Church buildings do not have billions mendacity round. They want PPP cash

To the Editor: My Church, St. Mary of the Assumption, received a US $ 125,000 Federal Paycheck Protection Program loan. (“The Catholic dioceses sat on billions collecting pandemic aid for taxpayers, ”4. February)

Since our church doors closed at the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve expanded our food bank and buried 275 people. We visit PIH Health Hospital in Whittier three times a week and answer emergency calls. We continue to teach children in our elementary school and celebrate the sacraments.

We were confused by government guidelines, but all of our services are held off-site because we believe it is safer to do so. We have also asked our senior community members and those with limited health to stay home and participate online. Our weekly participation is 25% compared to the pre-pandemic, and our offer is 75%.

With the PPP loan we were initially able to pay the salaries of our employees; When the money ran out we had to fire five employees.

It’s an old myth that billions of dollars are lying around in the Catholic Church. I am grateful that we qualified for a PPP loan. I think we spent the money well. If we qualify for another loan, our church will apply and use that money to satisfy more hunger, comfort more sick, bury more of our dead, and pay more salaries.

The Rev. Patrick Keyes, Whittier

..

To the editor: Why are churches being relieved by the CARES law at all?

Without question, churches are companies. Unlike a hair salon or restaurant, the 1st Amendment protects the churches’ independence from government regulations and taxes.

So, when times get tough and parishioners’ donations are falling, why should taxpayers work to save a church, no matter how noble its mission is?

Even church leaders are ambivalent about accepting PPP funds. In one Piece in Christianity Today last yearPastor Jon Costas asked, “Will accepting a large government grant rob our members the opportunity to make sacrifices and experience the Lord’s provision?”

His question gets to the heart of the establishment clause, which is designed to protect religions from dependence on government and the resulting perversion of the principles of their beliefs.

Gerald Gollin, Solana Beach