The downsizing of dioceses around the country, sometimes dramatic, is creating a tax revenue opportunity for local towns and cities. In Scranton, Pa., the diocese is going to begin to pay taxes to the county on closed parishes. One interesting type of case involves parishes that are substantially closed, but have periodic religious activities. Should these properties be taxed? If so, how?
Another interesting aspect of this new tax issue for dioceses is where will the money come to pay for these new tax bills within diocesan budgets, which up until the time of parish closures did not exist. Will the liability be sent downstream to the remaining, open parishes, say, by increasing the diocesan tax on parish general revenues called a cathedraticum? Or, will payments come from the bishop's annual appeal? The money has got to come from somewhere.