May 12, 2005

Retirement changes eyed for priests

Boston Globe

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff | May 12, 2005

The cash-strapped Catholic Archdiocese of Boston is considering significant changes in its expectations of senior priests that would encourage clergy to continue to work after they retire and require priests with financial assets to help pay for nursing-home or assisted-living care.

The archdiocese says that it remains committed to taking care of its clergy and that it will guarantee that no retired priests are without shelter, healthcare, or income. But the archdiocese says it must change benefits or risk running out of money in its pension fund.

The adjustments, which were circulated in a draft policy to all priests and are being discussed at meetings with clergy around the archdiocese, are being proposed as many private companies are eliminating or reducing pension benefits.

The archdiocese says it faces a $55 million unfunded liability in its pension fund for priests. Actuaries say that is the amount the archdiocese has promised to retirees, an amount that it does not have in the bank. The archdiocese attributes the problem to poor investment performance and longer average life span and says the shortfall is unrelated to the costs of settling abuse cases or closing parishes.

Posted by kshaw at May 12, 2005 06:35 AM