19 January 2009

Stewardship and Closing of Parishes

Yesterday at Mass the Pastor gave a familiar talk on the struggling finances at the Parish where one of the Masses is in the Extraordinary Form. There are three parishes within a few minutes of each other and one wonders how long they can continue to struggle and keep all three open. Having travelled with my family for nearly 20 years to attend an Indult Mass or at least an orthodox New Mass I do not have the same loyalty to my parish as my ancestors did. Coincidentally then I found this article over at The Catholic Thing related to this issue. Here is an excerpt.

It is hard not to sympathize with people who are getting tossed out of the church where they were married and their children baptized and maybe someone dear was buried. But is it true that they paid, prayed, and obeyed? Does the blame lay only with a power-and-money-hungry archbishop?

Do they pay? Many folks still pitch a dollar into the collection basket each week. That is likely the same dollar they saw their dad toss in forty years ago and that their grandfather tossed in sixty years ago. That 1948 dollar is now worth about 11 cents. To match granddad’s buck someone today would have to give almost $9. And what about the tithing that our Protestant brothers are so good at? Catholics don’t even talk about that.

Do they pray? Mass attendance in the United States is higher than in Europe, but it sure isn’t anything to be proud about. According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, on any given Sunday fully 70 percent of Catholics are not going to Mass.

Do they obey? One of the protesters mentioned by the Times is “Karen Virginia Shockely, 43, who participates in the vigil with her two teenage sons.” I am not going to point fingers at Ms. Shockley, who very well might have ten children at home. But if she does, she is in a distinct minority, even among Catholics. Likely as not, Catholics have chosen not to obey their Church when it comes to matters of human sexuality. Most Catholics are indistinguishable from their highly secular neighbors. They have two children and in that common and artless phrase that signals their turn from the Church on sexual ethics, they “are done.”

These same Catholics will complain about a lack of priests but where do they think priests come from – mid-air? They think they can keep their schools and churches open with tiny families and almost universal contraception? They are shocked when their schools and parishes close. They stand outside and weep. They take over buildings. Above all they complain about the bishops. But they rarely look toward themselves.

Other smelly little heterodoxies peeked out in that New York Times article and they explain a lot. Some parishioners propose buying the church from the archdiocese. To what end – to become Congregationalists? One lady said, “I cannot go back to the priest and the vestments and that, I always felt, prince-of-the-church approach. I’ll always be Catholic, but I may not be able to worship in the mainstream Catholic Church.”

And these folks are surprised their church is closed?

No comments:


This blog and the opinions are all my own and in no way imply the endorsement from any organization. Nor does a recommendation of another blog or web site imply my agreement or endorsement of everything found on their site.