Pope Francis leads the fourth-largest employer in Rhode IslandMarch 15th, 2013 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
When Pope Francis was elected pope this week, he also became one of Rhode Island’s largest employers.
(Sort of, anyway. While Pope Francis is now the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, legally speaking every individual diocese is incorporated as a separate entity. Thus an argument could be made that Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin is actually the CEO here. Let’s set that aside for now.)
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence was Rhode Island’s fourth-largest employer with 6,200 workers as of March 2011, according to data compiled by the R.I. Economic Development Corporation. The only three employers bigger than the Catholic Church were state government (14,904 employees), nonprofit hospital group Lifespan (11,869) and the federal government (11,581, excluding active duty military and reservists).
That said, the diocese’s website claims fewer than 4,000 employees; the EDC says it isn’t able to provide updated data, and the agency has been using the 6,200-employee count since at least 2006.
Still, there’s no doubt the diocese’s budget is significant: its main audit [pdf] listed expenses of $42.3 million in fiscal 2011-12. The document explains, ”The Diocese of Providence is a canonical organization and consists of over 250 separate corporations through which the Roman Catholic Church conducts a portion of its temporal affairs in Rhode Island.” Not all the 250-plus corporations’ expenses are counted toward the $42.3 million.
For more on the economics of the Catholic Church, check out this Economist article.