Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Steps to Cut Projected Deficit

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia
June 21, 2012

Today, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced steps aimed at cutting a projected deficit exceeding $17 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012. The Archdiocesan Pastoral Center, comprised of the Office for Financial Services and including more than 40 ministry programs and offices, has operated with significant deficits for many years. The restructuring - approved by Archbishop Chaput after a comprehensive review of operations -- includes a staff reduction involving 45 positions, the merging and consolidation of 19 offices and/or ministries, the ceasing of The Catholic Standard & Times and the suspension of Phaith Magazine. The Archdiocese is also planning no raises for remaining staff in the next fiscal year. These steps will sharply reduce the expected deficit, provide better stewardship for operations, and help ensure improved financial health.

The extraordinary legal and professional costs of the past 16 months, while burdensome, played little role in the current budget decisions, according to the Archbishop. The financial and organizational difficulties facing the Archdiocese are structural and have been building for many years. They can no longer be sustained, and all of the Church's works must return to a spirit of careful stewardship.

All employees released in the staff reduction will receive 60 days of pay in lieu of notice and full-time employees will be eligible for one week of severance pay for each year of completed service. All affected employees will also be paid for accrued and unused vacation time. In addition to severance, the Archdiocese will also provide medical coverage through September 30 and departing employees will be eligible for a COBRA-like benefit for the six months following. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will also contract with a third party firm to provide job counseling and career services, and protocols are in place to match displaced employees' skills with openings in other offices, including Catholic Social Services and Catholic Healthcare Services, which were not impacted by this restructuring and maintain separate budgets.

"These are good men and women who have served the Church well," said Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M Cap. "I take this action with great reluctance, as one of several urgently needed steps to restore the local Church to a healthy financial footing. Every departing employee has the sincere gratitude of the Archdiocese and will be treated with maximum consideration."

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office of Financial Services examined all of its ministries and offices in an effort to look for cost saving opportunities. It has worked with vendors to renegotiate contracts, has ended non-essential subsidies and is implementing many cost cutting initiatives in the coming months, but these efforts were not enough to close the budget gap. Through careful consideration, it was determined that some ministries will be combined into single offices with reduced staffing.

Under the restructuring plan, Family Life and Respect Life/Deaf Apostolate plus Formation of the Laity will merge into the Office of Life, Family & Laity, and existing Office for Youth and Young Adults (OYYA) programs will merge into the Office of Catholic Education and Office of Catechetical Formation. These programs include the CYO Program which will continue operating with no change on the local level. Additionally, existing programs operating through the Hispanic Ministry will merge into the Office for Hispanic Catholics. Offices that will remain in place with reductions to staff include, the Secretariat for Evangelization, the Permanent Diaconate Office and the Vocations Office for Diocesan Priesthood. The restructuring plan also called for the closure of some ministries and offices. Ministries that have been eliminated include Camp Overbrook and the Saint Peter Claver Center for Evangelization. The Catholic Institute for Evangelization site will close and the Institute will continue its work in another form, holding courses and programs in various locations around the Archdiocese. In addition, The Catholic Standard & Times will cease production and Phaith Magazine will be suspended, with continuing to serve as the official news outlet of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

"We are committed to doing the work of Jesus Christ and earning the confidence of the faithful and the community we serve," said Archbishop Chaput. "We have an on-going duty to serve the pastoral and sacramental needs of our own people and the poor of the wider community; to provide support for victims of sexual abuse; to protect children and families; and to defend the Catholic community in the public square. All of these obligations are important. We will work hard to meet each of them."


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