Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The “demographic shift” myth – again!

June 28th, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

Your News Now has a short video clip up on yesterday’s closing Mass at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Greece. A portion of the clip features a quote from DOR spokesman Doug Mandelaro:

Many of the members [of the parish], if not most, were workers at Kodak and as Kodak has downsized over the last few decades, people move out and go elsewhere. Out migration. financial strife, so the decision was made to close it and again it’s always hard to do that, but you try to do the best thing and right-size as best as you can.

Once again the diocese is trotting out its “demographic shift” rationalization for a falloff in church attendance.  It used to blame our declining numbers on the “dramatic depopulation” that it claimed was happening in DOR, but had to stop spreading that myth when it became widely known that U.S. Census Bureau data showed no depopulation in DOR, dramatic or otherwise.

The “demographic shift” is also a myth. There are no vacant, boarded-up houses in this or any other section of Greece.  The are no sky-rocketing apartment vacancies.  The population has been, in a word, stable.  For the “demographic shift” to be true, then, Catholics – and only Catholics – would have to have been moving out in droves over many, many years, with non-Catholics – and only non-Catholics – moving in to replace them. There is absolutely no evidence of that having taken place.

No, Mr. Mandelaro, the real reason Catholics have abandoned this and other parishes is that DOR has stopped teaching the true Faith.  What is taught, usually by example (i.e., liturgical abuse) but sometimes from the pulpit, simply has no power to draw people into the Church and to keep them there.

That is the problem, Mr. Mandelaro, and when DOR finally starts doing something about it – if it ever does – then and only then will the bleeding begin to stop.

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9 Responses to “The “demographic shift” myth – again!”

  1. I’m reading Mr. Manderlero’s statement. If I didn’t know any better, he could have been talking about Sacred Heart Cathedral which was once packed with Kodak workers and families for decades but is no longer. How many catholics live in that neighborhood these days?

    I wish the pastoral center personnel would leave these parishioners alone on the last day of their parish/church. But they want to have the last word.

  2. Dr. K says:

    I have one question: Did Bishop Clark avoid yet another closing Mass?

    Fair weather bishop.

  3. Persis says:

    Dr. K,
    I am in no way defending Bishop Clark, but I do have a question.
    To my knowledge, he has not attended any closing Mass, and while I think that this is terrible, how would it look for him if he started now?
    I could just imagine how the people of the Cahtedral Community would feel, condsidering the Bishop was at neither closing Mass for HR or MPB and those 2 parishes merged with the Cathedral(which is the Bishop’s “home” church).

    Also, I don’t know how true this is, but I have heard from what I consider a reliable source, that the Bishop does not attend parish closings because this is a time for the parishoners to gather & mourn, not a time to have the “pomp” of having the Bishop as a con-celebrant.

    As I said, I am not defending him. Actually, I think that it is terrible that, as our shepherd, the Bishop is not with his flock in their darkest hour.
    However, there are times when I also feel that no matter what he does, for many people, Bishop Clark will always be wrong.

  4. Anonymous says:


    It does sound like you are defending him. (BISHOP CLARK) Not sure of “your reliable source” but I think it is more of a case of not wanting to address his flock. Perhaps you are right when you say “no matter what he does , for many people “BISHOP CLARK WILL ALWAYS BE WRONG ” because indeed he is often wrong.

  5. Bishops attending closing masses are rare, at least in New York State.

    I don’t think angry parishioners would want a Bishop there anyway. Remember when Bishop Clark went to the St. Francis (Rochester)closing? Not a pretty sight.

  6. Mike says:

    I was at the OLM closing Mass, as were about 15 clergy (priests and deacons) and maybe 450 people, but no bishop.

    Fr. Bill Amann – who had the longest overall tenure at the parish (~15 years) as assistant, then co-pastor and finally pastor – gave the homily. He said something to the effect that the bishop would have liked to have been there but there were just too many closings going on that he didn’t want to show any favoritism. (I think he intended that as a joke but it didn’t get any laughs.)

    Actually, I don’t know of anyone still at OLM who thought that the parish should have been kept open. They didn’t have the people or the money to continue and everyone knew it. This would have been one closing the bishop could have attended without getting any undue grief.

  7. Richard says:

    Maybe the Bishop could man up and go to “every” closing! After all these are his sheep, simply just not a glob of mutton!

  8. Gen says:

    I am anxiously awaiting the bishop’s first genuine pastoral act. I know church closings are happening all across the continent, but the rate and number in Rochester is unsettling. The bishop should do more than make trite statements that have been rehashed several times over, and actually do something to embrace the people who have had their parishes closed. It is like a death in the family, and no one in the administration seems to realize that. Sure, it’s just a building, and the “soul” of the parish lives on, but the same can be said of the death of a mother or father. The “body,” the physical presence, may be gone, but the “spirit” still exists (i.e. the soul). The whole rationale of “we are Church” is one which has a theological foundation, sure, but the liberals amongst us twist it to suit their devious needs.

  9. Monk says:

    The only time the Bishop visited Irondequoit in the last year, during all his flock’s turmoil, was to sell his book at Christ the King Church.
    So much for the care of his fleeced flock!

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