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Sydney parishes stretched by increased Fund requirements

The Archdiocese of Sydney has requested about one third of its parishes to increase the amount they give to the Charitable Works Fund by up to ten times their current contribution.

Responding to an article in Online Catholics earlier this month, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that affected parishes are mostly in the eastern and innter suburbs. They include Bondi Beach, North Sydney, Waverley, Daceyville, Church Hill, Balmain, Broadway, St Peter Julian Haymarket, Leichhardt, Pyrmont-Ultimo, Lurnea and Menai.

The archdiocese has revamped the contribution scheme to make it more transparent, accountable and flexible than the existing system. The new system is designed to benefit parishes with little or no independent income, such as Liverpool, Caringbah, Earlwood and Hunters Hill.

Under the new formula, the archdiocese will take 20% of each parish's rental income and 1.5% of its cash and investments (less all expenses), a percentage from the second collection plate, and between 20 cents and $2 for each parishioner - depending on a census assessment of the parish's wealth.

The Charitable Works Fund raises money by bequest and public donations - and compulsory annual collections from parishes - to fund the work of church organisations, including Centacare, the Catholic Adult Education Centre and Natural Family Planning.

Fr Paul Foley, parish priest of St Anne's, Bondi Beach, said he was stunned by his new assessment, which shows a 200% increase. "I don't mind it going up by the CPI, but 200% is a fair whack. I'm suppose to be prudent with what I spend and I don't want to take it out of reserve funds - that's there for a real rainy day."

The Archdiocese told the Herald that it would consult widely before making changes.

"No final decision is expected on this proposal before the middle of 2005," it said. "The new formula is designed to be revenue-neutral. Based on 2003 figures, approximately three out of four parishes would have a reduction in their current assessment."

Parishes warned they'll have to dig deeper (Sydney Morning Herald 11/9/04)

Sydney Parishes slugged via the CWF (Online Catholics 1/9/04)
Archdiocese of Sydney | Charitable Works Fund

13 Sep 2004