REPORT: Catholic Church Got $1.5 Billion From Government During Pandemic

(Photo by AARON LYNETT/AFP via Getty Images)

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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An investigation by the Associated Press revealed that a number of Roman Catholic dioceses located in the United States received a substantial amount of federal government aid during the coronavirus pandemic.

During the investigation, the Associated Press analyzed financial statements publicly available from 112 of the some 200 Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States. These 112 dioceses received a collective $1.5 billion from the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the Associated Press.

At the same time, the 112 dioceses analyzed reportedly “had over $10 billion in cash and other funds” available, according to the Associated Press.

Out of that $10 billion, the 112 dioceses said $4.5 billion was liquid or available in their financial statements, the Associated Press reported. The Associated Press included funds directed towards special projects, lines of credit available to dioceses outside of banks, and excess cash deposited with the dioceses’ savings that is often loaned out, making up the other $5.5 billion.

The total did not include other important assets held by the church, such as those held in real estate and funds held by parishes or schools, the Associated Press claimed.

Beyond that, the Associated Press noted that the Catholic Church in the United States has more money in foundations to help dioceses manage donations. Wilmington Trust, a wealth management firm, found that this money may amount to another $9.5 billion in 2019. (RELATED: Eight Nuns Die From Coronavirus In One Week At Wisconsin Catholic Convent)

The pandemic caused some dioceses to report income losses of up to 40% or more before donations rebounded a bit, causing layoffs and wage cuts, the Associated Press noted.

However, the Associated Press claimed a study by Catholic researchers at Georgetown University said these kinds of actions were not common across the nation.

Financial records released by 47 dioceses for the fiscal year that ended last June saw a 6% increase on average in the amount of cash, short-term investments, and other funds that could be used for general expenses, according to the Associated Press. Of the 47 dioceses, 38 experienced resource increases, while nine saw resources dwindle by single-digit percentages, the Associated Press reported.

Congress announced it would let nonprofits and religious organizations apply for the Paycheck Protection Program early on, according to the Associated Press.

However, the Associated Press claims that Catholic dioceses would have not been eligible for the amount of funds they received from the program if they had not lobbied to be excluded from the affiliation rule, which disqualified applicants with more than 500 workers, according to the Associated Press.