May 12, 2005

Boston's Catholic Archdiocese May Cut Priests' Pensions

The New York Times

Published: May 12, 2005

Seeking to save money, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is proposing cuts in its pension benefits for priests.

The archdiocese says that its pension fund has had poor returns in recent years and has suffered from many of the same problems as corporate America's pension funds. Previously, however, officials have cited general financial strains stemming from the sexual abuse scandal and a resulting decline in contributions from churchgoers.

The archdiocese has begun holding meetings to inform priests of the proposed cuts. They include freezing monthly pension benefits at the current level, $1,889, rather than raising them with inflation, and asking some priests in some case to pick up more of their housing costs.

Medical benefits would also be reduced and linked to financial need for the first time. Able-bodied retired priests would be steered away from assisted-living quarters, which are expensive, and encouraged to stay in their parish rectories after retiring. Those who collect Social Security or have other assets, say, from a family inheritance, would have to dip into those funds to pay for assisted living and nursing home care that the archdiocese now provides.

Posted by kshaw at May 12, 2005 05:25 AM