Tuesday, February 9, 2021

USCCB Bishops Take Pandemic Funds -- Archfather Comments

FIRENZE-NUOVA ROMA 9 February 2021 (NRom)

Recent reports have shown that Bishops of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have taken U.S. pandemic relief funds despite substantial financial endowments, thereby taking cash for closing their church doors to those in need. His Holiness and Eminence the Archfather made the following statement earlier today. 


Throughout the COVID-19 humanitarian crisis, We have consistently admonished governments against policies that select winners and losers. We have also admonished corporations that are financially well-endowed against seeking or receiving windfall gains and/or public relief support when so many are losing their businesses and livelihoods. However, We never would have expected that this would include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. According to credible reports, many dioceses of the Roman Communion within the United States took pandemic small business stimulus money due to lost money from closed churches, despite significant financial endowments. Church sovereignty was sold for cash. This is most troubling. 

     Indeed, governments around the world have a moral responsibility to make whole those who are harmed by their pandemic reponse policies. Even a parish or a diocese that is financially precarious and vulnerable can reasonably receive aid. Yet, those who are able to take care of themselves and are even profiting (as in the case of certain corporations) should not seek such funds. We, the Anglican Patriarchate, have neither sought nor taken such funds, instead preferring that they go to help those who are the most vulnerable and most impacted. 

     My brother Catholic Bishops in the United States would have been well-advised not to close their churches during the pandemic. That does not mean that they should not have taken appropriate precautions, but rather that Church sovereignty should have been maintained against the civil government, sacraments should have been entirely accessible by the faithful during this time of great need and suffering, and the clergy should have been completely available. That is our legacy as Catholic clergy. In this case, it was entirely abdicated – and not just abdicated, but abdicated in favour of cash. 

     Therefore, We call upon the Catholic dioceses of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to show in detail what they are doing with the money they have received. They must show how it is being used to benefit the poor, the vulnerable, and the less fortunate.