Archdiocese of Chicago cuts back on staff

.- For the first time in 14 years, the Archdiocese of Chicago is laying off workers at its diocesan pastoral center due to an ongoing, multimillion-dollar budget deficit, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Church officials said Thursday that 40 positions would be cut by July. Some people will be offered early retirement, but the remainder will be layoffs. Some workers, mostly laypeople, have already been notified that their jobs will be cut, said the report.

The pastoral center's $495-million budget had an $8-million deficit last fiscal year, and officials hope the latest cuts will be enough to settle the problem.

The archdiocese says its financial troubles appeared before the legal claims were paid out to victims of clergy abuse, including the $18.2 million paid out last year. Officials say the archdiocese has been pumping millions of dollars into struggling parishes for years in an effort to keep them open.

In recent years, the archdiocese avoided layoffs by dipping into endowments, but officials say this is no longer feasible. 

"The archdiocese closed schools and parishes in recent years," archdiocesan Chancellor Jimmy Lago told the Tribune. "Likewise, the pastoral center and the central service agencies must continue to streamline to enable us to divert more resources to existing parishes, schools and essential ministries."

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