The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced yesterday that because of its difficult financial situation, it will sell the six nursing homes that it has previously run as Catholic health care facilities, along with one assisted-living facility. The Archdiocese said that the "clincher" in the unfortunate decision to sell the facilities was a combined operating deficit of $1.4 million, which forms part of the $39.2 million operating deficit of the Archdiocese. Officials with the curia in Philadelphia also announced plans to outsource the management of its Catholic cemeteries.
Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said that he understood the financial pressure that the Archdiocese is under, but that did not make the decision to sell or outsource these Church facilities, so vital to the corporal works of mercy, any easier for him. “Our difficult financial situation must be addressed and the actions that we need to take may be painful ones,” the Archbishop said in a statement, “I understand this fact fully, but it is of critical importance that we rebuild our financial foundation so that we can continue our collective good works.” With regard to those currently employed by the Catholic Health Care Services and the Catholic cemeteries in the Archdiocese, His Excellency said that he wants those who have a job to continue in that employment. “Every effort will be made to ensure continued employment for all those currently working within the system,” Chaput said.
The Archbishop said that the decisions to sell Church facilities that carry out works of mercy in the Church's name is one that he does not take lightly. “They have all come after much careful discernment and prayer as well as significant discussion and consultation,” the Archbishop pointed out. “In the end, any final decisions about our nursing homes and cemeteries will be mine. They’ll be made with full and due consideration to the mission of our local Church and all those who would be affected.”
The Archdiocese has already sold the Archbishop's episcopal residence and a home for retired priests in New Jersey, as well as cut staff at it's Pastoral Center.