Cash worries for Dublin Archdiocese
Ireland's largest Catholic Archdiocese has admitted it is facing serious financial problems with parishes on the brink of going bust because of the recession and clerical abuse claims.
Among ideas being put forward by priests in Dublin to tackle the situation is a levy on families to plug a massive gap in donations and mass-goers.
Leaked papers from the Council of Priests in the Archdiocese reveal many parishes are in a precarious position after 13 million euro was paid out in compensation.
However, the Archdiocese has said the biggest impact on Church funds has been falling donations at Mass.
A spokeswoman said the Church has been hit by declining financial resources "like most people and organisations in the current economic climate".
"It is preparing measures to address that situation based on an analysis of pastoral needs and funding requirements into the future," she said.
"The Archdiocese has to face the current serious economic reality and review what it can and cannot support financially in the coming years.
"It is a complex situation which will require a multifaceted, considered response."
The Archdiocese is in the middle of a root-and-branch financial review, with a number of bodies urged to prepare for an overhaul of funding, including the Council of Priests.
The idea for a levy on Catholic families in each of the 199 parishes in Dublin has targeted funds of three million euro a year.