Sept. 24, 2019
By Ethan Hartley
The notion that the number of people actively participating in the Catholic faith in Rhode Island has been declining has been observed for some time now, but recently the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence released precise numbers to verify that fact.
In a “pastoral profile” assembled by the Diocese released earlier this month, data reveals that everything from the overall number of parishioners, the number of masses and attendance at masses to the number of priests in the state have all sharply declined since 2000.
What the numbers show is a snapshot is a widespread departure from traditional Catholic practice in Rhode Island, which the Pew Research Center still identifies as the most Catholic-dense population in the country, with 43 percent in the state identifying as followers of the faith.
In his address attached to the report, Bishop Thomas Tobin declared, “The inescapable conclusion from reviewing the report is that the Diocese of Providence is experiencing a quantitative decline,” and indicated “the Diocese must continue making the structural adjustments we have already begun in responding to the new realities in which we are living. These changes will include clergy assignments, parish configurations, Mass schedules, and educational resources.”
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