Home Christian News Catholic Parishes Disproportionately Closed in Poor, Black and Latino Neighborhoods

Catholic Parishes Disproportionately Closed in Poor, Black and Latino Neighborhoods

The correlation between parish closures and the percentage of Black residents was statistically significant in nine dioceses, while it was only statistically significant for the percentage of Latino residents in two dioceses.

“Notably, it appears that poverty rate is a substantially bigger predictor of parish closings than racial composition,” the report’s authors wrote.

C. Vanessa White, associate professor of spirituality and ministry and director of the certificate in Black theology and ministry at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, told RNS in an email that the parish closures she has seen in Chicago and those studied in the report directly contradict Catholic social teaching’s preferential option for the poor, vulnerable and marginalized.

White said that that she is experiencing her second round of parish closings, part of a substantial decrease in the number of Black Catholic parishes in the Chicago archdiocese.

Black Catholics in closed parishes experience “emotional and spiritual pain,” White said, and have expressed concern and anger “at what is perceived as a failure of Catholic leadership to pastorally and spiritually care for the needs of Black Catholics.”

White wrote, “The CARA report only confirms what many Black Catholics already believe — the presence and gift of Black Catholics is not welcomed in the Church.”

This article originally appeared here.