Faced with a significant drop in donations, religious communities in financial difficulty

    Faced with a significant drop in donations, religious communities in financial difficulty

    The health crisis has damaged the treasuries of cults. Also, when closing the accounts for 2020, some religious institutions are intensifying campaigns with their flock, encouraging them to make donations, tax-exempt, to religious associations.

    Since the beginning of the year, the restrictions placed on religious celebrations in the presence of the public (total ban then limitation of attendance) have had as a direct consequence a drop in donations from the faithful, a large part of which is directly linked to the liturgical activity, that is to say to practice. The quests, collections, offerings that keep religious associations alive have very often evaporated, at least in part.

    This year, major religious holidays, which are traditionally special occasions to give, were held at the house. The “online quest” systems devised during the confinement have been far from compensating for the drastic reduction in donations made by the faithful on the occasion of their frequentation of churches, temples, mosques, synagogues.

    Parish resources have plunged

    The Catholic Church even speaks, as far as it is concerned, of a “Real shock”. The French Bishops’ Conference (CEF) estimated the drop in these donations at 90 million euros in 2020, which represents 17% of its total resources for 2019. The “shortfall” for the parishes this year, will have been 60 million euros for the first confinement and about 30 million euros for the second, less strict. There are also questions for the future, because in September, the CEF noted that the Catholics who are usually practicing had not all found their way to church on Sunday.

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    As a result, the resources of the parishes plunged from 30% to 40%. Their three main sources, which are the Sunday collection, the casual (paid by the faithful on the occasion of baptism, marriage or funeral) and the mass offerings (celebrated with a particular intention) plunged at the same time, when the faithful stayed at home.

    The charges, on the whole, remained incompressible, such as those linked to the maintenance of the buildings, to the salaries of priests (around 1,000 euros per month), to staff costs. It should be noted that for the laity (the Church employs 8,000 people), state aid for maintaining employment has enabled the dioceses to recover around 5 million euros. But this will be insufficient to prevent most of them from ending up in deficit at the end of the year. A third of the hundred or so dioceses are said to be in a “complicated” situation, of which around fifteen are “fragile”.

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