By Andrew L. Seidel
Father Joseph McLoone, a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania—a realm of the Church that’s already plagued by horrible scandal—allegedly stole $100,000 to spend on “Grindr men,” globetrotting, and a beach house.
McLoone’s crime appears to be an isolated incident, but it’s indicative of a larger problem, one that could be easily fixed. Churches are incredibly susceptible to theft from within because, unlike every other non-profit and charity, the law does not require financial transparency for churches. They’re financial black holes.
Experts estimate that worldwide, churches lose $63 billion each year to internal “ecclesiastical crime.” That estimate is almost certainly low, due to underreporting and yet it still makes up more than 16 percent of churches’ total income. The director of that annual study believes that “as much as 95% of fraud within churches goes undetected or unreported.”
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