From the Citizen's Voice:
A letter published Thursday in The Catholic Light from interim leader of the diocese Cardinal Justin Rigali cited a diocesan "deficit" of $15.5 million in fiscal year 2009, but by conventional accounting standards the actual operating deficit for the year was $3.1 million.
The figure cited by Rigali, and then reported by The Citizens' Voice, includes shrinking value in diocesan assets like the value of investments, and growing liabilities like bad loans and pension obligations - which do not bear upon actual revenue and expenses of the annual budget.
The Diocese of Scranton's actual deficit for fiscal year 2009 totals $3.1 million, increasing from a $502,460 deficit reported in 2008.
Major factors were a $3.5 million decline in revenue, led by a decrease in investment income, special collections and the Diocesan Annual Appeal.
Separately, the diocese did see a $15.4 million decline in the net value of its assets. Of that, $7.1 million were provisions for loan losses, many from parishes that cannot repay money borrowed to fund Catholic schools. Another $3.6 million of the 2009 asset decline is related to long-term effects of changes to the pension system, according to the financial statements.
The diocese's total liabilities now exceed its total assets by $26.1 million, or 25 percent, according to the financial statement published in the diocesan newspaper.