Bishop's apology over $23.6m debt

A bishop in the UK has apologised to Catholics in his diocese after admitting the diocese is more than $A23.6 million in the red.

The BBC reports that Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster, said the money was borrowed to pay for diocesan bureaucracy from money earmarked for use by parishes.

But in a letter read in churches on Sunday he conceded the debt might never be repaid.

The diocese recently made employees redundant. It has imposed a spending freeze on building projects.

Bishop O'Donoghue, who was appointed in 2001, said he had always sensed the diocese was living beyond its means.

"Every so often I questioned if we could afford certain structures only to be told there was no problem because we were 'asset rich'," he wrote.

But a series of recent reviews had revealed the diocese's true financial position.

Bishop's apology over 10m debt (BBC 27/2/06)

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Diocese of Lancaster

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28 Feb 2006