Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 15, 2004
CCCB cuts $800,000, cuts staff and increases tax on dioceses
By DEBORAH GYAPONG
Canadian Catholic News
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has cut about $800,000 from its 2005 budget, forcing the elimination or consolidation of several departments.
Gone are the aboriginal affairs office, which will be merged into the social affairs office, and the Christian unity, religious relations and interfaith dialogue offices, which will be merged into a new theology office.
"Although we have had to make adjustments to the staff and have reorganized the way in which the staff operates, the episcopal commissions which are made up of bishops remain the same," Archbishop Brendan O'Brien of St. John's, Nfld., president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in an email interview Nov. 5.
"Certainly, more is being asked of our staff, and they will have to prioritize their time in terms of the importance of the demands," he wrote. "There may, however, be even more cooperation and coordination as a result of these changes."
The conference also eliminated several part-time legal and policy adviser positions. O'Brien said the conference will hire lawyers to work on specific cases "as issues arise."
He said the changes were made for financial reasons and noted that many Canadian dioceses were not able to increase their funding of the conference.
Msgr. Mario Paquette, conference general secretary, said the bishops decided at their annual meeting in Cornwall, Ont., in October that the conference's budget must be balanced in 2005.
Paquette said the conference has run a deficit every year since 2000.
He said one principle the bishops tried to keep in mind was "to target expenses that were not related to eliminating jobs as much as possible." These were mainly grants or support money to various organizations, including the National Catholic Broadcasting Council based in Toronto and Video Religieuse in Montreal, he said.
Bede Hubbard, associate general secretary, said the conference did not rule out further cuts in the future, as it looks "for additional ways to economize."
Paquette said projected revenues for 2004 were too high, causing the shortfall. He said the conference is raising its tax on French-speaking dioceses by one cent per registered Catholic, while English-speaking dioceses will be raised by four cents per Catholic.
The overall operating budget for the CCCB is approximately $3.1 million for 2005.
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