As frustration and anger toward bishops grow, Catholics are asking what they can do to resist the corruption that has infected the episcopate. Ideas include prayer, fasting, writing letters, and protesting at USCCB meetings. All these are valid responses, but some are advocating for something more concrete – specifically, withholding financial support to the men who have enabled and promoted predatory monsters in their midst. The bishops receive most of their funding from the laity; discontinuing funding is one of the only mechanisms by which the laity feel they have some pull.
Yet many Catholics are hesitant to make such a move. If money is withheld, do we really think it will restrict the lifestyle of most bishops? How many bishops will cut their own salaries or sell their houses? More likely, it will mean less money to diocesan programs as well as to parishes, including some important services and outreaches. As a former diocesan director of evangelization, I can attest that these concerns are valid. The most likely outcome of a financial shortfall is that diocesan services will be decreased. But I have to ask: would this necessarily be a bad thing? Perhaps it’s time to rethink how dioceses operate.