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Priests in Changzhi told to give stipends to dioceses

HONG KONG (UCAN): Bishop Ding Lingbin of Changzhi in northern China, has asked priests in his diocese to hand over their stipends to be used to subsidise needy parishes and avoid secularisation.
The bishop told a pastoral meeting that the diocese would regulate collection and use of stipends under a unified standard.
He explained that stipends had previously been managed by parish priests, but some chaotic situations occurred as some parishes lost control, meaning stipends could not be fully used to support the Church’s development.
The bishop said he would set up a stipend group of two priests and a nun to coordinate and distribute stipends to help churches in urgent need.
The diocese would send each priest a receipt to write down the purpose and amount of each stipend, which would be transferred monthly to each deanery before being submitted to the diocese.
Bishop Ding said many other dioceses in China have implemented centralised systems for managing stipends.
The stipends will be used for medical expenses, pensions and living allowances of diocesan clerics and to subsidise poor parishes.
The work of preaching will still be paid for by Mass offerings received by each parish, while any money shortage will be subsidised by the collective fund.
The bishop said loopholes in managing stipends had created many economic issues and caused the secularisation of clerics. He believed the new measure would help priests to reshape their image.
Most priests had expressed full understanding about the change, he said.
Matthew, a Catholic from Changzhi in Shanxi province, expressed his belief that clergy should be poor in spirit, noting that some priests’ daily necessities seemed very luxurious and unnecessary.

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