Scandal Costs Account for over Half of Archdiocese's $13.4 Million Deficit

By Arthur Jones
National Catholic Reporter
February 7, 2003

Los angeles - The severely reduced Los Angeles archdiocese central administration is about to take another hit. In September 2002 the archdiocese announced a $4.3 million operating deficit that led to the curtailment of 60 staff and many outreach ministries.

Now, according to the Jan. 24 issue of the Los Angeles Times, the operating deficit is $5.7 million with the archdiocese allocating a further $7.7 million in "one-time costs" related mainly to sexual abuse scandal costs. That means a $13.4 million deficit for the year. No decisions have yet been announced regarding fresh cutbacks.

The Times stated that central administration 2001 year-end assets were $643.7 million; year-end 2002: almost $10 million less at $626 million. The 2001 figures included $241 million in investments. The archdiocese, which in September blamed the Wall Street nosedive for declining investment income, had anticipated $6.2 million in 2001 and 2002, the Times said, compared to the $5.3 million it garnered in 2000.

Five months ago the archdiocese distanced itself from suggestions the budget deficit was associated with costs related to the new cathedral or the sexual scandal. Now, according to the Times, the archdiocese acknowledges that much of $7.7 million is scandal related.

Meanwhile, the archdiocese reported that parish giving, at $153.8 million for 2002, was up $5.2 million over the previous year; and the annual "Together in Mission" campaign up $300,000 in 2002.

Meanwhile, in the neighboring San Bernardino diocese, Bishop Gerald Barnes took sexual abuse recognition to a new level by having a pedophile victim's eight-page account distributed with parish bulletins in all 110 of dioceses churches Jan. 26.

According to a Jan. 27 Los Angeles Times story, the victim was abused in another California diocese. The story said the account included details about how church officials had mishandled the victim's case by transferring the abusive priest out of state and cutting off funding for therapy for the victim once sufficient time had passed to make it impossible for the victim to file a civil suit against the church because of the state's statute of limitations provision.

Barnes also appeared in a 20-minute video at all Masses to describe the violence sex abuse had visited upon its victims. In the video, he encouraged abuse victims to call a hotline sponsored by the diocese to receive aid from the church.

Arthur Jones is NCR editor at large. His e-mail address is


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