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Religion IN BRIEF

Catholic Orders Face Retirement Crises

September 02, 2000|Religion News Service

Roman Catholic religious orders have made significant progress in addressing a growing retirement crisis.

According to a report by the National Religious Retirement Office, 61% of religious orders are planning for retirement needs, which is up from 40% in 1994. Additionally, the number of orders that have sold unused property to make money has doubled.

Faced with lower numbers of recruits and an aging population in need of expensive medical care, religious orders are struggling to pay for the retirements of their members. Four years ago, religious orders had $7.9 billion in unfunded costs, and that number has shrunk to $6.4 billion.

Religious orders are becoming more business-savvy and are bringing in outside help to deal with the problem, the report said.

"The problem of financing the retirement of U.S. religious [orders] has not gone away, but it is becoming more manageable," said Brother John Patzwell, associate director of the retirement office.

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