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Catholic consulting firms have been busy the past few years helping bishops manage their declining dioceses.
Church Militant's Kristine Christlieb dives into what the future holds for the diocese of Madison, Wisconsin.
Fr. Scott Jablonski: "Greetings. My name is Fr. Scott Jablonski, and I'm a priest of the diocese of Madison. I'm also chair of the Into the Deep Strategic Planning Committee."
Father Scott Jablonski presented to Madison, Wisconsin lay leaders on Wednesday a statistical assessment of the diocese and the decision to close nearly 70% of the parishes.
The priest's video introduction to the Current Reality Report replicates what's happened to dozens of other dioceses.
Of the changes put forward, the most devastating was Fr. Jablonski's announcement that 70 of the diocese's 102 parishes will close.
One Madison lay leader told Church Militant: "It was a complete surprise. Nobody was shocked, but it was news."
He reluctantly admitted, "Most people were fine with the recommendations and merely wondered how they could help."
He went on to say that even though the Into the Deep Strategic Planning Committee was announced in the spring, it hadn't really been on his radar.
The lay leader added, "They're throwing names and slogans at us all the time. There's 'Into the Deep,' the 'Disciple Maker Index,' the 'New Evangelization.'"
There appears to be a coordinated, nationwide plan to realign, shuffle or close hundreds of American Catholic parishes. For many of the faithful, this is not good news.
To make matters worse, the Madison diocese is not projecting any significant growth from conversions.