St. Louis Archdiocese Closes Thriving Traditional Latin Mass Parish

It has been months since more than a dozen parishes in the St. Louis Archdiocese submitted appeals to the Vatican in the hopes of keeping their doors open, and now Rome has agreed to hear the appeal of two parishes: St. Elizabeth Mother of John the Baptist Parish and Sts. Philip and James Parish.

Back in May, St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski announced that 178 individual parishes are being consolidated into 134. The archdiocese is also preparing to assess the future of nearly one-third of its elementary grade schools. The archdiocese cites declining attendance in weekly Mass and a shortage of priests as reasons for the restructure.

The Catholic population in the Archdiocese of St. Louis has fallen below 500,000 for the first time since the 1960s. This is unsurprising, considering that in the past decade, the percentage of millennials claiming no religious affiliation has grown from 27 percent to 40 percent. This is a terrible statistic for a Catholic archdiocese that was once called “the Rome of the West” in recognition of its place as the epicenter of Catholicism in the American West. Now the “Rome of the West”— built by French, Irish, German, and Italian immigrants — is dying out, as baptism and marriage rates in the archdiocese are half of what they were just 20 years ago.

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