Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them

March 18th, 2010, Promulgated by Dr. K

I thought it would be fun to take a look at the attendance numbers for the Diocese of Rochester parishes led by our most progressive lay administrators. That is, parishes led by those who have advocated for the ordination of women in some shape or manner. The parishes we will take a look at include: St. Mary downtown (led by Anne-Marie Brogan), St. Anne (led by Sr. Joan Sobala), Our Lady of Lourdes (led also by Sr. Joan Sobala), and Church of the Good Shepherd (led by Nancy DeRycke).

Update 4/24/10: I see that someone has conveniently removed the link to Nancy DeRycke’s women ordination prayer service in the month since this post was written (a link which had previously been active for nearly a decade…). Here is what she said:

“”We see this as supportive of the church,” she said, a way of again exploring two local “prophetic” statements calling for the church to ponder the priesthood anew. The statements emerged from the diocesan-wide synod attended by hundreds in 1993. Clark relayed the statements, approved by a majority, to the Vatican, along with other synod ideas.

“Our prayer,” DeRycke said, “will be that God’s spirit be with the church and help us to really follow the guiding of the spirit and use the gifts of men and women more fully.””

We always hear that progressive Catholicism is what people want, and that this is the future of the Catholic Church. Well, if progressive Catholicism is what people want, then they should be flocking to parishes lead by our most progressive leaders, should they not? Let’s put this theory to the test in a little post we’ll call “By their fruits you shall know them.”

For the first test, Cleansing Fire has compiled the attendance numbers for the last four available Masses for each of our progressive parishes. We averaged these numbers together. Taking this average, we compared it with the 2003 average attendance for these parishes (the most recent available numbers from the Diocese of Rochester pastoral planning data). Finally, we checked to see if there were any increases or decreases in attendance. Let’s take a look at the data:

(click the above to enlarge)

What have we here… All four progressive parishes have experienced sizable declines in attendance since 2003. St. Mary downtown has 256 less, St. Anne has 338 less, Lourdes has 216 less, and Good Shepherd has 336 less. For the sake of comparison, Our Lady of Victory averaged 401 people in 2003, and today has well north of 700 for an increase of at least 300 people.

You might be saying, “Hey doc, that’s not fair! The decline in attendance could have begun before these lay administrators took over!” Perhaps. To take this factor into account, we took a look at the attendance numbers for the weekend of the 14th/15th of March in 2010 and compared them to the weekend of the 14th/15th of March in 2009. We wanted to see if there was any change in attendance over the past year in these parishes led by progressive leaders. Let’s check out the data:

(click the above to enlarge)

These results seem to corroborate the previous table. St. Mary lost 106 people for the 2nd Sunday in March since last year, St. Anne lost 93, Lourdes lost 63, and Good Shepherd lost 104.

So, it appears that the parishes led by our most progressive leaders are experiencing declines in attendance. In contrast, the parish led by one of our most orthodox leaders has experienced an incredible increase in attendance. Face it, progressive Catholicism and heterodoxy do not pay. Traditional Catholicism and orthodoxy do.

By their fruits you shall know them.

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12 Responses to “By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them”

  1. Anonymous says:

    The proof is in the pudding. These women are parish killers. Heterodoxy destroys Catholic parishes.

  2. Mike says:

    Dr. K.,

    The combined annual rate of loss for those 4 parishes works out to 5.64% per year.

    DOR's overall annual rate of loss (2000 to 2008) is 3.58% (see here).

    IOW, these parishes are losing Mass attendees 57% faster than DOR as a whole.

    "Forward in hope"? I think not.

    "Downward in dissent" is much more like it.

  3. Louis E. says:

    Appropriately for attendance measurement,my verification word is "meters".

    The "American Catholic Council" website seems to have been idle for a year,not a good omen for the event they plan to hold next year.Who will represent Rochester?

  4. Anonymous says:

    But these snakes would rather see a decline in mass attenence. Their only care is the promotion of their liberal Catholic agenda, no matter how much of the church is destroyed.

  5. Lou says:

    Anonymous is dead on.
    I can't help but believe that for these arrogant people, agenda trumps souls. They know best and they'd rather see no Church if they cannot have one in their image.
    Harsh words, I know. But there is no other plausible explanation for their actions.

  6. Bernie says:

    It would be interesting to see where those who left, went. Some may simply have moved, dropped out, or moved sideways for social reasons to another parish. The increase at OLV surely must be attributed to an influx of orthodox but it doesn't account for all those who have left the other parishes we are looking at. The precipitous drop in attendance at those specific parishes does not seem to be much of an alarm to the diocese. As "sister" has said, those who leave go to fertilize other parishes (and the orthodox find their own niche). That all seems to be okay with the diocese and a reasonable trade-off in order to establish/entrench their vision of what they want the Church to look like. They are betting that, in due time, the orthodox will be shut out, finding refuge in fewer and fewer parishes. Finally, they will be rid of the reactionaries and the Church will be better for it!

    I don't know; just a thought.

  7. Gen says:

    I agree. I think we can all state with certainty that not every refugee has found his/her way to OLV, St. Stanislaus, or any other "orthodox" parish. I think many just go to the closest church that isn't insane. I know many people have joined St. Boniface and Blessed Sacrament, so this seems like a valid theory.

  8. Bernie says:

    I would really like to know why people stay. What are their reasons? I know several very orthodox folks (not many) who have stayed on to provide some resistance. To some extent their presence has at least moderated the situation at St. Anne. The music there, at the 11 a.m. Mass especially, is still very strong –despite pressure to dumb-down.

    But there are all the others. What are they thinking? Some are "cradle parishioners" which no doubt accounts for some staying on –perhaps many. More pernicious I fear is that Catholics in the U.S. have been transformed by the Protestant culture. They are now "American Catholics", not Roman Catholics. It fits, quite frankly. In my opinion, Americans are terribly provincial. Their knowledge of history (and geography) is zip. It drives Europeans especially, nuts.

    Wow! I'm getting way off topic. Sorry.

  9. Gen says:

    No problem – I agree 100%.

    I think I'll do a post about why people stay, why people leave.

  10. Mike says:

    Bernie said, "Americans are terribly provincial. Their knowledge of history (and geography) is zip. It drives Europeans especially, nuts."

    And those Europeans are, in their own way, getting even. Just look at the E.U.'s persistent attempts to relegate the continent's Catholic/Christian heritage to the trash heap.

  11. Bernie says:

    Mike: Yes, yes. Very true!
    That's political correctness, of course; large Muslim immigration and all that. But it is unnerving noticing the number of churches that are now only used as concert halls.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I'm sory for being so sarcastic but knowing these snakes, I wonder if, in a parting slap, his excellency closes OLV and lets the faithful suffer a bit more.

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