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Last Updated: Monday, 27 February 2006, 15:51 GMT
Bishop's apology over 10m debt
Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue
The bishop said he was angry and frustrated
A Roman Catholic bishop has apologised to his flock after admitting his diocese is more than 10m in the red.

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue of Lancaster, said the money was borrowed to pay for diocesan bureaucracy from money earmarked for use by parishes.

But in a letter read in churches on Sunday he conceded the debt might never be repaid.

The diocese, which covers part of Lancashire and the whole of Cumbria, recently made employees redundant.

It has imposed a spending freeze on building projects.

I share your anger and frustration that monies accumulated in your deposit and current accounts have been borrowed largely to shore up central administration
Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue
Bishop O'Donoghue, who was appointed in 2001, said he had always sensed the diocese was living beyond its means.

"Every so often I questioned if we could afford certain structures only to be told there was no problem because we were 'asset rich'," he wrote.

But a series of recent reviews had revealed the diocese's true financial position.

He added: "I share your anger and frustration that monies accumulated in your deposit and current accounts have been borrowed largely to shore up central administration.

"What is even more frustrating is that it is highly unlikely that the central diocesan administration will ever be able to pay them back in full."




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