The treasurer of Birmingham archdiocese wrote to HM Revenue and Customs, the U.K tax authority, in June asking it to reassess priests' exclusion from the scheme.
Bernard Cooper, clergy welfare coordinator of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, told CNA: "If a priest comes to me saying, 'I've got no money. I can't manage,' it's vital that even in the poorest parish, with no income, that the parish finances must reflect the support of its priest."
"So in those extreme cases the diocese is basically having to increase the overdraft of the parish, obviously guaranteed by the diocese, to enable the priest to draw some money to live on. Most priests are extremely reluctant to do that. They don't like drawing money from the parish account if the parish ain't got the money."
"A secular priest, a diocesan priest, does not have the vow of poverty. The perception that priests have -- and the perception that the faithful, the lay people, have -- is that a priest is poor and should be seen to be poor and not put himself in a better position than his own congregation."
Cooper added that applying for Universal Credit, a benefit payment for people on a low income or out of work, did not appear to be an option for priests.
"They are just sort of left high and dry," he said, adding that he hoped the tax authority would resolve the matter in priests' favor.
The situation for clergy in England appears to vary considerably from diocese to diocese.
The Diocese of Leeds, for example, paid a living allowance directly into priests' bank accounts to help them through lockdown.
A spokeswoman for the diocese said: "Some priests had expressed their concern about how they would manage in that time of uncertainty; others had no worries. But to ensure all were treated equally and could feel financially secure and supported -- and crucially to prevent any priest being tempted to disadvantage himself and 'go without' -- the allowance was paid to all priests."
The diocesan finance department also made a further allowance available to cover the lost Easter offering.
Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith, pastor of St. Peter's, Hove, a seaside town in East Sussex, told CNA that he had received similar financial support in his Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.
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"Much to my surprise, the Mass intentions held up," he said, explaining that parishioners continued to drop off Mass offerings in envelopes throughout the lockdown.
He added that since public Masses were permitted to resume in July, Mass attendance was around half of what it was before the crisis.
"The interesting thing is, our finance committee met and, as it turns out, even though our congregation has gone down a lot, our takings have not gone down correspondingly. They're not as catastrophic as you would expect. So what this points to is that those who gave a lot have come back," he said.