AP: Catholic Church lobbied for taxpayer funds, got $1.4B

National News

FILE – In this Sunday, April 12, 2020 file photo, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, right, delivers his homily over mostly empty pews as he leads an Easter Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. Due to coronavirus concerns, no congregants were allowed to attend the Mass which was broadcast live on local TV. The Archdiocese of New York received 15 loans worth at least $28 million just for its top executive offices. St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue was approved for at least $1 million. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NEW YORK (AP) — The U.S. Roman Catholic Church used a special and unprecedented exemption from federal rules to amass at least $1.4 billion in taxpayer-backed coronavirus aid. In totaling the church’s haul, The Associated Press also found tens of millions of dollars went to dioceses whose financial stress was due not simply to the pandemic but also to recent payouts to victims of clergy sex abuse. The Paycheck Protection Program the church tapped was intended to help small businesses and nonprofits pay workers amid a cratering economy. The church maximized its take after lobbying for an exemption that gave all religious groups preferential treatment. That helped make the Catholic Church among the biggest winners in the U.S. government’s pandemic relief efforts.

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