I read this article about some changes afoot for the Camden Archdiocese and it took some time for me to grasp the magnatude of what's being suggested by Bishop Cardinale.
Demographic shifts and a shortage of priests are causing Catholic dioceses around the United States to consolidate or close parishes and schools. In the Camden Diocese, Galante is asking parishioners to study the problem and come up with solutions. Planning committees stocked with lay people and priests have already been formed in each of the diocese's parishes and in 12 clusters of the diocese's elementary schools.
I am not an apologist for the Roman Catholic Church, but i do happen to be Catholic and I have always held out hope that the church would gravitate away from the Vatican towards the sensibilities the laypeople. It always seemed to me like that was the best chance the Church had to recover from its scandals and get back to ministering to the people. And that's exactly what seems to be happening at the Camden Archdiocese. And since I happen to live in Camden County, this is a huge deal for me personally.
For those of you who don't believe the interworkings of the Catholic Church matter to you I say this: the Catholics have stood shoulder to shoulder with liberal activists like me on issues like the death penalty moritorium and poverty and AIDS. Bishop Galante has personally been a leader on both issues and after hurricane Katrina, he was one of the first Catholic leaders to dispatch money and boots on the ground for disaster recovery and relief.
So yeah, the Catholic Chruch has its problems. In fact, the position they're in right now closing parrishes and schools is mostly their own fault. But whenever the steps made to right the ship are so progressive and monumental as these, it's worth a mention.