Editor’s note: The Diocese of Superior released this statement July 10 in response to an Associated Press article, “Catholic Church lobbied for taxpayer funds, got $1.4B.”

The Diocese of Superior and its 103 separately incorporated parishes suffered many losses when the COVID-19 pandemic government mandates caused the closing of churches and offices and the suspension of the holy Mass. The economic impact of the dramatically reduced charitable contributions to our churches from March to May was real. Our bishop, James Powers, strongly encouraged each parish to keep their staff on the payroll if at all possible out of a sense of justice to the hardworking employees of the church.

When the U.S. federal government passed the Paycheck Protection Program, after one to two weeks of analysis and consultation, Bishop Powers directed the diocese and its parishes to apply for the program loans. In response to a recent release of PPP recipient data, and an AP news report, the Diocese of Superior confirms that our parishes and diocese applied for PPP loans according to the rules established by Congress, and used the funds received primarily for our tax-paying employees’ payroll to help them maintain their ability to provide for their families and to keep all safe and healthy by working from home where possible. Our parishes and diocese will work with our banks to comply with reporting and forgiveness requirements. No funds were spent on payments to clergy abuse victims.

Bishop Powers and the faithful in the Diocese of Superior continue to pray for healing for those directly impacted by the COVID-19 virus, for those who have lost a family member to the virus. We also appreciate and pray for all those employed in the medical community and in customer-contact employment.

The Diocese of Superior and its parishes have no additional information to provide to news reporting agencies at this time. The diocese contact is Daniel Blank, Director of Administrative Services, at .