I spent a good portion of my youth in a wonderful neighborhood called Portland on the west side of Louisville, Kentucky.
The socio economic profile of the community was very similar to our west side here in Evansville: Catholic, ethnic, hard working, proud, middle class.
Like the Dioceses of Evansville, the bishop was faced with a shortage of priests and population shifts, which lead to the merger of parishes and several schools.
The changes occurred over the last 50 years and now that wonderful neighborhood is blighted and crime ridden. I would say dead for all practical purposes.
Bishop Charles Thompson and a select core team are currently holding town hall meetings asking for input on a new strategic plan for our Catholic community.
The challenges that were present in my old neighborhood in Louisville are more prevalent today than 50 years ago.
I don't want to argue the theological debate about celibacy and the priesthood, or criticize the church for a lack of relevance in their liturgy and Catholic community.
I would suggest these areas deserve discussion by the bishops in the United States and with our pope in Rome.
These problems won't go away after the strategic plan is installed in the Diocese of Evansville.
I hope these changes won't kill the communities like it did in my old neighborhood.
That's my stand.
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