Mainz – Due to the economic impact of the Corona crisis, Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General Udo Markus Bentz has imposed a budget freeze on the entire diocese of Mainz from April 20. The diocese, which extends to Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse, announced on Tuesday in Mainz that this means that all expenditure already approved in the households and job advertisements will initially be suspended and require the consent of the vicar general. Bentz is also a bishopric economist.
In an interview with the episcopal press office, finance director Christof Molitor stated that the effects of the crisis on the financial situation of the diocese and the parishes are still not fully foreseeable. But there is a massive decline in church tax revenue, there is also a lack of income because educational and conference centers are closed, parental contributions for childcare in day-care centers and schools, collections or rental income for parish and parish rooms, for example, are missing. On the other hand, the expansion of the digital infrastructure necessary in times of contact restrictions causes costs.
If the situation normalizes from May and there is a quick economic recovery, additional burdens of 50 to 60 million euros are expected in 2020 with a planned budget volume of 357 million euros and a planned shortfall of 32 million euros. Molitor went on to say that the corona crisis is exacerbating social problems and will make Caritas even more demanding. This means that new tasks would arise, and at the same time there would be losses because, for example, services such as day care could not currently be provided.
With regard to the entire diocese, the finance director said that the annual results had been negative for several years and that structural consolidation measures were necessary. “These measures now need to be advised and implemented more quickly.”