PARISH priests throughout the Westminster archdiocese are facing massively increased assessments for their contributions to the finances of the archdiocese.
In many parishes the levy for 1978 will be treble or quadruple the 1977 levy for the Westminster Central Schools Fund.
At the end of the year the Schools Fund is to close and the new Westminster Development Fund will be inaugurated.
Mgr Ralph Brown, the Vicar General of Westminster, explained on Monday: "Previously only money for schools was raised from the diocese. Everything else was borrowed.
"Projects like the Westminster ,Religious Education Centre, the
marriage tribunal and handicapped catechesis were financed piecemeal, they were not part of a pastoral plan."
The new assessments have come as an unwelcome shock to many priests. The increases called for seem to them unreasonable and unrealistic, Mgr Brown acknowledges that the scheme will not work everywhere but points out that if every Massgoer who is employed puts the equivalent of one hour's wages into the collection plate, the new assessments will be feasible.
Each parish levy is based on Mass counts. The assessment was worked out on the basis that each working adult would contribute £1 (the hourly rate of the normal minimum wage of £40).
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