A Catholic fraternal benefit society is trying to use its financial muscle to help pull U.S. Catholic dioceses through the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Knights of Columbus announced earlier this week that it has established a $100 million short-term financing fund for the dioceses.
The New Haven, Connecticut-based organization said it will provide a secured line of credit for up to $1 million per Catholic diocese.
The program will start Monday and be open for 60 days, the Knights of Columbus said.
In the Catholic church, a typical diocese is a territory that comes under the supervision of a bishop. The United States has 145 territorial dioceses, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
In many parts of the United States, governors and mayors have shut down schools, banned public religious services, and encouraged or required many workers to stay at home, in an effort to slow the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19 pneumonia and other COVID-19-related conditions, such as inflammation of the heart and in inflammation of the kidneys.
The “shelter in place” orders have sharply reduced the revenue parish churches get from parish schools or from passing the collection plate at Sunday services.
The Knights of Columbus generates about $2 billion in annual revenue from selling products such as life insurance, disability insurance and long-term care insurance.