Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irish Church on the Verge of Financial Collapse

Translated by: Hos

In the wake of the revelations of repeat child abuse by memebers of the clergy in the past few decades, the catholic church in Ireland is facing a financial crisis. It has to make great compensations at a time of economic crisis and shrinking flocks and donations. In a nation where 87% are self-proclaimed catholics, many parishes have seen a drastic decline in their income; in cases of Cashel, Armagh and Tuam, this has been 15%.
The diocese of Dublin, according to a now officially recognized internal document, is on the verge of "financial collapse", as confirmed by the director of communications of the diocese, Annette O'Donnell. The coffers of the dioceses have been depleted after making a payout of 13,5 millons of euros (about $19.4 millions) to the victims of sexual abuse. Some of the 199 parishes of the diocese receive weekly contributions from as few as 3% of the faithful, while the average in the capital is 20%. The economic difficulties come on top of the pressure from the government for the congregations responsible for sexual, physical and pychological abuses to accept the foreclosure of some of their assets to cover the compensations to the victims and the legal costs. The minister of education, Ruairi Quinn, is planning to have a reunion of 18 religious organizations. Only 2 of these have responded affirmatively to the demands of the minister, who blames these organizations for falling way short at the time of compensating the victims.The total bill runs up to 1.360 billion euros (about $1.960 billion), which is to be shared equally between the church and the Irish state, according to the agreement reached after the release of the Ryan Report of 2009, which showed the extent of the horrors suffered systemcatically by boys and girls at the hands of the priests, monks and the laity at religious centers. As of now the bills have run up to 300 million euros (about $420 million), of which only a small portion (20.6 million euros, according to Quinn's data) and the rest as services and real estate, of which the state has been able to cash in only on a forth, due to the financial crisis.The government insists on a full payout and as such demands that some of the church property be taken over by the state, including land and buildings. The foreclosure of schools in particular is a very sensitive issue for the church, which controls 90% of primary schools, according to the data of the Ministry of Education. This is one the main levers of influence of the church, which traditionally has played a dominant role in the country, including on its policital establishment. As an exmaple, until 1985 condoms could be sold by prescription only and legalization of divorce wouldn't come until 10 years later. The very Irish state (the prosecutor's office and the police) helped the coverup of cases of abuse by the catholic clergy, as detailed in an investigation by the Ministry of Justice published several months after the release of the Ryan Report.
It was for this reason that the harshness of prime minister Edna Kenny came as a surprise, who last July attacked the Vatican for minimizing the abuse of children for years, giving precedence to the primacy and the reputation of the church. This lead to the Vatican calling its embassador to Ireland Giuseppe Leanza for consults

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pretty much the same story appears in the August 30 Washington Times (the ultra right wing Moonie-owned rag) in a piece by Jason Walsh titled "Struggling Dublin archdiocese considers tax on ebbing faithful". The piece notes thst mass attendance in Dublin is down to 20%. Seems to be a case of pigeons coming home to roost. -- Edd Doerr