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Phila. Archidiocese lays off 45, merges offices to trim $17 mil. deficit

Chaput said the deficit was due to longstanding structural problems within the local Catholic Church.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia will lay off 45 employees and consolidate several offices to help close a $17 million deficit, officials announced Thursday.

The layoffs are only part of the plan to reduce operating costs at the Archdiocese. The Church will also stop publishing the Catholic Standard and Times, a weekly newspaper that became a monthly last year, ending 117 years of publishing, and Phaith Magazine will also be suspended.

Archbishop Charles Chaput said the debt was not a result of recent litigation costs related to priest sex abuse, which he estimated two weeks ago at $11 million, but instead due to structural problems that have existed for years.

"I take this action with great reluctance, as one of several urgently needed steps to restore the local Church to a healthy financial footing," Chaput said of the layoffs. "Every departing employee has the sincere gratitude of the Archdiocese and will be treated with maximum consideration."

Under the restructuring plan, the Archdiocese will merge Family Life and Respect Life/Deaf Apostolate plus Formation of the Laity into the Office of Life, Family & Laity; the Office of Youth and Young Adult Programs will become part of the Office of Catholic Education and Office of Catechetical Formation. Additionally, all programs run through Hispanic Ministry will merge into the Office of Hispanic Catholics.

With the changes, Chaput said, the Archdiocese expects to balance its budget by next July and be in position for long-term growth.

 
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