Catholic Officials Nationwide Circumvent Rules to Receive PPP Funding, SNAP Calls for Governmental Oversight

We are not surprised to see that Catholic officials have found a way to quietly rob the American people of up to $3.5 billion of our tax dollars given their decades of success robbing children of their childhoods and communities of their safety. This story paints a clear need for a fundamental shift in the way our government views the institutional church. Elected officials should be more willing to step in and investigate wrongdoing by religious entities.

Catholic officials have consistently shown that what matters most to them is their money and reputation. It is why they abuse bankruptcy courts, hiding assets and funds in an effort to limit survivor compensation and ensure the public cannot learn the truth about the scope of clergy abuse cover-ups. It is why they spend millions lobbying against reforms that would bring about greater transparency within the church and help protect children and the vulnerable. It is why they take money from their parishioners, promising to use the funds for humanitarian works and then using it to plug budget deficits instead. Sadly, this latest story is just more of the same.

There is no doubt that there were some parishes that were in need of financial assistance. At the same time, to have amassed as much as $3.5 billion in monies that were earmarked for small businesses is beyond the pale, especially when church officials had to lobby the government for special exemptions to get around the rules intended to ensure that this support went to small businesses.

We hope that this reporting will open the eyes of parishioners and the public about the business to whom they are donating. More importantly, we hope that this story will inspire attorneys general and district attorneys across the country to open secular, independent investigations into the dioceses within their jurisdiction. It is clear that the Catholic Church cannot police itself and that secular authorities are badly needed in order to root out corrupt behavior.

The first amendment to the United States Constitution is a cornerstone of our democracy, of our rights to free association and assembly. Unfortunately, these examples demonstrate that it has been perverted by bureaucrats who seek to use their special status as a way to rob both Peter and Paul. We hope that elected officials in the halls of Congress will look into potential remedies to curb this corruption and prevent much-needed funds from being wasted on an institution that has repeatedly shown that it looks out for itself at the expense of others.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009),

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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