Ecclesiam res et talia sermocinamur -

We talk about the Church, stuff, and such

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A very random demographic thought

This post over at the Curt Jester has caused me to have a thought (a dangerous thing, watch out). Most reasonably sized American cities today contain at least half a dozen Catholic churches, but really only a smattering of Catholics (especially practicing ones). I can't speak for areas with high densities of immigrant-descended Catholics like Boston or Chicago, but the Catholic populations in many of these cities are very spread out -- they live here and there, in this suburb or that that suburb, with neighbors of all types, far away from other Catholics. Even in large cities with traditional ethnic neighborhoods, such as St. Louis, populations are fare more difuse now than in the past.

Well, so what? you ask.

This: it seems that part (not all) of the shortage of priests is fueled by the necessity for having lots of parishes spread out over a large geographic area and serving a relatively small congregation. People don't want to drive all the way across town to go to church, so as cities grow we have to build more and more churches to serve Catholics spreading themselves farther and farther out. For the most part, their numbers are not so great so that they could not be condensed, numerically speaking, into just a few sizeable parishes. But they would all have to live close enough to the church to go to it, which would mean living within close proximity of each other -- all in the same neighborhood. I'm sure there are lots of reasons to oppose urban sprawl, but this might be the most compelling reason yet ... provided I'm not completely off my rocker.

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Blogger Evan said...

Silly, all you have to do is follow our lead: build fitness centers and coffee houses in your church buildings, replace your sermons with motivational talks, and then people will drive for miles and miles to attend... think of the church as more of a "lifestyle center"... all the COOL Protestants are doing it...

4:15 AM  
Blogger Der Tommissar said...

The suburbs were designed by Satan. Then, the concept was helped by "the Spirit of Vatican II" which kept telling people, "get out of your Catholic ghettos and join the rest of the world". To this day I find it disconcerting that I do not walk for five minutes to get to my parish church.

2:18 PM  

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