Church Leadership: Managing the Decline? by Phil Lawler

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By Phil Lawler, Catholic Culture, May 29, 2020

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

All this week, CWN carried headlines about tight government restrictions on Catholic churches—restrictions that raised serious questions about religious freedom. So on Friday, when the US Conference of Catholic Bishops sent out a notice about the annual observance of Religious Freedom Week, which will be held June 22-29, it seemed a very timely announcement.

No such luck. The USCCB offers a generous packet of material, including themes for each day of the week and background materials on adoption, health-care policy, migration, and the plight of religious minorities in Asia and Africa. Nothing about civic officials who have proposed to ban the celebration of Mass, or set their own standards for reception of Holy Communion. Nothing about the classification of religious services as “non-essential”—unlike the “essential” liquor stores and marijuana dispensaries.

During the past several weeks loyal Catholics have seen that there is a tension—at the very least—between the edicts of public-health officials and the independence of the Catholic Church. The USCCB apparently hasn’t noticed. …

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