Another parish sit-in begins, and more people speak more of money than of the spiritual mission of the church. At Infant Jesus-St. Lawrence in tony Chestnut Hill, they are advancing the same old tired argument that the archdiocese is closing their parish to get its hands on their valuable property. If that’s why, then how come parishes are closing in poor cities and towns? But no matter what the archdiocese tells them, they’re still convinced it’s all about the money. Even their reasoning for staying open is all about the money:
If a church is able to function financially on its own accord, that is not a detriment to the overall organization,” said one, Victor Pitzi, on the first morning of the sit-in vigil last weekend. “What is a detriment is the fact that you’ve got a valuable piece of property, and they want to sell a valuable piece of property.”
Once again, for those who weren’t here the first time, if you kept open every financially viable parish and closed all the struggling ones, you’d close every parish serving the poor and immigrant groups or parishes in inner-city neighborhoods, while you’d also be keeping open a lot of parishes with empty pews and big bank accounts. That is not an equitable distribution of the Church’s resources. But aside from the money, let’s look at the numbers again: 306 at Mass weekly, 17 baptisms, 15 First Communion, no Confirmations, 3 marriages, 7 funerals for all of 2003. I hate to put it bluntly, but this is not a parish worth sinking resources into, especially when surrounding parishes have much more life, many more people. In an ideal world, we’d work to build up this one parish so that it matched the others, but it’s not an ideal world. This is what we have to do.