For generations donations sent in for the catholic sharing appeal any monies over and above the amount set by the Bishop went back to the parish. I just learned that our bishop has changed the rules and will only return a percentage of the overage to the parish. Does the bishop have this power to have the parish priest announce that all monies over the parish goal would be returned to the parish and now after the money is given we only will get a percentage. The strange part is that the parishioners do not know this is going to happen. Do you have an answer?
Yes, the Bishop does have such authority. The kind of appeal that you are referring to is run by the diocese and thus the diocese is free to divide the appeal proceeds as it sees fit. Even though this is a departure from past procedure it is well within the Bishop’s authority and is still quite generous since some dioceses do not return any “over the goal” money to the local parishes. The money from such appeals usually goes towards running the diocesan charities so there is always a balance that needs to be struck to be sure that the charitable works have enough to meet the needs they are trying to address.