Q — A recent newspaper article reports that an archbishop on the East coast is spending more than half a million dollars of archdiocese funds to renovate his retirement residence. Under Church law, are archbishops permitted to spend archdiocese funds for this purpose?

A — The bishop or archbishop is the ultimate authority in his diocese when it comes to matters of diocesan policy, and this includes necessarily diocesan funds. As far as I am aware, most dioceses conduct annually an appropriate fiscal audit, the details of which are made public or made available to the public. To the best of my knowledge, no bishop would embark on a scheme of spending large amounts of diocesan money without consulting other diocesan leadership.

That just makes good sense fiscally.

I don’t know the details of the situation to which you refer, and, I would point out that not all such details are necessarily and with accuracy published in newspaper articles, and so I would caution against accepting such reports without knowing all the facts.

It is certainly the case that Pope Francis is constantly telling all of us to be aware of money, of what we spend, to be responsible and just in our use of money, and, of course, this applies also to the episcopate.