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Catholic Cash

Dioceses sitting comfortably

January 13, 2022  0

A recent report from The Economist highlighted the plight of world religions as their congregations decreased during China virus period — leading to a lack of funds and even closures. But in today's In-Depth Report, Church Militant's Aidan O'Connor takes a closer look at why many U.S. Catholic prelates shouldn't be worried. 

Rabbis, imams and pastors around the world are taking a hard hit in attendance and finance. 

After harsh COVID restrictions and lockdowns swept the globe, many changed their place of worship, watched virtually or simply stopped attending. No attendance means no funding — and eventually, closure. 

Catholic prelates in America, though, are in a different situation from other religious leaders.

Most big dioceses in the states have nothing to worry about, owing to a wealthy patrimony of assets and endowments.

The archdiocese of Detroit, headed by Abp. Allen Vigneron, sits comfortably with hundreds of millions of dollars in assets. 

Abp. Vigneron: "Your generosity will allow us to respond to the material and spiritual needs of individuals and families."

Detroit's archdiocese logged in over $260 million in assets for 2020

While these funds are not all immediately usable, Abp. Vigneron still has tens of millions of dollars readily available.

Heading west, the archdiocese of Los Angeles, led by Abp. José Gomez, is also not wanting financially.

Abp. Gomez: "I encourage you to be generous in your donations to your parish and to the ministries of the archdiocese of Los Angeles."

According to its 2020 financial statements, the archdiocese of Los Angeles boasted over $1 billion in assets. 

This vast sum leaves Abp. Gomez with a healthy pool of millions to draw from each year. 

On America's opposite coast, Cdl. Timothy Dolan leads the archdiocese of New York — safe from any threat of financial hardship. 

The archdiocese of New York held over $800 million in assets for 2020, giving Cdl. Dolan a very comfortable financial buffer each year. 

These archdioceses are a few examples of wealth amassed by the hierarchy, often building multi-billion-dollar portfolios in land and endowments from well-intentioned Catholics. 

Despite this patrimony, prelates like Detroit's Allen Vigneron and Chicago's Cdl. Blase Cupich are leading initiatives to close parishes in droves. 

Cdl. Cupich: "We are the archdiocese of Chicago; we dream big about the future of the Church."

Cardinal Cupich is paving the way with his "Renew My Church" movement, amalgamating parishes and leaving beloved churches to fall apart or be sold off. 

Since bishops have plenty of funds to spare, faithful Catholics are wondering why prelates are closing houses of worship alongside failing protestant congregations — among others.

While America's prelates roll in billion-dollar patrimonies, the United States' Catholic bishops still accepted billions of dollars of federal COVID relief intended for struggling Americans.

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