By Thomas G. Kane
The Code of Canon Law further provides:
All persons, whether clerics or laity, who lawfully take part in the administration of ecclesiastical goods, are bound to fulfill their duties in the name of the Church, in accordance with the law.
Before administrators undertake their duties: 1st they must take an oath, in the presence of the Ordinary or his delegate, that they will well and truly perform their office; 2nd they are to draw up a clear and accurate inventory, to be signed by themselves, of all immovable goods, of those movable goods which are precious or of a high cultural value, and of all other goods, with a description and an estimate of their value; when this has been compiled, it is to be certified as correct; 3rd one copy of this inventory is to be kept in the administration office and another in the curial archive; any change which takes place in the property is to be noted on both copies.
Canon 1284 Duties
§1 All administrators are to perform their duties with the diligence of a good householder. §2 Therefore they must: 1st be vigilant that no goods placed in their care in any way perish or suffer damage; to this end they are, to the extent necessary, to arrange insurance contracts; 2nd ensure that the ownership of ecclesiastical goods is safeguarded in ways which are valid in civil law; 3rd observe the provisions of canon and civil law, and the stipulations of the founder or donor or lawful authority; they are to take special care that damage will not be suffered by the Church through the non-observance of the civil law; 4th seek accurately and at the proper time the income and produce of the goods, guard them securely and expend them in accordance with the wishes of the founder or lawful norms; 5th at the proper time pay the interest which is due by reason of a loan or pledge, and take care that in due time the capital is repaid; 6th with the consent of the Ordinary make use of money which is surplus after payment of expenses and which can be profitably invested for the purposes of the juridical person; 7th keep accurate records of income and expenditure; 8th draw up an account of their administration at the end of each year; 9th keep in order and preserve in a convenient and suitable archive the documents and records establishing the rights of the Church or institute to its goods; where conveniently possible, authentic copies must be placed in the curial archives. §3 It is earnestly recommended that administrators draw up each year a budget of income and expenditure. However, it is left to particular law to make this an obligation and to determine more precisely how it is to be presented.
As stated, the Parish Council is to be representative of the people of the Parish and to serve in their best interest. If they are to be involved in the administration of the “goods” of the church, they must abide by the appropriate laws of the Church. They are to do God’s will for the sake of his people, not to serve the will of man or any particular group of men or agenda. They are to serve their God with fervor and devotion and to act righteously knowing that their rewards and actions in this world do not hold a candle to what awaits their valued service in the next world. They are to do what is right for “His” sake, not their own or that of any man. May St. Francis of Assisi aid them in his rebuilding of God’s Church and St. Vincent de Paul show them true Christian Charity and may Jesus’ own Mother guide them in their service to His Holy church. They must answer to him alone…