Valley parish donates $1.5 million for Mahony's tab

St. Bernardine of Siena Parish in Woodland Hills has donated nearly $1.5 million of its savings to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to help fund last year's multimillion-dollar settlement of clergy sex abuse cases, Tony Castro reports in the Daily News, calling it an "unprecedented" step in the archdiocese.

"While it may not sit well with everyone in the parish, it is an extraordinary gesture of community and family on the part of St. Bernardine Parish," said [archdiocese spokesman Tod] Tamberg, who called the gift "emotionally moving."

Cardinal Roger Mahony was out of town Tuesday and not available for comment on the donation.

The donation comes in an archdiocese that in recent months has put together a financial-recovery plan including a 2percent increase in the assessment on all parishes.

The recovery plan has been explained to parishioners in a series of meetings throughout the archdiocese, which seeks to fund settlements totaling $720 million, including the $660 million agreed to last summer in 508 cases. That was combined with a $60 million payout for 45 more cases settled in December 2006.

Also this: "Representatives of other parishes in the San Fernando Valley - among them St. Mel in Woodland Hills and Santa Rosa in the city of San Fernando - said Tuesday that they had been asked by the archdiocese not to talk with the news media about any parish assessments, donations, loans or issues related to the archdiocese's financial situation."

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