Clergy Sex Abuse Scandal Doesn't Impact Archdiocese Fundraising

Updated: 12/24/2013 11:28 AM By: Beth McDonough

Christmas time is an important fundraising season for many charities, especially for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

It's wrapping up its annual fundraising drive. The church is also entertaining a huge capital spending campaign.

Some parishioners told KSTP, the clergy sex abuse scandal made them think twice about how much to give ... or not give.

At the Basilica of St. Mary's, Christmas decorations are going up for popular holiday services.

Some, like Laurel Keitel came to church before the crowds. She admits her resolve has been tested, and her contribution to the Archdiocese was reconsidered.

Keitel made a small donation to the parish. She believes the amount of money sent a message. Others wavered too because of sex abuse cover-ups and large legal settlements. "I can see why people might have reservations to give," said Sam Bostrom.

KSTP looked at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis roster of giving for all 188 parishes. Some, like St. Joan of Arc in South Minneapolis, have barely raised 31 percent of their goal for the year. The Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis set a fundraising goal of $183,634, so far the parish raised $101,000, that's 55 percent of its goal.

Despite a noticeable drop in donations at some parishes, the Archdiocese told us it surpassed its annual fundraising goal by half a million dollars, with contributions topping $9.8 million.

Donors can give directly to the Archdiocese, or to a local parish.

Brian Smith is a steady supporter, "I can't let those issues affect my faith." Others are still donating, just not to the Diocese. "People give more to other social service agencies that provide the same level of concern, care and benefit," according to University of St. Thomas Professor Charles Reid.

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese told KSTP, not a single dollar of the contributions goes to pay for any settlement. That money is covered by insurance and other funds.

The Diocese also says donations help pay for ministries, schools and other social services in a 12 county area.

There are 825,000 Catholics in the metro, which is about 25 percent of the population.