Antigonish diocese prays property sales pick up
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Antigonish may have to go to the bank to meet its next payment to victims of sexual abuse.
The diocese is selling off hundreds of properties to meet its obligations under a $15-million settlement to people who were abused by clergy since 1950.
The first payment of $4.5 million was made in the spring. But the diocese may have to borrow money before the next deadline in November.
"As we monitor it, we think that what we may have to do is do some bridge financing. We have a couple of assets that are coming due, but we've discovered that maybe they're going to close or they're going to be finalized after the date," said Father Paul Abbass, spokesman for the diocese.
Abbass said property sales have generated more than $2.5 million so far. He expects sales to pick up after a sluggish spring.
"They were very slow in the spring and the early summer of this year, but I understand that was true across the province. August certainly picked up and September has continued it," he said.
The settlement was drawn up in 2009 as a result of a class-action lawsuit. It was expected to cover about 70 claimaints around the diocese, which stretches from Nova Scotia's Pictou County east to the tip of Cape Breton.
By May, however, that number had climbed to about 140. The total settlement amount remains the same at $15 million, so each claimaint could expect to receive less money.
Abbass said the diocese should have no problem making its final payment in the fall of 2012.