Three Good Reasons
Why should any church or diocese implement businesslike, security-oriented systems and procedures for handling its Sunday offerings? Well, if you agree with each of the following statements, there's a high probability you feel such action is unnecessary. But if just one of these statements strikes a sour note, you owe it to yourself and to your church or diocese to give this page a very close reading.
Statement #1: Good people should be tempted regularly, to test the limits of their honesty.
Statement #2: In the event of an unexplained loss of funds, all individuals having access to the building in which those funds are stored and/or processed should be suspect, regardless of whether their duties include any responsibility for protecting or processing such funds.
Statement #3: Parishioners have no right to expect that their cash gifts will be protected from seizure and conversion by other persons who, in the absence of adequate internal security, are able to repeatedly embezzle such funds without notice or detection.
Now, let's take a closer look at each of those statements.
Statement #1: (Exposure To Unnecessary Temptation)
What constitutes temptation for one person may well cause revulsion in another. Similarly, what might not be tempting to a person on one day may, due to the emergence of new circumstances, become highly enticing to that same person. Good people abound in every church, but the pressures and temptations of this world can and do cause some of them to make wrong-headed moral decisions. There’s illness, loss of income, and the cost of putting the kids through college, not to mention alcohol, drugs, gambling and marital problems. There’s also the "mid-life crisis" syndrome which can seriously effect a person's perspective on life and duty.
History has shown that easy access to unprotected, undocumented cash is a temptation not everyone is able to resist. The elimination of that easy access through implementation of secure procedures not only eliminates the temptation to steal but also the sin which automatically attaches to such acts.
Statement #2: (Exposure To Unfair Suspicion)
No job or career is without responsibility of one sort or another. Indeed, responsibility is usually a factor in determining a person's salary. There’s another side to any discussion of responsibility, however, and that concerns a person's right to be free of responsibility for funds or property they are not being paid to handle or safeguard. This is especially true for those who work on a volunteer basis. If, between Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon or Monday morning (whenever the bank deposit is prepared), the collection or any portion thereof is on hand and constructively accessible to any person (including the pastor) while he or she is alone or unobserved, that person is automatically relegated to suspect status in the event of an unexplained loss. It is grossly unfair for any unsuspecting employee or volunteer to be exposed to the taint an unexplained loss could place upon their good name and reputation.
Statement #3: (Fulfillment Of Fiduciary Obligation)
Some parishioners tithe, but many give in lesser amounts. Some use the envelope system, but many give anonymously. Some give by check, but many in give cash. All, however, give in the belief that their monetary gifts will be protected against loss or thievery. It's one thing to believe your offering is secure, but it is quite another to know that it is truly secure. For the most part, personal checks do not present a problem. Cash, however, is vulnerable to loss from the moment it is dropped into the basket until it is deposited in the bank. Faith and trust are of course desirable, but they are of secondary importance to security equipment and procedures that effectively preclude the chances for loss caused by repetitive (weekly) surreptitious theft.
The majority of Catholic churches have yet to employ the equipment and procedures that effectively preclude the chances for loss. In all likelihood, other Christian denominations whose services include a collection into which cash gifts are placed are similarly vulnerable.
No doubt, at least once in your lifetime, you’ve heard the challenge which begins with this demand: “Give me one good reason why ...”
Well, you’ve just received not just one or two but three good reasons. The question is, what are you going to do with them?