Approximately 150,000 dues or fair share American members support the archdiocese, its metropolises, and related institutions (St. Basil, HCHC, St. Michael’s, St Photios, St Nicholas, St Andrew Archons, L100, FAITH, and others). The mismanagement and abuse of many of these assets, along with the resulting distrust felt by all of us is well known– and it has not yet been “fixed”, by any means, up to this point in time.
Now, along comes Uncle Sam with the largest cash giveaway in the history of the world.
The archbishop, in his highly controlled and scripted virtual Town Hall, encouraged all parishes to apply for the Payroll Protection Plan (PPP), which is available to public, private, and non-profit entities and businesses with very few pre-conditions. He never mentioned what he or the metropolitan were going to do.
The archdiocese and most of its metropolises and institutions continue to operate largely like an Imperial Byzantine institution, accountable only to the patriarch and the emperor (in modern times that would be the Manhattan plutocrats) and has not achieved the level of transparency expected from American institutions.
Therefore, in the coming weeks and months, it is fair for the faithful (meaning the bill payers and bankers to this religion) to ask which of the many archdiocesan and metropolis related entities have applied for PPP and how have the proceeds been applied.
Included should be an understanding of the status of the continuing monthly archdiocesan “tax” imposed on each parish for which little or no value is exchanged. Do the taxes continue? Is PPP additive to their coffers?
The PPP provides us opportunities for help from the government and, sadly, it also provides an opportunity for more of the fraud, waste, and abuse that we have experienced in the past, if not handled with complete transparency.
What will we find when we open our books? It’s fair and appropriate to ask. And if the answers are sketchy or non-existent, then it’s appropriate to stop all financial support.