After filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and emerging from it only one year later, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson says his diocesan church is "purified and humbled, yet more resolved to carry on Christ's work." In addition, the process has taught him many important lessons.
In an interview with the Arizona Daily Star after the bankruptcy case was settled last week, the bishop admitted that giving up all of the diocese's extra property to pay for settlements was a sacrifice, but one the diocese had to make.
"The biggest struggle we are facing now is we are a growing diocese … and bereft of any property to construct new churches," Bishop Kicanas told the Star.
"Any time a mission diocese has to surrender significant assets is a challenge. But it needed to be done, it's appropriate that it be done, and now it will be my responsibility with the people of the diocese to find the assets necessary to continue the work of the Church," he was quoted as saying.
Writing more recently about the end of the diocese's Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in the Sept. 26 issue of America magazine, the bishop said churches need to brush up on their bookkeeping and administration skills and put an end to the old "ma and pa management."
"We have learned painfully the problems that can result from poor record-keeping and sloppy administration," the bishop said. "Parishes and dioceses need to report their financial status to the community clearly and comprehensively, yet sometimes they do not."
As well, he said, the process convinced him that "greater attention needs to be given to priests." Diocesan priests need to work and pray together more, and hold each other accountable, he said.