The Field Hospital: Covering parish life

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by Peter Feuerherd

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Editor's note: "The Field Hospital" blog series covers life in U.S. and Canadian Catholic parishes. The title comes from Pope Francis' words: "I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. …"

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Some parishioners in the diocese of Allentown, Pa., are not happy about letters from their bishop inserted into their church bulletins. The bishop is lobbying against expanding statute of limitations laws as applied to sex abuse in Pennsylvania. It's a hard sell in light of the recent grand jury reports in the Diocese of Altoona describing decades of abuse and the lack of response there from both church officials and law enforcement. 

Crain's describes the struggle to keep parishes open in Chicago. The financial issues aren't new. 

And the ongoing cost of sex abuse settlements isn't helping either, notes the Sun-Times. 

A writer makes a plea for that unglamorous of subjects, church maintenance. Without it, old structures don't have a chance, as seen in this example of San Jose Church in El Paso, Texas.

Let the children come to me. But allowing the young ones and their parents to participate in Mass and church activities doesn't just happen. It takes a plan. Parishes in the diocese of Rochester describe how they do it. 

A suburban Indianapolis parish charges that volunteers at the church bingo pocketed some of the proceeds.

[Peter Feuerherd is a professor of communications and journalism at St. John's University in New York and contributor to NCR's Field Hospital blog.]

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