One Bishop Gives, One Bishop Takes Away

A tale of two cities, Philadelphia + San Francisco.

New or renewed initiatives in western of these two archdioceses,  even while the other closes down a chunk of its chancery.

Does this seem like a zero-sum game? Philly’s archdiocesan print organ is no more, but SF launches San Francisco Catolico, directed at Spanish-speaking believers in its area.

In this era of “assault” on marriage and family, the same archdiocese has decided to reopened a shuttered office:

During the past 15 years, the number of sacramental marriages in the archdiocese, and across the nation, has fallen by almost 60 percent, an interim task force on marriage assembled by the archdiocese found. There is a constellation of forces behind the statistic, (Auxiliary)Bishop (Robert) McElroy noted, including the growing secularization in society. Launching an office amid those challenges, as well as managing other ministries, including support for separated and divorced people, aid to the grieving and support for people after they’re married, is a tall order, Bishop McElroy said, and so part of the director’s job will be to find volunteers to assist.

Don’t mistake my criticism of bishops confusing same-sex issues with heterosexual marriage. I certainly believe the Church needs to devote a lot more ministry effort in the direction of marriage formation, and the accompanying ministries. Fighting same sex unions or so-called gay marriage just takes energy away from the real work.

And by the way … sixty percent? Is that for real?


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Hermeneutic of Subtraction, Ministry. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to One Bishop Gives, One Bishop Takes Away

  1. Bill Logan says:

    I’d picked up the impression somewhere, perhaps incorrect, that one had to subscribe to the Philadelphia archdiocese’s newspaper. As someone from the Archdiocese of San Francisco, I’d note that there is no subscription charge for Catholic San Francisco–it’s simply mailed to households (I assume it’s ultimately paid for through archdiocesan funds–and through advertising of course). I’m sure the same will occur with the new Spanish-language newspaper. Catholic San Francisco is itself a renewed enterprise. There was a former archdiocesan newspaper (The Monitor) that was shut down for money reasons, but after a decade-plus without, the newspaper was revived. Hopefully Philadelphia will experience a similar revival, and sooner.

    From this article, the 60% figure is a nationwide average from a 2008 CARA study that looks at the numbers using 1972 as a baseline. For the Archdiocese of San Francisco, the decline from 1990 to 2010 was 47%, so if you extend it back to the 1970s, the decline is probably in line with the 60% nationwide average.

  2. James Ignatius McAuley says:

    Todd, you state, “[f]ighting same sex unions or so-called gay marriage just takes energy away from the real work.” I do not fully agree with your statement, but you are on to something. When you look at the Commons in the Roman Missal, 3rd edition, there is no proper for married couples who are saints. When we look at the Liturgy of the Hours (LOTH), the same occurs. This is problematic. In the LOTH it specifically says we go to the Common of Holy Men. The only other married couple I could find who is celebrated, but in the Franciscan calender, Elzear and Delphina on September 26 is the Common of Holy Men. AS an aside, pre-1971, Ann was the Common of Holy Women not virgins and Joachim the Common of Confessors. Now, not to sound like a feminist, but the common of holy men is addressed to men and does not necessarily address the issues married women (and men) face, such as infidelity, miscarriages, financial woe, loss of a child, etc.

    There needs to be a Common of holy marriage that recognizes the special unity of marriage for both the Missal and the LOTH. This is where your argument makes its point the strongest — there needs to be a real spiritual understanding and revitalization of marriage, and if you want to oppose “gay” marriage, this is one of the most effective routes the Bishops could take, but has been totally overlooked, that is provide for such a common for the Missal and LOTH.

    Of course, i would like a realistic married couple as a role model. The best I have seen is Louise and Zelie Martin, whose feast day as blessed was on July 12th. If argued the Martins are only blesseds, well, we have Bl. Kateri today, July 14th. If argued, you have Saint Isidore on May 15, well, were is his wife, St. Maria de la Cabeza (and again, the Common of Holy men)?

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