National Catholic Reporter

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In Cleveland I find a diocese shaken by seismic shifts


1st in the series

Cleveland -- When I arrived here April 28, the gloom and anxiety hung thick in the air around some Catholic leaders and groups who were either grieving or making plans to resist the news they had received the preceding month: Of the diocese's 224 parishes, 29 would close, 41 would merge, meaning the diocese would end up with 18 new parishes and a net loss of 52.

The situation in Cleveland is one of the latest indications of the seismic shifts in demographics, structure, ministry and other fundamental elements rattling the Catholic church in the United States. The forces moving the plates beneath the surface of the Catholic landscape are many, some well known and obvious, some unseen and mysterious.

Read the full story here: Cleveland diocese shaken by seismic shifts.

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Tom Roberts, NCR editor at large, is traveling the country reporting on parish life. He is on the first of several trips he plans to take, this time moving through Ohio, eastward into New Jersey and on to the nation’s capital. His e-mail address is


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November 20-December 3, 2015


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