The U.S. Roman Catholic Church was awarded at least $1.4 billion in coronavirus aid after religious leaders convinced the Trump administration to free them of a rule that typically disqualifies an applicant with more than 500 workers from receiving funds under the Paycheck Protection Program, the Associated Press reported Friday.
According to an Associated Press analysis of federal data, the Catholic Church's haul may have reached $3.5 billion. Catholic dioceses, parishes, schools, and other ministries have already been approved for 3,500 forgivable loans.
- The Archdiocese of New York received 15 loans worth at least $28 million.
- Diocesan officials in Orange County, California, received four loans worth at least $3 million.
- The diocese in Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia was awarded a loan of at least $2 million.
- Catholic Charities USA was approved for around 110 loans worth between $90 million and $220 million.
- The archdiocese and its affiliates in Los Angeles received 37 loans worth between $9 million and $23 million.
Approximately 500 loans approved to Catholic entities exceeded $1 million, while at least eight loans hit the maximum range of $5 to $10 million.
A majority of the listed recipients of the loans were the offices of bishops, headquarters of leading religious orders, major churches, schools, and chapters of Catholic Charities, the Associated Press found.
Bishop Lawrence Persico of Erie, Pennsylvania, whose diocese received loans worth $10.3 million, pointed out that the Catholic Church, along with other religious organizations, provide for people so they can stay employed during these difficult times.
"I know some people may react with surprise that government funding helped support faith-based schools, parishes, and dioceses," Persico said. "The separation of church and state does not mean that those motivated by their faith have no place in the public square."