College courses seek to protect church finances

February 12, 2008 3:26:24 PM PST
Some churches are too trusting when it comes to their finances. Often, church budgets are overseen by volunteers or employees with little guidance or professional training.

More than 60 Roman Catholic dioceses responding to a survey reported embezzlements within the past five years. About a half-dozen of the dioceses that responded reported thefts of more than $500,000.

Now, some colleges are hoping to prevent such faith-shattering abuses by offering programs devoted specifically to managing church finances and personnel.

Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and Boston College started programs in September. Villanova University outside Philadelphia is offering an online master's degree in church management beginning this summer.