Sunday, August 14, 2011

Catholic Church’s popularity at all-time low...churches closing by the dozens

Read our related article: Benedict XVI and the Bible, the Immoral Bible

Updated January 26, 2012

AUSTRIA: Church rebels worry the Vatican (see articles below)


Updated December 23, 2011 Secular UK: Number of Christians is down 10% in just five years

Disillusioned: The apparent decline of the faith comes as many Christians believe their core beliefs, such as being able to wear crucifixes at work, are coming under fire from equality laws

Updated December 2, 2011

Updated September 17, 2011 Canadians losing faith in religion,

Many link traditional institutions with religious conflict, survey finds. Read more below

Updated August 30, 2011 Illinois Diocese may close up to 20 parishes: 'If you can't deliver the sacrament. ... it's like Nike not being able to make shoes'

August 25, 2011 New news: Africa 40 Catholic Priests Quit Over Church Celibacy Rule

Netherlands De-Baptism in Roman Catholic Church -- Mass exodus after scandals

So the Vatican empire will eventually die down as Catholics realize that worshipping the Galaxy-size ego of John Paul II is to perpetuate the priest pedophilia that plagued his 27 years papacy and that he was no saintly Holy Father who never once spoke out against priest pedophiles lurking in Catholic churches around the world as he trotted to propagate his John Paul II the Great narcissistic image. If the Catholic Diocese of Orange County buys the Crystal Cathedral they will put a gigantic image of "Saint" John Paul II and he and the Opus Dei saint Escriva will be worshipped and thus fool generations of Californians and Mexicans across the Mexican border. Read our related article SAVE Crystal Cathedral by sending $500. Go 100,000 persons send $500 equal $50 million. Protect Crystal Cathedral from Catholic Vatican Empire

Read our related article SAVE Crystal Cathedral by sending $500. Go 100,000 persons send $500 equal $50 million. Protect Crystal Cathedral from Catholic Vatican Empire

Ireland condemns Vatican secrecy on Cloyne Diocese pedophile priests. Ireland vis-à-vis USA: the way they deal with crimes by the Vatican

Mother Teresa was not a living saint - revealed in detail by book, God and His Demons

Lightning forced Benedict XVI to cut speech short. No WYD youth received the Eucharist!! Benedict XVI's satanic smile : VIDEOS and PHOTOS

From Ireland to Malta to Germany to Austria to Australia to Boston, the Catholic Church is losing countless thousands of members and closing down empty parishes as rightly so because the Eucharist is really a Harry Potter sorcery of Christ’s flesh and blood by the pope and Cardinals and priests who have no power to re-incarnate dead cats and dead dogs and neither can they re-incarnate God!. This power of the Eucharistic sorcery must end in this 21st century to protect children and women from the “holy” clout of priestly sorcerers who manipulate Catholics and the world only to maintain the Vatican power to usurp billions of dollars from poor countries and poor peoples.

We will continue to post news on the massive exodus of Catholics from around the world in this post. Benedict Xvi and his partner in pedophile crime of cover-up of the JP2 Army the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army who committed the Priestly Sodomy of Biblical Proportions of the 20th century shall disappear like smoke with the Smoke of Satan as they so deserve because they all smelled the Devil’s Bowels for 27 years read our related articles in the John Paul II Millstone

Read our related articles:

John Paul smelled Devil`s Bowels as roses for 27 years as he deified Father Marcial Maciel and deified Cardinal Bernard Law

It’s time, the Vatican loses its global Empire from where the sun rise and where the sun sets in the 21st century. Ireland and Prime Minister Enda Kenny, may you end the Empire of the Vatican, once and for all.

America, wake up and see the Victims in USA - Attackers - Responsible Leaders

Pearl Harbor - 3,000 victims - 170 planes - Admiral Yamamoto

WTC & 9/11 attacks - 3,000 victims - 19 Muslims - Osama bin Laden

JP2 Army - 15,736 victims - 6,000 pedophile priests - John Paul II & Benedict XVI & Opus Dei, the new Vatican Trinity

Opus Dei controlled the 27 years papacy of John Paul II and is therefore the foremost guilty party who aided and abetted and covered-up the John Paul II Pedophiles Rapists-Priests Army. Opus Dei wrote most of John Paul II’s books and writings and to ensure their perpetuity as “All things Catholic”, they want JP2 to be beatified and canonized now by Benedict XVI so as not to take any chances on other future popes. The FACE of Opus Dei is John Paul II and the PHANTOM Spirit of Opus Dei is their founder St. Josemaria Escriva, read our related article John Paul II, Patron of Pederasts and Opus Dei – analysis of Joaquin Navarro-Valls’ reasons for JP2 beatification at Opus Dei conference in Rome

The 15,736 victims is from the recent report of the US Catholic Bishops Conference harmed by almost 6,000 pedophile priests. Note that the victims of the JP2 Army are 5 times those of Osama bin Laden's 9-11, read more here

180,000 German and 87,000 Austrian Catholics have formally left the church. German-speaking Catholic Europe was engulfed -- in the words of Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn -- in a tsunami of clerical abuse -- update news below


Church’s popularity at all-time low

The Malta Independent

by Stephen Calleja

14 August 2011

The fact that two priests committed serious and heinous crimes does not entitle us to put all members of the clergy in the same basket. There are weirdoes and perverts in every profession and social sector.

And to make sweeping statements that all priests are paedophiles or pederasts – call them what you will – is as wrong as saying that all journalists are unethical and hack into people’s phones because the News of the World did.

But this does not exonerate the local Curia from blame, as it is clear that it did not act promptly on the accusations that were made. In fact, its procrastination serves only to raise suspicions that it attempted to keep matters within its own four walls. To have the Vatican’s Chief Prosecutor Mgr Charles Scicluna speak of Church investigations as being “never-ending” and “ridiculous” clearly shows that the Curia did not do enough to ensure that justice prevailed.

I did not write last week about this scandal that has rocked the foundations of the Church in Malta because I wanted to have the chance to read as much about the issue as possible. I knew that last Sunday’s newspapers would carry extensive reports and in-depth analyses of the court judgment, and so I spent most of the morning going through everything that had been printed.

It was only Il-Mument that chose not to give so much prominence to the shameful happenings in the Church-run home for adolescents, except for a short story on page 3 about the possibility that the victims of the abuse by the two priests will be seeking financial compensation from the Church. There were no excerpts of the judgment lifted for analysis, no interviews with the victims and no comment pieces, as there were in the other Sunday newspapers.

Instead, the Nationalist Party newspaper opted for a double page interview, with a synopsis on the front page, about the work of Maltese bishops abroad.

Frankly, I was not surprised that the Nationalist media preferred to give little importance to the disgraceful priestly abuse and have a larger write-up on the good work of other Maltese clergy. I am sure that many Maltese priests, locally or abroad, carry out sterling work in their community, but having such an interview last Sunday was ill-timed and smacked of a feeble attempt to balance things out.

The Nationalist Party is known for its strong links with the Church, and it will do anything in its power to please, or at least not to undermine, the Curia.

We saw it happening in the run-up to the divorce referendum, when the Nationalist Party took the same stand as the Church on the issue, and the Nationalist newspapers and radio and TV stations were the only media to take a position against divorce – and attack other media that expressed itself in favour. On one occasion, Il-Mument carried a double page spread to insinuate that there was an orchestrated attempt to put the Church in bad light, simply because other newspapers were doing their duty and reporting facts.

Of course, it is the PN’s prerogative to choose what to report and what line to take in its media, but I cannot agree with such a blatant attempt to play down what happened at St Joseph’s Home.

The priestly abuse, coming hot on the heels of the defeat to which the Church succumbed in the divorce referendum, despite the tens of thousands of euros it spent on its marketing campaign, has dealt another blow to the Church. It can easily be said that the Church’s popularity in Malta has reached an all-time low.

It will take a long time for the local Curia to recover from this double setback, if ever. It definitely has been an annus horribilis for the Church in Malta.

This was not the first time that priests have abused young men under their care. Over the past years, dioceses around the world have been embroiled in similar scandals. And I am sure that such crimes have been happening for a long, long time – it’s only that nowadays victims find more courage to expose the ordeal to which they have been subjected.

I will not go into the sordid details of this particular case. Charles Pulis and Godwin Scerri committed monstrous crimes on innocent young people in their care, scarring them for life. They deserved the punishment they received and should have received more.

I shudder when I think, that a few weeks ago, I was sitting between them while I was waiting to give testimony in court on another case. What struck me was that they barely acknowledged each other; and yet they have so much in common.

Apart from the feeling of disgust I felt as I read what those youngsters had gone through, what also annoyed me was, firstly, the fact that the judicial process took so long to run its course and, secondly, that the Church has done so little to stop priestly abuse.

What I find appalling is also the fact that, a few weeks ago, I was among those who were accused by the Bishop of Gozo of being a wolf in sheep’s clothing just because I was airing my views in favour of divorce. And yet these boys were abused for many years by people who were supposed to be taking care of them. I wonder who the real wolves are.

The Church needs to think deeply about what went on at St Joseph’s Home to ensure that it does not happen again. It should also be the first to report any claims of abuse by priests to the police and should see that its internal structures deal with reports of abuse efficiently, effectively and without undue delay.

There is one other thing that the Church should do. Apart from removing a priest accused of abuse from his position or the area in which he is working immediately, the Curia should also publish his name, especially if he is accused of abusing minors. I think all parents would want to know that the priests who can get close to their children can be trusted – just as much they should know whether the lay adults who work with children have been involved in similar cases.

If I am accused of abusing a child, my name will be splashed all over the media - unless that child were my own in which case the victim’s identity would need to be protected - even before I am proven guilty or acquitted. It should be the same for priests.

Saying sorry and shaking hands with the victims is simply not enough.


Netherlands De-Baptism in Roman Catholic Church -- Mass exodus after scandals

Roman Catholic Church Mass exodus after scandals

Radio Netherlands

Last year some 23,000 Dutch abandoned the Roman Catholic Church because of the scandals over sexual abuse. In Germany and Austria, there were 123,000 and 80,000. The number of cancellations in Germany has direct impact on the income of the church. In the Netherlands, continues to damage to reputation

The Dutch figures are published by Kaski, the expertise of Religion and Society, Radboud University Nijmegen. Especially young people between twenty and forty years leave the church. Compared to 2009 is about one fourth more exits. Kaski expects more cancellations because not all parishes by the figures indicate.

Sexual Abuse

People leave the church mainly because the stories about sexual abuse. But that, according to Jean-Pierre Wils, professor of theology in the Netherlands, not the only reason. "Someone who has never thought about leaving the church will not do it alone as a result of such developments. Anyone who already have more about it, waiting for a reason to disconnect. "

Tens of thousands of Roman-Catholic faiths Europe flocked to leave the church as a result of sexual abuse scandals.

The exact figures are: Netherlands 23 thousand, 123 thousand German and Austrian 80 thousand. These new figures from last year alone. The one in Germany relating to the church, while that in the Netherlands caused damage to the image of the church.

Figures in the Netherlands is published Kaski, a center of religious studies and social life Radboud University of Groningen. This occurs especially among young people, ages 20 to 40 years. While in 2009, the number of people who left the church only one quarter. According to Kaski, this number will still increase because not all parishes are willing to give numbers.

Congregation left the church, especially since the news about sexual harassment. But according to Jean-Pierre Wils, Dutch professor of theology, it is not the only reason:

Jean Pierre Wils: "Someone who had never thought of leaving the church, will not do it because of one reason. While on the other hand, people who are thinking to leave, just looking for additional reasons to break with the church."


For Jean-Pierre Wils, the limit is two years ago when the church decided to return to forgive brotherhood Pius X ( "I'm not going to be a member of the extremist organizations that tolerate that kind," said Wils. Sexual harassment scandal only reinforces the reasons for him leaving the church.

Wils Europe can assess the situation properly because she was born in Belgium, working in the Netherlands and lived in Germany. While in the Netherlands wave of exodus leaving the church has gone, in Germany and Belgium are continuing. "In Germany, every year there are just people cancel the membership because they have to pay church tax. In Belgium, it is also rapid." The situation in Belgium can be followed on the internet. Many online forums where fellow citizens of Belgium to give advice about it.

Gloomy Past

One of the open mouth in the forums is John Kessel (55). He is Dutch, but living in Belgium. For years Kessel became victims of sexual abuse a brother of the monastery of Saint Louis in a Dutch village, Oudenbosch. He decided to pour his story and leave the church at (), to leave his past that smears . But he blocked the rules of the church.

John Kessel: I heard from the diocese of Breda how to withdraw from the list of the congregation at the church. But it was not enough. Your name was given additional information in the list of congregations. The message is, you have to think about your fellow human beings and Christianity, and forget the puppets under the pretext of the bishop.

Relative Figures

John Kessel did not want anymore trouble to cancel its membership in the church. He has been away from church, but remained faithful. The story also shows that the number of congregations that left the Roman Catholic church is relatively small. In 2009 there were 4.212 million registered churches in the Dutch Catholic Church. Decline of 23 thousand people do not carry a financial impact for the Roman Catholic church.

But at other German again, because it will impact on bekurangnya subdsidi against the church. In the Netherlands, there are government funds for the maintenance of monuments and the establishment of social projects, and it does not depend on the number of registered congregations. According to research last year, there are 1700 residents who terminate their membership catholic.


The resignation of the church in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Austria by theologian Jean-Pierre Wilss not bring big changes.

Pierre Wills: All calls, for example last week of representatives of the German parliament to remove the celibacy, it was rebuffed. I guess everyone who dreams of becoming more liberal churches must be ready to accept the fact that all this is just an illusion. This institution will not change.

Translated from

artikel: Eksodus Jemaat Gereja Selepas Skandal
Puluhan ribu penganut agama Roma-Katolik Eropa berbondong-bondong meninggalkan gereja sebagai akibat skandal pelecehan seksual.

Massale uittocht rk-kerk na schandalen

Radio Nederland

4 feb 2011

Zo'n 23.000 Nederlanders hebben vorig jaar de rooms-katholieke kerk verlaten als gevolg van de schandalen over seksueel misbruik. In Duitsland en Oostenrijk waren dat er 123.000 en 80.000. Het aantal afmeldingen heeft in Duitsland direct gevolg voor de inkomsten van de kerk. In Nederland blijft het bij imagoschade

De Nederlandse cijfers zijn bekendgemaakt door Kaski, het expertisecentrum religie en samenleving van de Radboud Universiteit in Nijmegen. Vooral jonge mensen tussen de twintig en veertig jaar verlaten de kerk. In vergelijking met 2009 gaat het om een kwart meer uitschrijvingen. Kaski verwacht nog meer afmeldingen omdat niet alle parochies de cijfers doorgeven.

Seksueel Misbruik
Mensen verlaten de kerk vooral vanwege de verhalen over seksueel misbruik. Maar dat is volgens Jean-Pierre Wils, hoogleraar theologie in Nederland, niet de enige reden. 'Iemand die nooit heeft nagedacht over het verlaten van de kerk zal dat niet alleen doen naar aanleiding van dit soort ontwikkelingen. Wie daar al wel langer over nadenkt, zit te wachten op een aanleiding om de verbinding te verbreken.'

German Catholics are 'weary,' says Jesuit

National Catholic Reporter
By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt
Aug. 19, 2011

In January 2010, Jesuit Fr. Klaus Mertes, headmaster of the prestigious Jesuit-run Canisius College in Berlin, sent a letter to former students of the school informing them that two former priests had been accused of sexual misconduct with students. In the letter, he wrote that he was deeply shaken and ashamed because he had learned that “systematic abuse had taken place at the school over the years.”

Within a week of the letter being made public, 20 other students came forward with stories of sexual abuse by teachers at the school. When the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported the story, even more former students came forward.

Soon a whole series of abuse cases at other well-known Jesuit and Benedictine schools in Germany and in many German dioceses came to light. By spring, the revelations were coming from Austrian and Swiss church institutions.

Since then, 180,000 German and 87,000 Austrian Catholics have formally left the church. German-speaking Catholic Europe was engulfed -- in the words of Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn -- in a tsunami of clerical abuse.

Mertes, 56, stepped down from his post at Canisius College in June. In July, he talked with Der Spiegel about clergy sexual abuse and the Catholic church.

Germany is in the final stages of preparing for a papal visit. For the Sept. 22-25 visit to his homeland, Pope Benedict XVI has scheduled 28 events and he is to deliver 17 public addresses. Mertes said he would like the pope to use the event to reach out to troubled German Catholics, but he doesn’t hold out much hope.

Many committed, middle-of-the-road Catholics are “deeply weary” and resignation has settled in, which explains the mass exodus of Catholics from the church, he told Der Spiegel.

Some people in the church aren’t alarmed by the exodus, however, he said. Certain circles actually welcome the fact that thousands are formally leaving the church in Germany. They regard it as “healthy downsizing” that enables “true Catholics” to be among themselves, he said.

Over the last 18 months, Mertes said, he has received masses of hate mail and letters accusing him of being disloyal, of splitting the church and of fouling his nest.

He expressed gratitude that Cardinal Georg Sterzinsky of Berlin had given him full backing from the beginning, while noting that other members of the hierarchy were not supportive. (Sterzinsky died June 30 at age 75.)

He recalled that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, had called stories about sexual abuse by clergy “petty gossip.”

“I was aghast that anyone could say that and I’m still deeply ashamed about that statement of Sodano’s,” Mertes said. He added that he was immensely grateful that Schönborn had openly contradicted Sodano.

Only recently a cardinal in the Vatican had said that Mertes ought to be thrown out of the church, Mertes told Der Spiegel.

“I owe everything to the church -- my faith, the prayers I pray, the liturgy I celebrate and the Gospel. The values I try to live by are the Gospel values. I will not to allow all that to be taken from me by a small clique of people who by vilifying me think they are doing the church a service,” he said.

“The Catholic church is more than just a circle of mobbing Catholics who act in the dark, who think even the slightest critical remark is disloyal and who denounce people who ask questions. ... My big worry is that the hierarchy will listen to them.

“The bitterest thing is that Rome accepts these denunciations. The informers are protected by being allowed to remain anonymous so they can continue to act in the dark. They get the significance the powers that be give them.”

Mertes said that he “can live with [personal attacks] but what I find worse is that part of the hierarchy who remain silent in the face of such attackers out of fear that they too will be attacked in the same way.”

“There are opportunists in the hierarchy who say nothing when this vociferous, self-righteous minority in the church speaks out,” he said.

The church, Mertes said, is ready for change, but church leadership is afraid. “The church leadership immediately fears that it will no longer be in charge of the discussion. It is afraid of losing authority. ... We as a church must learn to look at our church in a new way. We must clear up why there is this silence and what leads to it. That is the decisive question and the question the victims are asking.”

[Christa Pongratz-Lippitt is correspondent in Vienna, Austria, for the London-based Catholic newsmagazine The Tablet.]

Africa 40 Catholic Priests Quit Over Church Celibacy Rule

MORE than 40 priests have in the last two years defected from the Catholic Church in Kenya seeking freedom from celibacy. The priests have joined the Ecumenical Catholic Church headed by Bishop Geoffrey Shiundu who also quit the Catholic church after he married against rules of priesthood.

Shiundu says his church is growing stronger and more priests were seeking advice from him on the celibacy issue. He, however, said that his church was ready to work with the Roman Catholic Church if Pope Benedict agrees to change the constitution to make celibacy optional. Shiundu said many priests are under pressure to marry and have families. He was speaking in Kitale during the ordination of a priest from Uganda, Fr John Angelo Msaazi. Said Bishop Shidundu: "It's right to allow those who want celibacy to remain so but for those who want to marry let them also enjoy their rights," said Shiundu.

Meanwhile, Shiundu has criticised a proposal to change the constitution to remove the clause providing that women take a third of elected positions. Bishop Siundu said that together with his priests were among the first group of church leaders to have endorsed the new constitution because of the provisions that favour marginalised groups especially women.

Update August 30, 2011

Diocese may close up to 20 parishes



BELLEVILLE -- At the end of a lengthy review, Catholics in the Diocese of Belleville could have up to 20 fewer parishes, Bishop Edward Braxton announced in an open letter on the diocese website.

He noted the diocese's upcoming 125th anniversary in January, and with that, said: "As we give thanks for the past we must plan for the future, taking into account the realities of the present. A number of factors indicate that we need to consolidate some of our parishes if we hope to have strong and vital Catholic communities in the years to come."

The process is called the Pastoral Plan for Parish Renewal and Restructuring, and it involves a first phase of six months, starting in September, in which parishes and diocesan schools will use a set of criteria to evaluate their viability. The first phase will also include town hall-style meetings for parishioners to express their views. The parishes will submit their reports to a committee chaired by the vicar general and moderator of the curia, Rev. John W. McEvilly....

The Rev. John Myler, pastor at St. Peter's Cathedral and a spokesman for the diocese, said other factors include the growth in population in some towns and cities and the loss of population in others.

When asked whether the reconfiguration is because of the $6.33 million settlement awarded earlier this month in a sexual abuse case against a priest, Myler said the diocese has laid out this plan independent of the court case. He said diocesan leaders were discussing this years before the settlement.

The diocese covers the 28 southernmost counties in the state and includes 117 parishes. A closure of 20 parishes would eliminate 17 percent of those in the diocese. Eight of the parishes are in Belleville, the largest single-city concentration in the diocese.

Belleville Diocese pays $6.33 million to former altar boy who was sexually abused


BELLEVILLE -- It took less than 10 minutes on Wednesday morning to end a nine-year legal battle between the Catholic Diocese of Belleville and a former altar boy who was sexually abused.

The diocese handed over two checks totaling $6,329,041 to Mike Weilmuenster, attorney for sexual abuse victim James Wisniewski.

A St. Clair County jury awarded Wisniewski $5 million from the diocese in 2008. The Rev. James Kownacki, who is suspended from ministry, sexually abused Wisniewski while Wisniewski was an altar boy at St. Theresa's Parish in Salem nearly four decades ago.

There were two checks. One check was drawn from money placed in an escrow account by the diocese. The other check was issued from an insurance company.

"The punitive damages in this case were to punish others for their actions in this case in covering up the abuse," Weilmuenster said. "It's unclear to me whether that message was received by the Diocese of Belleville."

The diocese appealed the 2008 jury verdict to the appellate court. The appellate court upheld the verdict. The Diocese then asked the Illinois Supreme Court to review the case, but the court declined to hear the case.

Wisniewski responded with "disbelief" when his lawyer told him that the diocese was paying the $5 million judgment, plus interest that has accrued at $1,250 a day.

"He couldn't believe that this day had finally come," Weilmuenster said.

Bishop Edward Braxton has said in a letter to priests that paying the settlement could strain "resources for responding to other abuse victims and for sustaining pastoral services in the Diocese of Belleville."

But David Clohessy, executive director of the St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, contended that it's difficult to know how much of the settlement was paid by insurance and how much came from the Diocese.

"We will never know," Clohessy said. "The diocese is as secretive about money as they are about pedophile priests."

Clohessy continues to urge Braxton to publicly post the names and address of Belleville diocese priests removed from the ministry because of allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

"It never should have come to this," Clohessy said. "I urge Bishop Braxton to shift its efforts from legal hard ball to prevention."

Weilmuenster currently has three other lawsuits pending against the Diocese concerning abuse by Kownacki.

The diocese settled another case involving Kownacki, paying $1.2 million.

The diocese has never acknowledge that Wisniewski was abused, Weilmuenster said, nor has it offered Wisniewski an apology or counseling.

Wisniewski continues to attend Mass at holidays, Weilmuenster said, but no longer considers himself a practicing Catholic.

"He's still Catholic in faith, but not in practice," Weilmuenster said.

Weilmuenster, who is also Catholic, said he received a lot of support and encouragement from the Catholics in the community, but added "It has been very trying."

Wisniewski never had the opportunity to confront Kownacki about the abuse, Weilmuenster said, and he was "disillusioned."

"Jim has never expressed hate (toward Kownacki), just more ... devastation," Weilmuenster said.

As to what Wisniewski, who now works in the health care industry as a consultant, intends to do with the money, Weilmuenster said he was unsure.

"The money is secondary to Jim," Weilmuenster said. "We have never to this day talked about money."

Contact reporter Beth Hundsdorfer at or 239-2570.


Canadians losing faith in religionCANADA

By Teresa Smith, Postmedia News
September 18, 2011

It's no secret fewer Canadians attend church today than 20 years ago, but what may be surprising is almost half of Canadians believe religion does more harm than good, according to the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid.

Explanations from experts vary - from fear of extremists and anger toward individuals who abuse positions of power, to a national "forgetting" of Canadian history.

"In the past few years, there have been several high-profile international situations involving perceived religious conflicts, as well as the anniversary of 9/11, and I think when people see those, it causes them to fear religion and to see it as a source of conflict," said Janet Epp Buckingham, associate professor at Trinity Western University in Ottawa.

Religion seems to be a key player in many of today's top stories, from stand-alone events - such as the 2005 riots in the suburbs of Paris linked to the French government's proposed burka ban, and rightwing Christian Anders Behring Breivik's shooting rampage in Oslo, Norway - to more drawn-out sagas, such as child abuse in the Catholic Church, and the perception that Christians are constantly campaigning against gay marriage and abortion.

Canadians who don't participate in religion themselves experience it in the news, which can sensationalize the negatives aspects of religion, said Dr. Pamela Dickey Young, the principal of the School of Religion at Queen's University, in Kingston, Ont.

Dickey Young said that had the survey asked if religious people did more harm than good, the answer would have been very different.

"To me, that means people think religion is harmful, but people who are religious aren't particularly harmful," she said.

The survey, which was conducted ahead of the launch of a new Global TV show - Context - about religion in Canada, also found that 89 per cent of Canadians are comfortable being around people of different faiths.

Dickey Young said when she asks most of her firstyear students if they're religious, they say no. When she asks if they are spiritual, they say yes.

She said this follows a general trend among Canadians who are turning away from organized religion - which is seen as a concrete set of pre-ordained rules - in favour of a more personalized spiritual journey.

But, on the question of whether religion does more harm than good, Rev. Canon Dr. Bill Prentice said: "We forget our history."

He pointed out that the first hospitals, schools and universities in Canada were founded by religious institutions, or at the very least, have a religious foundation.

Prentice, director of Community Ministry for the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, said churches continue to "do good works" across the country, managing food banks, social programs, and helping the country's homeless find shelter.

These charities "would not exist if the churches pulled out because the volunteer sector in the religious communities does work that wouldn't otherwise go on," he said.

"I think we take for granted all the positive things that religious institutions are doing in our society, because they're working in the background and they're working with marginalized people," said Epp Buckingham.

"They're the first on the ground when there's a humanitarian disaster or a tornado or a hurricane, and they're often the unsung heroes."

Dan Merkur, a visiting scholar in the department for the study of religion at the University of Toronto, said he thinks there are massive changes happening in organized religion worldwide.

In the 1960s and '70s, he said, most clergy tried to "rationalize" religion by making it logical. But these days, he said, the trend is toward social work and counselling, suggesting that clergy "want to listen to people and help them through their troubles."

This, said Merkur, could be a reaction to fewer people in the pews, or it could be the natural course of religious philosophy.

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist


4 dozen Catholic parishes targeted to close, merge in Detroit, suburbs

Detroit Free Press

[• PDF: Read the Archdiocese of Detroit's parish recommendations]

In a sweeping reorganization of Catholic parish life that will hit the suburbs as well as landmark churches in Detroit's urban core, the Archdiocese of Detroit unveiled tentative proposals Wednesday night to cluster, close and merge some four dozen parishes in the next five years.

Several Detroit-area Catholic landmark churches are threatened with closure in the next several years, based on recommendations made by a layperson's panel to Archbishop Allen Vigneron.

The proposals mean nearly one in five Catholic churches in the archdiocese could be shuttered in the coming years. And unlike a previous round of church closings, which shuttered some 30 Detroit churches in 1989, this time the pain will be felt in parishes throughout Detroit's older suburbs.

Six of seven pastors in Farmington and Farmington Hills, now served by seven parishes, wrote in the report that "if three of the seven parishes were to close within the next 10 years, we would have more than enough parishes to accommodate the present and future Catholic population." The panel recommended those parishes figure out how to do just that.

The tentative proposal would result in 48 fewer parishes for the archdiocese, which now has 270 parishes. Under the proposal, within five years, nine parishes are proposed to close. And over the next several years, another 60 parishes are proposed to be consolidated to 21.

Some parishes agree with the recommendations, and others are likely to vociferously fight them.

Among parishes that are threatened:

• St. Florian parish, with steeples that define the skyline of the once primarily Polish enclave of Hamtramck, could close if the current religious order of priests that pastors the church, the Society of Christ, leaves.

• In Detroit, the Church of the Madonna, the small parish where Father William Cunningham and Eleanor Josaitis launched the social services and civil rights agency Focus: HOPE, may be in danger. The council's recommendation was that Madonna, St. Gregory and Blessed Sacrament Cathedral and St. Benedict in Highland Park should merge to two sites, with one of the sites being Blessed Sacrament.

• The majestic church of Assumption Grotto, on Gratiot at McNichols, is also recommended to merge or close if the current pastor leaves for any reason.

• One of three churches that dominate the near-downtown Detroit skyline along I-75 -- Sweetest Heart of Mary, St. Josaphat and St. Joseph near Eastern Market -- should plan to close.

• The four parishes of Nativity, St. Charles, Good Shepherd and SS. Augustine-Monica, all in Detroit, could eventually merge into one and build a new "green" church along the East Jefferson corridor.

• St. Leo, which for years was the home base of pacifist preacher Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, may have to be sold, the panel said, and merged with St. Cecilia. The panel suggested keeping a building at St. Leo's and naming it after Gumbleton for neighborhood outreach.

• In Oakland County, St. Dennis in Royal Oak, St. Vincent Ferrer in Madison Heights, and St. Mary Magdalen and St. Justin, both in Hazel Park, should consider merging eventually as their pastors retire or move on. A similar directive goes to Our Lady of LaSalette in Berkley, Our Lady of Fatima in Oak Park and St. James in Ferndale.

• In western Wayne County, the panel recommended clustering or merging Our Lady of Grace and St. Sabina in Dearborn Heights, and St. Hilary with St. Robert Bellarmine in Redford Township. In Westland, Divine Savior, St. Theodore and St. Damian should plan to merge. St. Cunegunda in west Detroit should consider merging with St. Barbara and St. Alphonsus in Dearborn.

• In Macomb County, St. Veronica and St. Basil in Eastpointe are urged to merge and Holy Innocents and St. Barnabas in Roseville, now merging, should vacate one of the churches by 2016. St. Louis in Harrison Township and St. Hubert in Harrison Township should cluster.

The archdiocese did not issue a summary of which parishes are threatened. Finding out about a particular parish required going to the archdiocese's website and clicking on each parish listed to read the report. But the site was busy late Wednesday night.

The changes are needed, the archdiocese says, because of the dwindling number of priests, changing demographics and strapped finances. The archbishop said he will decide in February what plans to implement as he considers the panel's recommendations, as well as those made by individual parishes.

"The recommendations are not in themselves the final plans for the future of the Archdiocese of Detroit, although they are serious and well-researched proposals," the archdiocese said in a statement.

The Archdiocese of Detroit now has 293 priests working in 270 parishes. Its leaders say they expect to have one-third fewer priests in the next 10 years.

Detroit was one of the first archdioceses to close churches when then-Cardinal Edmund Szoka ordered some 30 parishes in Detroit to close in 1989.

In the last 10 years alone, about 40 parishes have closed or merged because of the priest shortage and changing demographics in Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs, reducing the number of parishes diocese-wide from 310 to 270.

Contact Patricia Montemurri: 313-223-4538 or


48 Detroit parishes may close, including famed Assumption Grotto

Catholic Culture

December 01, 2011

A lay-led panel of the Archdiocese of Detroit has recommended that Archbishop Allen Vigneron close 48 parishes, including the historic St. Florian Church in Hamtramck and Assumption Grotto, known nationwide for its reverent celebration of the Latin liturgy.

“Within five years, nine parishes are proposed to close,” according to the panel’s recommendations. “In addition to the above, 60 parishes are proposed to merge down to 21, resulting in 39 fewer parishes. Also during this time period, seven worship sites are proposed to close. Additionally, a number of the worship sites impacted by the merging process would likely close.”

The proposed closures would reduce the number of parishes to 232--down from 347 in 1966, 344 in 1980, 308 in 1990, and 270 today.

Secular UK: Number of Christians is down 10% in just five years

Daily Mail

By Steve Doughty

Christianity is slowly, but surely losing ground in England and Wales, according to an official survey yesterday.

The number who declare themselves to be Christian has dropped by nearly 10 per cent in five years, while the number of non-believers is growing.

The state research into race and religion also showed that Christians are less than half as likely to attend a place of worship as followers of other traditions.

The Citizenship Survey showed that Christianity remains the faith of the great majority of the population. But its share dropped from 77 per cent to 70 per cent between 2005 and 2010.

Over the same period the numbers who say they have no religion went up from 15 per cent to 21 per cent.

The findings were published days after David Cameron’s speech on the importance of Christianity to Britain, in which he urged the Church of England and its leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to take a lead in restoring moral values.

The Citizenship Survey is the sixth and last in its ten-year history. Labour launched the research effort in 2001 in the hope of charting levels of prejudice and neighbourhood tensions and finding ways to help ease them.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles ordered the end of the project earlier this year because ministers considered the £4million cost of each survey could not be justified.

The findings were based on questionnaires answered by 10,000 people, with further groups of 5,000 ethnic minority members and 1,200 Muslims consulted to shore up findings among smaller groups of the population.

Questions covered issues including fear of crime, giving to charity, the state of neighbourhoods and experiences of the downturn as well as matters of religion and race.

The results on the decline of Christianity come at a time when many Christians feel that equality laws are attacking some of their core beliefs.

Four test cases on the rights of Christians, including two involving people refused the right to wear crucifixes at work and two which centre on Christians who refused to acknowledge same-sex relationships, are to be decided by the European Court of Human Rights in coming weeks.

The report said: ‘While Christianity remained the most prevalent faith in England and Wales, between 2005 and 2010 there was a steady decrease in the proportion of people who identified themselves as Christian.

‘Christian people were much less likely than all the other main religions to say that they practised their religion, while Muslim people were most likely to practise their religion.’

However there were signs that, as Christian numbers dwindled, their commitment increased.

A third of Christians said they went to church regularly. The figure was 33 per cent, up from 31 per cent in 2005.

Urging action: Mr Cameron spoke out recently to stress the importance of Christianity to help restore moral values

Fewer than half the population now think racial prejudice is on the increase. In the two years to 2010, numbers who believe racism is getting worse went down from 56 per cent to 47 per cent.

The authors of the survey, produced by the Communities Department, said: ‘The positive shifts over time were generally observed across all ethnic and religious groups, and were often most pronounced among minority groups.’

Seven per cent of the whole population thought racial or religious harassment was a problem in their neighbourhood, and 4 per cent of people had actually experienced racial bullying, in most cases consisting of verbal abuse.

This was down from 5 per cent in the previous year.

Asian people broadly said they had suffered less racial harassment over the past two years. For example, among Pakistanis the numbers who said they had experienced racial harassment in the past two years dropped from 20 per cent in 2009 to 13 per cent last year.

However, Caribbeans and Black Africans said their experience of racial harassment had risen.

Losing faith? Canterbury Cathedral (above) is the mother church of the Anglican Communion and seat of the Archbishop of Canterbury. But its significance appears to be diminishing as fewer people are declaring themselves Christian

Dwindling numbers: The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, holds the King James Bible, which celebrates its 400th anniversary this year. He has been urged by David Cameron to speak up for Christianity

Urging action: Mr Cameron spoke out recently to stress the importance of Christianity to help restore moral values


Updated news January 26, 2012

Church rebels worry the Vatican

Austrian Independent

The highest representatives of the Austrian Catholic Church gathered with Vatican officials to speak about a group of priests who declared themselves "disobedient", it has emerged.

The Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper revealed yesterday (Weds) that Viennese Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn and two other members of the Conference of Austrian Bishops, went to Rome on Monday to meet with clergymen in the Vatican. The paper claimed that the gathering was organised to discuss how to react to the increasing acclaim among Austrians for the demands of Helmut Schüller’s Preachers’ Initiative.

Schüller – who was president of Caritas Austria for some years before withdrawing to Probstdorf in Lower Austria to head the local parish – presented the guidelines of his movement half a year ago. He said the Preachers’ Initiative wanted the Vatican to allow Austrian priests to give Holy Communion to divorced people. The rebellious group also want female priests in the Catholic Church and an abolition of celibacy.

A spokesman for the Austrian Roman Catholic Church confirmed today (Thurs) that the meeting took place on Monday. He claimed that it was a regular gathering at which various topics were raised. Schönborn said already some weeks ago that he planned to raise the controversial issue when speaking with Vatican officials.

Schönborn said in several interviews that he was not denying the urgent need for reforms of the Church. However, the archbishop also spoke out against Schüller's suggestions which conservative representatives of the Church consider as radical propaganda. They also accuse Schüller of trying to split the Church. Schüller said the Church was on the brink of breaking up indeed – because of its leaders’ unwillingness to react to significant developments in today’s society.

Austrian Church officials did not confirm that the Preachers’ Initiative was spoken about in the Vatican on Monday. Newspapers report that the movement’s appeals were discussed indeed. Schüller said today he was not afraid of consequences over his actions. The ex-Caritas Austria president announced: "I appreciate that the Worldwide Church starts thinking about our ideals. Maybe this was the start of something."

Schüller said last week he planned to cooperate with priests abroad who shared his opinions. "We receive a lot of approval from Catholic reform movements all over the world," he said. The Probstdorf parish priest also criticised the Vatican for its conservative attitude. Schüller claimed it bore resemblance to an "absolutist monarchy". He added: "The Catholic Church must finally start taking its members seriously."

Around 400 Austrian priests have joined Schüller’s initiative over the past months. Schüller pointed out that the decision to be "disobedient" towards the Vatican found all-round acclaim. Schönborn harshly criticised the group of priests for choosing this term. Newspapers report that Schüller and Schönborn have no plans to meet in the foreseeable future to speak about a possible agreement.

Polls show that a vast majority of Austrians generally support the points of view shared in the Preachers’ Initiative. The development of the feud between the group around Schüller and conservative circles of the Church could be crucial to how things go for reform movements elsewhere since Austria is still one of the Catholic Church’s strongholds in Europe. More than five million Austrians – 65 per cent of the country’s citizens – are part of the Church. The number of people quitting their membership dropped by 32 per cent from 2010 to 2011 when 58,603 cancellations were registered.

JeannieGuzman wrote on 26. 01. 2012 from USA

Just as Martin Luther proved to the world that the Roman Catholic Church didn't have a franchise on the Gift of Salvation, maybe Schuller's group will convince Austrians that the Roman Catholic Church doesn't have an exclusive franchise on the Eucharist! As a divorcee, I am encouraged to the very core of my being, whenever I read of anyone who is trying to bring the comfort of the Eucharist to hurting and grieving people, regardless of their marital status! The main thing that is holding the Catholic Church together is the open lie that Jesus didn't give His Body and Blood to EVERYONE, regardless of religious affiliation. I applaud any group that has an open Eucharistic Table. May God grant them earthshaking success! I wish that I could have answered this post in my finest German dialect of Michiganish, but unfortunately my English will have to suffice.

Joseph Sexton wrote on 26. 01. 2012 from Amherst, NY, USA

Of course the Vatican will remain unmovable, and there will always be those who choose to "push the envelope". The Eucharist is viewed by the Official Church as a kind of reward for good behavior. Others, such as the Austrian group, apparently view the Eucharist more from its healing aspect. It is similar to the divergent views in ecumenical circles: some see Eucharist as a sign of unity achieved, while others see it as a means towards achieving unity. All I can say is, did not Christ say he had come not for the (self-)righteous but for those who needed healing? It seems to me that the Vatican hasn't quite yet understood that point.

H. Bos

"The rebellious group also want female priests in the Catholic Church and an abolition of celibacy".

Not a chance -- because to allow female priests and married priests would endanger the SECRET Vatican Billions. It isn't because women do not know enough theology, it's because the Vatican billions would be threatened in its intact HOMOSEXUAL guard, read more in Pope Crimes and Vatican Evils

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