The temporal aspect of the Church’s mission

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

GIVEN the obvious fact that the Church has to carry out its spiritual and supernatural mission in an earthly and temporal setting, it behooves everyone of us in the Church, both clerics and lay who should work in the spirit of coordinated and synergized synodality, to see to it that we practice utmost care in managing this tricky and delicate financial and temporal administration of the Church’s goods to pursue its proper life and mission.

It’s a matter of maintaining the proper systems for a responsible stewardship of the Church goods, giving it its true spirit of Christian generosity of total self-giving while also living total detachment and spirit of poverty. It has to be pursued according to what Christ told his disciples, “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Mt 10,8)

We should avoid commercializing whatever services are done in the Church in every level. As much as possible, we should even avoid giving any impression, no matter how slight, that we are commercializing things.

While we should give our all in doing the spiritual works of mercy, we should never be remiss in also doing the corporal works of mercy. The Church have to be clearly seen as Church of the Poor even as we may have majestic churches built solely for the glory of God.

Also, while we make certain rules and protocols for the sake of order and efficiency, we should always realize that exceptions can always take place and we should be prompt in accommodating them.

In this regard, it would be good that while things should be done as professionally as possible, there has to be regular review and auditing of the systems employed in every level of the financial and temporal administration of the Church’s goods.

There has to be periodic strategic planning so issues can be resolved and areas and sectors to be reached out can be identified. The appropriate accounting and administrative structures should be in place, and good governance practiced.

Considering our wounded human condition and the varying, let alone, confusing developments in the world today, the Church should be in the forefront and should be the ideal example of how the financial and temporal administration of earthly goods in general should be properly done.

In other words, the Church should do things in this aspect of Church life and mission in such a way that its civil and ecclesiastical implications are deemed above any trace of suspicion. There has to be at least full compliance to pertinent civil laws regarding the financial and temporal administration of Church goods.

There has to be such total transparency that we can defend any question that may be raised in this regard. And more than just defending, we can make the Church’s systems be an inspiration to other institutions in the world in general.

I imagine that for this to happen, constant benchmarking within and outside of the Church should be done so as to come out with the best practices possible. We know that in our temporal affairs, there is no perfect system that works well all the time. We have to be quick in adapting the most appropriate systems needed in any given situation or condition.

And also considering that in the world, we always have to contend with some unavoidable forms of evil, the doctrine of the tolerable material cooperation in evil, never the formal cooperation in evil, should be properly learned and lived.

For this, some form of checking has to be done to assure that things are done as they should. The spirit of collegiality and accountability should be lived in every level of Church structure.



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