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Church Militant's William Mahoney discusses how parish closings in Chicago are a symptom of a massive problem.
Cdl. Blase Cupich: "We're all going to have to give up something."
Already, 113 parishes have been shuttered, and more closings may be on the horizon for the Chicago archdiocese.
In 2018, the Cardinal blamed "demographic changes" for the problem.
Cupich's representative, Fr. Jason Malave, revealed in comments this week: "The numbers of priests … it was not increasing. The number of faithful at Mass was not increasing."
He also added that collection basket donations were down and that "the only thing that was increasing was the amount of money that it costs to maintain the buildings."
Over the last decade, fewer men have become priests.
But in the last 20 years, fewer people have been going to Mass on Sunday.
Chicago alone saw Mass attendance tanking by 72% between 2000–2015.
Other archdioceses have closed and merged parishes in record numbers. Milwaukee closed 135, St. Louis closed 116, and New York closed 82 — most of them in the past few decades.
The number of U.S. parishes shrank nearly 15% between 1990 and 2020, from more than 19,000 to under 17,000.
Amid the parish mergings and closures, the number of practicing Catholics continues to decline every year.
To learn more about what the Catholic Church might look like in the future, watch Church Militant's show, Dispatches—The Last Priest in America, available for free on the site.