Vlazny Tells Oregon Catholics of Cash-Flow Problem

Portland, Ore., Archbishop John Vlazny is warning Catholics throughout Western Oregon that the Archdiocese is facing “serious cash flow problems,” and needs to cut $1 million from its budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Parishes and schools throughout the western half of the state could be affected by the cutbacks coming from the Portland-based Archdiocesan Pastoral Center.

Vlazny wrote about the cutbacks in a letter distributed throughout parish churches on Sunday, which also updated congregants about property and insurance litigation in the Archdiocese’s ongoing bankruptcy case.

The archdiocese became the nation’s first Catholic diocese to declare bankruptcy in July 2004, after about 130 cases were filed alleging sexual abuse by the diocese’s priests.

The archdiocese said in court papers last year that it had hoped to settle all the claims for about $42 million.

In December, Bankruptcy Judge Elizabeth Perris found that church property was controlled by the archdiocese, meaning that parish and Catholic school real estate can be considered when the court decides how much of a settlement claimants might be paid.

In his letter to Catholics across the region, Vlazny concluded with a plea for support, writing, “only your generosity will allow us to continue many of the ministries of the Church of Western Oregon.”