Despite Billions in Investments, Priest Says Church Losing Money Due to Lockdown

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    The ongoing pandemic crisis of the Coronavirus affects not only workers and businesses but also parishes that rely on collections during Mass.

    Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Manila’s apostolic administrator, described as “tremendous” the financial impact of the lack of Mass collections on the parishes.“Not only are there no Mass collections, we have to support our parish personnel. And many parishes shell out money to help the poor in their areas by giving [them] food,” he said.

    Parishes help one another during the crisis, Pabillo said. “Those who have resources help those who do not have enough,” he said.

    The Archdiocese of Manila is now appealing for online donations. Its financial department will set up the fund-raising guidelines.

    “All the parishes should be open to online donations, but the transparency and proper accounting of the donations should remain,” Pabillo said.

    Based on this report, the Archdiocese of Manila has more than P30 billion pesos worth of investments in which the majority is invested with Ayala’s BPI.

    Aside from collection during gatherings, the church also collects donations from prominent and rich families in the country so it is hard to imagine how the Church is losing money when it is not also spending more.

    Balanga Bishop Ruperto Santos also acknowledged the huge financial impact of quarantine restrictions on parishes in his diocese.

    He said the diocese had been using its funds to help those in need.

    “The parishes are giving bags of groceries to those in the remote areas. The diocese also helps some barangay parishes, especially for the salaries of their personnel,” Santos said.

    Fr. Cris Magbitang, administrator of Don Bosco Center of Studies, explained that churches have different sources of income “but a great deal of its financial existence is from the Mass collections and donations.”

    “Other sacramental celebrations like blessings may add up, too,” he added, but he said that not all parishes use the arancel system, that is, charging people for some celebrations of the sacraments like baptism, first communion, confirmation, matrimony. “The quarantine [is] a big factor for this because there is less or not even an income enters the revenues of the parish church or school. Unless they get donations regularly, then they can answer for their operational expenses,” Magbitang said.

    The enormous wealth of the Catholic Church has not been denied or verified by its leadership but data shows it indeed exists making the Church one of the richest, if not the richest corporations in the country that does not pay any tax.

     

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