When so many small businesses applied for these loans that the government has run out of money, how in the world could we as a Church, dare to consider taking such an action? We don't need it. What happened to separation of Church and state?”
St. Margaret’s must balance income and expenses like any business. When income drops, we must cut expenses. Our main expense is our staff. I was in the process of cutting our staff pay, including my own, in order to manage our very understandable decrease in contributions. My next step would have been to furlough staff. Then the SBA made this loan available. The purpose of the SBA loan is to keep as many people employed as possible. The bishop and diocesan finance and legal departments encouraged this step to keep parish and school staff employed. The diocese is also assisting by cancelling several months of the cathedraticum (diocesan tax on parish income) and providing loans to cover operating expenses. Some parishes and schools will not survive even with this assistance. I want St. Margaret’s to be ready to get back on track just as soon as we can.
We do have to be very careful about the separation of church and state. Accepting state support could risk accepting state control of how we practice our faith. When we can work in cooperation with the state to achieve common goals, without compromising our faith, we do accept state support. In this case, in order to achieve a common goal of keeping as many people employed as possible, the USCCB and diocese worked hard to ensure that it was safe for parishes to apply. We made our application and were accepted.