PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh is not declaring bankruptcy, but it must take several steps to avoid it.
That is the message that Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik told nearly all of the priests and deacons in the diocese at special meeting held at St. Paul Seminary.
The bishop revealed that since the grand jury report on child sexual abuse, Mass attendance is down nine percent and collections are down 11 percent.
“For me, to lose even one parishioner is severe enough, but the trends have been going that way for the last 20 years,” Zubik said.
While donations are down, the diocese underestimated the number of claims that would be filed under its victim’s compensation fund.
Claims to the victims’ compensation fund are between 350-400, higher than the 250 claims the dioceses expected.
Though that means millions of more dollars, the bishop says he’s committed to making all victims feel heard.
“The number one priority is to reach out to folks who have been hurt,” Zubkik said.
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The diocese has been forced to eliminate 32 administrative positions, and the bishop warned that schools must begin operating in the black or face possible closure.
ZUBIK: It’s going to be prove you can do this or you’re proving you can’t stay in operation.
SHEEHAN: And are you looking at as many as 25 elementary schools ?
Zubik : I don’t know what the number would be but it’s certainly more than a few.