As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning, Mass attendance has dropped from 212,300 to 165,100 over the last five years. That's a drop of over 22% over the time that Archbishop Dolan has been here. Do I think Dolan is the cause? Probably not. Your average Catholic in the pews likes Dolan, but not because of his theological views; they like him because he seems down to earth and has a gregarious personality.
Is this Weakland's fault? I don't see how. He hasn't been Archbishop for six years. Maybe the sexual abuse crisis is part of the reason. Or maybe part of the reason is "orthodoxy fatigue." By orthodoxy fatigue, I mean that I think many Catholics have become sick of the communion wars, and the church's continued harsh line on contraceptives, gays, women priests, etc. I think many Catholics are sick of a church that seems to value the arguments against women & married priests and the like as more important that keeping their parishes open and the preaching of the Gospel message. More than 60 parishes have merged or closed in Milwaukee since in the late 1990's. I think this issue is bigger than "should we blame Dolan or Weakland?"
An orthodoxy fatigue was also the reason for the Pietist movement in the late 17th century. People were sick of the wars (literally) in the name of orthodoxy and began to value individual spirituality over orthodoxy. That sounds pretty similar to the sentiment of many Catholics and ex-Catholics today.
A Faithful Catholic