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Spotlight Report

Boston Archdiocese to cut aid to city schools, parishes

By Stephen Kurkjian and Sacha Pfeiffer, Globe Staff, 6/28/2002

The Archdiocese of Boston yesterday made public some of the details of its previously announced plan to cut its central operating budget by a third over the next year, saying that it was reducing funds to city schools and parishes by 15 percent and terminating the jobs of 13 lay employees.

Chancellor David Smith, the archdiocese's chief financial officer, stressed that no programs in city parishes and schools would be eliminated or even reduced under the new budget. The reduction in contributions to the city schools and parishes would be accommodated by consolidating how the parishes deliver their services.

''There is no reduction in the ministry in these parishes. No schools are being closed,'' Smith said at a press conference.

However, the Rev. Christopher Coyne, the church's spokesman, said the cuts would have an impact.

''You can focus on that and say that the budget cuts and reductions in finances will only hurt the most vulnerable,'' Coyne said, but emphasized that the personnel layoffs show ''how it's going to hurt right across the board. ... It's not just one particular part of our mission.''

Smith said the archdiocese had been planning since last fall to reduce its spending by a third over the next two fiscal years. However, as contributions from parishioners continued to slow down in recent months it was decided to accelerate those cuts, amounting to about $8 million, and make them over the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Meanwhile, state Representative Martin J. Walsh, a Dorchester Democrat, and state Senator Robert E. Travaglini, Democrat of East Boston, filed a bill that would eliminate the statute of limitations for prosecuting the crime of rape and attempted rape.

The proposed legislation was prompted by the large number of clergy sex abuse allegations involving incidents too old to be prosecuted.

This story ran on page A12 of the Boston Globe on 6/28/2002.
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