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There are better ways for Archdiocese to evaluate Baltimore churches

Rev. William E. Lori, the Archbishop of Baltimore, speaking from the pulpit as the celebrant for Cardinal William H. Keeler's funeral mass two years ago.
Rev. William E. Lori, the Archbishop of Baltimore, speaking from the pulpit as the celebrant for Cardinal William H. Keeler's funeral mass two years ago. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

Ellen Marshall's response to Archbishop William E. Lori's communication to pastors regarding fiscal policy and his authority to close churches prompts examination of some underlying issues (“Lori should not close the city’s poorest churches,” May 22). In addition to the effective racism, two areas of potential for problem solving are priest personnel and real estate. While "money and assets" may provide a convenient criteria to measure a chosen definition of "viability,” achieving an equitable, healthy "balance" seems to be trumped in the scenario chosen by the Archdiocese.

Personnel: Inclusive ordination could provide more ministers in all churches. Caring people, not limited to celibate males could be welcomed to permanent diaconate and priestly ordination. If there were many more such ministers, they might be able to work part-time and largely support themselves and their families. They and parishioners could be lifelong learners with formal courses as well as shared homilies. While Rome continues to delay such vital, common sense life-giving steps, the Archdiocese could create jobs and titles that allow for truly effective ministry with actual shared authority and accountability. Parish councils should also be able to able make meaningful decisions.

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Real Estate: It seems as if all parties are held hostage to real estate including maintenance and operations costs. So brainstorm. Dialog with lots of parties. Openly. Invite the public for ideas. Think of equity. Share buildings? Consult with Roman Catholic Women Priests (and not just regarding real estate). Maybe some of our neighboring congregations of various denominations might be interested if we asked them.

This letter is meant to encourage thinking outside the box and encourage dialog. At this time of Pentecost, may all of us open the doors of our minds rather than stay locked in a barricaded "upper" room.

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Elizabeth Lutz, Baltimore

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