Catholic Dioceses Struggle Financially

Associated Press, carried in Ledger-Enquirer [United States]
Downloaded May 25, 2004

Some examples of financial problems faced by U.S. Roman Catholic dioceses in recent years. Church leaders generally blame a weak economy, higher insurance costs and lower returns on investments for the troubles, along with expenses related to the clergy sex abuse crisis and, in some dioceses, a drop in donations:

_ ARCHDIOCESE OF MILWAUKEE: Blamed an expected $1 million deficit in the next fiscal year mainly on costs related to the abuse scandal, including attorney and mediation fees, outreach to victims and training for church workers on identifying and preventing abuse.

_ ARCHDIOCESE OF LOS ANGELES: Anticipated an operating deficit of about $1.8 million when the fiscal year ends in June, after facing a shortfall the year before. Some workers have been laid off or have taken early retirement. Legal costs for sex abuse cases were in the millions, but insurance covered some of that expense.

_ ARCHDIOCESE OF PHILADELPHIA: Had to use reserve funds to close a $6.9 million budget deficit in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2002, according to a report the archdiocese released last year, mainly blaming lower investment income for the shortfall.

_ DIOCESE OF ERIE, PA.: Reported budget losses in the millions of dollars between fiscal years 2000 and 2002, mostly due to low investment income and higher insurance costs.

_ ARCHDIOCESE OF BOSTON: Announced Tuesday it would lose 65 of 357 parishes because of a priest shortage and also due to financial problems caused partly by the abuse crisis.