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Catholic entities cast $4.2 billion 'halo' on Philly region, report says


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PHILADELPHIA (CNS) -- The ministries and services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia contribute an estimated $4.2 billion to the Southeastern Pennsylvania economy, a study has found.

The effects result from services provided in education, health care, social and nutritional services and what the authors called the parish halo, the direct spending by the 217 archdiocesan parishes and intangibles such as the use of parish facilities and the cost of obtaining those service elsewhere.

The report, "How Catholic Places Serve Civic Purposes: The Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Economic 'Halo Effects,'" was written by Joseph P. Tierney, executive director of the Robert A. Fox Leadership Program at the University of Pennsylvania-based Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture and the Program for Research on Religious and Urban Civil Society.

In comments as the report was released, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said the Catholic contribution to civic life is effective because it is never simply humanitarian.

"Rather, it's a very concrete and particular expression of our faith. We offer our help to persons in need without strings attached, but always with a deeper religious purpose," he said.

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