I Don’t Care Too Much for Money

Thy silver is become dross – Isaiah 1:22

Over on TitusOneNine, someone named Theophorus wrote:

In approximately 2009 it came to the attention of the Rwanda HOB that for several years the annual financial statements of the AMiA showed about $300,000.00 per annum being given to the Province of Rwanda under this 10-10-10 tithing arrangement. Unfortunately, the annual financial reports of the Province of Rwanda showed only $100,000.00 per year coming into the Province of Rwanda (spreadsheets available on request). Above the tithe was an additional $400,000.00 given to ‘the Province’ that never showed up in the Provincial Accounts. The total ‘missing’ monies seem to total at least 1.2 million US dollars. In Rwanda that is a LOT of money. The HOB inquired of Abp. Kolini as to what happened to this money. He refused to give any accounting to the Bishop who was the Chairman of the Finance Committee or to other senior Bishops who asked for this information. When the new Archbishop was installed (Feb. 2010)  the Dean of the Province of Rwanda (most senior bishop) wrote a letter formally asking the new Abp. for an accounting since they were at the Winter Conference of the AMiA and all the people necessary to provide such an accounting were there. This letter was given to all Rwandan Bishops and all AMiA Bishops. Abp. Rwaje referred the Dean to H.Miller+, executive director of the AMiA. Incredibly H.Miller told the Dean that he, as Dean,  did not have the authority to ask for that information and that only the Archbishop could ask for such an accounting. Catch-22.

Now many of the Rwandan Bishops were very inquisitive about why such information should be hid. Most of all they seemed to want to know why – if all of this money seems to have never gone into the Provincial bank account, whose bank account was it wired to? A million dollars has to go somewhere! That seems like it would be a simple question to answer. In May of last year another formal letter was written to Abp. Rwaje asking that Bishop Murphy be required to provide a full accounting at the Rwanda June HOB.

Now, Bishop Murphy is saying, and has given talking points to his sympathizers and staff, that he brought H. Miller to provide the required accounting and H. was not allowed to attend the meeting. The fact is that the Rwandan Bishops were nearly unanimous that they did not want to be lectured to by H. Miller + and K. Donlan +, rather they just wanted some straightforward answers and discussion among bishops. They did not want any ‘non-bishops’ taking over a House of Bishops meeting.

Bishop Murphy’s ‘position’ is that he didn’t bring the books, spreadsheets, or whatever documentation on finances to the HOB in June because he needed H. there to explain it. So he just left all that, hopefully, exculpatory data in his hotel rather than to bring it along to the HOB and try to explain it to the Africans. Now, really, does anyone think that +Murphy doesn’t understand the bookkeeping of his own organization or that he and H.+ had not spent countless hours discussing how they would explain these financial anomalies to the Africans. At the very least he could have told the HOB whose account the $1,000,000.00 had been deposited into… In an effort to diffuse the situation the Rwanda HOB graciously stated that they would be willing to overlook the embarrassing missing funds if Bishop Murphy would agree to provide a better, more dependable, and more transparent means of accounting for the future. He did not agree to that except in the most general and non-committal terms. The Rwandan HOB then passed a UNANIMOUS resolution that the American Bishops should be called to a general meeting of all Bishops, Rwandan and American in September 2011 to discuss more collegial ways of working together. At this point +Murphy literally stormed out of the meeting and went back to his hotel. Later he wrote a most disrespectful letter to the HOB telling them that they had basically wasted his time and money and that he would not ask the AM bishops to go to Rwanda.

Bishop Murphy says this information is just an email away:

Frankly, had you asked me even at our recent meeting in Washington DC for this information, I could have telephoned H Miller and asked him to email us the financial information that he had prepared for the June House of Bishops meeting (including the account numbers used when money was wired to Rwanda). But, of course, you did not mention or ask me for this during our time together, and I had actually thought that these financial concerns had been satisfactorily discussed and cleared up at our September House of Bishops meeting.

Ask yourself what you would do if the House of Bishops was bothered about this financial situation for three years and you could clear it up with an email? Wouldn’t you send that email, without being asked? Wouldn’t you post that on your website? Would you say “The position has been the monies to Rwanda are not an assessment but rather a discretionary gift and that is how it was framed and has been framed” and not send that email?

On VirtueOnline, we read:

Murphy said he was even more troubled by the fact that he was not permitted to present the clarifying financial materials that he had prepared and brought for that House of Bishops meeting. “Sadly, the decision to prevent Miller from addressing those financial questions back in June has only served to keep the questions surrounding finances from being settled and resolved once and for all.”

Wait, I thought he “could have telephoned H Miller and asked him to email us the financial information…”? So from June until this week Bishop Murphy couldn’t have made that call? Now, perhaps the issue is over on the Rwandan side of things. Maybe the accounting of where it went needs to come from someone in Rwanda, or who was in Rwanda. But it doesn’t seem like it should be too terribly hard for H Miller to make this information public as a first step.

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