The Washington Post

The root of all evil

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Regarding the June 6 front-page article “Bishop spent millions on self”:

Bishop Michael J. Bransfield gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars of church funds to senior clerics throughout the church and spent money in other ways that appear self-serving. One root cause of the scandal is the fact that Mr. Bransfield was answerable to no one for his spending decisions.

Catholic Church finances should be taken from the priests and bishops and instead be overseen by independen­t lay boards. Parish and diocesan finances should be regularly and independen­tly audited per generally accepted accounting principles and reported to the faithful, who pay the bills. That kind of sunlight will stop people like Mr. Bransfield.

Even when a pastor or bishop is honest and well-meaning, a lifetime in the priesthood does not qualify him to manage a large financial enterprise.

Donald E. Fry, Arlington

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