Dor.org is reporting that the Catholic Ministries Appeal has set a new record.
The Diocese of Rochester announced today that more than 37,000 Roman Catholic households pledged more than $5 million to the 2007/2008 Catholic Ministries Appeal (CMA) – an all-time record since the campaign began 27 years ago.
Approximately $5.1 million had been collected at the campaign’s official close on May 31 of the $5.2 million pledged; subsequent gifts will be credited to the 2008-09 annual appeal that begins this fall. Although the total fell just short of the campaign’s $5.3 million goal, there are many signs of continued growth:
- The total is more than $300,000 over the amount raised last year and marks the first time in the appeal’s history that contributions have topped the $5 million mark.
- This marks the fourth straight year that the campaign has seen a significant increase in the total amount of money raised.
- In addition to a nearly 5 percent increase over last year’s final total, the average gift for this year’s campaign increased to $140, as compared to $132 last year.
- The number of parishes that reached their assigned goal climbed to 42, with another 20 parishes bringing in more than 90% of their goal.
Eugene Michael over at Rochester Catholic offers the following observations:
“The number of parishes that reached their assigned goal climbed to 42, with another 20 parishes bringing in more than 90% of their goal.” From the DOR web site in reference to the 2008 Catholic Ministries Appeal(CMA).
When the DOR states that the 2008 CMA set a new record for giving it must be remembered that much of the “giving” was due to coercion or confiscation. The DOR’s policy is to extract the funds from each parish’s general fund if they don’t meet their DOR established goal. Also, some people donate because they know that the DOR will get the money anyway through this confiscation of funds from the parish.
The fact that only 42 out of 176 parishes met their goals this year(before confiscation) says a lot about the state of the DOR. Obviously the school closings and the parish clusterings are having a significant impact on giving. If people were satisfied with the leadership here then the DOR would not have to forcibly extract funds that are surely needed by the parishes to fund their operations. Much of this so-called giving represents nothing more than a diocesan tax on the parishes. (emphasis added)
No taxation without representation, anyone?
Eugene makes a good point about parishioner dissatisfaction with diocesan leadership. When one looks at the tenure of Matthew Clark as Bishop of Rochester one can only conclude that it has been an abysmal failure. Any objective measure - whether it be the number of ordinations to the priesthood, the number of Catholics attending weekend Mass, the number of open parishes, the number of Catholic schools, or the number of children attending those Catholic schools - clearly shows that the Diocese of Rochester is in far worse shape today than it was when Bishop Clark was appointed 29 years ago.
Much of this decline has been gradual and has gone largely unnoticed by most people. It has, however, become more obvious in recent years, as the number of active priests has reached a critical low, as large numbers of parishes have been closed, and as over 20 Catholic schools have been closed and thousands of Catholic school children have left the system. More and more people are coming to realize just how badly they have been served by their Catholic leadership and are starting to ask questions. Once they begin to realize that DOR has no answers the demands for change will only grow louder.