Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

We’re winning! … er, better make that, We’re losing!

September 21st, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

Rich Leonardi is blogging about an article in Sunday’s Cincinnati Enquirer detailing the decline in weekend Mass attendance in both the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and the Diocese of Covington, just across the Ohio River in Kentucky.

… bishops and priests recognize the trend is headed in the wrong direction. Mass attendance fell by about 41,000 in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in the past decade and by about 7,000 in the Diocese of Covington – a drop of almost 20 percent for each diocese.

Well, Rich, the Diocese of Rochester will see your 20% and raise you another 10.

In the 10 years ending in 2009 DOR’s Average October Attendance at parish churches has fallen by over 30% (30.2%, to be precise).**

One Cincinnati reader gave her diagnosis of the problem in this LTE:

Regarding the article … on the declining attendance at Catholic schools and parishes, I think it can be attributed to a post-Vatican II failure of Catholic education of both children and adults, leaving them ignorant of the faith and susceptible to being misled by people twisting Vatican II teachings to their own wishes. Catholics given a high-carb and, in some cases, junk-food education, having missed out on the meat and potatoes and fruits and vegetables, will end up stunted “cafeteria Catholics.” I think that many of our Catholic educational institutions, while not in academic emergency, are in catechistic emergency.

I cannot say for certain how true that is for the Cincinnati area, but it is spot on for the Diocese of Rochester.


**[To be perfectly fair, in 2008 DOR began collecting October Mass attendance numbers from such non-parish locations as prisons, nursing homes, campus chapels, monasteries, senior living centers, migrant ministries and motherhouses and that data does show a significant number of Catholics to be attending weekend Mass at such sites (3,853 in 2008 and 5,313 last year).  This data, however, does not exist for the years prior to 2008 and so, in the interest of comparing apples with apples, the recent, non-parish data has not been included in the above 10-year chart.]



6 Responses to “We’re winning! … er, better make that, We’re losing!”

  1. Monk says:

    There were approximately 295,000 Catholics in the DoR in the year 2000. If 30% (88,500) attended weekend Mass then we are talking about a decline of 30% of 88,500 or almost 27,000 souls. An astounding loss in nine years! What a tragedy! If this were a business, heads would have rolled along time ago!

  2. Mike says:


    The 2000 AOA number is 108,000 and the 2009 number is 75,400. The loss over 9 years is therefore 32,600, or 3.91% per year.

  3. monk says:

    Thanks for the clarification Mike. It would be interesting to know where they all went. My guess is that many of them left the Catholic Church and attend other denominations. The DoR doesn’t seem to care to find out. Other than the loss of income, they seem to be ok with it. Do you think the DoR would ever be interested in the Catholics Come Home Campaign? I doubt it. Cost too much money!

  4. Mike says:


    Over this past weekend I ran into a lady who used to work as a secretary in my former parish. While still a practicing Catholic, she now holds a similar job in a local Episcopal church. We got talking about the drop in DOR Mass attendance and she said that her new employer had been seeing just the opposite: an increase in the number attending services, with many of the newcomers being former Catholics.

  5. Mike says:


    Re Catholics Come Home: We will not see this in DOR as long as Bishop Clark is running the show.

    While their web site never explicitly states it, the CCH program is clearly designed for reasonably orthodox dioceses and has loads of orthodox content.

    Can you imagine the collective hissy-fit from Sr. Joan Sabola and Nancy DeRycke, should they ever read the following on a “Rochester Catholics Come Home” web page:

    Why can’t women be priests?

    Church teaching on the ordination of only men to the priesthood finds its origins in the teaching and practices established by Christ. While He was on earth, Jesus chose men to be His apostles and He passed on authority to these men to carry out His work of preaching the good news (Luke 9:1-2) and forgiving sins (John 20:23).

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible” (CCC 1577). Furthermore, the Catechism informs us that “No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God” (CCC 1578).

    Jesus came to us on earth in the form of a man. It makes sense, then, that He chose His successors—his “representatives” on earth—to be men.

    Finally, though we cannot always know exactly why Christ made some of the choices He made, we do know that He did not view women as inferior to men. Christ simply made clear that this particular vocation—the priesthood—would be reserved for men. In obedience to the will of God, the Catholic Church has and will continue to follow this practice of ordaining only men to the priesthood.

    The above comes from the CCH web site (see here), as does the following


    What does the Catholic Church teach about same sex attractions and gay marriage?

    Are homosexuals welcome in the Catholic Church?

    Some men and women who struggle with same-sex attractions wonder if there’s any hope for them to be welcomed in or back to the Church. The answer to that question is an unambiguous “yes.” (Read here what the Catholic Church says about homosexuals and homosexual inclinations.) God calls each of us, whether homosexual or heterosexual, to chastity according to our circumstances in life. The Church is here to help all of us live in the light of truth.

    One helpful and effective ministry helping homosexual believers is Courage. Here is an excerpt from their Web site:

    “Are you or a loved one experiencing homosexual attractions and looking for answers?

    Courage, an apostolate of the Roman Catholic Church, ministers to those with same-sex attractions and their loved ones. We have been endorsed by the Pontifical Council for the Family and our beloved John Paul II said of this ministry, “COURAGE is doing the work of God!” We also have an outreach called Encourage which ministers to relatives and friends of persons with same-sex attractions.

    From our web site you will learn about homosexuality and chastity. By developing an interior life of chastity, which is the universal call to all Christians, one can move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity to a more complete one in Christ…

    Come see what we are about. Browse our pages. Get to know our community. You’ll be glad you did!”

    To learn more about homosexuality in light of the Church’s teachings, please explore the following resources. Remember, the Church is modeled after Christ, and works to share the truth and spread love throughout the world to each and every human being. But we must take time to understand why the Church teaches what she does. Only then can we embrace the truth and live according to it.

    Additional Resources

    What’s Wrong With Gay Marriage?
    Why Gay Marriage Is Contrary to Natural Law
    Marriage and Same Sex Unions

    Bishop Clark, in the homily from his 1997 Mass for gays and lesbians, said,

    I think, for example, of how we all need to be as much in touch as we can possibly be with biblical scholarship as it applies to this question. Because I’m afraid the bible is used in ways that are not life-giving, but destructive as it’s quoted about gay and lesbian people. I think we need to learn from the human sciences the research of which has yielded a lot of new information that I believe we have not as yet integrated into our knowledge and value systems and which we do not appreciate as elements which can alter honestly held but incorrect assumptions about other persons in our community.

    I cannot imagine anyone who is so causally dismissive of the Church’s interpretation of some pretty clearly worded biblical texts having anything to do with a program that embraces the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.

    No, the Catholics Come Home program not be seen in DOR until at least 2012.

  6. Nerina says:

    Mike, you’re right about CCH. If the site actually refers people to “Courage,” that’s one strike against it (now if it referred to “Dignity USA,” everything would be just fine). And I’m learning how deeply entrenched the homosexual agenda is within the American Catholic Church (I think this may be improving), but especially within our diocese. The tentacles reach far and wide – from priest advocates for homosexuality to questionable sex ed programs both in public and catholic schools.

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