Religion: Opening the Books

While most Protestant denominations make it a standard practice to issue yearly statements of their financial assets, the Roman Catholic Church has not —a fact that has led to endless, and largely bootless, speculation about what it really does own.* Now, the Most Rev. Robert E. Tracy of Baton Rouge has lifted the greenback curtain slightly by publishing the first detailed financial statement ever issued by a U.S. Roman Catholic diocese.

The picture was impressive. Although one of the nation's smaller sees (membership: 491,434), Baton Rouge has boosted its net assets an average of $3.4 million a year since 1962, largely as...

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