March 14, 2005 Press Release


Lay Leaders Reach Out to Roman Catholic Bishops to Join Forces
to Address Growing Financial, Communication and Management Pressures
Affecting the Church in the United States

Leadership Roundtable Report on Church Management Bridges Best Practices from Parish and Diocesan Life with Those of the Commercial and Non-Profit Worlds

 ( WASHINGTON, DC) – March 14, 2005 – In contrast to the bad news of recent months, Catholic lay and religious leaders came together today to announce two constructive developments. The first is the creation of an important initiative, a new organization to help the Church in America strengthen the managerial structures and processes at the national, diocesan and parish levels. The second is the release of a sweeping report on best practices in Church management emanating from the Leadership Roundtable at the Wharton School last July.

The National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management (NLRCM), the new non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, will consist of influential laity and religious working together with Bishops to promote excellence and best practices in Church finances, management practices and human resources and working together to ensure that the Church more fully utilizes the talents of all American Catholics.

Geoffrey T. Boisi, a founding leader, said in making the announcement, “Our mission is to facilitate a collaboration among Catholic leaders to promote excellence in the Church’s organizational and management capabilities and to help reestablish the relationship of trust between the hierarchy and its parishioners.”

“The NLRCM is grounded in Church teaching. Laypeople have the duty and the right to offer their gifts and talents in service of the Church,” Boisi added. “We will work in collaboration with the U.S. Bishops and Church leaders to foster dialogue and utilize the unique gifts of all of the faithful for the continuing benefit of the Church.”

The NLRCM will be structured using the business roundtable model with members from organizations across the country. The NLRCM membership will comprise a broad spectrum of experience engaging the talents of more than 200 national leaders from business and civic life, professional associations and foundations, leading universities, healthcare systems and parishes and dioceses. They will be attentive to the cultural and demographic composition of the Church in the United States, and interact with Bishops from each region of the country. Members will have term limits to ensure ongoing rotation and foster continued innovation and new ideas.

The comprehensive report of the Wharton Leadership Roundtable provides an example of the significant contributions the new organization will provide. The report maps out 48 short- and long-term recommendations for strengthening the organizational and managerial structures of the church at its three fundamental levels: national, diocesan and parish. The NLRCM will seek to identify best practices in the areas of management, finance and human resources at all levels, and then work to promote and adapt best practices throughout the church.

The report released today noted that if the resources of every diocese in the United States were combined, the aggregate would have one million employees, with an operating budget of almost $100 billion, comparable in scope and size to the nation’s largest corporations. The business and organizational challenges of an institution this size demand that the Church tap into the resources of the laity to identify the best talent, creativity and professional know-how available to help strengthen the Church so that it can better fulfill its mission.

“The Wharton Roundtable Report is an important must-read document for any Catholic interested in helping deal with the serious issues facing the Church in the United States,” Mr. Boisi said. “If we want our children to pass the Catholic faith on to their own effectively, we must act now. The time has come for Catholic leaders, both lay and cleric, to get serious about working together using our collective capabilities and taking thoughtful accountable action to solve our man-made problems.”

About The National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management

The mission of the National Leadership Roundtable on Church Management (NLRCM) is to promote excellence and best practices in the management, finances and human resources of the U.S. Catholic Church by greater incorporation of the expertise of the laity. The NLRCM will consist of laity, religious and clergy working together with Church leaders to offer their resources, skills and talents for the good of the Church. For more information on the NLRCM, please visit www.NLRCM.org.

For a full version of the report, please visit www.NLRCM.org and click on “Publications.”