.- An estimate of the sum total of charitable work performed by the Catholic Church and her members shows that the Church saves Spain billions of euros every year, reported the vice secretary of Economic Affairs for the Spanish Bishop’s Conference.
During the presentation of a report on charitable and pastoral work carried out in 2008, Fernando Gimenez Barriocanal said Thursday that the Church is “the largest provider of assistance in Spain.” That work, he said, is inspired by “the proclamation and living of the faith.”
Barriocanal remarked that the work done by Catholic charitable organizations such as Caritas and Manos Unidas has helped 2.8 million people in nearly 4,500 centers. The figures for 2010 are expected to be much higher because of the economic crisis.
He also reported that priests and pastoral workers devoted more than 45 million hours to the faithful. In market terms, that would amount to a contribution of more than 1.8 billion euros. Taking into account that the Church spent 680 million euros in 2008, each euro spent brought a return on investment of 2.73.
In the area of pastoral work, Barriocanal pointed out there are more than 20,000 priests and 1,500 members of religious communities in Spain’s parishes. There are also 55,000 members of religious communities in other locations. The country also boasts of more than 70,000 active catechists. All of this activity is carried out in the more than 22,000 parishes across in Spain.
Regarding the Church’s liturgical activity, Barriocanal reported that there were 335,484 Baptisms, 244,469 First Communions, 94,109 Confirmations, 104,010 weddings and more than five million Masses said in 2008.
In the field of education, Catholic schools educate 1.3 million students. Their existence and service saves the state some four billion in educational costs.