Thursday, January 23, 2014

Bigger parishes means fewer baptisms

The 1964 blog at Georgetown's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) posts a follow-up to its earlier findings on the decline of Catholic baptisms as a percentage of live births. (See my earlier post The angle of the death spiral of the U.S. Catholic Church)
"there are two factors with statistically significant and negative relationships with baptism outcomes. The first is the number of Catholics per parish in a state and the second is the state Catholic population percentage. Together, both may represent the effects of 'super-sizing' the American parish through mergers and new construction focused on 'mega-parishes.' Essentially, the baptism deficits are most likely to occur in states with large Catholic populations and few parishes, controlling for all other factors."
If so, then the already-projected consolidation of Archdiocese of Milwaukee parishes into half as many as today can be expected to lead, in itself, to further declines. (See my earlier post What do we learn when an Archdiocese chooses to close more than half its parishes?)

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