Financial report of the Diocese of Charleston

Faithful of Charleston,

We are pleased to provide to you the financial results of the Chancery of the  Diocese of Charleston. Activities of the Chancery include diocesan level programs such as: family life, Catholic youth ministry, religious education, Catholic schools, diocesan cemeteries, social and outreach programs, and pastoral and church personnel development — vocations, seminarians and formation.

The Chancery also provides administrative support to parishes, missions and schools throughout South Carolina, including certain insurance, lending and cooperative investment activities. Similar support services are provided to The Catholic Miscellany, Catholic Charities and others.

Through the generous support of churches and parishioners, we are able to address the many needs of the diocese. We are thankful to those that serve as members of the Diocesan Finance Council, Investment Committee, Building and Renovation Commission, Priest Retirement Committee, and the newly formed ad hoc Real Estate Committee. The advice and consultation of these individuals helps us confidently face the challenges of our diocese. Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to guide us all in our thoughts and actions.

As one of the fastest growing dioceses in the United States, we have challenges similar to other organizations that serve an increasing population. Vocations is a primary need in planning for the future, as is the acquisition of real estate for new parishes in areas experiencing significant growth.

Yet as we plan for the future, we must not forget to meet the existing needs of the faithful in South Carolina through increased evangelization, education and social outreach programs. Actions of faith and prayer  that are done for the greater good will always be rewarded; we do truly reap what we sow.

The class action lawsuit surrounding sexual misconduct claims is finally drawing to a close. Including the claims of 11 victims that opted out of the class settlement, awards, fees and expenses before defense costs totaled $11,585,000. Fifty-three victims and 79 loss of consortium claimants received awards. Claimants came forward in a non-confrontational setting administered by a court appointed arbitrator. We pray that Our Lady of Mercy will aid them on their road to healing. Claimants were also provided a psychological assessment and access to counseling sessions.

To date, insurance has covered $890,000 of the settlement; with approximately $5 million provided by insurance reserves and accumulated investment income. The remaining balance will be paid from additional insurance proceeds, insurance reserves, accumulated investment income and/or the sale of real estate.

Unrestricted net assets of the Chancery decreased $2,158,359 for the year ended June 30, 2008. This decrease was caused by an increase in class action settlement claims over the prior year’s estimate of $1,635,100 and net unrealized losses on investment transactions.

The accompanying charts illustrate the sources of revenue and expenses for 2008. This year, for ease of readability, the financial statements of the Chancery, including our independent auditor’s report, are available on our Web site at

Your generosity has been demonstrated through the success of the Our Heritage, Our Hope capital campaign and the annual Bishop’s Stewardship Appeal. To date, the capital campaign has provided funding for: 1) the restoration of the Cathedral; 2) a conference and retreat center; 3) establishment of an endowment for Hispanic ministry and additional funding for priests’ retirement.

Outreach centers, Catholic schools,  and priestly and religious ministry have all benefited from the success of the BSA. Your response and support enable these important works to continue.

Our prayers for a new shepherd have been answered, and we are planning for the arrival of Bishop-designate Robert E. Guglielmone. We all eagerly await his direction and leadership.

With your continued prayers and support, the guidance of Bishop-designate Guglielmone, and the intercession of St. Paul, our ministries will flourish as we share the Gospel and blessed love of our heavenly Father.

In Christ,
Msgr. Martin T. Laughlin, P.A.
Diocesan Administrator

John L. Barker
Chief Financial Officer