Twin Cities Catholics brace for archdiocese bankruptcy fallout

Twin Cities Catholics brace for archdiocese bankruptcy fallout

“My understanding is that we will lose it,” he said. “But there’s still a lot of questions out there.’’

Churches are trying other strategies. The Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Maplewood created a Legacy Foundation in 2013, the same year the Legislature passed the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which opened a three-year window allowing sex abuse cases that were otherwise barred by the statute of limitations to go to court. The law change sparked the unprecedented explosion of abuse lawsuits.

“Having the endowment held by a separate institution, the funds should be protected from any possible litigation or action of creditors against the parish, and are also protected against possible misuse by future parish leaders to solve short-term financial problems,” the church’s website says.

The foundation’s chairman, Jim Miettunen, declined to provide further details of why the foundation was created.

The archdiocese did much the same last year, when it created the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation to safeguard parishioner’s donations made during its annual Catholic appeal. Last year, Catholics donated more than $9 million to the nonprofit foundation, which is a separate legal entity. Nienstedt on Friday cited it as an example of the continuing support coming from the pews.

The archbishop also encouraged Catholics to continue contributing to their church.

For many Catholics, however, their questions will only be answered by the course of the archdiocese’s bankruptcy proceedings and the final outcome of what has become a long crisis for their church.

Schranker has stopped donating to her church. She hopes to return to church someday, but now worries that her friends who are retired Catholic schoolteachers will lose their pensions.

“You develop a mistrust of religion,’’ she said.


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