The National Conference of Bishops yesterday adopted a budget for next year that calls for $16.4 million in expenditures - an increase of almost $5 million - but sharply reduces the amount of funding for antiabortion activities.
The bishops, in their annual fall meeting here, were told that most of the increase is for emigration and refugee services. The budget calls for spending $5.6 million for those services, with the bulk of that money, $4.4 million, coming from government grants.
The bishop's antiabortion budget was set at $165,194, a cut of about $60,000 from this year's program.
Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York, addressing the cut in antiabortion activities, said, "It hurts, but we'll try to keep things going even more strongly."
Cooke explained the cut as part of the conference's overall effort to economize, rather than any falling off of commitment to the antiabortion cause.
Despite Cooke's explanation the cut as part of the conference's overall effort to economize, rather than any falling off of commitment to the antiabortion cause.
Despite Cooke's explanation, some Catholic leaders are known to be apprehensive that official church involvement in efforts to influence abortion legislation may jeopardize the church's tax-exempt status.
Most organized antiabortion efforts are carried on through specialized organizations set up for the purpose, and are legally separate from the church. Nor does the budget of the bishops' conference reflect efforts of individual dioceses, most of which have right-to-life committees.
The budget voted yesterday included a new item of $99,100 to finance a committee on evangelisim, a growing concern of the church today.