Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Is your parish dollar buying the subversion of Parish Life?

I am looking around at parish life in the big city these days, and all I see in the bulletin are listings for new programs.  There is one thing that can renew a parish immediately.  It doesn’t cost money.  It doesn’t require volunteers.  And it is a sure fire way to bring miraculous turnarounds and results.  The problem is that I can hardly find this one thing in my bulletin, but I can find a ton of programs.  We even have a new one coming in.  It’s really an old one, but they make it look a new one.  As far as I can tell, this new program isn’t that one thing that can actually work.

It seems that one of the realities characterizing the post-Vatican II period is parish programs. Everyone has to have programs. Your parish must have programs that reach out to married couples. Young adults need programs if they are to mature into well adjusted Catholics. Is your parish ailing? Bring in a new program. It seems like there must be a checklist from the bishop that requires the pastor to check enough boxes.  It’s almost as if they judge the health of the parish by the sheer number and overflow of programs it offers!  The best parishes have more programs than families!

Similarly, it seems that to the people running the programs, any parishioner’s spiritual health is directly related to the number of programs they attend.

Getting programs running in a parish is so important to the diocese that the diocese offers programs to help parishes implement programs.  It’s like prescriptions to the medical industry.  There are even the prescription drug giants in the Catholic world: Catholic publishing companies that exist solely to create, sell, distribute, and repackage programs.  (more...)


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