I was hoping I wouldn't have to write about this subject.
But sometimes events force my hand.
For the past couple of months I've been attending Catholic mass at a s00n-to-be-terminated parish in the Diocese of Camden.
This is one of those parishes that will effectively cease to exist under Camden Bishop Joseph ("Call me 'Joe'") Galante's sweeping directive that closes churches, schools and other facilities throughout the diocese.
Bishop Galante has taken a meat cleaver to a job that may have benefited from a fine carving instrument, if that.
The Bishop will shutter about half of the churches in the diocese, reducing the number of parishes from 124 to 68. Among these will be many of the oldest, most beloved and [still] most active parishes in the diocese.
July 1 will mark the end of some of these parishes.
The Church that I attended today is the center of one of those parishes.
I will not name the Church because it could be any one of the 56 parishes that are closing.
But I will say that this Church is filled every Sunday and it enjoys an active and loyal family of parishioners with a vibrant choir, lay ministers, attendants, etc. It is a beautiful parish.
I'm sorry to have to say this but I really suspect that the Bishop knew what he wanted to do all along - that he knew what he wanted to do when he first arrived here five years ago. Yes, he went through the motions of "reaching out" by going on a "listening tour" through the diocese and setting up a lay council to gain "input." But I suspect he knew all along that he would slice this historic diocese and in the name of "merger" eliminate whole parishes via a plan known only to him.
I was baptised, given my First Holy Communion, confirmed and married in this diocese.
And I'm horrified by what I see happening now.
I urge you to learn more by visiting the site of The Council of Churches of Southern New Jersey and becoming involved in their efforts.
Pray for the Diocese of Camden and its members.
Pray for Holy Mother The Church.
And open your eyes and ears and speak out!
BTW: The Bishop's own credibility has been severely damaged by a series of stories (one of which has made national news) apparently involving his own finances and holdings and the holdings and finances of the diocese. You can find out more about these at the Council of Parishes site as well.