FROM A SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT AN inventory of all Church property and assets in Malta is to be prepared, in answer to critics who say that it has large gold and money reserves hoarded up.
The task will be carried out by Mgr. Ligutti, of Des Moines, Iowa, a permanent Vatican observer to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation.
The inventory has been ordered by Bishop Gerada, Auxiliary Bishop of Malta, who when he was appointed was given responsibility for the finance department.
But records were so poorly kept that he has been unable to make head or tail of the Church's property in the island.
In the past the Malta Labour party has accused Church leaders of hoarding funds and refusing to inject them into the island's growing economy. It has also been claimed that the Church owns one-third of the land and collects a revenue of Ell million a year.
Bishop Gerada's intention is to publish a balance sheet showing penny for penny what the Church owns. If it is found that surplus reserves are being registered, these will be transfered to various public projects.
In order to make the investigation thorough and to produce correct results Bishop Gerada and Auxiliary Bishop Galea, who is also VicarGeneral have issued a statement asking every church body to submit a detailed balance sheet. This will affect every Church and Catholic movement and Church-backed project on the island.
The churches in particular will have to evaluate properties and assets, which will include gold arid jewellery donated by parishioners.
The balance sheets, the statement said, will have to be signed under oath.
Mgr. Ligutti has told Bishop
Gerada that all privileges and exemption enjoyed under ecclesiastical laws are being waived in order to make the analyses fully and factually correct.
A Church spokesman said, "This is a major undertaking and it will be some time before we come to the end of it. But it is a positive step and in the end it will be publicly known how much money the Church has and what property it owns."
New Archbishop of Calcutta
BISHOP P1CARCHY of "Jamshedpur, Bi har, India, 52, has been appointed Archbishop of Calcutta in succession to Archbishop D'Souza, who has retired because of ill health.
Archbishop Picarchy is a former rector of St. Xavier's College, Calcutta, and was made Bishop of Jamshedpur in 1962.