Given the bargain that exists between priests and the dioceses they serve , I am sure more than one priest of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis considered jumping ship after receiving last week's letter announcing that the Pension Plan for Priests is currently funded at only 44%. It has been acknowledged for years that the plan has been underfunded, but I have never seen an actuarial valuation this low before. The letter does state that the Pension Plan Board anticipates that the plan will be fully funded in the next 15-20 years, but that claim is based in part on a continued annual funding level of $17,400 per priest per year. The unspoken variable is the presumed level of mortality of the priests currently drawing a pension.
On the positive side, at least at this point the pension funds have not been liquidated as part of any bankruptcy settlement. Whether that situation will continue remains to be seen.