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ANN ARBOR, Michigan, November 20, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A prestigious Catholic business association will not collect an annual tithe from its members for a 2019 contribution to the Holy See.

Legatus, a U.S.-based organization of Catholic business leaders, announced September 6 it would place the Holy See annual tithe in escrow following discussions of its Board of Governors, “specifically pertaining to how [the tithe] is being used, and what financial accountability exists within the Vatican for such charitable contributions.”

Legatus Chairman and CEO Thomas Monaghan wrote to members November 16 exhorting them to continue to pray “for the Church and all of our leaders,” since “it is evident that it is going to take time for the current crisis in the Church to be addressed to the point where the Board believes the reinstatement of our annual tithe would be prudent.”

Because of this, Monaghan said, the group’s Board of Governors decided “to forego collecting the annual tithe represented in your 2019 dues.”   

Members who already submitted their dues will have them refunded in timely fashion, he advised, and those who have not yet sent in their dues would be issued new invoices.

The annual tithe to the Holy See has been an important part of Legatus membership since its founding, Monaghan said, and “Thus, it is the intent of the Board to reinstate this practice once we have sufficient communication regarding the specific accountability related to the use of these funds.” 

“The Board will revisit this topic by the fall of 2019 in order to chart a plan related to the 2020 dues,” he added.

“The Church is most certainly in crisis, but it is not a crisis of Faith,” Monaghan said, quoting an August 30 Wall Street Journal column from George Weigel.

“Legatus continues to pledge its devotion to and solidarity with Holy Mother Church,” he said. “This is a time when we need to live the mission of Legatus more than ever.”

In conclusion, he asked members to “continue to pray for healing and courage for the Church.”

The Legatus tithe amount withheld from the Holy See is $820,000, a Legatus spokesperson told LifeSiteNews. The association has donated $18 million to the Holy See in the 31 years it has been existence, the spokesperson said.

Legatus members must be practicing Catholics and owners, chairmen, presidents or CEOs of a business with a minimum of $7 million annual revenue and at least 49 employees, or, for a financial service company, with at least 10 employees and $275 million in assets under management. The organization was founded in 1987 and has 3,000 current members. 

Vatican financial accountability came into question earlier this year pertaining to the Papal Foundation, a U.S.-based organization of lay donors that provides grants to support organizations in the developing world on behalf of the Holy Father.

The grants are usually $200,000 or less. This past February, some Papal Foundation members raised concern over a Holy See request for $25 million for a Church-owned hospital plagued with corruption and financial scandal for years.

A number of Foundation members, Lay Stewards who pledge “to give $1 million over the course of no more than ten years with a minimum donation of $100,000 per year,” resigned over the matter. Questions remain about the grant’s status and handling.

U.S. bishops, including every U.S. cardinal living in America, comprise most of the Foundation board.

Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, one of three prelates who established the Papal Foundation under Pope John Paul II in 1988, was de facto removed from the board upon resigning from the College of Cardinals earlier this year following charges he abused a minor.