Is Catholic Church At Crossroads In America?

HopeTracker| Vatican challenges in the US are major. Reuters takes a top-level look at problems in America, tied to sex abuse cases.

In Milwaukee, attendance was down significantly over Easter, where the Vatican is defending its handling of the case of Rev. Lawrence Murphy, who allegedly molested over 200 deaf boys. Attendence has shrunk by 5% in Milwaukee over the past two years.

Four lawsuits are pending in Milwaukee, and the diocese has put its headquarters, the Cousins Center, up for sale to help pay $27 million in settlement costs that have threatened to bankrupt the diocese. via Reuters

Costs to the American Catholic dioceses in court settlements are $1.87. Overall, there are 65 million U.S. Catholics, a population stabilized by an influx of Latino immigrants. About 22 percent of U.S. adults claim to be Catholic. One in 10 US adults are former Catholics. 

The ranks of U.S. priests has shrunk by 40 percent from a high of 35,000 in 1966, and the decline will not level off until 2015, said sociologist Lawrence Young of the University of Idaho, co-author of “Full Pews and Empty Altars.” via Reuters

Patrick Whelan, head of the liberal Boston-based group Catholic Democrats, confirms our perception that ‘Rome’s reaction is a tactical error reminiscent of former President Richard Nixon’s handling of the Watergate scandal. Revelations of a cover-up of Watergate misdeeds eventually forced Nixon to resign.’

“I think it hurts the church dramatically. I think the worst is probably yet to come,” Whelan said.