A priest speaks on parish closings

A priest speaks on parish closings

Father Dennis Sheehan provides a clear-headed examination and rationale for the Boston parish closing process. I wish the pastors of some of the affected parishes showed at least some of that leadership, rather than feeding the insecurities, fears, and ignorance of their parishioners.

  • Dom, help me out with the careerism aspect of this—I would think that that under age 60 priests would want to cooperate with the Chancery into order to be seen as a team player and bank this for a better future assignment.

    The over age 60 priests probably have a fear over the uncertainty of their next assignment.

  • I don’t see any clear-headed examination and rationale for the closings in Father Sheehan’s message.  Just a ‘we feel your pain’ message.  Isn’t the real reason for all of this the hundreds of millions of dollars of donations for the little folk that have been paid out for rampant priestly homosexual molestations of boys?

  • No, Sinner, it’s not. The money for the settlements has come from land sales and other sources and the archdiocese has made it clear that this is what it’s about. In fact, they’re probably not going to make much money from this at all because actually closing the parishes will probably eat up whatever proceeds they realize from the sale of property. Most of these parishes have huge debts to pay off in any case.

    The archdiocese has known for years that it has too many parishes where people used to live, but don’t and not enough where people now live. Plus you have fewer people going to Mass overall. It’s just that the archbishop has decided, wisely I think, to do it all at once rather than piecemeal over time.

    Yes, the Scandal is bad, but it isn’t the bogeyman behind every tree. It isn’t prudent to try to connect it to everything that goes on in the Church.

    Patrick, I don’t think there is much careerism going on. Sure, there’s always politics, and some people are always going to be brown-nosers whether it’s in the Church or your company. Still, I on the whole, most priests are doing what they think is right.

  • How would you know, Mr. Bettenelli, that the settlements are being paid solely with money from land sales?  Is there convincing public documentation that the hundreds of millions necessary for those settlements has been covered by such sales?  I don’t believe that the scandal is connected to everything, but it is certainly connected to a great deal of what’s going on in the Church presently…  Let’s see – in Boston alone, we have what?, over a hundred priests involved in homosexually molesting boys, and hundreds of boys molested and hundreds of millions to pay out?  Most all Catholic I know assume that the need for hundreds of millions of dollars is related to the concurrent mass closings of parishes.  I’m willing to be proven wrong…  But money is fungible, the bishops, as a whole, are practiced liars, and most people understandably see a very clear connection.

  • Actually, yes, there is plenty of documentation. And it isn’t hundreds of millions of dollars. It is millions, but not the inflated figure you cite. I’m not saying that there is a decline in attendance and a decline in giving due to the Scandal. But the root causes of the parish closings go back decades. People didn’t just stop going to church in 2002. They decline started long before that. The Scandal is only one issue among many that need to be addressed and to become to focused on any one thing risks losing sight of all that needs to be done.

  • As I indicated in another post, I was wrong about the amount of money – and I apologize for that.  I checked a couple of articles, which seem to indicate that the recent settlements come to something like $85 million.  Just think of that – $85 million, which could have been spent on helping those in need.  I simply cannot believe that such an outlay of money does not have a significantly adverse effect on the Boston archdiocese.