Abuse of church finances by clergy is a known phenomenon that has been talked about for centuries. In many cases, the incidents of abuse of church funds by the clergy goes unreported to the relevant authorities and subsequently, unpunished. It is only in recent years that church authorities have acceded to intervention by state authorities in church matters involving maladministration and embezzlement that culprits faced the might of the law. Even then, the penalties melted to the offenders have been slight as the culprits plead guilty and promised to repay the money. Some culprits have actually repaid the money they abused and this is true only for the cases that have been brought to book. If the penalties made an impact in transforming the culprits is a question for another research. The objective of the research was to investigate the factual substance of the allegations of abuse of church finances by clergy and to find solutions to curb the phenomenon by means that are effective and contemporary as well as the use of standard regulating measures.
Abuse, essentially, is addictive in a compromising manner and that necessitate the utilization of rehabilitation process. That is where pastoral care comes in. The culprit or offender is unfortunately labeled as a criminal since theft and abuse of money is criminal offences as described in the statutes governing countries. However, the person guilty of the offences above is not labeled in the same terms in church but as a sinner who needs pastoral care to rehabilitate through repentance and submission to Almighty God and serve humanity in a manner that is believed to please God. Retribution is not the main reason a sinner is brought to book but to give a chance for Godly means to cure and rehabilitate. The Bible says that we sin by thoughts, words, deeds and even undone. This essentially, means that everyone is prone to sin and we cannot absolutely condemn and judge one another in a manner that shows anger, retribution and vengeance. Pastoral care therefore is an
important process that is necessary for dealing with sinners. Forgiveness is inseparable from pastoral duty and may be that is why the perpetrators or sinners tend to be given lighter sentences because their sin is firstly forgiven and then God’s work in form of pastoral care takes over to transform the sinner. Pastoral care is superior to punishment by sentencing. This is confirmed in the Bible when Jesus stopped a crowd from stoning a woman who had cheated on her husband. Jesus called on the crowd to do some introspection by saying that anyone among them who was blameless must be the first to cast the stone on the woman. The woman was spared from murder as none of the crowd would assert himself as blameless. In other words, mercy is a key when one has to execute justice. As Christians we need to be sensitive to the plight of other people and come in with help. That is why pastoral care is the most preferable method of rehabilitating someone who had gone astray from Godly ways.
Embezzlement as is described here falls outside the operation of Gerkins care model as the setting of the theory is within the confines of Christian life. The study deals with embezzlement on a huge criminal side which is actuated by criminal motives and brassily corrupt intentions of plain robbery and defrauding the church. The behavior attributed to priests is not consisted with the conduct of a Christian leaders operating within a Christian religious setting, but to the one analogous to fraud occurring in a Bank or business undertaking. The cure for such alleged behavior can be achieved through correctional supervision, counseling methods of a clinical nature, sociological therapeutic methods. Gerkins care model has no scope of application in the setting depicted since it applies in a religious Christian setting under a priest who has normal inclinations of greed and soft short comings of stealing for instance petty thieving which springs from psychic and social deviations that are commonly based and are curable by pastoral counseling as opposed to rate and classic clinical methods of rehabilitation of criminal offenders.
Nick Pollards positive deconstruction. Pollards theory is based on the corrective methodology of altering the client wrong worldview and promotes the process of replacing a wrong conception of the worldview with a new and correct positive one which arises from misunderstanding on the part of the patient or victim of the correct pattern of behavior which needs to be change. In embezzlement, the conduct of the victim is deliberate because he knows and understands the wrongfulness of his action and goes for it knowing the consequences. The victim of embezzlement is only to be corrected by a punitive approach and not of a healing and soul one. In order for him to reform he must face the punishment which according to the old school of thought must be harsh to cause him to feel the hardship of prison and to decide to avoid it in future.
Dissertation (MA (Theology))--University of Pretoria, 2019.