April 10, 2005

Attendance Is a Concern for Church

ROME
Los Angeles Times

By Larry B. Stammer, Times Staff Writer

ROME Only a few miles from the throngs that pressed into St. Peter's Square to bid farewell to Pope John Paul II, a soaring Baroque-style basilica echoed with emptiness.

Inside, 20 of the faithful were sequestered in a side chapel for the noon Mass, while Father Virgilio Missori, 84, sat alone near a confessional booth awaiting penitents who did not come.

In many ways, the quiet scene day in and day out at the 17th century Basilica of Sts. Ambrose and Charles on the Corso is far more representative of the state of the Roman Catholic Church today than the one in St. Peter's Square, where an estimated 2 million pilgrims paid homage to John Paul in what was arguably the world's largest funeral. ...

Church leaders readily acknowledge that they cannot blame all their problems on the media. The credibility of U.S. bishops still has not fully recovered from the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the church beginning in 2002, when it was disclosed that some bishops had looked the other way or participated in cover-ups to protect molesting priests. Victims said the abuse had robbed them of not only their human dignity but their faith.

Posted by kshaw at April 10, 2005 03:27 AM