Argentina's Catholic church makes austerity push

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — The Roman Catholic Church of Argentina has announced that it will stop receiving contributions from the government for its evangelizing activities.

The gesture comes as the church aims to show its commitment to austerity amid a currency crisis and double-digit inflation.

In a statement Friday, bishops at the Argentine Episcopal Conference expressed their willingness to "accept the gradual replacement of state contributions (allocations to bishops, scholarships for seminarians and border parishes)," saying they would rely on the faithful.

The move relaxes the church's relationship with President Mauricio Macri, who promoted a debate over the decriminalization of abortion earlier this year.

Although Argentina is a secular state, the church received an annual contribution set at 130 million pesos ($3.5 million) in 2018. It also receives subsidies and tax exemptions.