Not content to minister to the flock, an Irish archbishop has asked priests to pay over $900.00 each year into a fund that will be used to compensate Irish victims of clerical sex abuse.
According to a report in the Irish Independent this week, Archbishop Dermot Clifford has sent letters to all of the priests in the Cashel and Emly Archdiocese of County Tipperary and County Limerick asking them to pay between $60 and $75 dollars per month to a Clergy Contribution Fund.
The money will reportedly be paid into the new fund because of what the letter called ‘debts incurred in relation to child protection issues’ - but it stops short of saying that it would be used to make payouts.
The Independent nonetheless claims that the fund was set up three years ago and is used solely to pay compensation to clerical sex abuse victims.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly refused to comment to the press, or indicate how much money has been paid to date.
It's understood that up to 80 priests in 46 parishes across Tipperary and Limerick have been asked to contribute to the fund, which, if they all comply, will raise over $63,000 dollars per annum.
Irish curates are paid around $25,000 per year, with parish priests earning more, however its understood that the priests contacted were not informed how much has been paid out or what the current balance of the Clergy Contribution Fund is.
In his letter, which was marked Private and Confidential to the Clergy of Cashel and Emly, Archbishop Clifford told his colleagues that the fund raising decision had been taken after a discussion amongst council members regarding the Clergy Contribution Fund.
'Due to debts incurred in relation to child protection issues, it is the opinion of the council that I make a renewed appeal to the priests of the diocese for the restoration of contributions to the fund,' the Archbishop wrote in the letter that was quote by the Independent.
Contributions will be voluntary and come directly from the salaries of priests. It is not known how many - if any - other Irish dioceses have asked priests to contribute towards payouts for victims of clerical sex abuse from their own salaries.