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Catholic Parish Organizational Structure and Parish Outcomes

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Abstract:

Due to a number of factors, the Catholic Church has in recent years been required to be innovative in the way it organizes its parishes. Canon law addresses some options for dioceses that need to restructure their parishes. This study considers three of them: pastoring multiple parishes through a team of pastors (Code of Canon Law 517.1); entrusting pastoral care to someone other than a priest (c517.2); and appointing a single priest to pastor more than one parish (c526.1). The effect of each of these models on the change in parish Sunday Mass attendance is empirically estimated. No significant difference in Mass attendance was found between those parishes that had experienced an organizational restructuring and those that had not. When comparing the three different models of parish restructuring, parishes that were led by a team of priests were found to outperform parishes that had experienced the other two restructuring options.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5906.2004.00223.x

Affiliations: 1: Villanova University, Villanova, 2: Georgetown University, Washington DC

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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