Saturday, August 1, 2015


Our Lady of Peace on the Upper East Side of Manhattan had its last Mass on Thursday! New York which about 12% of Catholics attending Sunday Mass, will see even fewer as these political debacles continue.

The northeast, meaning places like New York City have seen Mass attendance drop to about 12% of Catholic each Sunday. Yes, 88% don't attend Mass. Shocking. Yes! Many reasons for this to be sure, but some of the major reasons those in higher places continue to be in denial and do nothing.

I realize a bishop can't keep supplying priests or any financial assistance to parishes that should be consolidated.

But why close them? Why not give them another option. Why not allow those who can do so to have a Board of Trustees to maintain the building (meaning they have to do the fundraising and pay the expenses) and the diocese allow the building to act as a shrine for weddings, funerals and other liturgies. Wouldn't this put the onus on the laity and let them take care of the building even if it no longer serves as a parish church?

It seems to me to be a no-brainer! And it spares a lot of hurt feelings and archdioceses like New York seeing even fewer than 12% of Catholics attending Mass on Sunday!


Julian Barkin said...

It's all about money to furnish the greedy and selfish lives of careerist priests fr, or to make up for losses due to ephepophile victims who sue the diocese, falsely in lying or true. Closing parishes most of the time has nothing to do with the priest shortage. The laity who give a damn aren't stupid. And you wonder why the few faithful that go have some reason (besides their greed and selfishness) not to put anything than a few coins in the collection basket.

Conspiracy Theorist said...

OK--This probably sounds a bit off the deep end, but i'm just throwing it out there as a possibility.

In case no one has noticed, it's always historical or traditional church buildings that get shut down. Unless I'm wrong, "theater in the round" churches from the 70's and other visual atrocities remain open and places with beautiful artwork, centered tabernacles and even communion rails alway fall under the axe. I am speaking broadly, about most US Dioceses, not just the Archdiocese of New York.

I don't think this is an accident.

First of all, we've seen that Cardinal Dolan, for all the hype heaped upon him since he took over the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, is just another dud bishop who is very comfortable conforming his view of the church to the secular world. He and other bishops cut from the same cloth seem to be part of a conspiracy to make the Church we once new a mere relic or museum piece, and generally erase it from the popular memory, or reduce it to a curio of a "less-enlightened" epoch.

Any plan to keep this churches open or operational, no matter how feasible, will not be tolerated. It's over.

I hope I'm wrong. But I doubt it.

Conspiracy Theorist said...

I meant "the Church we once KNEW". Sorry.

Keyser Soze said...

The reason less than 12% attend Mass is because deep down, in their heart of hearts, these people subscribe to this deep core belief: Everyone knows there really is no God.

That is the deepest belief of far too many of today's Catholics.

Joe Potillor said...

Conspiracy Theorist,

That's something that I've noticed. I do think there's an evil that seeks to destroy this beauty.

The 70's relics do tend to stay in these "pastoral plans" TM ...

Supertradmum said...

I told a priest in our diocese that if a parish has not had a priestly vocation for 20 years or more, that should be the one earmarked for closing. Poor parishes may churn out vocations, but liberal or dying parishes do not.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

In many large NE cities, there are dozens of Catholic churches, all of them being of a certain age and built in a certain style. They are not being closed because they are historical or traditional in style, but simply because they are too numerous and too closely located to be supported by the remaining Catholic populations in these cities.

There is no moral evil in closing a church that cannot remain open. Not a few bishops have refrained from closing churches that should be closed, thereby putting their successors in office in the very difficult position of having to close large numbers of churches all at once, rather than doing it incrementally.

Keeping large, old churches open for weddings is a very costly proposition, not one that can be justified, even when there are those who would provide the funding. Better that that funding should be spent on beefing up the parishes and schools that are open than simply funding buildings that serve little or no useful purpose.

Conspiracy Theorist said...

Rorate Caeli reports that the BIG problem is the lack of vocations. Not surprising given the "values" that recent Archbishops of NY have demonstrated by laughing uproariously while their Church crumbles demographically and rushing to embrace every pro-abortion politician.

Of course if these same bishops were truly, TRULY interested in vocations, they might have taken a page from the playbook of smaller dioceses with HUGE numbers of vocations, like Lincoln, Nebraska or Kansas City/St. Joseph. Oh, but wait--we're not even allowed to mention the names of those "reactionary" bishops who brought that about! Those dioceses are just dedicated to blind, obedient automatons who mumble their rosaries, right?

If I sound angry I am. This whole self-defeating program of "new Evangelization" by holding hands with the world the flesh and the devil has to end sometime. If we don't get Church leaders with the guts to end it soon, a higher Authority will surely step in and do it--and He doesn't use a press agent. He just DOES it.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

The churches being closed are in urban areas, especially in the northeast, when immigration from Catholic Europe was in full swing. Too many churches were built even at that time to satisfy the hunger for the new immigrants to find same language friends from their previous culture. They built beautiful churches even when simple.

I don't see an ideology behind the closing of these churches. I just think that they should be turned over to the laity who own them and the dioceses should allow religious services there such as weddings, funerals and the like.

There are some rigid clergy who think that weddings and funerals have to take place in the parish church. I don't subscribe to this.

When I was in Augusta I advocated that Catholics be allowed to use the now Sacred Heart Cultural Center (not owned by the church anymore) for weddings and funerals and for other Catholic liturgies. Of course they would have to pay for the use of the building by renting it. But it continues to look like a Catholic Church with the altars in tact as well as other religious art, such as windows. Why not honor those who built is and its Catholic history by allowing limited Catholic liturgies there?

The Sacred Heart model in Augusta is what i am advocating. But it is all lay inspired and run.

Dialogue said...

A church without the Holy Mass is just a corpse without it's beating heart. The attachment to these defunct buildings is the manifestation of paganism, in which clearly transcendent buildings understandably, but wrongly, become idols of worship.

People who truly believe in, and yearn for, God will want a church with a resident priest as close to where they live as possible, even if the church is plain and simple. These true believers will be more attracted to the graces flowing from the sacraments celebrated in their nearby churches than to the sacred buildings themselves. They will engage in evangelization of the un-converted and New Evangelization of the lapsed, thereby building up the flock rather than worshiping a old buildings.

And when they wed, they will do so in their parish church as repentant sinners, rather than as proud pseudo-royalty in fanciful churches far from home.

Julian Barkin said...

Fr what would it take for laity to purchase a property from archdioceses for private or group ownership?