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LOS ANGELES – Parishes across the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles are answering an appeal from Cardinal Roger Mahony to help pay $720 million in settlements to victims of clergy sex abuse.
One parish donated almost all of its $1.5 million savings and another offered a $100,000 interest-free loan to cover the costs from hundreds of civil claims.
Mahony made the fundraising request in meetings this winter around the archdiocese. Last year, the archdiocese settled more than 500 civil claims for $660 million, on top of a 2006 pledge of $60 million to settle 45 additional cases.
Several parishes have been debating whether to contribute. Some said they don’t have enough money because of building or restoration projects.
Monsignor David A. Sork of St. John Fisher Church in Rancho Palos Verdes said his parishioners have asked why they should pay for mistakes by other parishes decades ago.
“But not helping means the archdiocese’s services to all parishes, including this one, will be hampered,” Sork said.
He is praying about it and consulting parish leaders.
“Either way, it’s controversial,” Sork said. “It’s a tough one.”
The Rev. Robert McNamara of St. Bernardine of Siena Church in Woodland Hills decided to give the archdiocese nearly all of his parish’s savings – almost $1.5 million. The decision upset some parishioners who felt they had not been properly consulted.
The archdiocese recently sold its 12-story office building that serves as its administrative headquarters for $31 million to help pay the settlements.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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