Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Alarming Statistics

October 5th, 2009, Promulgated by Dr. K

From the recent online edition of Rochester’s Catholic Courier:

“Amid mergers and outright church closings, the number of diocesan parishes has dropped since 2000 from 161 to 131, after holding steady around the 160 mark throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Statistics provided by diocesan officials also reveal that Sunday Mass attendance in diocesan parishes fell by approximately 25 percent from 2000 to 2008.

Diocesan pastoral-planning officials said no other closings are imminent for suburban churches, but that future downsizing is likely in all types of settings — rural, urban, suburban — due to such factors as the declining availability of priests; population shifts; depressed donation patterns arising from a poor economy; increased costs to maintain aging structures; and reduced adherence among Catholics to the Sunday Mass obligation.”

According to the Courier, 30 parishes have closed in less than a decade. That is quite a large number. It’s also interesting to note than attendance is down 25% in only eight years. Do these numbers not demand attention? What is the diocese going to do to stop the bleeding, and to bring people back into the Church? I’m sorry, but national trends and ‘other people have it worse’ are not excuses for complacency. Not enough is being done in our diocese. The closure of more churches, closure of more schools, and liturgical abuses spreading like wildfire thanks to lay administrators are not helping matters. Offensive CMA rock videos are also not the magical answer. Were people really that shallow to return to church because a guitarist parades down the aisles of St. Stanislaus…

If our current leaders were government officials, they would have been voted out of office long ago. I await the year 2012 when we will finally see a fresh approach to solve this crisis. It’s not getting any better under the present administration, but thankfully the time for renewal is quickly approaching.

13 days until 999.

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6 Responses to “Alarming Statistics”

  1. Sed says:

    The progressives will tell you that we need even more liturgical abuses. We've been disrespecting the Lord for 40 years, can't we just try to follow the rubrics for once? Who knows, maybe people will actually stay in the Catholic Church if her teaching weren't undermined constantly and her liturgy not treated as the priest and priestess' personal plaything.

  2. Gen says:

    Well said. Very well said.

  3. I agree totally Sed. Maybe if we clung to tradition like Catholics do instead of faddishness we wouldn't bleed Catholics so much. The liturgy must be respected and not trampled on at everybodies personal whim. There is no sense of Heimat, as the Germans say. Imagine if every year we did Thanksgiving new and different every year. Always playing with it instead of respect it for an awesome American tradition.

    Isn't anything sacred anymore. I want my Church back.

  4. Anonymous says:

    30 church closed in 8 years!

    There's his legacy right there.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The worst thing that a Bishop can do to his diocese is close a parish or school. It is apparent that these highly educated Bishops still don't realize what a devastating effect that a "closing" has on a parish or school community.

    When you close the parish school, the parish will lose parishioners who are outraged and you lose the families whose children will go to another parish Catholic school.

    When was the last time that you heard that Bishop Clark said Mass at St. Salome's and during his homily, said that we have to get out and evangelize the neighborhood around the parish?

    There are hundreds of store front churches in the City of Rochester. They are even buying up our closed Catholic parishes. These churches are generally short on money and people, but they survive. The rent and bills are paid each month and it doesn't matter if there are only 25 people in the congregation.

    There was a store front church in Rochester that lost most of it's congregation. The Pastor preached to his family of 3 for several weeks until the congregation started to grow again. The doors of the church remained open and people came to seek the Lord.

    Wake up Catholic Bishops. The respect for you by millions of Parishioners and fallen away Catholics is at a all time low. Read the Catholic Blogs. These are your own Parishioners trying to turn a dying parish into a growing parish.

  6. gretchen says:

    Miracles can happen. Complete adherence to the rubrics is a good place to start.

    Here is a church (in Chicago) that went from being vibrant and busy in the 1800s to such great decline through the 1900s that it was nearly dead by the 1980s.

    "On August 15, 1988, the Fr. C. Frank Phillips, C.R. assumed the post of pastor.

    Fr. Phillips has always been a proponent of liturgy that is celebrated with reverence, care and with great attention paid to the rubrics established by the Church. In January, 1989, he began to celebrate and continues to be celebrate the Novus Ordo Missae (1970 Missal of Paul VI) each Sunday in Latin."

    Not only has Fr. Phillips revitalized the church, he even founded an own order of priests:

    If one motivated, God-fearing/loving priest can accomplish all that (through Christ, of course), we should be able to do something wonderful here in the DoR! All (praying) hands on deck!

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