FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ARCHDIOCESAN FINANCE
The answers to these questions came from public records, the Archdiocesan website, the Official Catholic Directory, and knowledgeable sources within the Archdiocese. We submitted them to the Archdiocesan CFO John Bierbaum for correction, but he has not responded to date.
1. Does a portion of the money I contribute to my parish go to the archdiocese? Yes, each parish is assessed approximately 8% of its annual income by the Archdiocese. These assessments accounted for $12.7 million (2011) and $13.5 million (2010).A formula determines the assessment and is applied to all income, even contributions to a building fund.
2. Does a portion of Archdiocesan income go to Rome and to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops? Yes, in addition to the annual Peter’s Pence collection in parishes, a portion of the Archdiocesan income goes to Rome.The Archdiocese also contributes to the USCCB.The amounts of contribution are not available to us.
3.What sources of income does the Archdiocese have other than parish assessments? Two other sources of income are the Catholic Service Appeal and investment income.Parish second collections and special collections go to the Archdiocese and are sent on to the organizations named.A portion of the Catholic Service Appeal is allocated back to parishes.
4. What are the operating expenses for the Archdiocese? Total operating expenses were $36.5 million in both 2011 and 2010. Programs account for $26.6 and $23.2 million respectively.Program expenses include clergy services, community services, education, parish services and outreach, central services, marriage family and life, and community relations.General and administrative expense was $4.7million in 2011 and $3.3 million in 2010.Fundraising was $1.1 million in 2011 and $1.0 million in 2010.
5. Does the Archdiocese contribute to Catholic Charities? Of Catholic Charities total revenue of $44.7 million in 2011, only $1.5 million came from the Archdiocese. The majority of Catholic Charities revenue comes from private contributions ($12.6 million) and from the state and federal government grants and contracts ($18.5 million) in 2011.
6. Besides Catholic Charities, what other ministries does the Archdiocese support? In 2010, the Archdiocese spent $2.4 million on ministries to various ethnic Catholic groups—Hispanic, Native American—and to groups like the Council of Catholic Women (CCW). For fiscal 2011, the Archdiocese stopped itemizing these expenditures in its annual report and stopped distributing a printed report. The report, now published only on the Archdiocesan website, lumps expenses in broad categories.
7. Does the Archdiocese financially support Catholic grade schools and high schools? Catholic high schools are independently owned. There is only one Catholic high school associated with a parish (St Agnes), and the amount of Archdiocesan support is not reported.The annual financial report lumps all expenditures for education so we do not know how much funding goes to Catholic grade schools.There have been two major donations to the Archdiocese for Catholic grade schools, FOCUS and the Pohlad donations.Information about these can be found on the Archdiocesan website at www.archspm.org. Also, there is an endowment (established some time ago) for grade schools.The disbursement from the endowed fund is correlated with federal aid to schools which some Catholic schools receive.The amounts per year are included in the financial report under Program expenses.
8. Does the Archdiocese pay priests’ salaries? The parish pays the salary and provides living expenses for priests assigned to parishes. If the priest has his own housing, the parish pays a housing allowance. The Archdiocese covers the salaries of some priests serving in ethnic ministries as well those working in prison and hospital chaplaincies.Hospitals may contribute some portion of the chaplains’ salary.
9.What is a priest’s salary per month, excluding benefits and housing/living expenses? Parish priests are currently paid a base salary of $26,898 per year with an additional $246 per year for each year of service.
10. Who pays the parish priest’s social security taxes, health insurance coverage, and retirement benefits? The individual priest pays his own social security tax on his salary plus the fair market value of his housing allowance at the rate of 15.3%.The parish pays for health and dental insurance.It contributes to the priest’s retirement/disability fund in the amount of $17,500 per year for each priest assigned to the parish.
11. What is the retirement age for a priest? Under the legally binding retirement plan the retirement age is 65.The Archbishop has recently required priests to remain in service till age 70, unless their health prevents them from serving.
12. How much is the retirement income for a priest? Most retired priests receive Social Security benefits in addition to a payment from the priests’ retirement fund of $38 per month times the number of years of service.For example, if a man were ordained at 26 and he served till 65, his retirement monthly payment would be $1672.The monthly multiplier goes up incrementally for each year the priest remains in service over the age of 65.
13. If the Archbishop “fires” a priest, does the priest lose his pension benefits? When the priest’s benefits have legally vested after 5 years of service, he cannot lose them.However, if the Archbishop takes away “priestly faculties,” that is, permission to say Mass and function as a priest in the Archdiocese, the number of years of service will be reduced in the calculation of his retirement benefits. If the priest is already retired, he might still count on additional income from serving in parishes on weekends, approximately $155 per weekend. Removal of faculties would be a hardship in that case.If a priest voluntarily resigns before the age of retirement, at retirement age, he will receive benefits based only on his years of service, but not health insurance supplements or cost-of-living increases.
14. Is the priests’ retirement fund fully funded? No.Since the economic meltdown of 2008, the retirement fund is 50% funded for foreseeable payouts.
15. What happens if the priests’ retirement fund runs out of money? The retirement fund is exempt from ERISA, the law that federally guarantees retirement funds.If the fund runs out of money, it may be that only disability payments will be made or payments based on need.
16. Is the parish lay employee retirement fund fully funded? The fund for lay employees is about 80% funded.On January 31, 2011 the plan in force was frozen.Parishes had paid 5% of salaries of full time employees into the retirement fund for the benefit of employees hired before that date.Currently parishes continue to pay 5% of the salaries of all full time employees into the frozen fund to bring it up to 100%.For the new benefit plan, the parishes pay 2.5% of each employee’s salary into a 403(b) account administered by Met Life for all full time employees after one year of employment. We do not have an analysis of the reasons for the pension fund's depletion, the fairness of the current payments into it, or the equity of the new benefits package.
17. Does the Archdiocese pay for seminary and university employees’ salaries or benefits? Each institution has its own budget, salary schedule, and benefits plan, but a portion of the expense is covered by the Archdiocese under the “education” category of the financial report.
18. How many people are on the Archdiocesan administrative payroll? This information is not itemized in the financial report.
19. What are the Archbishop’s salary and living expenses paid by the Archdiocese? This amount is not itemized in the financial reports.The Archbishop’s living expenses including travel are paid by the Archdiocese carte blanche.
20. What is a retired bishop’s income? A retired bishop gets $3000 per month, plus life, health, dental, and auto insurance coverage, a car, housing, living expenses, secretary, office, and travel expenses.
21. Who are the Archbishop’s financial consultants? By canon law he is required to have an Archdiocesan Finance Council.The current Council is as follows:Brian Wenger, Chair, John Bierbaum, Chief Financial Officer, Very Rev Peter A Laird; Rev John Ubel; Deacon William Heiman; Steward Laird, Mark Misukanis, Flip Spanier, Kathleen Werthmann, Jackie Daylor, Margaret LeClair, Richard Pearson, Daniel Statsick, Thomas Abood, Thomas Skiba, and Mary Jo Jungwirth
You are invited to join the CCCR Follow the Money Team to work on Archdiocesan Transparency and Accountability.Call Paula at (612) 305-3599 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.