In a Jan. 17 statement sent to Catholic News Service, Bishop Braxton said he would meet with the finance council within a few days.PHOTO: Diocese of Belleville
"I am scheduled to meet with the finance council in the coming days to examine the question of restricted and unrestricted funds of the diocese," he said in the statement. "It is my intention that these expenditures are paid from funds that have no restrictions on them."
Bishop Braxton told CNS that after that meeting a fuller explanation of the situation would be made available.
The statement said he regrets the "controversy caused by the media discussion" of a letter from the finance council that took issue with his purchase of items for the church. The statement did not elaborate further.
Bishop Braxton confirmed to CNS in a phone call Jan. 15 that a letter to him from the finance council questioning the purchase of vestments for the cathedral had been forwarded to the Vatican's nuncio in the United States, Archbishop Pietro Sambi....
Msgr. John Kozar, director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the United States, told CNS the national office has no formal system of auditing collections in the dioceses, although they are required to send in financial reports.
"We trust in the integrity of the individual dioceses," he said.
Msgr. Kozar said collections for the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in the Diocese of Belleville have averaged about $50,000 in recent years.