“Bad Spirit” invited to the Vatican

by digby

So the Catholic hierarchy decided it needs some professional PR help, what with all the bad press it’s had what with the pedophilia, nun-hating and other throwback policies and the like. Adele Stan reports that they’ve decided to hire a professional:

This weekend the Vatican announced its hire of Fox News correspondent Greg Burke for the newly created role of communications strategist…

Burke’s authoritarian bona fides hardly end with Fox News. He’s also a member of Opus Dei, the secretive, misogynist, elitist Catholic cult embraced by the late Pope John Paul II. And he’s not just a member, he’s a special member — a “numerary,” a position described by the Religion News Service as “a celibate layman who lives at an Opus Dei center…” The Opus Dei domicile at which Burke resides is in Rome.

Both men and women can bear the title of numeracy, but men enjoy a privileged position in their sex-segregated housing, where they are served by the women. A 1995 article in the Jesuit magazine, America, described the life of the female Opus Dei numerary this way:

According to two former numeraries, women numeraries are required to clean the men’s centers and cook for them. When the women arrive to clean, they explained, the men vacate so as not to come in contact with the women. I asked Bill Schmitt if women had a problem with this. “No. Not at all.” It is a paid work of the “family” of Opus Dei and is seen as an apostolate. The women more often than not hire others to do the cooking and cleaning. “They like doing it. It’s not forced on them. It’s one thing that’s open to them if they want to do it. They don’t have to do it.”

“That’s totally wrong,” said [former numerary] Ann Schweninger when she heard that last statement. “I had no choice. When in Opus Dei you’re asked, you’re being told.” According to Ms. Schweninger, it is “bad spirit” to refuse. Women are told that it is important to have a love for things of the home and domestic duties. “And since that’s part of the spirit of Opus Dei, to refuse to do that when you’re asked is bad spirit. So nobody refuses.”

It’s hard to imagine Greg Burke finding a way to sell that mentality to the media as a good thing — never mind the fact that Opus Dei members are devoted to “mortification of the flesh” by wearing cilices, metal chains with spikey prongs that the wearer fastens tightly to the thigh, prongs to flesh.

This is the really funny part. You’ll recall that I wrote last week about the high level cardinal who said that everyone was believing in Dan Brown conspiracy theories (which were the work of the Devil)?

With an apparent lack of self-awareness, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone “accused the media of trying ‘to imitate Dan Brown’ in their coverage of the VatiLeaks scandal,” according to Reuters. In Brown’s conspiracy thriller, The DaVinci Code, Opus Dei is a major player in a Vatican conspiracy. In hiring Burke, it’s almost as if the Vatican was looking to feed the fantastic conspiracies of Brown and his fellow travelers. You could call that an epic PR fail.

I always thought that Dan Brown stuff was nuts. But maybe not …

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic bishop faces Vatican’s wrath after he’s busted cavorting with a scantily-clad beauty on the beach

Argentine Bishop Fernando María Bargallo red-faced after footage emerges
Initially denied he was in video, but later admitted he played starring role
Now under investigation by the Vatican and could be de-frocked

A Catholic bishop busted cavorting on a beach with a scantily-clad beauty has claimed she is just ‘an old friend’ and insisted he is still ‘devoted to God’.
Argentine Fernando María Bargallo, 59, was left red-faced after footage emerged of him swimming and cuddling with the blonde at a secluded luxury Mexican hideaway.
He initially denied it was him in the video, but later admitted he does play a starring role, and is now under investigation by the Vatican.

He could now face being sacked from his post as Bishop for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Merlo-Moreno, a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.
Bargallo said he recognised the ‘recklessness’ of his behaviour and the ‘ambiguity’ of the film, which he claimed was taken in 2011.

But he has insisted that the woman was a ‘very old friend’ who he has known ‘since I could reason’.
He said: ‘The photographs are, in effect, from an encounter in Mexico where I coincided for various reasons, two years ago, with a friend from my childhood.’

He said there were other people there, who did not appear in the images, and he had a strong relationship with the woman’s family, La Nacion reported.
But he has not responded to questions as to who funded the lavish trip to the Puerto Vallarta resort on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
Bargallo is also head of the Cáritas Latinoamérica organisation which helps the development of impoverished people across the continent.

Complete Article HERE!

Butler’s journey from trusted servant to accused Judas

Just after dawn on Wednesday, May 23, Paolo Gabriele said goodbye to his wife, passed by the bedrooms of his three children and left to start another day in the service of the man Roman Catholics believe is the vicar of Christ on Earth.

By the end of the day, Pope Benedict’s butler would be branded a traitor and some, including an Italian cardinal, would compare him to the most famous betrayer in history – Judas Iscariot, the man who turned Jesus over to the Romans.

Dark haired and handsome, Gabriele, 46, left his simple home on the third floor of a 1930s Vatican apartment block named after the 7th century monk Saint Egidio.

With the St Ann’s Gate entrance, guarded by Swiss Guard in blue berets, to his back, he passed the Holy See’s central post office on Via Del Belvedere, turned left to climb a stone stairway named after Pope Pius X, and walked up a flight of covered steps to enter the small Renaissance-era Courtyard of Sixtus V.

Here he used a key held by fewer than 10 people to enter an elevator that leads directly to the pope’s private apartment on the third and top floor of the Apostolic Palace in the world’s smallest state. Even cardinals can’t use it.

Gabriele, said by those who know him to be a timid, reserved and shy man, is now at the centre of the worst crisis in Pope Benedict’s pontificate.

His face has appeared on the front pages of newspapers all over the world, accused of being the source of leaked documents alleging serious Vatican corruption and cronyism in a scandal that has shaken the very centre of the Church.

To some – even if he is found guilty – he is an idealist who wanted to root out corruption in the Vatican and was helped by outside accomplices. To others, he is merely a pawn in a much bigger power struggle among cardinals inside the Vatican walls.

“I know Paolo and I don’t think he is capable of doing something like this by himself,” a person who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Reuters.

“It is clearly a betrayal of the pope’s trust but I don’t think he could have acted alone,” that person said.

That Wednesday morning when Gabriele, dressed in a dark suit and white shirt, entered the private papal apartment, he walked down a corridor past the pope’s modern private chapel, with its stained glass ceiling and white leather kneelers.

Even as he was serving the pope his breakfast, after the pontiff had said mass with other members of the “papal family” that morning, Gabriele knew he was a suspect in an investigation into leaks that had begun in January.

“He was questioned earlier but the decisive elements that permitted the arrest surfaced later,” a Vatican official said, adding that one of the pope’s two private secretaries, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, had confronted Gabriele with his suspicions.


At precisely 10:30 that sunny Wednesday morning, Benedict rode in his white popemobile through the Arch of the Bells into St Peter’s Square to start his weekly audience. Gabriele was in his usual place, to the right of the driver, and his stony face showed no emotion.

It was the last ride he would take in the iconic vehicle that carries the man world diplomacy recognizes not only as leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics but as “The Sovereign of the State of Vatican City.”

That afternoon, agents led by Domenico Giani, 49, the shaven-headed Vatican police chief who is known by the diminutive “Mimmo” to his friends, rang the buzzer on the Gabriele family apartment and entered.

Giani was formerly a member of the Italian secret service.

“It’s not a fancy place – four rooms, a bath and a kitchen, if I remember correctly,” someone who has been inside told Reuters.

Inside, they found what the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano – which waited nearly a week before writing about the arrest – called “a large number of confidential documents” belonging to the pope.

“A sense of tension, disorientation, stupor and sadness fell over the whole place like a thick fog after news of Paolo’s arrest spread,” said one Vatican worker describing the mood of employees from priests to postmen in the following days.

Because the Vatican does not have a jail, Gabriele is being held in a simple “safe room” with a bed and small table in the Vatican police station.

But the question on many people’s minds and lips, including Gabriele’s friends, was “Why? What is the motive?”

If he is guilty, why would Paoletto (little Paul, as he known), a devout Catholic and devoted father, betray the man whose official titles include “Successor of the Prince of the Apostles” and “Servant of the Servants of God”?

People who know Gabriele, now called “the defendant” in Vatican statements, exclude money as a motive.

They say the butler, who still attends Mass each day in the police station, would not have been able to spend it anywhere without raising suspicion; unless he left his job and probably even Italy.

And why, at 46 with three small children, would he leave a simple but comfortable life in the Vatican? While Vatican employees do not receive large salaries, they do enjoy benefits such as low rent, no income tax and cheap food and petrol at the commissaries of the 108-acre city state.


Gianluigi Nuzzi, the Italian journalist who revealed many of the documents alleging corruption in the Vatican and internal conflict over the role of the Vatican bank, declines to reveal his sources but insists he did not pay anyone.

Nuzzi, a respected journalist with a good track record whose book “His Holiness: The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI,” contains some of the allegations, says his sources were simple, devout people “genuinely concerned about the Catholic Church” who wanted to expose corruption.

People who know Gabriele, who started out as a humble cleaning person in the Vatican, said there was no indication either that he could have been blackmailed over his private life to force him to leak the documents.

Apart from Gabriele, the few other people who could go directly into the papal apartments via the reserved private elevator at the base of the Sixtus V courtyard include the pope’s two priest secretaries, Ganswein and Maltese Monsignor Alfred Xuereb, and four consecrated women of “Memores Domini”.

Memores Domini is an association of lay women, similar to nuns, who take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience within the Catholic organization Communion and Liberation. Their names are Carmela, Loredana, Cristiana and Rossella.

The fact that Gabriele was part of a tightly knit group known as “the papal family” explains the sadness and bitterness in the pope’s words when he first spoke about the crisis in public on Wednesday, exactly one week after the butler’s arrest.

“Our life and our Christian path are often marked by difficulties, incomprehension and suffering,” he said, adding that all people must persevere in the face of “conflicts in human relations, often within one’s own family”.

While the pope’s secretaries and the four women who help him run the simple household live in the papal residence, Gabriele stayed in his own apartment nearby with his family.

“He lived in the Vatican but not in the papal apartment,” one Church official who knows Gabriele told Reuters. “He could have met with anyone in the Vatican or outside the Vatican”.

In an interview with Reuters, Nuzzi would not say if any of the documents he had received came from Gabriele.

His book contains a treasure trove of private Vatican correspondence, including documents alleging cronyism and corruption in contracts with Italian companies, conspiracies among cardinals and clashes over management at the Vatican’s own bank, the Institute for Works of Religion, or IOR.

He said the book, which hit the stands last week and is already sold out in Rome, is based on confidential conversations with more than 10 Vatican whistleblowers.


The Vatican has not contested the authenticity of the documents but says their leak was part of a “brutal” personal attack on the pope and their publication “a criminal act”.

The Italian media have dubbed the people who have leaked the documents “Corvi” (crows), a pejorative Italian term for an informant.

“They are not crows, they are doves who wanted to shed light, clean their air,” Nuzzi told Reuters. “If the image of the Vatican that emerges is negative, it is not my fault, it is because of what is written in the documents.”

The leaks began in January when an investigative television show hosted by Nuzzi broadcast private letters to Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone and the pope from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former deputy governor of the Vatican City, who has been moved to Washington as the Vatican’s ambassador.

The letters showed Vigano was transferred after he exposed what he said was a web of corruption and cronyism linked to the awarding of contracts at inflated prices to Italian contractors.

Bertone responded by removing Vigano from his position three years before the end of his tenure and sending him to the United States, despite his strong resistance.

Bertone, whose job is to keep the Vatican’s central administration, or Curia, running smoothly for the pope, now looks weakened after the leaks scandal and other failures.

They include the abrupt departure last week of the Vatican bank’s Italian chief Ettore Gotti Tedeschi – who was recruited by Bertone from Spanish bank Santander – after a no-confidence vote by its board.

At his position in the papal apartments, Gabriele was in a prime position to see at least some of the disarray and tension in the Curia. But it remains to be seen whether he really was a pawn used by others to undermine Bertone, as some sources say.

“This is a strategy of tension, an orgy of vendettas and pre-emptive vendettas that has now spun out of the control of those who thought they could orchestrate it,” said Alberto Melloni, a prominent Italian Church historian.

After his arrest Gabriele called an old school friend and devout catholic, Carlo Fusco, and asked him to be his defense lawyer. Fusco, a civil advocate, called in criminal lawyer Cristiana Arru to help with Gabriele’s defense.

Gabriele’s fate is now in the hands of Piero Antonio Bonnet, the Vatican’s public prosecutor.

He will decide if the man who once was trusted with the keys to the papal elevator should stand trial for aggravated theft, or even worse, disclosing the documents of a head of state or breaking a special pontifical law protecting papal confidentiality.

The pope has tried to end talk of conflict under his roof.

Breaking his silence on the scandal on Wednesday, he expressed full confidence in his staff, including those who he said work “in silence” to help him carry out his ministry.

But that group no longer includes Gabriele, who only a few days ago was one of the closest men to Pope Benedict but now sits in a lonely room in the Vatican awaiting his fate.

Complete Article HERE!

The Clan of the Red Beanie Stalks MLK, Sanity

The brilliant Charlie Pierce takes down the Cardinals.


Are these idiots kidding me? The Letter From Birmingham Jail?

May god forgive them for such towering, impious self-regard, because I have no intention of doing so.

The Clan of the Red Beanie went celibate balls to the wailing wall on Thursday, issuing a Statement on Religious Liberty that turns the English language inside-out, repositions religious repression and pious bigotry as statements of freedom, makes a mockery of the informed consciences of a good slice of the American Catholic laity, and is a statement of meddling in the secular government that would be almost tragic, if it didn’t drip so garishly with lachrymose sanctimony about how heavily these ermined layabouts have been oppressed by the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and by the fact that some states have decided that, no, they can no longer function as tax-free havens for discrimination on the basis of who does what to whom with their sexyparts. But, before we get to that, we have to deal with one representative passage which makes me wonder what exactly some of these guys were burning in the thurible during the Holy Week services:

In his famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in 1963, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. boldly said, “The goal of America is freedom.” As a Christian pastor, he argued that to call America to the full measure of that freedom was the specific contribution Christians are obliged to make. He rooted his legal and constitutional arguments about justice in the long Christian tradition:

I would agree with Saint Augustine that “An unjust law is no law at all.” Now what is the difference between the two? How does one determine when a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law.

Holy Jesus H. Christ on the 5:15 to Galilee, this takes some big clanking brass ones. In 1963, Martin Luther King was in the Birmingham jail because he was fighting to bring down the infrastructure of American apartheid. The odds weren’t much better than 2-1 that he would get out of that jail alive. This is certainly analogous to people padding through the carpeted halls of chancery buildings trying to find a way around the country’s anti-discrimination statutes so that the Presbyterian janitors in their hospitals would be forced to live under the same theologically inept regime that American Catholics have been ignoring for almost 50 years. Sitting in a cell, wondering if every turn of the key in the lock was the last one, is certainly exactly the same moral witness as sitting in your office, worrying your pectoral cross down to the nub because somewhere, somebody is having sex that may not “be open to the transmission of life.”

Moreover, King was in the jail because, as part of his belief in non-violent protest, he had to be there. One of the essential elements of his strategy was to break the secular law and to accept the secular punishment. Now, I don’t think I have to explain in too much detail how, over the last five decades or so, accepting the secular punishment for breaking the secular law never has been high on the priority list for America’s Catholic bishops. Don’t believe me? Take it up with Bernard Cardinal Law there, who ran off to Rome to preside over the Basilica Of Our Lady Of The Clean Getaway….

To be sure, history shows that the Catholic hierarchy has yet to learn its lesson when dealing with pedophile priests. When the problem hit Boston in 1992 — after Massachusetts priest James Porter was convicted of molesting 28 children in three Bristol parishes in the 1960s — scrutiny of the Church grew so intense that Law infamously called down “God’s power on the media.” But despite the negative headlines, the cardinal, we now know, did little to rid his archdiocese of sexual predators and thus prevent further public-relations fiascoes. When the Diocese of Dallas fell to its knees in 1997 — after a jury awarded 11 clergy sex-abuse victims $119.6 million for its negligent supervision – American bishops lamented that the award would cripple the American Catholic Church. But despite the financial threat, the bishops, we now know, did little to set up a system-wide policy to root out abusive clergy.

Oh, make no mistake about it, these guys know how to play the religious freedom card when it suits their purposes. In this case, it was to duck responsibility for the heinous crimes they covered up. Now, it’s to pretend to be oppressed because their insurance carriers might be required by law to do something of which the bishops don’t approve. And the performance is becoming positively operatic. The statement also mentions that the pope is worried about us, too.

This has been noticed both near and far. Pope Benedict XVI recently spoke about his worry that religious liberty in the United States is being weakened. He called it the “most cherished of American freedoms” — and indeed it is. All the more reason to heed the warning of the Holy Father, a friend of America and an ally in the defense of freedom, in his recent address to American bishops:

Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion. Many of you have pointed out that concerted efforts have been made to deny the right of conscientious objection on the part of Catholic individuals and institutions with regard to cooperation in intrinsically evil practices. Others have spoken to me of a worrying tendency to reduce religious freedom to mere freedom of worship without guarantees of respect for freedom of conscience.

Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society.

Funny, we didn’t hear much about the need for an “engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity” when the topic was the raping of children, and the international conspiracy to obstruct justice that covered it up. In fact, the more engaged, articulate and well-formed the laity became on the topic, the more howls we heard from the hierarchy — and from the sheep who follow it blindly — that even to bring up these crimes, let alone demand that the criminals be prosecuted, was to attack the Church itself. That is still going on, here and elsewhere.

I bring up the scandal because it is not yet over. Because it is not yet over, the hierarchical Church in America has no serious moral witness that any Catholic with an informed conscience need pay any mind. When you finally settle accounts with the children who were raped, all of them, everywhere, then you may request, gently, that we listen to you about why your insurance companies shouldn’t offer birth control without co-pays because that is religious oppression on a par with hanging Quakers.

(Their history’s pretty bad, too. They drag in poor Jemmy Madison: James Madison, often called the Father of the Constitution, described conscience as “the most sacred of all property. He wrote that “the Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate.” This, of course, is an argument for religious exemptions from the secular law derived from the thoughts of a man who didn’t even want there to be congressional chaplains.)

No Catholic in this country is unfree. No Catholic in this country is being made to do anything against his or her religious principles, or against the dictates of his or her consciences. When the bishops say this…

Catholic foster care and adoption services. Boston, San Francisco, the District of Columbia, and the state of Illinois have driven local Catholic Charities out of the business of providing adoption or foster care services — by revoking their licenses, by ending their government contracts, or both — because those Charities refused to place children with same-sex couples or unmarried opposite-sex couples who cohabit.

…they are giving away the entire game. Nobody has a right to a government contract under the First Amendment. If secular governments want to give religious institutions waivers from the anti-discrimination statutes, that’s the decision for the secular governments to make. They are under no constitutional requirement to do so. And, again…

Discrimination against Catholic humanitarian services. Notwithstanding years of excellent performance by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services in administering contract services for victims of human trafficking, the federal government changed its contract specifications to require us to provide or refer for contraceptive and abortion services in violation of Catholic teaching.

This may well be unfortunate. It may even be a very bad policy decision. But it is not an infringement on anyone’s religious liberty. Apparently, the bishops have decided that referring people for contraceptive and abortion services is something that they cannot in good conscience do. So they have stopped providing this service. Nobody is making them do anything they don’t want to do. In this argument, they are defining religious liberty merely as carving out exceptions within the secular law so they can have their cake and eat it, too. It is using an important principle as nothing more than a picklock and, in doing so, they claim that their ability to discriminate has been truncated so, therefore, they are the victims of discrimination. Yes, and white people are the true victims of racism in America. They should be embarrassed.

And, then, the little tin trumpets sound.

What is at stake is whether America will continue to have a free, creative, and robust civil society-or whether the state alone will determine who gets to contribute to the common good, and how they get to do it. Religious believers are part of American civil society, which includes neighbors helping each other, community associations, fraternal service clubs, sports leagues, and youth groups. All these Americans make their contribution to our common life, and they do not need the permission of the government to do so. Restrictions on religious liberty are an attack on civil society and the American genius for voluntary associations.

“The state alone” is doing no such thing. Religious people can contribute to “our common life” or to “the common good” as much as they ever have, and they don’t need government’s permission to do so. But the state alone can decide who provides what services under state contracts, and the state can decide the rules that will govern those contracts, and the state can decide to waive those rules or not. And the state can decide to what use, if any, religious organizations can put the state’s own buildings and facilities. It can decide who, if anyone, gets a waiver from the secular law. In most cases, it has decided in a democratic fashion that anti-discrimination statutes contribute more to “our common life” and to “the common good” than does the Catholic Church’s opposition to freedom for gay couples to marry. In most cases, it has decided in a democratic fashion that allowing women a measure of control over their reproductive lives contributes more to “our common life” and to “the common good” than the preposterous view of humanity found in Humanae Vitae. It is repressing nobody in having done so, except some career autocrats who dream of crowns and yearn for palaces.

Complete Article HERE!

Lapsed Catholics explain why they leave church

As part of a survey to understand why they have stopped attending Mass, a few hundred Catholics were asked what issues they would raise if they could speak to the bishop for five minutes.

The bishop would have gotten an earful.

Their reasons ranged from the personal (”the pastor who crowned himself king and looks down on all”) to the political (”eliminate the extreme conservative haranguing”) to the doctrinal (”don’t spend so much time on issues like homosexuality and birth control”).

In addition, they said, they didn’t like the church’s handling of the clergy sex abuse scandal and were upset that divorced and remarried Catholics are unwelcome at Mass.

The findings, based on responses to a survey in the Diocese of Trenton, N.J., are included in a report presented March 22 at the “Lapsed Catholics” conference at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

Conducted by Villanova University’s Center for the Study of Church Management, the survey, called “Empty Pews,” asked Catholics in the Trenton Diocese a series of questions about church doctrine and parish life to better understand why they are staying home.

While the study was restricted to one diocese, chances are the responses could come from just about anywhere in the U.S., where a 2007 report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found one-third of Americans were raised Catholic but one-third of those had left the church.

Or, as Villanova’s Charles Zech put it, “These are issues that affect the whole church.”

The responses can be divided into two categories, said Zech, who co-authored the study and is director of the Villanova center. In one category are “the things that can’t change but that we can do a better job explaining.” The other category, he said “are some things that aren’t difficult to fix.”

Zech and the Rev. William Byron, professor of business and society at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, conducted the survey of 298 parishioners who have stopped attending Mass.

Almost two-thirds of the respondents were female, and the median age was 53, two facts that Zech finds troubling. “That’s a critical demographic. If we’re losing the 53-year-old women, we risk losing their children and their grandchildren,” he said.

About a quarter of the respondents said they still consider themselves Catholic despite not attending Mass. About half offered negative comments about their parish priests, whom they described as “arrogant,” ‘’distant” and “insensitive.”

“One respondent said, ‘Ask a question and you get a rule, you don’t get a “let’s sit down and talk about it” response,’” Zech said. “They feel no one is willing to explain things to them.”

Respondents also said they were troubled by the church’s views of gays, same-sex marriage, women priests and the handling of the sex abuse crisis.

Criticism of the sex scandal was predictable, Zech said. “That doesn’t surprise anybody. They did not manage that well, and they are still not managing it well,” Zech said. “It hasn’t gone away.”

The respondents also called for better homilies, better music and more accountability of the church staff.

Trenton Bishop David O’Connell, a former president of Catholic University, declined to be interviewed about the survey’s results, saying through a spokeswoman that he “needed to spend time with the findings and develop his own analysis of them.”

Though the project was undertaken to learn more about why church attendance continues to decline in the Trenton Diocese, it’s findings have broader implications, Zech said. “These are issues that affect the whole church,” he said.

Although it was an anonymous survey, about one in eight respondents said they welcomed a call from a church official and provided their names and contact information for that purpose. Many more indicated they were pleased to be asked for their input.

“The fact that they took the time to respond gives us a chance,” Zech said. “If some things change, or we do a better job of representing the church’s position, we might woo some of them back.”

Complete Article HERE!