MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The embattled Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has announced it will be slashing its budget by 20 percent. In a statement, the archdiocese says more than $5 million in cuts is due to unexpected legal fees.
Last month, the archdiocese announced an agreement with a group of child sex abuse victims. While the dollar amount of the settlement was not announced, estimates put the potential cost to the Archdiocese at tens of millions of dollars.
At the news conference, Rev. Charles Lachowitzer indicated the settlement would be costly and that all options, including the archdiocese filing for bankruptcy, were on the table.
“We have to look at in term of resolution and restitution, so that it is most fair,” Lachowitzer said.
In announcing the 20 percent cut, Lachowitzer said in a written statement staff and other expenses would be slashed.
“This announcement doesn’t directly affect the budgets of parishes, Catholic schools and other local Catholic entities,” the statement said.
However, Professor Charles Reid, who teaches Catholic Church law, believes schools and parishes will take a hit.
“I would be amazed if schools and parishes were not affected,” Reid said.
The Archdiocese has asked all its departments to prioritize which expenses provide the most benefit to people. At the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, Eloy Steer told us he is homeless and depends on the church for some meals.
“I come for these services every day if they offer them,” Steer said.
Those attending services at the Basilica of St. Mary say they want outreach programs protected.
A parishioner, who only wanted to be named as Theresa, said, “we need to remember that these programs reach a lot of people and we have to insure they do not get cut.”
The archdiocese has refused to answer questions beyond its written statement, which says the cuts are going to come very quickly.
The cuts will be presented to Archbishop John Nienstedt for final approval, and then implemented by mid-November.
As of June of 2013, the Twin Cities Archdiocese listed assets of almost $60 million.