Scandal-plagued Boston Archdiocese reports 15 percent drop in Mass attendance

Posted: Friday, February 06, 2004

BOSTON (AP) The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston said Mass attendance for a typical week has dropped 15 percent since the clergy sexual-abuse crisis hit two years ago.

For the first time, the archdiocesan newspaper published attendance figures and the number of key sacraments performed for most of Boston's 357 parishes (39 did not participate).

The report said average weekly Mass attendance in October was 304,000, out of a baptized membership of 2,084,000.

The general decline over recent decades ''was accelerated across the board by the abuse crisis,'' a spokesman said.

Archbishop Sean O'Malley receives recommendations March 8 on what are expected to be dozens of parish closings.

Voice of the Faithful, a lay reform group, welcomed release of the statistics but called for further information on finances and other factors involved in parish closings.

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