WASHINGTON -- More than half of U.S. Catholic parishes surveyed in late 2010 said the nationwide financial crisis has sparked a growth in requests for financial assistance and pastoral counseling while parishes struggle with falling incomes caused by the recession.
Key findings from a survey of 390 Catholic parishes, reported this month by economist Charles Zech of Villanova University in Philadelphia, included:
- More than nine out of 10 parishes said they have been called to do more for parishioners because of increased unemployment in the parish.
- Eighty-five percent said they have faced increased requests for financial assistance.
- Five out of eight -- 62 percent -- said they have received more requests for emergency housing as a result of the recession.
- Nearly two-thirds -- 64.6 percent -- reported that the recession has caused an increase in requests for pastoral counseling.