WASHINGTON, D.C. — Patrick Markey, executive director of the Diocesan Fiscal Management Conference, is taking a new position as managing partner of the Leadership Roundtable.
The organization promotes best practices and accountability in the management, finances, communications and human resources development of the U.S. Catholic Church, including greater incorporation of the expertise of the laity.
In a Feb. 25 phone interview with Catholic News Service, Markey said he has begun on a limited basis some of his new assignment at the Leadership Roundtable, but will not leave his current job at the Phoenix-based conference until his successor is chosen and able to transition from Markey.
Markey said he had been invited to speak at Leadership Roundtable 2020 summit, one week before the coronavirus pandemic was declared, on “some of the financial issues we’re all dealing with.” He added, “I found what we came up with, all these leaders came up with, really helpful … as we were dealing with PPP (federal Paycheck Protection Program) loans.”
But the summit was about far more than finances. “We were reflecting on the summit about co-responsibility,” Markey said, “but how are the rest of us called to as disciples? … What does it mean to be the body of Christ?”
Then, last summer, Markey noted how Leadership Roundtable had changed its own leadership structure from a CEO model. “All of a sudden they had three partners,” he said. As a certified public accountant, “it’s very normal in my world to have partnerships,” Markey added. “Then there’s always the managing partner in a firm.”
But, more than an accounting or law firm, “in a deeper role, we were really reflecting on what we were calling the church to do — in the synodal format,” Markey said. Pope Francis, he added, is “talking about synodality, he’s talking about co-responsibility, sharers in the mission of the church. Our leadership structure wasn’t reflecting that.”
Markey, who had been director of the national collections office at the U.S. bishops’ conference for five years prior to running the DFMC, said: “I’ve been kind of following the LR for a long time, from afar” in his other church work.
“I’ve been real impressed with how they’ve reacted the past couple of years with the Pennsylvania report … and the McCarrick scandal,” he said.
Markey was referring to the Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing alleged abuse by clergy and other church workers in six dioceses over a 70-year period starting in 1947.
He added, “I see my role as a partner, not necessarily as one who is greater than the others. I don’t have the smarts to do what (executive partners) Kerry (Alys Robinson) or Kim (Smolik) or Michael (Brough) do, but I can help manage the cohesiveness and bring us together.”
New to the team since Leadership Roundtable changed its leadership structure following the 2020 summit is Margi English.
“I see that as the same kind of model where we each have the same responsibility and we keep the team together,” Markey told CNS.
Leadership Roundtable, which is based in Washington, has its origins in the climactic 2002 spring meeting of the U.S. bishops in Dallas, which approved the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.”
Funded in large part by philanthropists and foundations, with some consulting income for services provided to parishes and dioceses, the organization seeks to impart the laity’s expertise in key temporal aspects of church governance.
“What I see as missing in my work with the finance officers” is what Leadership Roundtable offers, Markey said. “Leadership Roundtable is able to give and can even do more. I would like to be able to come together with other leaders to figure out how we address the pandemic, how we address coming out of it, how we address some of the scandals that have rocked the church recently.”
He added, “The world is getting more and more complicated. The church is finding more and more divisions because of politics, and some with communications.
“There is a very, very strong feeling in some or our parishes against Pope Francis. I see a need of leaders coming together, and I think Leadership Roundtable can fill that role and has a way of doing it.”