Cardinal Sean O’Malley announced a new pastoral plan for the Archdiocese of Boston on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.

O’Malley’s plan aims to stabilize the Boston Archdiocese’s declining finances by combining its 288 parishes into 135 clusters that share staffing and resources.

The plan tries to keep parishes somewhat alive as the church deals with diminishing attendance, a looming priest shortage, and decaying parish finances that have left 4 out of 10 parishes unable to pay their bills.

O’Malley said he sees the reorganization as key to a spiritual revival, and his message to parishes was simple: “They must refocus on outreach and evangelization. … We can’t use all of our resources and time, just to serve the active Catholics in the community.”

…….Just 16 percent of Boston Catholics attend church today……Boston was not so long ago a Catholic stronghold.

……..The Boson archdiocese is also facing a major priest shortage. About a fifth of the 420 active priests are 65 or older; and the number of active priests will fall under 200 in a decade.

……..Thomas Groome, Boston College theology professor, said he doubted the archdiocesan reorganization could alleviate the coming priest shortage. He said it might just postpone an honest reckoning of it, which Groome believes includes accepting that married men should be allowed to serve as priests. “To the people of God, the solutions are obvious,” he said.

Meanwhile, the November meeting of the USCCB is over. High points of the meeting:

(1) Our bishops approved an exhortation encouraging greater use of confession.

(2) They approved the hiring of a director of public affairs to reorganize the conference’s Communications Department. (good idea…but what do they have to communicate?)

(3) Our bishops approved a 2013 budget of $220.4 million and agreed to add a national collection for the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services.

(4) On a voice vote, our bishops endorsed the sainthood cause of Dorothy Day, the co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, neglecting of course what she had said: “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.”

(5) The USCCB proposed economic message failed. (Probably a good thing!.) Opponents were amazed at the shortsightedness of the document and said more consultation was needed!

(6) The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted a new document on preaching: “Preaching the Mystery of Faith: The Sunday Homily.”


(7) Just a year after U.S. Catholics began using the new English translation of the Roman Missal at Masses, the bishops agreed November 13th to have work begin on a revision of the Liturgy of the Hours. Our bishops approved beginning work on updates to hymns, psalms, various canticles, psalm prayers, some antiphons, biblical readings and other components of the liturgical prayers used at various parts of the day.

Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, in presenting the request for a vote to the bishops, said the aim of retranslation would be to more accurately reflect the original Latin texts.

There were short discussions of the issue when the formal vote was taken. Among points raised by some bishops were Boston Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley’s comment about “how pleased I am that the committee wants to revisit the Glory Be,” because laypeople tend to use an older version than the bishops do.




  1. “Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans, in presenting the request for a vote to the bishops, said the aim of retranslation would be to more accurately reflect the original Latin texts.” That’s a sure way to guarantee discontinuing use of the Liturgy of the Hours. What a shame.

  2. I am amazed at how little things have changed. In the 60s, 70s, and 80s I watched the number of priests and nuns dwindle while the Catholic population continued to rise. I watched the bishops put down the movement of enthusiasm within the church that began with the Vatican Council. I watched the hierarchy respond to the pedophilia crisis first with a legal response when a pastoral response was needed. I quit watching after a while. I felt the structure of the church was detrimental to my faith. It’s hard to start over. I do like the cartoon. It looks like something you would find in The CRITIC magazine circa 1970.

  3. “Don’t call me a saint. I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.”

    St. Benedict said that it is far more important to be a saint than to be called one.

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