The Diocese of Cloyne is running out of money as it attempts to come to terms with the after-effects of the recent and controversial report into clerical sex abuse.
The Cork diocese made headlines across the world when the report highlighted a failure on behalf of church leaders to react in a proper manner to allegations of child abuse.
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny went so far as to slam the Vatican after the report claimed that the diocesan leaders failed to report the allegations to the civil authorities.
Now it has transpired that the Cloyne diocese is in financial disarray, days after the Archbishop of Dublin confirmed that his own diocese was in danger of financial wipe-out.
A statement issued on behalf of the Diocese of Cloyne confirmed that it had sold property and used cash reserves to meet day-to-day expenses.
“Those options are now almost exhausted,” said the statement as the diocese comes to terms with the findings of the Murphy Report into the handling of abuse allegations.
When contacted by the Irish Independent, seven dioceses admitted to being under financial pressure with Cloyne one of the worst affected as it now depends on weekly collections to make ends meet.
“The finances of the diocese of Cloyne have come under extreme pressure from a number of sources over the past few years,” said the statement.
“While in the past the diocese has sold property and used reserves in order to meet its commitments, this option is almost exhausted.
“Ultimately the diocese and each parish depend on the generosity of the faithful in the weekly collections and other contributions for the funding of our activities and the meeting of our commitments. We are continually grateful for their generosity and support.”
A regular commentator, Fr Brian D’Arcy has also signaled that most dioceses around Ireland are experiencing financial difficulty. He said that the abuse scandals have done “very serious damage” to the church, especially in rural parishes.
"It has been a very difficult time for the Church’s finances. Collections are, generally speaking, falling all over the country and people are asking where is the this money going? And ‘why should we pay for the sins of the father’?"
Responding to the claims that Irish dioceses are running out of funds, David Clohessy, Executive Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said he remained skeptic.
“We urge citizens to take these claims of tight diocesan finances with a healthy dose of skepticism. In our experience, such claims are often designed to deter, guilt-trip and shame victims into staying silent,” he said in a statement.