Both Spell Tough Times for Bishops at the Collection Plate
A recent Facebook survey of 1600 practicing Catholics by REGINA Magazine showed that 55% reported they were ‘mad as hell’ versus 45% who said they were ‘very worried’ about the Catholic hierarchy.
In addition to voting, almost 300 Catholics commented on the poll; 100% of these claimed to be Mass-attending.
The REGINA poll coincides with the launch of many US diocesan fund-raising campaigns, many of which are professionally managed. US dioceses are financially dependent on these, with experts estimating that between 25%-75% of their operating income deriving from these collections, with larger dioceses being the most dependent.
Experts estimate that between 2% and 5% of very wealthy Catholics contribute the lion’s share of Church funds. The crisis of abuse and corruption which has erupted in the Church has embarrassed many of these Catholics, who are showing their displeasure at the collection plate.
Catholics are reporting that some priests are exerting financial pressure from the pulpit and via letter campaigns. A common lament is that “only a small percentage of families have contributed”. Privately, priests are admitting that bishops are setting financial targets for them to hit, with failure affecting careers and parish pocketbooks, as funds will be forcibly withdrawn to support bishops if targets are not achieved.
About 15% of those who saw the poll voted in it – a high participation rate for social media, indicating how important this group believed it was to let their voices be heard. REGINA’s Facebook page has nearly 70K followers and reaches about a half a million people per month.