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Archdiocese lists $45M assets, $16M debts as it prepares abuse payouts

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As it prepares to compensate victims of alleged clergy sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has revealed it has assets totaling more than $45 million.

The Roman Catholic archdiocese has been required to reveal its assets and liabilities – which include $11 million in real estate – after it filed for bankruptcy earlier this month amid imminent lawsuits brought by alleged abuse victims.

The Associated Press said the figures "provides the public with the most detailed picture yet of the archdiocese's financial situation," with liabilities of $15.9 million also listed in the latest filing to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

AP reports that Archbishop John Nienstedt said the disclosures are "necessary steps of transparency and accountability and essential in finding some measure of justice for those harmed by clergy sexual abuse."

The archdiocese's liabilities do not include money set aside for abuse victims, and KSTP says the figures don't mean that the church has $29 million available for compensation.

Among the assets listed includes around $23.9 million in financial accounts, $94,378 in books, maps, art and other objects, and $265,400 in jewelry, of which $236,000 is a handmade sapphire and diamond ring donated to the archdiocese.

Financial maneuvers or prudent planning?

The Star Tribune has suggested that some of the archdiocese's money may be kept out of reach from its creditors because it has been shifted the church had set up.

The newspaper lists several organizations that may be protected from liability in the bankruptcy proceedings, prompting accusations from abuse victim support groups of "self-serving financial maneuvers."

But others say this can be viewed as "good financial stewardship" that ensures money from donors is spent in the way they intended.

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