An Irish parliamentarian who lives in the Diocese of Cloyne has urged Catholics not to support church collections designed to ease the debt built-up by clerical sex abuse compensation cases.
Fine Gael deputy Tom Barry urged parishioners to boycott church collections after the Dublin diocese confirmed it is close to bankruptcy as a result of compensation claims.
The Dublin diocese is actively considering a levy on mass goers after paying out almost $20million in abuse claims.
Other dioceses, including Cloyne, may follow suit according to Barry who has urged church-goers not to fund the compensation pay-outs.
Barry told the Irish Examiner that: “Hard-pressed Catholic families should not have to pay for the failure of the hierarchy to prevent some priests from abusing children.”
He also said: “The Catholic Church could easily foot the bill itself by selling off one or two of the treasures it possessed in Rome.
“The Church also has huge assets in this country as well which it could sell off.”
A married father of three who regularly attends Mass, Barry said he would urge Catholics to tell their priests that the Church should fund such settlements from its own resources.
“As a practicing Catholic I have absolutely no objection to providing money for the genuine upkeep of churches and I would regularly contribute. I have no problem putting my hand in my pocket for such things,” he added.
“But already cash-strapped families shouldn’t have to contribute to a shortfall which resulted from pay-outs to abuse victims because of failings of the hierarchy.
“It is the whole system of the Catholic Church hierarchy which is the problem. They shouldn’t isolate that problem to Ireland. Therefore, any shortfalls in diocesan funds here should be made up by the Vatican.”