Vouchers kept Milwaukee Catholic parishes open, but at a cost to religious activity

Erin Richards:

Hungerman said he can’t fully explain the reasons behind the numbers.

Maybe, he surmised, parishes that begin to accept vouchers experience leadership change and new priorities. Maybe vouchers caused parishioners to change churches. Maybe parishioners, knowing that their parish has a public funding stream, are less likely to donate, or perhaps they don’t want to donate to help voucher students who may not already be a part of the parish community.

Topczewski, from the archbishop’s office, said declining church revenue caused by fewer Catholics per capita does not necessarily mean declining parish and religious activity.

“Instead, the parish mission shifts to an evangelical mission in a neighborhood that is no longer predominantly Catholic, but whose families still seek out the quality and reputation of a Catholic school,” he said. “The survey misses that schools are a ministry for us.”