Ahh, there’s nothing so, so, so wonderful…

…as watching The New York Times engage in Pavlovian salivation over the possibility that the Church is in its twilight:

The core of the New York archdiocese’s 2.5 million Catholics is slowly shifting to the northern suburbs, resulting in the closing of some churches in the city and the building of new ones in the suburbs. A majority of the students in the inner-city parochial schools are non-Catholic; 98 percent of the students graduate from high school, but the church subsidizes much of the cost.

And the ranks of priests continue to dwindle, as fewer and fewer young men appear willing to take vows of celibacy. (The archdiocese inducted about half a dozen new priests last year, and the average priest in the United States is older than 60.)

Close your eyes and you can visualize Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., who lowers the average IQ in a room so quickly that a chill breeze kicks up, radiating with the pale green glow of a firefly when one of his reporters turns in copy like that.

You can’t help but appreciate the ever hopeful tone of the line, “98 percent of the students graduate from high school, but the church subsidizes much of the cost.” Yes, it seems to say, even where there is success, we can hope for failure.

There’s also the immediate implication that the shortage of seminarians is due to the celibacy requirement. The Times, as a matter of general editorial slant, believes that the sexual revolution won’t be complete until it has swept through the last bastions of resistance to it, the Church and its silly traditions being numero uno in that group. But it’s not clear, to anyone, that celibacy is the principal factor in the declining number of young men entering the priesthood.

We think that there’s a far sounder correlation between the decline in revenue at The New York Times and the preferences of its goofy publisher than there is between the shortage of priests and the celibacy rule. Let’s wait and see which of the two institutions, the Church or the Times, survives. We know which one we’re betting on.

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