When asked the above question, many respondents told America that they had reduced their financial contributions to the Catholic Church in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they had lowered the amount they gave to their bishop’s appeal, while 47 percent said they had reduced donations to their parishes.
Heather Glose of Buffalo, N.Y., explained her reasons for reducing her financial contributions this way: “As leaked diocesan documents indicate finances were a primary concern instead of victims, I am unable to contribute money while keeping my conscience clear,” said Ms. Glose. “If they care about money above all, maybe they will listen to our outrage more once they suffer financially.”
“We are considering suspending all of our donations to our local parish also, but we hesitate because that affects many people who have already endured pain and disappointment.”
Tamara Fitz-Harling of Clarks Summit, Pa., said she does not donate to the bishop’s appeal but still gives to her local parish. “We have stopped giving anything since the published results in our diocese. We are considering suspending all of our donations to our local parish also, but we hesitate because that affects many people who have already endured pain and disappointment.”
Donations to Catholic service agencies and schools suffered less than collections by bishops and parishes because respondents said they had greater trust in these institutions. Only 22 percent of respondents said they reduced their donations to Catholic charities, and 10 percent said they had lowered the amount they donated to Catholic schools. An anonymous reader from Sacramento, Calif., said: “I support Catholic Relief Services, and I support my parish if I can specify what ministry it goes to. I do not support my parish priest, who openly says abuse is a thing of the past, when I know that it is not.”
Many respondents said they would give more to the church if they felt it was responding adequately to the crisis. In the words of a reader from Oregon: “Investigate all present and past situations and publish a report of the results. Healing begins with acknowledging what has happened.”