After lobbying, Catholic Church won $1.4 billion in coronavirus aid

The US Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid, with many millions going to dioceses that have paid huge settlements or sought bankruptcy protection because of clergy sexual abuse cover-ups.

The church's haul may have reached -- or even exceeded -- $3.5 billion, making a global religious institution with more than a billion followers among the biggest winners in the US government's pandemic relief efforts, an Associated Press analysis of federal data released this week found. [...]

Simply being eligible for low-interest loans was a new opportunity. But the church couldn't have been approved for so many loans -- which the government will forgive if they are used for wages, rent and utilities -- without a second break.

Religious groups persuaded the Trump administration to free them from a rule that typically disqualifies an applicant with more than 500 workers. Without this preferential treatment, many Catholic dioceses would have been ineligible because -- between their head offices, parishes and other affiliates -- they exceed the 500-person cap.

"That favoritism was worth billions of dollars," said Micah Schwartzman, a University of Virginia law professor specializing in constitutional issues and religion who has studied the Paycheck Protection Program.

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3 Responses:

  1. Dude says:

    Also, the Ayn Rand Institute got a loan as well, and we all know how Rand felt about giving out loans.

    I'm tempted to liken the Institute's loan to the Church's because of how Rand's acolytes worship her as a god, but we also know how she felt about relgion (and abortion).

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