The Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE) has published this morning its Activity Report for 2020, a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, where more than 4 million people were attended by the Church.
The Catholic Church receives each year, through the taxpayers who mark the “x” in the income statement, 0.7% of their taxes. It is a personal and voluntary option that each citizen decides by checking box 105 in favor of the Church and that represents, on average, 23% of the total financing of the Church in Spain.
The amount raised in 2020 was 297.68 million euroswhich marks an increase of 5.64% compared to the previous year, and is the second best collection since the beginning of the Tax Assignment in 2007.
Bishop Luis Argüello, general secretary of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (CEE), explained that without the contributions of taxpayers, the activity of the Church would not be possible.
“I want to give thanks for the personal contributions, time, volunteers, consecrated persons, people who work in Cáritas, Manos Unidas, Aid to the Church in Need, other organizations and associations, and Spanish society as a whole,” he said.
The director of the CEE Transparency Office, Ester Martin, pointed out that “during 2020 the Church worked quietly, and sometimes even in the shadows, but it did not stop attending to the needs of people by deploying 680 new assistance, health and , educational and pastoral or accompaniment motivated by the Covid-19”,
In 2020, a total of 4,030,871 people were accompanied and assisted in one of the 9,222 social support centers of the Church.
In Spain there are 976 socio-health centres, homes for the elderly, the chronically ill and people with disabilities, hospitals, outpatient clinics and dispensaries dependent on the Church, which served 1,168,675 beneficiaries.
In this sense, the 8,246 socio-assistance centers assisted 2,862,196 people to alleviate poverty, assist immigrants, promote work, defend life and the family, care for minors and child protection, drug addict rehabilitation, women victims of violence and trafficking and legal advice centers.
The assistance activity carried out by the Church in employment, family, gender equality and violence, childhood, youth, minors, social inclusion, addictions, support for immigration and poverty, saved 589,629,655 million euros in expenses for the Condition.
This figure represents a larger budget than the third autonomous community in the ranking of expenses for assistance activities.
Besides, the educational activity carried out by the Church in 2,419 concerted centers represented savings for the State of 3,895 million eurosand served more than one and a half million students.
In Spain there are 2,558 Catholic initiative centers of which 2,419 are concerted. They serve 1,525,215 students (1,438 more than in 2019) and 133,770 people work, of which 108,920 are teachers.
The educational activity supposes a saving to the State of 3,895 million euros. Among these centers, the Church supports 423 special education centers that serve 40,118 students.
According to the religion subject, was chosen in 2020 by 3,255,031 students which were attended by 40,118 teachers.
During the year of the pandemic and due to the confinement and closure of thousands of temples due to health restrictions, thousands of sacramental celebrations were cancelled.
This is how Archbishop Argüello explains it: “We spent several months with the temples closed and I also remember that it was high season for some of the church celebrations.”
The Prelate pointed out that the pandemic in 2020 affected both the days of Holy Week and “the months of participating in the Eucharist for the first time, marriage celebrations. The sacrament of Confirmation was postponed for the following year.
“Not only were we closed for several months, but when it was later reopened, it was in many cases with strong capacity limitations,” he recalled.
Even so, during 2020, 100,222 baptisms took place, 161,950 people received their first communion, 79,447 young people received the sacrament of confirmation, 12,679 couples got married and 29,627 people received the anointing of the sick.
Priests, religious and laity dedicated more than 41 million hours to the pastoral activity of the Church in 2020: accompaniment, catechesis, formation or celebrations.
In relation to the maintenance and conservation of heritage, the Church dedicated in 2020 more than 52 million euros to 471 construction and rehabilitation projects. In the last 8 years, it has spent 511 million euros on the care and conservation of heritage.
67.2% of the Spanish population considers itself Catholic and more than 8,410,000 people regularly attend Mass. In Spain 9,563,000 masses are celebrated each year.
The data presented in the Report of Activities of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, are audited by the international consultant Price Waterhouse Cooper.