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From JonSnow –

“The curious case of Our Lady of Immaculate Corruption Parish

not-knowing-the-truthI was walking with my wife one weekend around our neighborhood and we chanced upon this newly built Catholic chapel. We’ll call it “Our Lady of Immaculate Corruption”. It’s a great Spanish-era / mission-style building with an impressive façade set on a sprawling land with simple landscaping and a parking lot that seems small for the size of the chapel. There were a few people that seems to go in and out of the chapel and outside was a welcoming committee set beside a monument that features a church bell from the 1800s.

I have to say that the place really felt welcoming to all comers. With its huge wooden doors cracked open like it’s spreading it arms to people and the genuine smiles from the people around. No inquisitive stares or judgment, just welcoming smiles. And the biggest thing that I noticed is that this chapel has NO fences or gates. It is open to everyone even the parking lot which has about four cars parked at that time. I suddenly realized that the reason for the small parking lot is because they don’t really need it. There’s not too many members in this parish I guess…. But what an impressive chapel I thought to myself – considering it only caters to a small congregation.

If you compare this neighborhood Catholic parish to our chapels here in northern California, especially the smaller locales with serial numbers in the 500 range, I can’t help but think how can they afford a more impressive chapel when their parishioners could not possibly go over 200? And most do not even attend regularly. I guess the only logical answer to that is that the offerings they collect go mainly to the priests and the parish itself and not straight to the Vatican. And according to the magic of Google, sure enough, their deacons (of most parishes) say that the money goes to the parish and priests first and once a year there is a set amount that they give to the Vatican like a royalty fee (disclaimer: I’m just going by what I saw online and not stating this as a matter of fact)

If such a small congregation like this can manage such a magnificent chapel, I can just image how much more the INC locales, especially here in the USA, can build… if only the locales have control over their own money. Yes, there is a chance for corruption because the money matters will be in the control of the people running the locale, but the problem will only be contained in that particular locale. And also, who would want to look the other way if that sort on monkey business starts to happen… you would think that the people in the locale itself will be more vigilant because there will be no one else to blame but them. And they can even be sued in court if they get expelled.

In contrast, if you let all money go to a single controlling body and they succumb to the temptation of corruption because of their own greedy hearts (like what’s happening right now), then the whole organization goes down the drain while a few in power are laughing all the way to where they stashed their loot. Think about that for a second.

Maybe that is the way to go for the INC moving forward. Now that the members have totally lost their confidence with how the leadership handles the Church money, maybe it’s time to give the control of the money to the locales. I can already imagine locales building even more magnificent chapels and members donating more and more because they can see the result right in front of them and of course the locale’s finances will be open for any member to see or even scrutinize for irregularities.

Will it happen? Maybe not with this administration. But unless this is done, I don’t think the church as a whole will ever recover from the distrust that this administration has brought upon the leadership. Only when total transparency regarding the church finances comes back, then the members will continue to hold back on offerings. A barrage of money related “lessons” will ever convince the brethren to offer like before. The only way is total transparency.

  • JonSnow”

From Burgundy –

what-you-believe“After typhoon Ondoy in 2009, the whole church, brethren all over the world responded to the administration’s plea for monetary help so we can help our brethren badly affected by that calamity. We helped our brethren and fellow Filipinos who lost homes, personal things they owned and even their livelihood. That was a really big collection.

After that, the administration decided that from then on, Lingap collection will be weekly as well. The reason given then was – this will be set aside so that in case of any more calamities which is always frequenting the Philippines, or even in other parts of the world where we have brethren affected, the Church administration have already a set fund to cover the needs of those who needed to be helped.

Come the huge storm of Yolanda (Hayan to the rest of the world), brethren are badly affected in Leyte and other parts of Visayas. Lo!! another big campaign to generously give help for the brethren affected by Yolanda. I already wondered about that because by then, the administration have already been collecting Lingap funds for 2 years if not more. So, WHERE ARE ALL THOSE MONEY GONE TO?

Not only that, the administration milked this calamity for everything they can – one is worldwide walk for victims of Yolanda (Hayan). How much have they collected for all the people who walked and paid sponsorship money for at least $35 each? You have to buy your own printed T-shirt (another revenue to the admin) if you participate in this walk. Even the left over printed Worldwide Walk T-shirts were mandatory sold to brethren so the money can be given back to the District.

That’s when all the money making schemes began rolling in. As we now know, everything from coffee mugs, T-shirts, all sorts of nick knacks, and don’t forget the mandatory pins each and every officer must wear in their lapel when performing their duties. This administration turned our Church into a merchandising market place. As I’ve said before, brethren are always a captive market to all their products and ventures.

  • Bergundy”

From Felimon Hernandez –

people-will-get-mad“Brother Smith nakita mo na ba ulit ang bagong issue ng Pasugo? Special edition daw na ang imaheng nasa pabalat ay ang Sugo, kaya ang halaga ay limampung piso mas mahal ng limang beses sa dating presyo nitong sampung piso na ngayon ay ginawang kinsepesos. Di ba sa abuluyan nating mga kapatid nagmumula ang halagang ginagamit na pag-imprinta para dito? Bakit kailangang itaas ang halaga kung sapat ang pondong nailalaan para dito? Atin ang makinaryang ginagamit sa pag-imprita nito di ba? Teka! pero wag naman sana.. baka pati ito ay kinuha na nila & ginawa na nilang negosyo? Kanino ba napupunta o napunta ang tubong limang piso? Halos tumatambak lang ang mga pasugo sa bawat lokal & ang nagiging siste ay ibinibigay sa mga maytungkulin ang dami ng sipi na di naman nila gustong kuhanin. Maytungkulin na lang ang kumukuha nito at meron pa silang dagdag ng section sa pananalapi ang P-14, kung saan nagsusugo ng mamamahagi sa bawat pagsamba. Pero bakit ganun? kahit may suguan na silang ginawa ang bawat lokal ay may ulat pa din ng di nabayarang Pasugo. Di ba ito’y kahayagan ng isang baluktot na pamamalakad & pamamaraan na nauuwi sa sapilitan. Ang nakasanayan & gawi nga ng ibang lokal eh pinasasagot ang buong kabayaran nito sa may kakayahang maytungkulin o kapatid para walang problema at ito naman ay kinukunsinte ng mga ministrong nakadestino sa bawat lokal at may hawak ng pananalapi sa distrito hanggang sa central.. Nakakalungkot na nagagamit ang imahe ng Sugo at ng Ka Edry para maibenta ang Pasugo sa mas malaking halaga.

  • Felimon Hernandez”