Monday, June 23, 2008

Mass Attendence Down 22% In 5 Years

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


CatholicSoldier said...

I disagree, but then, that shouldn't be much of a surprise, lol.

I think what you see is that Catholic Parishes that tend to be more Orthodox tend to have higher Mass Attendance and reception of the Sacraments (based on about a dozen people, they (progressives) generally do not feel the need for Confession, regular Mass attendance).

Dioceses that tend to be more Orthodox tend to have higher vocations as well. As Michael Rose poitns out in "Goodbye, Good Men" the more liberal dioceses have very few seminarians, including the reign of Archbishop Weakland (page 5).

Generally in the United States there is a loss of faith across the board. But that problem is especially sharp in the Mainline (Progressive) Protestant denominations. The Catholic Church does not need to become more Episcopalian.

It is sad, but the Church actually needs less priests as less and less Catholics come to the Sacraments. If Mass attendance has dropped over 50%, then one actually needs 50% less priests. That isn't optimal by any means, but it doesn't mean a Crisis per se. Though, certainly, the Church needs Priests.

What the Church truly needs is to be the Voice She is called to be in the Gospel. She is called to be counter-cultural, not to surrender as many mainline Protestant denominations have.

We have the promise of Christ to protect and defend the Church from Error and the Enemy: "And to you I shall give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven . . . and the Gates of the Netherworld will not prevail upon it" (Matthew 16:18-19).

Dad29 said...

I think there are two strong rationales.

1) Parish closings/mergers, which you mentioned and which have both emotional and practical results; and

2) The general tendency towards practical atheism in US society.

Youre case for "orthodoxy fatigue" implies that a lot of people actually care about the issues. I don't think that's true.

As to the Church's teachings on reception of Communion, PonchoLadies, and birth control?

Be serious. There is NO preaching on those topics in parishes.

Jack said...

I will be posting a good deal on these issues on my blog. Here I would simply say the "orthodox" have more seminarians because those willing to live an "unatural" life by most peoples' standards--no marriage, no children,no family, repressions of sexuality--find great encouragement in the orthodox churches with their more strict surface attitudes toward sex but their reluctance to question in this area,deeming celibacy as quite natural. I have no objection to homosexual priests, but do believe that the more orthodox churches are more appealing to such.The more liberal churches do not encourage such questionable vocations because homosexuals are more accepted.Thus fewer looking for cover.B16, you recalled, at first blamed the "sex scandal" in the church on the press. Maybe he has changed.

I believe church and mass attendance are down because the authority of these institutions in some cases is still being exercised in an overly unacceptable matter, which is not appealing to many and tends to be ignored. Jack

westcoastmom said...

The only "orthodoxy fatigue" I know is one caused by a LACK of orthodoxy, as evidenced by the perversion of Church teaching caused by heterox interpretations of Catholic doctrine.

The Church doesn't maintain a "harsh" line on contraceptives, gays, women priests, etc. She maintains orthodoxy and right teaching.

Regarding vocations - it's no surprise that the state with the highest number of seminarians at this time is Nebraska. One can easily make the connections as to why that might be.

Only those who wish to succumb to the world's humanistic mangling of the Divine Perfection of the natural law could envision any place at all in the Church for contraceptives, gays, or women priests.

Contraception subverts the good of the family to individual selfishness.

Gays do not belong in the priesthood, period. To claim that right is the height of pride and arrogance.

And I am vehemently opposed to the artfully contrived injustice of a male-only priesthood.

It's really pretty simple. Those who want to be Catholic but groan under the perceived burden of injustice really ought just take a walk across the street to the Episcopalian Church. They'll feel right at home.

Jack said...

westcoast woman,Apparently the church to you is only the hierarchy. As you should know, the great majority of catholics disagree with you on some, if not most, of these issues. Being the type that wallows in servility, you no doubt have no reason for a rational faculty. But you do have an advantage; you never have to worry about brain damage since you need not exercise thinking in religious and moral matters. Hate to be so harsh, but turnabout is fair play in a debate. Jack

CatholicSoldier said...

Jack, Jack, Jack,

Back at your usual games I see. Don't recall her insulting you.

Jack said...

Well, c.s. she 'wrote' me out of the church or at least a heritic. Try answering the questions on my blog. Jack

westcoastmom said...


Turnabout is fair play?

I used "0" (zero) of the prounoun "you" in my original comment.

You used "7" (seven) - count 'em - of the pronoun "you" in your ad hominem response. Oops.

So - got any sort of argument I can work with here, or is that your best shot?

Jack said...

What's this about counting "you's" Maybe you might try to answer my points, not play childish word games. So answer this. Since 80 percent of American catholics do not agree with the church and thee on abortion, have this 80 per cent 'left the fold?' Jack

CatholicSoldier said...


At the time of the Council of Nicaea, the majority of the Bishops and faithful had embraced Arianism, does that make Arianism therefore correct?

CatholicSoldier said...

Also, in regards to the 80%:

60% of Catholics who attend Mass weekly believe abortion should be illegal.

Granted the poll is Zogby, so not necessarily the most reliable, but nonetheless, your 80% is grossly exaggerated.

westcoastmom said...

First the ad hominem, then the classic dodge...I'm underwhelmed.

To answer your question - anyone who considers it acceptable to tear tiny babies limb from limb deceives himself if he calls himself Catholic.

And anyone who ACTUALLY PROCURES an abortion is automatically excommunicated.

Canon 1398 of the 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law reads: "A person who actually procures an abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication." The word "actually" indicates that the abortion must have been successful for the penalty to occur; the mere intent to have an abortion is not sufficient.

That the penalty is latae sententiae means it is automatic, and hence there is no need for an official decree.

Jack said...

c.s., could you please explain your position that the majority of bishops supported arianism at the time of the council of Nicea, since the vote to condem Arianism was 98 percent in favor. The church's position that abortion is always wrong has a very small percentage of catholics supporting it. Check the polls on this.

eastcoastwoman, I take it you support the church's position that a 1 or 2 cell 'group of cells' is a "person". So what's this about tearing a baby apart limb by limb. Hysteria, my dear, is not an argument. I've ask you to answer the questions on my blog. You obviously can't. I'm afraid you are a bit out of your league. Jack

CatholicSoldier said...

Yes, that is part of the miracle of the Council of Nicaea and proof that the Holy Spirit is looking out for the Church as promised by Christ to the Apostle Peter in the Gospel of Matthew. Despite all the popular support for the Heresy of Arianism, Arianism was defeated. The Orthodox Catholic Faith persevered.

As for the polls, this is from a Zogby 2006 poll: Sixty percent of Catholics who go to mass weekly or more believe all abortions should be illegal, the poll found. Among Catholics who never attend Mass, only 30 percent believe all abortions should be illegal.

Life begins at conception, I'm sorry that offends you (or disappoints you).

Jack said...

c.s. Fudging a bit on the council of Nicea. But no big deal. And, of course, you confuse life with a person. My hair is human life but not a person. But good try. Jack

CatholicSoldier said...


Glad to see you are able to take away personhood from people. I guess you make yourself a God. Not surprising.

As for the Council of Nicaea, look into the life of St. Athanasius the Great and St. Nicholas of Myra.

Jack said...

c.s. Is one cell a people (person)? Simple question. Jack

CatholicSoldier said...


At the moment the sperm enters the ovum, you have a Homo Sapiens. A human being entitled to life just as much as you and me. I believe that definitively answers your question. I'm glad you feel the capability and power to decide who is and isn't a human being.

Jack said...

c.s. So one cell is a person? Interesting. If all the cells in a human body EXCEPT ONE were destroyed would that sill be a person? Btw, c.s. aren't you involved in a little contradiction. You say I'm presumptuous to decide who is a human being and then claim you can. Isn't that a bit of a contradiction? Why am I presumptions to decide and you are not presumptious? Straight answer please. Jack

CatholicSoldier said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CatholicSoldier said...


The Ovum and the Sperm come together. You now have a human being. A separate human being from its father and its mother. The Skin Cells, Heart Cells and all the other cells together are parts of a human being. I suggest you read St. Paul.

I don't claim to understand all the details of the science involved in the procreative act that results in the creation of a human being. I merely assent to Science and the Church on what makes a human being, the ovum and sperm come together and produce life.

So Jack, when the ovum and the sperm come together. Do we have a human being? A full human being with a soul? Or when does it become a human being, at what moment? And Jack, give a straight answer.

Jack said...

No. And no 'science' I know agrees with you. No law agrees with you; no custom agrees with you. How does science find a soul? Citations please.

Since over two-thirds of fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted who is responsible for this incredible slaghter of "human beings?" God or nature, or did God design this slaghter system? Direct answer please. You could use a little work on cells. BTW, I always answer; on ocassion you do . But rare. Jack

Jack said...

It becomes a human being when it has functioning brain waves, not before. If a body has no brain waves we say it is not a person. Cells with no functioning brain cells is not a person or a human being.

CatholicSoldier said...

And the soul Jack? When is there a soul? When is is a Creation of the Creator?

And, yes, science says that when the ovum and the sperm come together, we have a human life. We have life, it is a human being. That is science. Yes, science can't speak for the soul, but by your logic, we don't have souls then. Is that the statement you believe?

As for spontaneous abortions, it is not the act of any human being. Therefore they bear no guilt in it. Rather, God, when He created the world, created the laws and nature. The sheer risks to life that exist in nature, and a spontaneous abortion is certainly one, should make us cherish life all the more.

And no Jack, you rarely truly answer.

Jack said...

c.s. You make a nice jump there from "life" to "human being" Sperm is life; is it a human being? Hair is life, is it a human being? Cancer is "life" is it a "human being"? Answer please.

If a bit out of date on the soul thing, my friend. Church seldom uses the "ensoulment" argument. If the "soul" is there at conception, what if the embryo splits? Twins. Who gets the original soul? Do they share a soul? Is one added?

Tell me what I haven't answered? Again why am I presumptious to say when the cells become a human being and you are not? Are you hiding? Jack

westcoastmom said...

Dear faithful misogynist, I'm afraid you're a bit out of your religion.

Jack said...

Dear Princess of Servility, just for fun could you name one catholic teaching,one line in the catechism, that you have even the faintests doubt or question about? Jack

westcoastmom said...

Dear misogynist,


Can you name just one Catholic teaching that's not all touchy-feely that you agree with?

Jack said...

A long, long list: Just a few.

The sanctity of marriage.

The impotance of tradition.

Science and religion should not conflict.

Almost all the social justice teachings of the Church.

Sinfulness of divorce.

The Church of Rome as primer inter pares.

The pope as the principal leader of Christianity.

The Church's importance as the historical defender of the incarnation.

Sexual intercourse only within marriage.

That's a few.

BTW, look up the definition of servility and see if you don't fit it perfectly.

I have selected you as The Princess of Servility for the year. And your reward: A picture of Cardinal Spellman holding two 11 year old boys on his lap. The old guy is gone now, but you can frame it to to show your other "servites.":) Jack

wcm said...

"Sexual intercourse only within marriage."

Your words on this blog in Feb.:

"First the Catechism, as I don't always believe that sex need take place inside of marriage"

Should I bother with the rest?

wcm said...

From your Jan. entry:

"I think fornication may be good within the context of a loving relationship where both individuals believe that their action is healthy and will not cause harm, but joy & love for the other individual."

And yet you can say you believe in:

"The sanctity of marriage"

"Sexual intercourse only within marriage."

LOLOL You are a fraud. You think you can make up your own doctrine as you go.

Forget the Episcopalian Church. Just keep on walking until you get the the Universalist Unitarians. Your own little man-made Utopia.

wcm said...

"The impotance [sic] of tradition."

From your Jan. entry:

The "traditional" Catholic view of Christian marriage is that it is a vocation in life like a religious vocation or a celibate vocation, with the purpose of having children to found a "domestic church." And as far as vocations go, that's about the only three that exist in the church.

I find this view of marriage outmoded in its view of married life and the official meaning of vocation too limited..."

So tradition is only important if it's tradition YOU like, tradition YOU want?

"certain marriages may be not work out or simply be unwise, even where love is concerned."

So...divorce is OK? But you said today you believe in "Sinfulness of divorce." Now what to do?

"Whether the marriage is between a man and a woman, a man and a man, or two women, has no importance "

Oh dear, what to do about that tradition you consider so important?

So many apostasies, so little time...

wcm said...

I will remember you in my prayers from today onward, that God will grant you a signal outpouring of grace that will enlighten your soul and show you clearly the error of your ways.

That His love will break the hard shell which has encrusted your heart.

That you will forgive whoever wounded you, who caused you to hate women so much.

May God have mercy on you.
I mean that sincerely.


CatholicSoldier said...


Do you believe in the Soul? Your comments cast doubt upon that, which, if true, cast doubt upon a great many other things, not the least of which west coast mom has pointed out to you.

Jack said...

Yoohoo, Wcm. I await your apology. The owner of this blog made those comments. NOT ME. Do you need a pair of glasses; do you know how to read a blog? Might even be subject of a suit. But an apology will be adequate.

BTW, finding a typo is considered bad blog form.

Jack said...

c.s. Notice my last comment. I should, but won't ask you to apologize.

I hope there is a soul. Neither you nor I can prove such. Jack

Jack said...

Also, wcm, where did you get the idea I "hated" women? There are just as many kooky men as women I would suppose. As a kook you might know. Jack

CatholicSoldier said...


And you hope their is a Soul? How about you believe their is the Soul. Amen to the Soul.

Jack said...

c.s. I stand by my statement on the soul. BTW where is wcm? Left the country? Jack

Jack said...

c.s. we exchange hot words, but still a question. Do you think wcm was right in ascribing quotes to me I never made and them refuses to respond. Not questioning your catholic theology here, but your catholic practice. Jack

wcm said...


Being new to this blog and not seeing any comments from the blog owner on this article, the whole time I exchanged posts with you I was thinking that the blog was yours, and that you were just using your first name.

My apologies for mistaking you for the blogger and ascribing his quotes to you.

Apart from that, the rest stands. I will say now, to the two of you, I guess, that the Catholicism you both claim is a new construct, built by taking all the things you LIKE about Catholicism and building a new religion.

It's not Catholicism; it's a tower of Babel.

My prayers continue - for you both. I wish you well. Despite what you, Jack, think about women, moms, and princesses.

Jack said...

Apology accepted. Jack