Here is an excerpt from Chapter 6: A Patrimony Squandered. Lawler seems from afar to be channeling my own thinking. This chapter deals a great deal with liturgical practice, church architecture, music, etc. He is dead on right. One of the points he makes at the beginning of the chapter comes from an experience he had of entering St. Peter’s Basilica. As he gazed at the amazing space, he had the reaction, “This is all mine!”. EXACTLY. Our tradition is our patrimony. Stories of the saints are our family history. Our liturgy is our very flesh and bone: we are our rites. When we squander our inheritance, we do terrible damage to our identity. Recovering our patrimony is an urgent task pressing on us all. We all have a role in this mission.
Anyway, here is the excerpt from the end of Chapter 6. My emphases and comments.
Closings - Commonplace - America - Today - Prelates
Parish closings are commonplace in America today, and prelates are praised for their smooth handling of what is seen as an “inevitable” contraction of the Church. A question for the bishops who subscribe to such a defeatist view. Why is it inevitable?
There are times, admittedly, when parishes are doomed by demographic shifts. There are city neighborhoods in which two Catholic churches were built, literally across the street from one another: one for the benefit of French-speaking families, the other for their German-speaking neighbors. Such cases, however, account for only a small proportion of the parish closings that we see in the US today. More typically, the parish slated for closing is located in a comfortable, populous neighborhood, with no other Catholic church particularly close at hand and no special reason why the community that supported a thriving parish in 1960 cannot maintain the same parish now, fifty years later. No reason, that is, except...
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