Can Politics Save Christianity?
This has been a turbulent Advent season at our Catholic parish. My family and I attend a church in New Haven, Conn., St. Mary’s, that was in the care of the Dominican friars for 135 years. But now no longer, because the Archdiocese of Hartford decided that its plans to consolidate New Haven’s parishes — a slew of lovely, fading churches in no-longer-very-Catholic neighborhoods — required using St. Mary’s and its attached residence as a hub for the archdiocese’s priests, which in turn required moving the Dominicans somewhere else.
The order, for whom our church has been a home for generations, preferred not to be shunted elsewhere. So after a negotiation carried on in a very Catholic style — meaning that the laypeople of the parish were barely informed it was going on — we received the announcement from on high that our priests would simply be departing.
It was a pretty brutal experience, but our church, I hope, will survive the trauma and thrive under its new pastors. For the archdiocese, though, the outcome seems like folly. The painful consolidation of parishes reflects, among other things, increasing shortages of priests. But the Dominican Order in the Eastern United States is […]