems in our Lord's crown.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 10:11 AM ET USA

    spend more on consultants for interreligious affairs and slash employee benetits - brilliant - that should be a real morale booster. wait!... how about just firing those who hire these consulants? and, the irony that the secular world, when running out of options for cost-cutting, creates or raises a sin tax; this is likely due to secular understanding that, while not sufficiently appreciated by the USCCB, folks are still sinning even though we managing to feel much better about ourselves

  • Posted by: - Oct. 02, 2006 9:53 AM ET USA

    I had some nuns in grammar school in the 1930's who could run that bureaucracy on a broken shoe string and have money left over!