Mass-goers to face extra collections as finances drop
INCOME-HIT Catholic dioceses are resorting to special Mass collections, asset disposals and spending cuts to avert financial crisis.
One of the country's largest dioceses, Cork and Ross, has introduced four new special collections for the coming year to replenish dwindling funds, the Irish Independent has learned.
The move is expected to be replicated in other cash-strapped dioceses as declining attendances and soaring expenses taking their toll.
Mass collections in some areas are down by almost 15pc in the last year.
The move by the Bishop of Cork and Ross, Dr John Buckley, to introduce the extra collections came after the diocese's central fund moved €300,000 into the red earlier this year on a slump in collection receipts.
Dr Buckley hopes the collection can go some way to replenishing the funds and supporting ongoing commitments.
The exact logistics of how the new collections will work have yet to be finalised.
One option would be to send the plate around the congregation an extra time at every Mass in the diocese four times a year.
It is understood the diocese is hoping to recoup the €300,000 it is in arrears next year.
The neighbouring diocese of Cloyne is also facing a financial crisis. It is dealing with a raft of multi-million euro clerical abuse compensation claims, while other dioceses, including Dublin, Raphoe and Armagh, have been badly hit by the collapse in Irish bank shares.
The Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, Dr Dermot Clifford, who has been running Cloyne Diocese since 2009, admitted it would be some time before finances there fully recovered.
"There will be a lot of compensation to be paid. Some has already been paid," he said.
"The resources of the diocese financially will be very low -- and it will be a big job to rebuild the Diocese of Cloyne. It will take some time. It is a bit like our economy at the moment."