Tuesday, September 18, 2012

What do we learn when an Archdiocese chooses to close more than half its parishes?

Msgr. Charles Pope at the Archdiocese of Washington ponders,
"According to the Catholic News Service (HERE), The Milwaukee Archdiocese will close or consolidate 103 of its 203 parishes through 2020. A brief trip to the Archdiocesan website shows no mention of this at all. Indeed, I had to dig a bit to find this astonishing fact. ...
Longtime readers of this blog, if any, know that if not for experience with our Archdiocese and at our parish, I, too, might be susceptible to surprise like the Monsignor. Later he says,
"Arguing about whose most to blame or what specifically is the one root cause is just another distraction. The fact is, most polls show that the vast majority of Catholics who have left, or are away from the Church, did not leave over matters of doctrine, moral teachings, or liturgy. The fact is they just drifted."
You might recall my anecdote from parish council discernment circa May 1996. When I advocated action to increase Mass attendance, the members of the pastoral staff present were aghast at the prospect.

My latest non-surprise was when I recently asked our parish if my calculations were correct that there is generally 30% attrition between First Communion and Confirmation. The response went beyond confirming the statistics to explain Why Nothing Can Be Done.

Monsignor concludes, "It’s time, far passed time, to get to work." What if one has come to doubt that work would be good stewardship of time?

(via comment by TS to prior post)

P.S. Our Archdiocese's Faith In Our Future capital campaign Mission Statement still says "Our 211 parishes will reflect upon the pastoral priorities of Catholic education and faith formation and use funds to strengthen these ministries." If this were a secular organization, something analogous to asking people for money for 211 parishes while plans are underway to close or consolidate down to half that number would be problematic.

Too bad there isn't some person in overall charge of a diocese whose job includes coordinating everyone's efforts. If there were such an office, the first order of business might well be to likewise create a similar office in each parish.

No comments:

Post a Comment