There are certain myths out there that our more traditionalist friends take as Gospel truth. One of them is that Vatican II has been the cause for the vast numbers of 'walk away' Catholics. No matter how many times it's pointed out that Humanae Vitae caused the fist big exodus or that the bishops mishandling of the sex abuse crisis has precipitated the exodus in this decade, trads hold to their own truth.
The following is an article about the numbers of 'walk aways' precipitated by Archbishop Dolan when he was chief loser of the Diocese of Milwaukee. The numbers Dolan managed to rack up are important because he is now in New York and has taken a decidedly antagonistic approach to the New York Times. Apparently it's anti Catholic for the New York Times to present any coverage of the New York Archdiocese unless it involves anti gay marriage, abortion, or bingo games. So here's what the good pastor accomplished in Milwaukee:
Dolan's 5th Year Sees Record Breaking Drop in Church Attendance Stunning 600 Percent Plummet in Weekly Attendance from Previous Year
SNAP-Great Plains June 24, 2008 Bishop Accountability.org
According to figures buried in a story today in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by religion reporter Tom Heinen, over the past year the archdiocese of Milwaukee has experienced a record breaking six-fold decrease in weekly church attendance from the previous year -- the greatest reported yearly loss in archdiocesan history. To see the magnitude of this extraordinary and sudden loss, while 3,957 Catholics stopped attending services last year, a staggering 26,398 members have left this year
According to figures published in the April 27, 2007 edition of the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, the official newspaper of the archdiocese, the drop in attendance between 2006 and 2007 reflected, the paper claims, similar percentage declines from dioceses around the country.
According to today’s story, five years ago, average weekly church attendance for the nearly 650,000 “registered” Catholics of the archdiocese was 212,300. According to the Catholic Herald, in October of 2005 weekly attendance was 195,455. In October or 2006 it was 191,498. Now it’s 165,100.
Three years ago, Archbishop Dolan boldly announced that the conclusion of settlements in California the sex abuse crisis was over and had rescued the archdiocese from bankruptcy because Wisconsin victims will never be able to see their day in court. He was assuming, of course, that Wisconsin law, which grants civil immunity to sex offender clergy and their bishops—the only laws of their kind in the country—would never change.
(Typical thinking of a bishop. "I save us from bankruptcy by legally avoiding dealing with our clerical abuse victims." That's so what Jesus would do.)
Since then, however, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has begun to remove Wisconsin’s unique shield for religious leaders who covered up child sex crimes, ruling that Dolan and his fellow bishops could be sued for fraud. For the first time in fifteen years, cases against bishops are being moved through our courts. Dolan also failed to stop the court ordered release in February of never before seen documents from the archdiocese concerning Frankly Becker detailing a horrific four decades of sex abuse cover up. His much touted sale of the Cousins center fell through. More archdiocesan employees have been laid off. Audits are now underway after the disclosure that well over a dozen parishes have been targets of financial embezzlement or fraud. And Dolan’s lobbying efforts in Madison this spring to defeat the Child Victims Act failed to kill the bill that would kick away the final barrier for child sex abuse victims to seek justice in Wisconsin courts.
Because Catholics have little voice in the governance of their church, they display their disgust and outrage over the continual and catastrophic moral failure of their bishops to protect children and face up to their complicity in child rape by employing the only measures left to them: they vote with their wallet by withholding contributions they don't want to see used for covering up sex crimes and they vote with their feet, like the 26,398 Catholics have done over the past several months.
These thousands of angry Catholics gave Dolan five years to show some decisive leadership. They gave the archbishop their patience, their tolerance, and the benefit of the doubt. To leave now in record numbers is a serious warning sign that he has failed them and is leading the archdiocese in the wrong direction. .
Maybe, as the paper seems to endlessly enjoy speculating, our archbishop will, indeed, become the next Roman Catholic Cardinal of New York. Sadly, he will have done so leaving the problems in the Milwaukee archdiocese much worse than when he got here. At least that’s what over 26,000 Roman Catholics from the Milwaukee Archdiocese concluded this past year.
Here's another case of a failing organization promoting a demonstrably failed manager. Even the uber Catholic Tom Monaghan wouldn't have promoted the uber Catholic Archbishop Dolan to the most important franchise slot in Domino's Pizza with this kind of record. How sad is that?
It no longer matters what kind of wreckage a bishop leaves in his wake, it only matters that he's willing to bow to the Vatican. That's nice for the trads and reformers, but I can't help wonder how they expect to pay the overhead when these bishops are done with their 'work'.