French Catholic church has 700 million euros a year
The Catholic Church in France has 700 million euros worth of assets at its disposal every year, but this wealth is unevenly spread around its parishes, according to a report in the Catholic newspaper La Croix.
French dioceses are not allowed to receive any subsidy from the state, under the strict rules of one of the fundamental laws of the French Republic, the 1905 law on the separation of state and religion. But as local authorities own most old church buildings in France, they pay for their maintenance.
The French Catholic church owns some 3,000 churches built after the 1905 law, and nearly 50,000 other buildings such as presbyteries and social centres. It collects around 23 million euros per year in rent from a small number of other properties.
But the main sources of revenue for the church in France are tax covenants, weekly collections, and money received in wills and testaments.
And, while the Paris diocese has 20.50 euros per head of the population, neighbouring Saint Denis gets only 2.50 euros per head.
The richest dioceses are in the parts of France which are traditionally most Catholic, such as the centre, the west and Savoie in the Alps.