Catholic parishes in St. Louis, Boston, and other US cities are closing for financial reasons. The church, you see, lost income and paid millions in judgements and settlements to victims of its child-molester priests.
Parishoners are rebelling, though. In St. Louis, the archdioces ordered St. Stanislaus Polish parish to turn over its assets to the archdioces. The parish said "no," appealed to the Vatican, and lost. The parishoners continue to fight the turnover.
In north St. Louis County, a dozen parishes and schools are slated for closure, inlcuding some of the oldest and best-attended.
In Boston, Catholics are getting angry.
This is a sad story, and the church can blame no one but the American Catholic Bishops who spent 30 years shuffling pedophile priests from one diocese to another to avoid prosecutions. The dioceses publicly denied rumors of the sex abuse, paying hush money to vicitms families.
The Pope should have stepped in 20 years ago. He didn't. Trusting his American Bishops to fix their problems, he turned a blind eye to the problem as the hunters sought out and found new prey in new parishes.
When the extent of the problem hit the news, shocked Catholics stopped giving to the church. Why pay child molesters?
The Catholic community in St. Louis in shambles. Shortly, South St. Louis will find out that nearly half of its parishes will close. The power and anger of South Side Catholics will raise the fight to a new level. As time goes on, Catholics will find the church is more of a burden to their lives than blessing, and many will turn to other denominations or sects, like Bishops LeFebvre's church or Heartland Catholics or Episcopalian or Lutheran. The Roman Catholic church will shrink, and in a scramble to restore its past lustre will ordain married men and permit priests to marry.
I fought for celibate priests all of my life, especially during my 15 years in Catholic schools. But I have changed my mind. In order to save the church, we must ordain married men. And soon.