Talk back: Amid scandal, would you donate to L.A. archdiocese?
The archdiocese is still paying down loans used to cover a $660-million settlement in 2007 with more than 500 victims, the largest in U.S. history. According to a December financial report, its liabilities now outstrip its assets by $80 million.
Times reporters Harriet Ryan, Ashley Powers and Victoria Kim reported Wednesday that the archdiocese has hired a New York company, Guidance In Giving Inc., to study the feasibility of a large-scale fundraiser, which would be its first capital campaign in 60 years.
The archdiocese is contemplating the fundraiser as a way to repay settlement loans totaling $175 million, according to the report. An archdiocese spokesman confirmed that the capital campaign was being considered but in a statement did not address whether any proceeds would be used to pay down the settlement loan.
Spokesman Tod Tamberg said in an email that the funds would "be put into various endowments earmarked to support the pastoral priorities of the Archdiocese, as well for the general repair and upkeep of our parish churches and schools."
The church's last capital campaign occurred in 1949 and raised $3.5 million for new schools in only three weeks. At that time, there were about 650,000 Catholics in the archdiocese. Now there are 5 million, according to church figures.
If the new fundraiser occurs, it would place Archbishop Jose Gomez in the potentially difficult position of seeking large contributions from people whose anger at the abuse scandal has been stoked anew. Files released in a court case last month showed how Gomez's predecessor, Cardinal Roger Mahony, and a high-ranking church official, Thomas J. Curry, plotted to hide molestation from police in the 1980s and 1990s.
How a fundraising push would resonate with parishioners remains an open question.
Would you donate money to the archdiocese amid the sex abuse scandal? Would you want to know where the funds would go before donating?
-- Samantha Schaefer
Photo: Cardinal Roger Mahony, right, and Archbishop Jose Gomez in 2010, give Communion during a ceremony of transition as Archbishop at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in 2010. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times