Sitting on billions, Catholic dioceses amassed taxpayer aid

An Associated Press investigation has found that scores of Roman Catholic dioceses in the U.S. had more than $10 billion in cash and other readily available funds when they received at least $1.5 billion from the federal government’s small business emergency relief program.

The Paycheck Protection Program was intended for employers who were badly battered by coronavirus lockdowns. Instead of suffering financially, however, many dioceses are reporting in audited financial statements that these assets ended up growing amid the economic downturn.

Overall, Catholic Church recipients were perhaps the paycheck program’s biggest beneficiaries. Church officials say they needed government relief to pay staff because donations from the faithful slowed when churches were ordered to close.